We’ve all heard the phrase “dressing for success,” but do you really believe that how you dress matters? If your answer is no—or if you’re on the fence—then you need to listen to this episode and find out why the way you dress can have a huge effect on your success.
Whether we like it or not, we are all judged by how we look. And when you’re dealing with people’s life savings, how you dress matters even more. So listen in as Matthew and Micah break down how your appearance can send an unspoken message to clients and colleagues, as well as how you can elevate your dress game today so you can reach new heights of success.
Somebody who dresses really sharp is very intentional. - @ThePerfectRIA Click To Tweet
Eliminate those decisions that you don’t really enjoy because they suck up the brainpower that you need for your clients. - @ThePerfectRIA Click To Tweet
Think of who your best-dressed client is, then take it a couple levels above that. - @ThePerfectRIA Click To Tweet
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Micah Shilanski: Welcome back to The Perfect RIA Podcast. I am your cohost Micah Shilanski and with me as usual, the legendary Matthew Jarvis. How’s it going Jarvis?
Matthew Jarvis: It’s good, Mr. Micah. I’m certainly glad that we’re allowed to take our face masks off for recording these podcasts. Otherwise, it might be a bit muffled, so.
Micah Shilanski: I know, right? That kind of can’t hear people now when you’re talking to them, you’ve got to violate that six foot distance just to hear what they’re saying because they have the mask on, you can’t understand them. It’s great.
Matthew Jarvis: It’s crazy stuff. It’s crazy stuff. Well, Micah, I’m excited for our podcast today. Hopefully my brother doesn’t listen to this podcast, which is the first time I’ve ever said that, that I hope someone’s not listening to it. But we were hanging out this weekend and he is a accountant at a big CPA firm. Not by the way in my area. He’s never once sent me a client or anything like that. And we were joking about dressing for success Micah, which is something that you and I are very passionate about.
Micah Shilanski: Amen.
Matthew Jarvis: I’ll confess. I baited him just a little bit. I’m like, “Well, tell me how you dress at work.” He’s, “Well, I wear like a bright colored shirt that’s buttoned up and slacks or something, and I always wear converse shoes to work.” And again, he’s a CPA and he says, “And I’ve never had a client tell me that they’re taking away their business because of how I dress.” And I said, “Steven, that’s really interesting. How about the partners? How are the partners dressed at your firm and how come you’ve never made partner at your firm?” And then suddenly it got very, very quiet.
Micah, this goes to something you and I talk about all the time, which is this dress for success. You’re likely never going to have a client say, “Hey, you kind of dress like a clown. I don’t want to work with you.” It seems like it’s more of a subconscious thing.
Micah Shilanski: And this is such like a misnomer that’s out there. Well, I’ve never lost a client because of this. This is an excuse. Let’s eliminate that to begin with, because most advisors don’t lose clients. Unless you’re a complete failure, total screw up across the board, most advisors don’t lose clients. So I never want to hear that as a reason why something is working or not working. That’s going to be there.
This is the same concept with that dressing aspect of it. And we really, especially with a lot of younger advisors that are coming on, it’s a lot more of a t-shirt community. As I’m slightly hypocritical, I am in a t-shirt right now on a podcast, by the way, where people can’t see me. So I’m a little less concerned about that. But there’s a lot of people that are out there that says, “Well, the dress shouldn’t matter,” that’s going to be there.
And I just 100% disagree because it’s not … We are all still judged. Whether people want to admit it or not, we are all still judged by how we look right now. This isn’t skin color or stuff like that. But this is, are you taking care of yourself? Did you brush your hair? Did you brush your teeth? Did you trim your beard? What is your suit? Is it wrinkled? Is it pressed? I mean, do you look like you just woke up from the side of the street, or do you look like you’re a real professional taking charge? And especially when people are talking about giving you their life savings, everything counts, especially your dress.
Matthew Jarvis: Yeah. I think it’s doubly so when you’re a younger advisor, right?
Micah Shilanski: Yes.
Matthew Jarvis: When I meet with younger advisors, when I go to next gen stuff, XYPN stuff, different things and say, “Well, we’re younger so we don’t need to wear buttoned up shirts. That’s for the baby boomers. That’s for Karen,” as the expression goes. But then that’s when you especially need to be dressed for success. You already look like you’re wet behind the ears. You already look like you don’t know what you’re talking about. That’s your chance to really elevate. We’re like, “Well, this guy or gal dresses so sharply, they must be good at what they do.”
Micah Shilanski: It shows that aspect of it too. Like if you’re wearing a nice suit, you’re wearing nice clothes, it’s going to be there. It gives an air of success, whether it’s true or not. And I don’t know if I necessarily always like that expression, fake it till you make it. But you have to put yourself in the position of highly successful people. That’s what you need to be looking up to.
Now, you’re going to get some people that get to a level that they wear a suit their entire life, now they have this. And I know several of them, especially on the BD world, that once they broke that seven figures of income, they said, “That’s it. I’m never wearing a tie again.” Now, this is a slightly different case because they’ve already done it. They already have that client base that’s there, so we can make a different argument.
I still disagree. We’ll find out if I ever change my tune in the future, but I still wear a suit and tie to work because when it’s game day, there is no casual day in search time. It is always game day, your A game.
Matthew Jarvis: 100%. And your clothes, your appearance always are sending a message. And the question of that is what message are they sending, and is that an intentional message? And a real tenant of The Perfect RIA is to be intentional about everything you do. So if you want to send a message of I don’t really care about this, I couldn’t bother to dress nicely for today. Okay, just know that that’s the message you’re sending.
Micah, I even think about that when I’m flying places. If I’m flying out on vacation, I don’t necessarily … I want to send a vibe of I’m heading into vacation. Here’s a kind of extreme example. When I fly to Vegas, Jackie and I are dressed all the way. We have our ridiculous outfits on as soon as we get to Teller Airport. And that’s great. If I’m flying to speak at an event, I’m going to assume that someone else on my flight is heading to that same event. And so I already want to be giving the message of, hey, this guy is a professional. He knows what he’s doing. Of course, he is flying in first class because why wouldn’t he?
Micah Shilanski: That’s right. You always want to check all of those boxes. And if you start saying, “This doesn’t count.” Let’s break it down to other areas besides dress and then we can go back and talk a little bit more about how you should dress, break it down to other areas. For example, how do you answer your phone? Or how does your team answer the phone? Do they just answer it, “What? Hello?”
Matthew Jarvis: Go.
Micah Shilanski: “What do you want?” That would be a lot faster if I just answered the phone, “What do you want?” It would save so much more time. Is that the message I want to convey? Is that a friendly, warm, welcoming message? No, it is absolutely not. So you’re already doing things. You’re already setting things up because appearance matters. The way you send out email confirmations, the way you send out appointment reminders, the way your letterhead works, the way your website works. Guess what? You’ve already agreed that perception matters. So none of this stuff that perception matters this entire time. Now, when it comes to my dress, it doesn’t matter. That’s a bunch of crap. It totally matters. And it will totally elevate your game if you make that shift up.
Matthew Jarvis: Yeah. I was thinking, Micah, as you were saying that, almost all of our listeners are in small RIAs, small BDs, kind of independent practices. And we’re going up to bat against the biggest, wealthiest organizations in the world, the Merrill Lynchs, the Morgan Stanleys, the Fidelitys, the Schwabs. We’re going up to bat against all these people. They spend insane amounts of money on appearance and image and the layout of their stores and the design of their website. Amounts of money that we could never hope to rival. And so to say, “Hey, I’m going up to bat against Goliath.” I got to show up as the best dressed, David, I possibly can. I got to take any victory I can.
Micah Shilanski: Now, let’s address something that’s out there that we hear from other advisors. And then I want to move on to different ways if it’s all right Jarvis, we’re going to move on to different ways of what can people do to elevate their game in this area. Some of the things that we hear from one, and we’ll pick on one, one of the guys in our mastermind, Dawson. A phenomenal guy, great practice. He’s out of Boulder. And he will quickly say that, says, “I can’t wear a suit to work because I’m going to lose business,” because in his area, anyone that wears a suit is automatically pigeonholed as a wholesaler, as a salesman, et cetera. And when you’re walking around Boulder, virtually no one is in a suit whatsoever.
So what would you say in those cases that a suit would be negative to your audience? Now, by the way, I think this is a lot more of an exception than a rule.
Matthew Jarvis: I think it’s very rare. And we have to admit that Dawson is just a naturally beautiful man. And so if I looked as good as Jamie did-
Micah Shilanski: Amen.
Matthew Jarvis: I would be fine too. Love you buddy. But, yeah, there certainly are scenarios. I have advisor friends. They work exclusively with farmers. And if you showed up at a farmer’s real ranch to meet with him, and you were wearing a tuxedo, you’d get laughed right out. Or they wouldn’t even talk to you. They might even shoot at you. Who knows? So in our friend in Boulder situation and in some select other situations, yes, a suit or a tuxedo would be too much. But you’re always going to be a couple levels ahead of whoever your client is, whoever your ideal client is. So you’re not wearing … If they’re all wearing tennis shoes, you’re wearing really nice tennis shoes or you’re wearing kind of the next level up. You’re not wearing tattered blue jeans. You’re wearing really sharp ones. Whatever it is, you want to be a couple levels above your ideal client, not even your average client.
Micah Shilanski: Yeah, I don’t think you should be in jeans, but yeah. I mean, you should absolutely be stepping up that game. And I think Jarvis, one of the things that I really love about rolling in a suit is for example, I went to speak at an event. It was for Eat App, an executive transition assistance program for the military. So you’ve got people that have 20, 30 year careers, officers, and there’s a week-long program to help them transition into civilian life. And so they’ve asked us to come in. We do it pro bono for them, to really try to help the military. Yeah. It’s fun. So we go in and chat with them about it.
Now, especially like the first time I went to the nines, full suit and everything. Everyone is super casual in that room. And so I am definitely the odd man out. So one of the things, when I start presenting, like, “Hey, it’s a little warm. Is it okay if I take off my coat?” And I start taking off my coat and I undo my sleeves and I roll my sleeves up a little bit. And all of a sudden I’ve totally changed my dress in that room. I can scale down a suit in an instance. If I showed up in jeans and a collared shirt, I can’t elevate that game. There’s nowhere up I can go with that dress. So I can always bring things down a little bit if I feel I need to do that to connect with my audience.
Matthew Jarvis: Yeah. There’s an advisor of the TPR nation who works predominantly with Google employees, and he’s able to actually go to the Google campuses and meet on the campus. And so he would say, “Hey, Matthew, if I wear a suit and a tie on the campus, I will immediately stand out like a sore thumb. It would be imperially obvious that I don’t work there.” So Micah, again, sort of similar situation. He said, “Great, don’t necessarily wear a suit and a tie, but you want to stand out to some degree.” Not 100 degrees, but you want people to notice like, “Wait a second. Why is this guy dressed sharper than everyone else? Why does he look like he’s not homeless? Oh, he’s not a Google employee. Why is he here? Hey dude, why are you here?” “Oh, I help Google employees not get killed on taxes when they redeem their stock options.” “Interesting.”
So you want to stand out in a good way. I know there’s sort of this subconscious back in high school, the feel of I want to blend in with everybody else. Really in this situation you don’t want to blend in. You want to be a step above.
Micah Shilanski: I absolutely love it. All right. So let’s start talking about some things that you can do. And the first thing I would say is, there’s different ways that you can look at your dress, but there’s also your dress that you have to do. There’s also your team’s dress that you need to look at as well, and how are they dressing. Because if you’re coming to work in the nines and the suit and the whole nine yards and your team is dressing very casual, now you’re sending completely different mixed messages.
So one of the things that is really important is getting your team on board with this, and making sure everyone knows the why. Like why are we dressing like this and why does it matter? Especially in our culture, it’s more and more casual is okay. Dressing up doesn’t matter. So have you had any conversations with your team about it Jarvis?
Matthew Jarvis: You know, I will put a quick disclaimer on here. Like the attorneys are yelling at my ears right now. You need to be very careful in this area. If you go, and we’ll play stereotypes here. If you’re the kind of the stereotypical male adviser and you have the stereotypical female team and you go and say, “Hey, you’re not really dressed very well,” that can end very poorly for your career.
With that little bit of disclaimer, setting aside stereotypes, this is another reason to do surge meetings. On my team we say, “Hey, next week, surge. Anyone who needs a haircut, get a haircut this week.” Not to pick on anyone particularly. I have to remind my dad to get a haircut before we have surge meetings because he’ll just let his … He has beautiful hair. I don’t. And so it’s like, “Hey, it’s surge next week. Make sure to get a haircut, make sure your dry cleaning is done.” And we kind of have a checklist that all the points are directed at me, but I go through them. So everybody, hey, everybody had their dry cleaning done. I think I’m the only one with dry cleaning, but still, everybody’s groomed. I’ll make a joke like, “Hey, I’m going to make sure I’m going to shave my head before surge starts.”
Micah Shilanski: I got to buff it.
Matthew Jarvis: I got to buff it out a little bit. But yeah. It’s another reason we do surge. That way we don’t end up with, “Oh, I thought this was casual Friday,” and in comes a client.
Micah Shilanski: You know I’m laughing my butt off over here, Jarvis, because I remember so clearly that, we were talking about prepping for surge meetings. And I forget it was, we were doing a recording of our podcast. I think it was a video recording we were doing, talking about surge meetings. And I said, “Yeah, we remind our team to make sure your laundry’s done, da, da, da.” And you’re like, “Oh my gosh, this is ridiculous. You tell them about your laundry and da, da, da, da, da,” and you were just railing on me for them. And now you’re saying that-
Matthew Jarvis: And here I am. I know.
Micah Shilanski: I know. But we all do it, right?
Matthew Jarvis: Pretty soon I’ll be living in my parents’ basement.
Micah Shilanski: Just like me.
Matthew Jarvis: Like a van down by the river. You’re just giving me a hard time, which is fun and something we always do. I have no ego stake to anything I’m doing. If I ever find something that works better, I’m like, “Great.” And I have no problem giving credits to. I mean in our office, I have a joke. We’re like, “Well, I know I say this sometimes, but Micah’s office does it this way. Let’s give it a try.” I’m fine giving credit where credit is due. And if I find something better, I want to do it. I don’t want to say like … The last thing I ever want to say is, “Well, this is how we’ve always done it.”
Micah Shilanski: No. Yeah. That’s a death sentence. If you say that, it’s almost a reason to change it. But same thing. So going out to the nation. If you guys have any better ideas on how to run things than we do or something that’s worked better, hit us up on Twitter, Hit us up on LinkedIn, on social. We would love to know about that so we can go through.
But Jarvis, go back to your team idea. One of the things that we did, because as you said, with our office, I don’t want to go to the ladies in our office and tell them how to dress. One, I don’t want to be consulted about dress on our ongoing basis. And two, I definitely don’t want to offend them with what to wear, what not to wear. Another guy, I could say, “Look, here’s how the suit works.” I don’t really know that much about feminine dress and what they should be doing.
So an easy solution for us is we went and hired personal shoppers. And for one of the meetings, I think this was a little bit of maybe two years ago, we went and before a surge and we went and got a personal shopper. We gave team bonuses, like all little gift cards that they could use. And we had a whole personal shopper session where she went through and explained the different styles and cuts and dresses and how to match things up and how to do different things. And we had them go and take care of that. And I wasn’t even there.
The whole purpose of this was not only to help educate them, but now we’re bringing an outside of authority that says, “Yes, this is why dress matters.” So it’s not just because Micah and Jamie say, go do blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. No, it’s using an outside authority that says this, and here’s the resources and how to do it. So if you’re going to help your team in this aspect of saying, “Hey, you want to do this,” you need to give them a resource to achieve that goal as well.
Matthew Jarvis: I like that. That’s a relatively small investment. If that somehow tips the scale for just one new client, that’s going to pay for itself forevermore.
Micah Shilanski: Done.
Matthew Jarvis: Another thing that came to mind, Micah, this is something you mentioned earlier, just in passing. You were kind saying about how do people answer your phones in your office. This is actually, I think it falls under the same category. How are your phones being answered? What does your hold music sound like? This is a real thing. Call your office. Have them put you on hold. And if it’s something boring, want to kill yourself, hold music. We actually … I had our phone system reprogrammed. So it’s kind of like this fun, upbeat jazzy music. You might say, “Well, Matthew, that’s silly. That doesn’t make a difference.” It does. It does. It changes people’s state of mind so that when I pick up the phone to talk to them, they’re like, “Oh, I’m kind of excited. I’m kind of pumped up,” versus like some elevator, “Please continue to hold.” All those things make a difference.
Micah Shilanski: Boy, I’m going to take that action item because I don’t know what our hold music sounds like. So once we get off the phone, I’m going to go figure that one out. That is a great idea.
Matthew Jarvis: I actually enjoy it. Like I’m not going to call and ask to be put on hold just for fun. But sometimes I’ll call into the office and I’ll say, “Collin, can you transfer me over to Daniel?” And I’ll be on hold for a second. I’m like, “Hey, this is kind of an upbeat,” gets me energized. It applies to … I think people maybe can relate to music changing your mood more than visual appearance, but it’s the same. What are the pictures like on the wall? What’s the carpet look like? Are there crumbs on the counter? All of these things change our impression.
Micah Shilanski: What’s the music you have going on in your office? In our lobby, we have music going. What is that music? What station is there? Those are really important things to think about.
All right. So how does an advisor, and I do apologize for the ladies out there, lady advisors that are listening to this, because I think we’re going to talk a little bit more about how an advisor ups their game. And as I said before, I do not have many tips on how women should dress professionally. So if you do, and you want to be interviewed for the podcast, hit us up. We would love to hear from you. But I think we’re going to chat just a little bit about how, Jarvis, how did you start elevating your game and your dress and what do you do now to continually elevate your game?
Matthew Jarvis: Yeah. By the way, that was a sincere request that Micah made. I know-
Micah Shilanski: Seriously.
Matthew Jarvis: We’ve not done in the past, but yeah, we would love to. We know several … We’re men, so I don’t know. That’s what we know. My big thing, and I’ve told this story before I think on the podcast. Early in my career, I had a dear friend, very successful saleswoman in her career. And she said, “Matthew,” because she saw me wearing a really ill-fitting suit. She said, “You need to buy one really expensive suit. No one needs to know you only have one of them. Wear it any time you’re closing the sale so you walk in the room feeling like the best dressed person, like a million bucks.”
And so I did. It took every drop of money I had. I bought one really nice suit from a private suit designer. I had a haberdasher come to my office, measure me, fitted me for a perfectly fitting suit. It costs me a couple of thousand dollars. And at that time I could only afford one. Now I can afford a whole closet of them. But to her point, I only needed one.
I mean, you could wear the same suit every day of the week if you had to. Just change out obviously your inner shirt. Yeah, hire a professional. Or just even go to Nordstroms. Make sure the suit is tailored. And for men, that suit needs to be tailored in every direction. That’s not just the length of the suit. It’s the inseams. It’s how the butt is tailored. It’s how the … Everything needs to be tailored, the armpits. Every piece of a suit needs to be tailored.
Micah Shilanski: And you want to have someone that doesn’t work at that store, in my opinion, helping with this.
Matthew Jarvis: Ideally.
Micah Shilanski: Yeah. This would be your most ideal that you could get. So you don’t get someone that just it’s good enough. Good enough seldom is. You’re really looking for that A game perfection, what are the different things that you can do. And I got to say there’s a huge difference. Because I was a Jos. A Bank for a long time, on a budget, really getting just cheap suits because I thought, “Well, it’s just a suit. It doesn’t matter.” And then I still remember that first time I put on a custom suit. And there’s a huge difference, not only in your feeling, but how that whole thing looks. So I completely agree.
Also, you have to refresh this. And maybe this is some of your PD money that you should be setting aside. I know we’re going to talk on the backstage Pass here soon about how to set up your finances and go through those things. And one of the things is a PD budget, a personal development budget. You should be putting money every single pay period. Every time you get money, you should be putting in a PD budget for personal development. And that includes this area as well. So that’s a good budget income that you could use to say, “Hey, every six months, do I need to go replace my suits? Every year do I need to get two new suits?” What is that? But how do you up that game?
Matthew Jarvis: Quick close a five star tip or a TPR tip, find the sharpest dressed prospect that you know. So find someone in your community, in your niche that you’re like, “Wow, this guy, this gal is always dressed so sharply.” By the way, I did this and it was very successful for me. And I said, “Bob, I have to ask you.” It was in a private setting. “I have to ask you. You always look so sharply dressed. Where do you shop? How do you get clothes that are so well fitting? I would like to mirror that.” And it’s an insanely high compliment because somebody who dresses really sharp, that’s very intentional. It’s not like, “Oh, shuck.” So actually no, I spent a lot of effort. And so this particular gentleman that I knew, he says, “Yeah, I always make sure I’m dressed to the top.”
His motivation was a little bit different. He was an older gentleman that was single. And it worked for him. He was trying to impress the ladies, and he always looked so sharp. And he’s like, “Listen, here’s where I go. Tell them that Bob sent you because, and tell them you want to look as good as Bob does.” And sure enough, that’s what they did. And now I have so much of his respect. He’s like, “If you need to talk to somebody, Matt’s the guy to talk to,” because now we’re like brothers, because we share the similarity.
Micah Shilanski: Yeah. I think that’s a great idea. So what is your other thoughts inside of this, on this Jarvis? Just kind of run through your dress for success. So what is your, during surge week, what are you going to be dressed in? And what is that going to look like in the meetings than versus non-surge time?
Matthew Jarvis: Yeah. Surge meetings it’s always going to be a suit and tie. It’s a sharp suit. It’s custom tailored. My shoes are polished. Typically, my socks are always just black because I don’t like trying to find matches for socks. Wearing a sharp looking tie. Often I’m wearing cuff links because I kind of like that style right now. I’m wearing a belt that’s not frayed, like the holes aren’t stretched out on it. Again, it’s just looking and saying, “Is there anything here that’s not all the way to the top success?”
Micah Shilanski: Yep. And once it isn’t, it goes on a B rack, right? I mean, you need to have enough inside of there, that during that time it needs to be. And pressing your clothes, always use your tie, those types of things. I’m the same thing. I love cuff links. I don’t know what it is, that French cuffs, those cuff links, it really just makes it pop.
Matthew Jarvis: That’s fun. Small things, talk about forcing mechanisms. I take all of my dress shirts. They all go to the dry cleaner to be pressed, and they charge me $3 a shirt or something. Otherwise, I can be tempted in a rush to not iron that shirt well enough. And to be honest, I don’t particularly enjoy ironing shirts. And so I pay the $3 a shirt to have them ironed. Actually, I don’t even know if that’s what it costs. Jackie takes care of it. But yeah, you just, you look for forcing mechanisms. And it doesn’t … If you have a good taste for style and I don’t, you can have a big assortment of ties, or you can just hang the tie from the suit and know that this tie always goes to this suit.
Micah Shilanski: Yep.
Matthew Jarvis: And that’s okay. Doctors wear the same thing to work every day. Members of the military wear the same thing. You don’t have to have a thousand different suits. People aren’t going to notice. They’re not going to care. Look at Steve jobs. Look at Michael Kitsis. I mean, people like to tease about wearing the same blue shirt or the way he wears cheap blue shirts. But we’ll work on him on that next time we see him. No one’s going to care.
Micah Shilanski: Yeah, no one’s going to care. That same outfit, as long as you’re dressing in that manner. Now, one of the things that I did when I was working on a personal shopper, I hate matching up a shirt and a tie and what suit does it go with and like this. So I always had like very basic colors and she wanted me to dress more. And I said, “Here’s my problem, is I don’t know what goes with what, and I don’t want to spend 10 minutes in the morning trying to figure this thing out and being self-conscious about it the entire day.” So now all my clothes are laid out for me. Everything is picked out from exactly the suit, the cuff links, the tie, the shirt, the whole nine yards when I’m going through surge week, and I make zero decisions about my wardrobe. I generally grab the one that’s for Monday and I put it on and I go to work. And I love that.
Whether it’s something you need to do personally in the week before, whether it’s someone else you could get someone to help you with this and put that together. But again, eliminate those decisions that you don’t enjoy because they suck up that brain power that you need to have committed to deliver value for your clients.
Matthew Jarvis: Yep. I was just looking Micah for resources. I get all my suits from Tom James. They are a national chain. You can look them up online and they’ll send somebody out to your office. By the way, those are not cheap suits. But when you put one on, it will forever change you on how you wear your suits. And they do ladies fashion as well, I believe.
Micah Shilanski: Nice. I’m a Canali kind of guy. I really like Canali suits.
Matthew Jarvis: Nice. Nice.
Micah Shilanski: Yeah. So what are the other things? Getting off a little bit from just the dress, what are the other things in the office that make a difference that people don’t think about?
Again, we talked about answering the phones. What does it look like when you walk in with a new set of eyes to your office? Because so often we get used to our office. We don’t notice things like the sign on the paint that’s chipping or this is happening, or the carpet’s fraying, or those types of things. Everything counts when a prospect is walking in. And in full confession time, we had a sign that was getting a little bit, I’m going to say dilapidated. I don’t think it was that bad, but it was getting a little bit run down. And I had one of our top clients take me to task in the middle of the office about this.
Now, he’s a great guy. He’s a business owner. He gets this stuff and he’s like, “What the hell are you doing Micah?” He’s like, “This sign, really? You can’t replace this and this and this paint? And what’s going on over here. And what’s going on over here?” He’s like, “Do you not look at it when you walk in?” So he really took me to task in front of the office by the way. It was great.
And he stepped back and I said, “You know what? You’re right.” I was like, “I’ve just been getting in here. I haven’t been paying attention. We need to update some things and make sure this is good.” And he said, “You know, Micah. I had a client take me to task about it. I will never forget it when I ran my practice as well. And that’s the reason I did it here, because I want you to never to forget this so you always look at it from a prospect’s point of view.” And it took a client telling me that for me to go and update these things. Don’t get in that position. Fix it before they say something.
Matthew Jarvis: Oh totally. Now, Micah, I’ve been to your office several times and it is very sharp, but it’s not, and correct me if I’m wrong. It’s not like you have custom mahogany desks that were hand-carved by natives in Eskimo villages. I mean, my office, it’s laminate furniture, but it’s nice. It’s sharp. The chairs aren’t scuffed on the edge. But they’re not thousand dollar chairs. I don’t want advisors to think because I’ve fallen victim for this. You don’t need to have really expensive stuff. You just need to have sharp looking stuff. Unless I guess, you’re targeting people who work in mahogany offices. But if the laminate furniture gets chipped, get rid of it. Don’t buy mahogany desk. Just get a new laminate desk.
Micah Shilanski: Right. We don’t have marble floors. One of the things I do—and talk about risk management—I make fun of insurance companies for having marble floors. So I’m not going to have them now. But we don’t have marble floors. We have carpet. We have all of these other things. We’ll throw pictures up for backstage Pass members so you can get a nice little virtual walkthrough of our office. It’s not over the top. It’s just really neat and put together. That is what you got to go for the same with your dress. It has to be really neat and put together.
Matthew Jarvis: To switch gears just a tiny bit, and so many of us are doing virtual meetings right now. And a lot of people, Micah I know yourself included, do a lot of virtual meetings year round. This same rule applies. So you might think, “Well, I’m sitting at home. I can dress casually.” No. Just because you’re sitting at your home office does not mean the dress requirement goes down. I will confess. I’m often not wearing shoes when I’m working in my home office. I don’t think that’s an issue. I’m still, if I’m meeting with clients, I’m going to have a buttoned up shirt with a tie on. I’m going to make sure my backdrop looks good, that there’s not junk or a guitar. I wish I had a guitar. Whatever it is, I’m not going to let my background be cluttered.
Also, not going to do green screens. I know the idea of a green screen sounds like a lot of fun to show you with the London bridge behind you, but it creates that grainy effect around your head and it’s a distraction. Don’t do that kind of stuff.
Micah Shilanski: Yeah. It just totally looks fake. The client’s not even paying attention to what you’re talking about because they’re looking at the green screen and the effects. So yeah, don’t even do that.
All right. So let’s transition a little bit to some action items Jarvis, because I think those are always this podcast is about action, about taking things to improve your practice, to make it there. And I’m going to say one of the things is go consult with a professional in this area. Go find someone who, whether it’s a Nordstrom’s person you could start off with, whether it’s a personal shopper, whether it’s someone who just has this expertise in this look, go figure out who that person is in your area. Consult with them. Have them run through your closet and say what’s got to go and what’s not got to go.
Matthew Jarvis: 100%. And again, don’t be afraid to just get one really nice outfit. Start with one. Ideally you’ll have five or 10. I remember being on a really tight budget. There’s no shame in having one really sharp outfit.
I would say second action item, think of who your best dress client is. Who’s your sharpest dress client, and how do you take it a couple notches above them? Micah and I were just talking about French link cuffs. If you work with attorneys in big law firms that are always wearing really expensive suits, you need to be in that same game. They know. People who wear nice suits, know what a nice suit looks like. I can immediately tell how much a nice suit cost. And I’m surprised when people wear cheap ones. Anyway, it goes back to knowing your market and dressing a couple levels above that.
Micah Shilanski: Yeah, really, really important. Third action item, get your team involved. This could be a great quarterly bonus. This could be a great thing after you wrap up surge, maybe in between going to the next one about a nice team event. Make it fun. Do lunch and a personal shopper. And you as the advisor bow out, because you don’t need to tell them how to dress. Maybe you have an SOP. You give it to that personal shopper in advance. You go through with them, how it’s supposed to work. Then they guide your team through this. This would be a huge value add for your team members.
Matthew Jarvis: This is a really great coming back from COVID. So as your office reopens, that’s really great that we can see people in person again. Hey, as a thank you for whatever, let everybody get five new outfits for our surge weeks. By the way, now we’re going to start doing surge if you haven’t been doing it already. So we’re going to get surge uniforms, if you will. Micah, to your point, we’ve hired a personal shopper. We all want to … I’ve got new suits. Look at these great new suits. Or one is, here’s, we’re going to get new outfits. Want you ladies and gentlemen to do the same. Here you go. And that’s money well spent and it’s so much loyalty that you’ll pick up by doing that.
Micah Shilanski: Amen. Totally agree. All right, Jarvis. Well of course the next biggest action item we need to do. We want your help. We want the TPR nation. We’re going to give away some pretty awesome swag. We want to be featured more frequently in the Kitsis readings. We were featured recently with one of our podcasts that we did, which was kind of awesome, talking about our theme song, our music that we have written up. We would love more of our articles to be featured in the weekend reading. And that’s what we want your help with.
If you want to jump on Kitses’ forum and leave a comment on one of the articles, “Hey, you should feature the TPR podcast,” grab a screenshot of that, tag us in social with it, and we will get you some pretty awesome swag.
Matthew Jarvis: We definitely will. We’ve got some fun stuff coming down. Related to that on social media, go ahead and take a picture of yourself, dress for success, and take it in social media. Write The perfect RIA, and just tag it dress for success. That way we can help inspire each other. And also, if you’re willing, give a little call out and be like, “Hey, listen, that’s clearly a Jos. A Bank suit. We need to update that.” But dress for success. This will be a fun one to put out there for the nation and for your clients as well.
Micah Shilanski: Yeah. And Jarvis and I will do the same thing. When we’re back in the office, we’ll go and throw some pics in there as well so you can see with us, and then you can make fun of our dress so we can see what game we can improve.
Matthew Jarvis: Yeah. And of course, for backstage Pass members, you can log in and look at a lot of videos that Micah and I have recorded in the office. And you can see, hey, what our offices look like, how we’re dressed for success. There are some videos that we shot in Hawaii. Those ones are a little more casual. But short of that, it’s all dressed for success.
Micah Shilanski: Awesome. Well, until next time. Happy planning.
Matthew Jarvis: Happy planning.
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