One of the key components to success in any professional endeavor is setting—and then delivering on—expectations. Far too often, we fall short due to unclear or unrealistic predictions being made by our prospects. So today Matt and Micah are sharing their tips for managing expectations so that when your prospect walks in the meeting room, they know the massive value they are about to receive.
Listen in as the guys break down how to overcome objections of fees by describing exactly how your fee structure works without any vagueness. You will learn the importance of empowering your team so they have all the answers to any questions sent their way and how to get into your prospects’ minds to reach the success you’re after.
It doesn’t matter how much massive value you deliver if you can’t communicate that to a prospect so that they see it. - @ThePerfectRIA Click To Tweet
You need to let prospects know what’s going to happen every step of the way. - @ThePerfectRIA Click To Tweet
If your prospects aren’t bringing in things that they need, then you haven’t communicated to them why it’s in their best interest. - @ThePerfectRIA Click To Tweet
This is The Perfect RIA, in case you didn’t know. Bringing you all the strategies to help your business grow. Are you happy? Are you satisfied? Are you hanging on the edge of your seat? Sit back and listen in while you feel the beat. Another myth bites the dust…
Matthew Jarvis: Hello, everyone. Welcome to another episode of the Perfect RIA podcast. I’m your co-host, Matthew Jarvis, and here with me, the man, the myth, the legend, Micah Shilanski. Micah, how are you, my friend?
Micah Shilanski: Jarvis, it’s another day in paradise, bud. Spent a lot of time with the family, touring around a little bit in the RV, doing fun stuff, working with clients, doing TPR stuff. Life is grand.
Matthew Jarvis: That’s awesome. Well, before we jump into this episode on prospecting, which is always near and dear to every growing advisor’s heart, need to make a quick shout out to the nation. Micah and I are trying to think about what do we call someone who has a perfect RIA practice, right? So, if you follow Mr. Money Mustache, which… By the way, if you’ve never looked at his stuff, you really ought to. Mr. Money Mustache, who spends less…
Micah spends more money a day, I think we figured out, than Mr. Money Mustache spent in a decade, but his stuff is really good. By the way, that did come up in a mastermind one time. We mentioned how big Mr. Money Mustache’s annual budget is, and Micah… I think he says, “You mean a week? Is that a…”
Micah Shilanski: That’s only slightly quasi true, just to be clear, but whatever.
Matthew Jarvis: As are all Jarvis stories. There’s a sliver of truth in there. But, if you’re a follower of Mr. Money Mustache, you’re a mustachian, right? So, it’s all about the mustache and being mustachian. So, we need something catchy like that for the Perfect RIA, so if you had an idea, let us know. We were going to go with “Micahites”, but that didn’t seem…
Micah Shilanski: Again, some sliver of truth was in there.
Matthew Jarvis: That was purely my idea. Well, let’s get to some real business here, which is prospecting. Something that, again, every advisor has near and dear to their heart, right? Because that’s the lifeblood of your practice. No matter how good you are at your job, no matter how much massive value you can deliver, if you can’t communicate that to a prospect such that they see it, it’s really not going to do you any good at all.
Micah Shilanski: Yeah. Yeah. So, as we start talking about this, right? There’s a lot of things that go into prospecting, and a lot of what we want to talk about today is framing prospecting. Now, this isn’t salesy. This isn’t those other types of things that’s there, right? It’s all about what is our intent.
The intent of the Perfect RIA is to deliver massive value, and that has to start with every prospect engagement that’s out there, because you’re setting the tone and your framing communications that are going to go on, hopefully, for decades as they become a client and you work with them help achieving their goals, right?
So, how do you frame things is so, so important. How is it framed on your website? How is it framed in your email communication? How is it framed in your RMs, your relationship managers. Talk with prospects about setting things up for the best level of success, and all top performers across the board are going to do this in their own way, not just in the financial industry, right?
Matthew Jarvis: Yes.
Micah Shilanski: From doctors, from attorneys, from accountants, from professionals that are out there, anywhere, are going to frame things the best way. So, Jarvis, there’s a lot to that, so what’s the best way we should start talking about this conversation?
Matthew Jarvis: Yeah. So, why don’t we tackle it from some questions that we’ve gotten from the nation, from the backstage pass members? This framing is also known as managing expectations or setting expectations. This one we got from Taylor, specifically… Taylor follows the prospect process that we’ve outlined in the Perfect RIA several times, where there is a 15 minute initial screening call, and Taylor decided, in his office, that he does not want to be the one to do that initial screening call. That he’d liked someone else in his office to take care of that.
His question to us was, “Hey, if the prospect is expecting to talk to me…” Being Taylor, the lead advisor. “… but instead, they talk to someone else in my office for this screening, what’s the prospect going to think about that? How do I deal with that breakdown, if you will?” Now, Michah, there’s a lot of things to unpack here.
Why does the prospect think they’re going to talk to you? Why do you think it’s a bad thing that they talked to your team instead of talking to you? All of these things. So, let’s maybe dissect this, and then we’ll hit a couple other ones that we’ve gotten from the nation as well.
Micah Shilanski: Yeah. I would just say; number one, you already led into this, right? But set that expectation. What does the prospect think? Do they think on that 15 minute call, they’re going to talk to you? So, if I called in expecting to speak to Jarvis and someone else answered the phone who was going to talk to me, I’d be like, “WTF? My meeting was with Jarvis. Why is someone else on the phone?” Regardless in if they’re qualified for the call or not, that is irrelevant. My expectation was to talk to him. Now, what does it say? “Jarvis is too important to talk to me. I’m not important enough to talk to him, right? I’m not worth his time.”
So, a lot of negativity that could come around this. It’s going to be there, so framing that expectation is going to be really, really important. We don’t quite have a scheduled 15 minute screening call in our office. However, Victoria, our RM relationship manager, screens prospects when they come in, because we charge a fee. She makes sure what their questions are, if we’re going to be able to answer them. What the meeting process is going to look like. She’s setting those expectations that are going to be there, so it’s kind of a prescreening call that’s there.
Now, this is echoed on our website from day one, right? When they hit our website, it’s “Hey, we charge a fee for an appointment. You’ll call in. You’ll talk to an RM. This is the process that we go through.” So, this is an expected thing when they call in to book an appointment. Prospects know this. This isn’t shocking to them. So that’s the first thing I would step back and say, “Hey, what are we outlining for the prospect? What do they think is going to happen?”
The second close thing to that… And we had a lot of work with Tori on this. What are things she’s comfortable asking and answering, and what are things she’s not comfortable asking and answering? This is super important. I know Jarvis, think you’ve had it in your office too. You could want your team members to ask ABC questions, but if they’re not comfortable asking that, they’re never going to do it.
So, really make sure you’re role playing with them. You’re understanding. You’re going through several versions of this. Recording the calls and listening to it, and giving positive feedback afterwards, so you can have a phenomenal delivering value experience. So, again, these aren’t reasons not to do it. I think this is just a setup for a very successful way to do it.
Matthew Jarvis: Yeah. Now, I want to draw on one of the things you talked about, Micah, which is that your prospect process is on your website. This is probably one of the most universal mistakes I see with advisor websites. If I go to your website, it talks… It looks like, by the way, every other advisor’s website. “We’re a great advisor. We’re this. We’re that. We’re a fiduciary.” They all look the same to a prospect.
I know you think your color scheme is unique and persuasive. It’s not. They all look the same, but it’s a complete mystery what happens if I give you my telephone number, if I give you my email address. Will it be like going down to a car dealership where I can’t leave the lot until I’ve bought a car? Will it be like a timeshare presentation where I got to beat my way out of the room?
You need to let prospects know what’s going to happen every step of the way, and this expectation thing goes both ways. So, we talked about, “Hey, what if the prospect is expecting to talk to the advisor, and instead, they talk to the relationship manager?” It works the other way, by the way. If the prospect calls your office and they’re expecting your office manager to answer the phone and you answer the phone instead, that’s still a breakdown in expectations.
Micah Shilanski: Good call.
Matthew Jarvis: We want to manage that both ways, and the way we manage that is by setting those expectations. When you call, you’re going to talk to Victoria, who’s going to explain how our process works and make sure you understand what you’re getting into before you write a $500 check to meet with Micah, right?
Every step is outlined and it’s positioned in a way that’s in the prospect’s benefit. This is why it’s such a pain to go to the doctor’s office. They say, “Hey, fill out these 10 forms,” which Micah refuses to do, but they don’t tell you why. They don’t tell you why it’s in your best interest. You don’t think that anybody ever looks at them, because they probably don’t, right? You spend all this time and it just gets thrown away. You’ve got to, again, set these expectations and explain why in the heck should the prospect go this way.
Micah Shilanski: That’s a great thing. So, one of the things that I know Victoria says, and I’m sure I’ll screw up her verbiage, so I’ll have to give you the gist. If you’re a backstage pass member, by the way, this will be on our backstage pass site, so you can see that. We’re going to do a little bit more intensive training recording her going through these things.
But, with a prospect call, one of the things she’s going to do is say, “Hey, to get the most value out of your time, Micah requests that you fill out A, B, and C. If you can get those documents to us 48 hours in advance, then he’s going to be able to review them to make sure he’s prepared for your meeting. Is that okay?” Right? That explains the whole thing, right? You want to get value out of your meeting, it means you need to fill out these forms.
She doesn’t have to go through what all the forms are, just, “Hey, we need this in order to get value out of it. We need it two days in advance so he can review it in advance of your meeting that’s going to be there.” Now, this puts it a hundred percent on the prospect. So if the prospect doesn’t get all the forms to us, or sometimes, they get it to us the morning of… Well, I’m not going to cancel the appointment, but we let the prospects know in followup communication, “Hey, we haven’t received your documents. That means your meeting may not be as beneficial if we don’t get these in advance.”
It is the prospect’s decision, right? They are now, if they submit them the morning of, they were told, “I wasn’t able to review them in advance.” So, this isn’t a shock to them. It’s not like, “Well, I gave you it 15 minutes ago. Why haven’t you reviewed my documents?” They were told from day one we needed it 48 hours in advance to make sure we were effective on the meeting, right? All of these expectations are being set, and it’s now the prospect’s decision on how they wish to engage, but it’s not a shocker to them.
Matthew Jarvis: I love that, Micah, because… We hear a lot of times from advisors in the nation, they’re saying, “Hey, prospects. I’ve asked prospects to do X and they won’t do it. I’ve asked clients to send me their tax returns. They don’t send it in” And so often, the blame is put on the other party, but the blame… Again, this is our Jocko, Extreme Ownership.
Micah Shilanski: Amen.
Matthew Jarvis: The blame… Or the responsibility, not blame. The responsibility is all on you. If your prospects aren’t bringing in things that you need, then you haven’t communicated to them why it’s in their best interest, and you’ve left it to their own devices. So some prospects will just say, “Well, Micah says bring his tax returns, so I’ll bring my tax return.”
Others will say, “I don’t understand why Micah wants my tax returns.” Other still will say, “This is a chance to exploit my personal information, right? They’re going to attach their framework to it.” Instead, you’re saying, “Hey, give it to me 48 hours in advance. I can review it so we can make the best use of our time together.” Okay, perfect. “If I want to make good use of my time with Micah, and if I want him to review my stuff in advance, I’ve got to send it to him. If I don’t, I got to deal with that, and that’s okay.”
Micah Shilanski: Yeah, amen. This is all decisions, right? We’re not forcing them to do it. We had a big discussion on should we cancel their meetings if they don’t provide us the documents in advance, and we came to, “No. We’re going to honor what we said that we’re going to do. If they want to roll into the meeting without giving us the information and be able to have a meeting with it…”
And again, we judge this based on refunds, right? If we roll into that meeting and everyone is unhappy with it, we would change our policy. That’s not what happens. Everyone is still happy with those meetings if they don’t deliver the documents to us on a timely basis. So, again, we have a metric for this. Our metric is the $500 initial appointment. Do we refund it or not? But, yeah. That’s how we go through “how are we valuating delivering that massive value”.
Matthew Jarvis: The same is true if you’re getting a consistent objection, whether you view that as an objection or a question. So, if you’re consistently getting, “Hey, what are your fees?” Or, “How will my money be kept safe?” Or, “Who do you work for?” Or, “Are you fee-only?” Whatever that is that you’re getting consistently. That’s again… Step back and say, “Where am I not managing that expectation? Where am I not ahead of time, saying, ‘here’s how we do things.’ “
One of the things that we ran into, was clients… We would get to the end of the meeting. We’re getting ready to do paperwork and clients would say, “Well. So, Matthew, does all the money go into one account with your name on it? How does that work?” And at first, I thought, “What a ridiculous question. Who would ask that?” But, nope. Step back, Extreme Ownership.
Okay. If I’m a prospect, if I’m not super fluid on money and custodians, because how would I be? Yeah, that would be an easy thought to think. “Well, Matthew probably just puts it all in his account and takes care of it.” So, we added a step in our prospect process that explains that we use Fidelity as our custodian. Here’s why we use it: Because they keep your money safe, and they do the reporting to the IRS, and they protect it against fraud and all these things. And then, what a surprise, that question never came up again.
Micah Shilanski: Yeah. So, I love that. You’re getting feedback from your client meetings that come in. Now, there’s some questions that I want to handle and I want to address that’s in a meeting, so I’ll allow those to be framed in there, but how can we best educate our clients to the process? So, we have our five step financial planning process, right? Estate planning, risk management, retirement, income investments, and taxes. That’s the order we go through.
Well, in between each meeting, before a client comes in for each one of those, we have a letter that we send out to our clients, letting them know what to expect in our meeting. A state planning. Great. What’s a will? What’s a healthcare directive? What’s a durable power of attorney? What’s a trust? Why are we talking about this?
And the reason we did that is the first 15 to 20 minutes of the meeting would be explaining some pretty basic stuff, and we wouldn’t have enough time to really get to the meat that we needed to get there, and there wasn’t a big question of why. “Well, Micah, I already have a will done. It was done 30 years ago. Why do I need to review it? It should be fine. Nothing’s changed. In 30 years, nothing’s changed.”
Matthew Jarvis: I’m sure.
Micah Shilanski: And so now, we’re framing that in advance of the meeting. So, this isn’t just something you should do with prospects. You should also do it with your clients. This is something you do when they’re coming in for Surge, right? We email them a couple of weeks in advance. Why are we having this meeting? What are we going to cover? What’s the massive value items we’re going to go through. We’re framing all of these things to deliver that… I keep going back to it. Deliver that massive value, because we’re setting expectations for success.
Matthew Jarvis: That’s a really good example. A book that comes to mind on that, Micah, is the One World Schoolhouse by… I can’t think of the guy’s name. Khan Academy. He wrote this book, The One World Schoolhouse, and he talks about how schools are totally backwards… And we can get an a whole rant on this, but he says we just lecture kids in a classroom, and then we send them home to do work on your own, and that’s the opposite… You should read the lecture at home. Come to school to do the personal work. Same applies as an advisor.
Micah Shilanski: Amen.
Matthew Jarvis: If you’re spending your time as an advisor explaining what a will is, that’s not delivering massive value. That’s just you reciting Google, but if you send ahead of time, “Hey, here’s what a will is, and here’s four questions we need to discuss when we get together.” Discussing those questions, that’s massive value. Reciting Google, zero value.
Micah Shilanski: And the why. Throw the why in there, and I love stories, right? We probably don’t customize this enough, that’s inside there, but we all have stories or we can lean on our stories, if you want, as to old wills that are there, incorrect information that’s been put in, state planning attorneys that have screwed things up, right?
We always review this stuff, even if they just did it a day ago, a month ago, a year ago. Part of what I tell them is, “Look, you’re hiring us to make sure these things are done, so we’re going to check them.” And I’ve never had any pushback on that, after I’ve explained it.
Matthew Jarvis: A couple of other ones that come up pretty often when we’re talking to advisors in the nation… We mentioned this in a podcast recently. So, there’s this concern that, “Hey, I’m too young to be an advisor,” which can be head trash, but I had prospects mention that to me. When I was early in my career, I had a prospect tell me… She said, “Matthew, you seem really sharp and all, but I’m worried. Did you come here from your paper route?”
Micah Shilanski: Did they actually say that?
Matthew Jarvis: They actually said that. I remember it so vividly.
Micah Shilanski: That is awesome.
Matthew Jarvis: It was said with a smirk, but the point was… She was like, “You look like you came in off of your paper route. You’ve probably been doing this like six weeks. Maybe you’ve been doing it longer, I don’t know. I just can’t trust you with my money. It’s not personal.” I don’t think it is personal, but-
Micah Shilanski: But it is.
Matthew Jarvis: …that kind of thing really stuck with me, so I thought, “Great. How do I, not spin, but how do I manage expectations around that?” So then, I would start in our prospect process saying, “Hey, a lot of our clients are concerned, working with older advisors, that they’ll retire, and then the client will have to find a new advisor. Great news, my kids are young. I’m going to do this at least until they’re out of college, which is…”
And at the time I knew, “Hey, that’s 20 years away, so you’ve got me for at least 20 years.” “Oh, wow. Matthew, that’s really great. We never thought how important that was.” That’s correct, because no one had pointed that out to him. Once I pointed out… It’s like that old saying about “don’t think about pink elephant”. Great, now all I can think about is pink elephants. As soon as I point out that you don’t want an old adviser, now you’re thinking, “Oh, geez. I really don’t want an old adviser.”
Micah Shilanski: So, how do you frame those things across the board, right? What are the things you Excel at? One of the things I love about framing is it also highlights who is not a good candidate for you, right? I can’t think of a scenario where you want this, but if someone doesn’t want an advisor for the next 20 years, and Matthew saying, “Hey, I want a 20 year relationship.” Boom, they’re not even going to call, right? I don’t want this. Jarvis talks about on his website how is it going to do the initial phone a meeting, then he’s going to do an in-person meeting, then there’s the sleep on it, then there’s the…
I’m sure I’m screwing it up, right? But that’s the concept that goes through there. As it goes through that, if someone looks at it and says, “I’m not into that. I want to talk to Jarvis right now.” It automatically excludes them. This is not an ideal client. So, framing works for you in two ways. It focuses the people that really want to work with you, what to expect, and then it kicks out the people that don’t want to work with you and fit into your framework.
And by the way, if someone comes in and wants an exception to everything, they’re going to be pain in a butt client. You’re going to screw it up across the board. Every time we make an exception, something wrong happens, right? You’re going to screw it up because you don’t have a process. Therefore, you don’t deliver massive value. Therefore, you have a problem client. So, sticking to this is just so, so important.
Matthew Jarvis: It really, really is. Tying back around, you were talking about how Victoria screens clients, or screens prospects… Not really screens, sets expectations for them. Colleen, same thing. One of the things, you want to empower your team, and this is delegation. We talk about it a lot. What do they do if they feel they get backed into a corner?
So, if I’m saying, “I can’t delegate this to Colleen until she knows every single angle of it.” We may never get there, but instead, we say it… And Micah, I know your team does the same thing. “Hey, that’s a great question. I’ll put that on the agenda for you to discuss with Micah. By the way, you’re really going to enjoy working with Micah. He’s really good at what he does.”
The first time I heard someone recommend that line, “Hey, you’re really going to enjoy working with Matthew,” I thought, “That’s kind of silly.” But, by the way, if my team doesn’t believe that, I’ve got a problem. If my team can’t say with authenticity and integrity, “You’re going to really enjoy working with Matthew.” We’ve got a big problem at hand.
Micah Shilanski: Amen. Also, one of the things that we do internally with that, is for all of our team members, we actually do financial planning for them. Now, we can’t mandate this. Apparently, there’s employment laws and crap like that, but we do offer it as a benefit that we will actually do a full financial plan on all of our team members, and the vast majority, we’re helping out with in that capacity.
The reason this helps, is not only do we want to improve our team, right? We want to make our team better in their own financial independence, et cetera, but now they know the process that goes through everything. They know what those meetings are like in the conversations. They know what questions they are asking as a client per se. Not even in role playing, in the real life, and then they can answer that legitimately.
“Yes. You’re going to really enjoy talking to Micah about this, because he has information on A, B and C.” And sometimes, it’ll come up that… Victoria will be asked a pretty unique question about federal benefits, because that’s my niche that I specialize in, that she’s not sure, and so… And again, I’m going to screw this up because I don’t do it. She does it, but she’s going to be something like, “You know what? That’s a great question. I’m pretty sure, because Micah works with federal employees, he’s going to be able to cover this, but I’ll make sure of that ahead of your meeting. Is that going to be okay?” Right?
And again, it’s just absolutely relieving. So, Victoria doesn’t have to know everything that I know to see if I can answer that. It’s a very simple thing about saying, “You know what? That’s a great question. Let’s confirm it.” And on the off chance that I don’t know, she will go back to the prospect and be able to say, “Do you want to move forward with the meeting or not? Micah doesn’t know the answer to this.” So, that’s a great way for an outlet for your team to still allow them to move forward on the call versus postponing it with not having to know everything.
Matthew Jarvis: That’s perfect. Micah, let’s tackle a few more of these framing things that we hear from members of the nation. So, how about advisors who don’t have a physical office, right? So, if you were an advisor, didn’t have a physical office. You’re working virtually. You’re working at your home. How would you frame that for a prospect? Because, it’s certainly easy to have some head trash on, “What kind of legitimate advisor doesn’t have a physical office?”
Micah Shilanski: I got not go off on COVID, right? Because, we could totally do… I have an abundance of caution, so-
Matthew Jarvis: Well, yeah. You really could. You really could, sincerity.
Micah Shilanski: Yeah. You really could frame it in that way. One of the things that is pretty easy to say, and I say this a lot because more than half of my clients are virtual, right? I don’t meet with them in person, is say, “You know what? I have clients from Japan to Florida…” Germany client moved back to the States, so sad.
So, “I have clients from Japan to Florida and almost everywhere in between, so we are set up to be a hundred percent remote and to be able to deliver all of our services. As long as you’re okay chatting on the phone, or a video call, I think we’re going to be able to set everything to make sure we can take care of your financial planning, and it’s not an issue.”
Matthew Jarvis: That is a great one, because… And by the way, as Micah is explaining that, it’s not an issue in his mind either. If you’re waffling on that, people know right away. One that I’ve helped advisors with, is saying, “Hey, a lot of firms spend a lot of time and resources on having a fancy office, and we would rather spend those time and resources serving our clients. “Is that okay with you?” “Yeah. Actually, now that you mention it, I would rather you spend your time on me and not having a fancy office.”
Micah Shilanski: Especially if you’re in a heavily, dense populated area, right? How long does it take to commute to get into your office and to do these other things? Is virtual just better?
Matthew Jarvis: Yeah. Here’s another for you, Micah. I had this one a few weeks ago. We talked about it on a podcast. You’re not part of a big firm, right? So, Shilanski and Associates, that’s a really local name? I haven’t seen your name on a stadium. I don’t see you in the news. I think I should work with XYZ firm, because they’re bigger than you are.
Micah Shilanski: I don’t get that one, so I don’t have a frame for it that’s going to be there. Here’s what I would say: “You know what? If you want to go work with…” No disparaging comments here, right? But, New York Life, Merrill Lynch—whomever that’s going to be there. This is what I would tell a prospect, is saying, “You know what? There are really great advisors that are out there. What I would encourage you to do is have the meeting with me, let’s sit down and go through it, have a meeting with them. Whoever delivers more value, that’s who you need to work with.” And I would leave it like that.
Matthew Jarvis: That tool, by the way, is pure gold in every scenario. Micah, you do it perfectly in your meetings. Note this down, I try not to flatter Micah very often, but it’s such a powerful tool, right? Because nowhere else do you go, and they say, “Hey, you should check out our competitor.” Nowhere. I’ve never been anywhere that says, “You should check out our competitor.”
They all say, “Our competitor is crap. Just trust us, buy our product.” And Micah said, “Hey, you should go check out the competitor, and whichever one is best for you, that’s who you should use.” And by the way, they were going to do that already. They were already going to decide who was best for them. You’ve just given them permission to do what they’re already going to do.
Micah Shilanski: The only one who’s ever done this on the other side when I was the prospect, so to speak, is we were test driving a Mercedes. We were test driving Mercedes and driving around, and we were debating between this or do we get a minivan because it’s a little bit more practical. We were driving by the Chrysler dealership or whatever, and the Mercedes salesman is brilliant.
He’s like, “You know what? Why don’t we just pull into the Chrysler parking lot? Because, you just test drove this. Let’s jump into a minivan and have you test drive it. I’m sure it won’t be any issue, and then you can just compare, right next to each other, which one do you think is better?” Frigging brilliant. I mean, come on. A Mercedes versus a minivan, which one do you think rides better, right?
Matthew Jarvis: Yeah. Which one’s safer, yeah.
Micah Shilanski: But again, embracing that. Don’t fight the decision that’s there, embrace the decision. By the way, I want them to take whatever’s more valuable, and if they meet with someone else that knows more about their situation, could add more value, I am blessed that they went to do there, because I want them to be in a better position. Same mindset you need to have.
Matthew Jarvis: Now, if you’re using that tool and they end up going with another firm, which… Micah, your point is just them going to someone better qualified, but if you feel that you were the best fit for them and they went with another firm, I would definitely follow up. Not as some kind of ditch sales effort, and I would lead with that. I’d say, “Hey, this is not some kind of sales effort. I’m really happy that you found a firm that fit for you. Could you just let me know, so we can improve a couple of things we could have done differently or things that they offered that we didn’t?” And use that as opportunity.
I knew an advisor who was in a very competitive marketplace. Almost, literally, across the street was a very large RIA firm, very prestigious. I said, “Great. What is it that they’re doing that you’re not yet doing, and how can you beat that, right?” Or, “How can you highlight something that they can’t do?” And so, it’s an opportunity, like everything. It’s a Jocko good. Like, “Oh, great. Somebody else got a client? Good, I can up my game.”
Micah Shilanski: And then ask their permission at the same token, right? If you’re going to do that, just say, “Hey, is it okay with you? We put out a quarterly newsletter. I’d love you to have it. There’s not going to be any harassment on it whatsoever. We’ll stop at any time, but it’s just some good information you might want to know.” And they’ll say, “Sure.” And then, you’re constantly… You have their permission to drip on them.
Matthew Jarvis: Yeah, totally. I love this stuff. I mean, we could just nerd out, and I love getting these from the Nation and from the Backstage Pass saying, “Hey, I’m stuck on this.” Because you get that old adage, you can’t see the forest through the trees. You get in the moment and think, “Man, this is an impasse I can’t get past.”
And Micah, you and I ran into this in our mastermind. We say, “Hey, I’m stuck here. I can’t get around it.” And then, for everyone else, it’s so obvious. They’re like, “Well, there’s like 15 paths around this.” And you’re like, “Oh, geez. I don’t know. I just couldn’t see it. I was too close.”
Micah Shilanski: Forest through the trees. So, what about fees? That’s always a fun one, right?
Matthew Jarvis: Oh, yeah.
Micah Shilanski: So, what happens when someone comes in and they object to the fees that you charge, Jarvis? Or they say, “I can get it cheaper somewhere else.” What objection do you get on your fees?
Matthew Jarvis: So, I spend some effort preempting any objections, and so I rarely get those, but my preemptive is always saying, “Hey, every quarter, we will deduct a fee from your account, and it will say ‘Jarvis Financial Advisor Fee,’ and you’ll see a dollar amount and I’ll see a dollar amount, and we’ll both look at that number. If we agree that our firm is bringing more value, some multiple of the feed, then we’ll go another quarter, and if you ever think it’s not worth the fee, then we’ll just part ways as friends.”
As soon as I give them that framework, the whole fee thing goes away, because they’re thinking, “Well, geez. I’ll just hire him for a week. If he’s bum, I’ll fire him.” Or a quarter or a year, but I do put it in there. I say, “This almost never happens, but you have that option. This is your money. You can leave any time you don’t think it’s worth the fee.” And so, I’m taking away that issue of, “I’m going to have to pay this fee forever. I’m going to be stuck paying it. It’s like a Comcast cable subscription. I’ll be stuck with this. $200 a month, and I can’t get rid of it.”
Micah Shilanski: But, it’s that aspect that you gave them permission to fire you as well, right? This is another huge element that’s there. This is, if you don’t think it’s of value, if you don’t think it’s of any value, right? Any multiple of that fee. You didn’t quantify it. “This has to be 72.6 times the multiple of the fee.” Right?
Whatever they don’t think it’s worth, then you part as friends. What a great way to go. This isn’t going to be painful whatsoever. You’re going to part as friends. I mean, it just removes all the hesitation that’s there, and it’s legitimate, because you will… If a client calls you up today and says, “Hey, this isn’t working out.” Or they transfer your account, you’re going to refund the Q3 billing that came out of their account, right?
Matthew Jarvis: Yep. By the way, I’m required to by law, right? The last thing I want to do is punish someone like, “Are you sure?” Until I get a complaint.
Micah Shilanski: But you’re going to do it a hundred percent of it. You’re not even going to prorate it, which I love, and we’re the same way.
Matthew Jarvis: I’m going to do a hundred percent of it. The last thing I want, is in an audit, for the auditor to say, “Well, actually, that was a leap year and your calculation was off.” I don’t want that. I’ve already made a mistake if the client’s leaving. Somewhere in the process, I made a mistake.
But now, I’m leaving on… They’re like, “Wow, Matthew was… He ended it with integrity. He ended it with a high road. It wasn’t a good fit for me, but he’s still a great guy.” I’ve had clients that have left over the years that still referred people to us. They’re like, “Hell, it just wasn’t a good fit for us, but super great guy to work with. Love him. Everything was perfect.” Except for whatever wasn’t perfect. I don’t know.
Micah Shilanski: I’ve had former clients fill up classes for us before. It was just more of a “do it yourself” or one of the planning didn’t like the asset management. Cancel that, we went on their merry way. All good stuff, and they actually filled up a class for us, because they loved our information and will send people our way.
Matthew Jarvis: Yeah, love it.
Micah Shilanski: All right. So, we should probably transition, at some point, to some action items. What do you think?
Matthew Jarvis: Yeah, let’s do, let’s do. For our backstage pass members, there is a lot of training inside the backstage pass.
Micah Shilanski: So much.
Matthew Jarvis: There are videos, there are classes, there are ongoing webinars. So, a lot of stuff on prospecting. Because, at the end of the day, most advisors number one question is: How do I get more people in the door? Really should be their number two. Number one should be: How do I deliver and demonstrate massive value, but this is obviously a major.
Micah Shilanski: Yeah. So, you really want to go ahead and look at every step in your prospect process, and how do you deliver massive value, right? Now, when I say every, I mean every. That means from your website, from their initial call, when your RM is talking to them. If you have multiple people in your office, do you have a designated person that talks with prospects? We have found that’s a great thing. We have ops people and I love our ops people. They’re phenomenal. They are not relationship people, right?
They are operations people and they’re not always the same person. Sometimes they are, and that’s great. But, if they’re not, know that we have two different roles. If an ops person gets a prospect on the phone, they’re going to get an RM on the phone, because they know the RMs are much better at those conversations and getting everything done correctly.
So look at every step, and if the client leaves, the prospect leaves, how did you add value to their life, where they’re like, “Wow, this was a great experience.”
Matthew Jarvis: That’s right. Just to really drill on this, every step. Email confirmations, appointment confirmations, followup calls. Every step, it means every step delivers value. Each step along the way, they think, “Wow. If I stopped right now, I would have only great things to say about Micah, because that little bit that I learned on that email confirmation, there was valuable stuff there.” So, every single step needs to deliver value and manage expectations.
Micah Shilanski: Amen. And, manage your head trash. We talked a lot last week about it, so go check out that pod if you haven’t. When you do that, just go ahead and click five star review, because I mean, come on, you got this far. Surely we’re five stars. Always go and check that head trash. How’s it working for you? How is it working against you? And again, this is about the client. So what frame of mind do you need to be to deliver excellent value?
Matthew Jarvis: Yeah, and it really goes to this, that any weakness can be a strength. I remember reading about an advisor, a successful advisor, who highlights the fact that he’s had a bankruptcy and says, “Wow, I learned from that.” And, “Here’s how I got down this path.” And, “I never thought this would happen to me.”
Instead of trying to bury it in the back corner of his ADVs, I would say he’s proud about it. He’s like, “Here’s how it happened. Here’s what I learned, and here’s why I’m a better advisor for that.” Now, I would certainly not recommend that as a strategy, right? The bankruptcy part, but if there’s something that’s not perfect with you, call it out. Don’t bury things. It’s never works to bury things.
Micah Shilanski: No, because everybody knows everything. It’s just a matter of when, right? Just lead with it. Okay? Well, awesome. I see some wonderful things here. By the way, this week, we have the assistance webinar. I don’t know if it’s sold out or not, because we’re prerecording this thing, but it is coming out. If it’s not already sold out, you need to join. You need to have your team members on that call as well.
Victoria and Colleen will be running this meeting, and this is so important because we are where we are, because of our family, and because of our team, right? Those are side by side, and our team needs to be in this TPR mentality, the perfect RM mentality in how they operate, so they’re going to be learning directly from the people that help run our office.
Matthew Jarvis: Yeah, and let me just really highlight. I know there’s this temptation. As the advisor, there’s this backwards delegation: “I, as the advisor, will tend this and I’ll pass on any tidbits of information.” That is backwards for so many reasons.
Micah Shilanski: Amen.
Matthew Jarvis: So many reasons. Have your team attend us live. Have them hear from Colleen. Have them hear from Victoria. Have them see their questions answered. And by the way, Colleen and Victoria are not shy to answer all questions. We would do our happy hours and people are like, “Hey, what’s it like to work for Micah? How well does Matt pay you?”
People, just ask anything you want to ask. Now, again, they’re going to have their discretion on what they want to answer, but it’s so valuable to have your team learn from other team members.
Micah Shilanski: Perfect. I love it. Well, like always, until next time. Happy planning.
Matthew Jarvis: Happy planning.
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