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Finding the right clients and making sure they are the right fit for your business can be a confusing process. So in this episode, Matt and Micah talk about ways you can set yourself up to receive only the people you can truly serve well. You will also find out what they do personally to vet clients and get through the first prospect meeting with clarity and purpose.

The guys will be encouraging you to think about your ideal market from an abundance mentality and get out of the lack mentality that makes you think you have to take on every client. You will also hear about how they help their prospects prepare for the first meeting and create a really solid system for making sure the first meeting is productive and successful.

What You’ll Learn In Today’s Episode:

  • The importance of blocking out time to spend with family.
  • How to focus in on your target market.
  • Why you should be specific about who you work with publicly.
  • What Matt and Micah do to prepare prospects for the first meeting.
  • How to make the prospect meeting a “Ritz Carlton Experience.”

Ideas Worth Sharing:

If you haven’t clearly identified your target audience and who you add the most value to, then you have a problem. - @ThePerfectRIA Click To Tweet
Half of it is knowing WHO you’re serving, and the rest of it is knowing who you DO NOT serve. - @ThePerfectRIA Click To Tweet
Your niche has to repel 10 times as many people as it attracts. - @ThePerfectRIA Click To Tweet

Resources In Today’s Episode:

EP. 66 TRANSCRIPT

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…

Micah Shilanski:  Welcome back TPR Nation to another podcast with Matt and Micah. Jarvis, how’s it going sir?

Matthew Jarvis:   It’s going good, but it’s another beautiful Friday here in the Northwest. And by beautiful I mean raining, but that’s okay. It keeps the trees green and the air clear. Is it light outside there in Alaska?

Micah Shilanski:  If my light is on, about that, otherwise, no. It is still fairly dark. But good news is we have some good snowboarding. It’s about mid 20’s and so we’re going to go hit the slopes a little later with the kids. I got to say one of the things that I absolutely love about the way our practice is designed, and I know you do as well, we were talking about this a little pregame, it’s just how much time we have dedicated to spend with the family. One of my most joyous moments is watching the joy on my kids’ face. Either when they’re going down the slopes, or when we were in Hawaii with my daughter, she likes to jump in and she swims under water with her eyes open, her mouth open, big grin ear to ear and she’ll swim underwater towards me, right? Or going down the slopes and things like this. And it’s just such a blessing for setting things up and getting things the right way that you can spend time with your family. So yeah, just always good stuff up here.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah, it really is. You know, Micah, years ago I met an advisor who she had committed to herself that any day that her kids had off school, she would take that as a day off work. And when I had first heard that that seemed like this mind blowing concept, right? Those were way before TPR days. But that’s something that I have committed to as well, and in my life when I mapped out my calendar for this year, the first thing I did was pulled the kids’ school calendar. Every day they have off school, be it Martin Luther King day or Monday we had teacher inservice day, I don’t know what that means, I take those days off work and we spend those days together. So yeah, for the TPR Nation, here’s a good chance to look at your calendar and say, “What’s one more day I can block out to spend with my family, to spend with people that I love, that I’m passionate about.”

Micah Shilanski:  I love it. Well, on that note, one of the things that while the lifestyle is very appropriate, spending time with family and the kids is a really great part, we also have to be growing our practice at the same time. And this is something that we hear about a lot and especially… We had a webinar a couple of weeks ago that just went absolutely freaking phenomenal. Thank you for everybody that showed up. It was great, well over 260 attendance, pretty much stayed with us the entire time for the entire hour session, then a whole bunch of people stayed with us right until the end when we wrapped up with Q and A.

Micah Shilanski:  But one of the questions we got, and that was about delivering massive value in your Q1 surge meetings, but we were still getting a lot of questions on prospecting, so we thought it’d be a great time to talk about that a little bit more. How do you get past your first prospect appointment?

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah, Micah, I’ve got to confess, I still have a little twitch, so if you see me twitching a little bit, my initial prospect meetings used to somewhat resemble, if you can picture like 16 year old Matt trying to ask a pretty girl to prom, like, “Oh, would you become a client please?” It was about that good. It was about that good. In fact, I still remember one specific prospect meeting. The prospect gets to the end of the meeting and he says, “Matthew, I really like you. I think you’re a nice guy. I can’t understand why I would hire you.” And he wasn’t trying to be a jerk. He was just sincere. He’s like, “Hey, I’m doing the math on this. I don’t really understand what it is you’re going to do for us.” I’m like, “Well, I’ll make a financial plan.” He’s like, ah, we’re going to go.

Micah Shilanski:  But how much you can learn from those mistakes, right? How much you can learn from those experiences. Are those tears of joy because you’re laughing or-

Matthew Jarvis:   Those are tears… When I laugh, I get tears of joy. It was a little traumatic.

Micah Shilanski:  That instance, I would imagine really helped transform to now what your prospect process is today.

Matthew Jarvis:   It really did. In fact, my prospect process… And that was really a game changing moment. It went from this like, please will you please, please, please become a client, to a process, and that’s what we’re going to talk about today, a process where someone either gets to the end of process and says, “Matthew, I want to work with you. This is amazing.” Or they realize, or we mutually realize, hey, you’re not a good fit for what we do. An extreme example of that would be if someone came in and said, “Matthew, I really need some help going through bankruptcy.” Interesting. I’m not your guy for that. Now I feel zero rejection when I tell them, “Hey, I’m not your guy for bankruptcy.” Same if somebody comes in and say, “Matthew, I want to have someone who will day trade my portfolio.” I’m not that guy. Have a nice day, call Micah. Here’s his cell phone number.

Micah Shilanski:  No, I don’t day trade, just to be very clear on that one.

Matthew Jarvis:   Nor does he give out his cell phone number.

Micah Shilanski:  There you go. So these are really important things about setting your guidelines. Now having a successful prospect meeting is also knowing what people you can help. We’re going to talk about that screening process in a little bit, but if you have not clearly identified your target audience of who you add the most value to, then you have a problem, right? So niche marketing, I know a lot of people say it, but you got to focus on who are those people that you could add the most value to, and if you can’t add value to their lives, why even have them come into your office for the first meeting anyways?

Matthew Jarvis:   Yep. And half of that is knowing who you’re serving and then the rest the other half is knowing who you do not serve. I mentioned a couple of extreme examples. Those are people that if they called my office they will not be given a meeting. You have to have really hard lines. It’s easy to say, “Well, I’m going to work with doctors.” Great, that’s a viable niche. Unless you say, “Well, I also work with doctors,” right? I can go to most financial advisor’s website. We work with doctors and teachers and lawyers and attorneys and people with money and people with no money and, and, and. Okay, so you are not good at anything. You’ve got to have a hard line. Your niche has to repel 10 times as many people as it attracts.

Micah Shilanski:  Okay. But how do you get over that mentally? I’m in total agreeance. Our website, planyourfederalretirement.com, gee wonder who I’m going after. I mean it’s a little bit more clear with the niche that I’m going for, but so many people come to it as well. We actually had a marketing person we were talking with as well, talking about our marketing events and their like, “No, if you limit who you’re going to see, you’re going to have less people want to sign up for the program.” So when you get concepts like that, how do you deal with them mentally? How do you deal with your team to make sure you still have that solid process?

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah, that is a tough one. Here’s kind of insights into how Matt’s brain works. One that I always go back to that I heard is why doesn’t Nike sell potato chips? And the first thing, well, that’s absurd, Nike makes shoes. That’s right, but they have factories, they have distribution networks, they have storefronts. They could sell potato chips. Think how much money they would make selling potato chips, and the answer is none. The answer is they would go out of business because people don’t think of Nike and potato chips. They think of Nike and athletic wear and they’ll dilute that message. So, that’s something I always go back to.

Matthew Jarvis:   Or I would go back to well we could also write mortgages or have checking accounts or do car insurance, right? You’ve already drawn the line somewhere. Just tighten it up.

Micah Shilanski:  And quit thinking about it from a lack mentality that’s going to be there. Really think of it from an abundance mentality. In your target audience, you’re going to tell me there’s only two or three people that you can work with? Okay, well maybe you need to refine that, right? But in your target audience, there’s probably thousands of people, thousands, if not tens of thousands of people that fit your ideal market. That’s a huge market. That’s an abundant market that you can go into and you can get lots of great clients in order to help improve their lives and improve your lives. You don’t have to take on everyone in the world as your audience, so you really have to focus that down.

Micah Shilanski:  Tons of studies has been out on that. I think Kitces has put out a lot of good stuff about talking about niche marketing and it is just one of the best ways to grow your practice is knowing who you do not work with, focusing on who you do work with really well.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah, but then you want to make sure that everyone’s aware of that. So kind of back to our prospect process, you need to make sure the world knows who your selection criteria is. One of the ways to help yourself stay true to that is put it up on your website. So, if you go to my company’s website, Jarvisfinancial.com, there’s a tab sleep on it. It says who we work with, says you have to be retired or close to it, it says you have to have at least, I have to look, see what it says, a million or 750 right now, this much in assets, you have to be this close to retirement, and people just self select out of it. It’s a great way to go. In fact, if you call my office and you call in on the line and say, “Hey, I want to meet with Matthew, she’ll say, have you reviewed our website and do you fit our client profile?” And if they say, “No, I don’t fit,” or, “No, I haven’t reviewed your website,” she’ll say, “Go check it out and give us a call back.”

Micah Shilanski:  Hold on a second, you didn’t even tell them what it is? You didn’t have Colleen get their number and start them on a drip sequence or anything like that. You immediately just told them to look at your website and then call back?

Matthew Jarvis:   So it’s interesting how we came to that. For a while, I was getting all of these prospects on my calendar who didn’t fit at all and I would say, “Colleen, did you ask them how much money they had?” And she’d say, “No I didn’t.” And I would say, “Well next time ask them.” And they would happen again and again and again, and I finally extreme ownership, said all right, I can sort of start yelling at Colleen I guess, and try to force her to do this or threaten her, and then I realized, oh, Colleen’s not comfortable asking them how much money they have. Great Colleen, what is a system that would work? Would you be comfortable if it was on the website and you could direct them to the website? And she said, “Yes, I would be very comfortable with that.” Perfect, let’s do that.

Micah Shilanski:  That’s what I wanted to go for. Your systems that you’re creating with your prospects have to work with your team because if Colleen, in this example… Now I love Colleen. She’s great, she does so many things really well, but that doesn’t mean you do everything really well. Your employees are kind of like chess pieces in some aspect. You got to use them in the right ways in order to win the game, and if you start using them improperly, so if you start using Colleen to kind of filter that information, it didn’t work. Not because she’s not a good employee, because she is not geared for that mentally. So we really need to be thinking about your prospect process and who you put in there. What are you asking for your team and will they deliver on that? And if not, you got to reshape that process so it works with your environment.

Matthew Jarvis:   I totally agree. So when a prospect contacts your office Micah, be that digitally or they call your office, can you give us just briefly kind of what the process is between that initial contact and when they end up in the meeting? We really want to focus on that meeting itself, but I think this foundation is important.

Micah Shilanski:  Sure. So what’s going to happen inside of this is as you said, two ways they contact us, most are now coming about 60% are 100% online. We charge for our initial appointment. Right now, that initial fee is $500, it’s going to go up to 1000 here soon. They pay that online and when they do that they fill out a little bit of an intake form that’s going to be there. They pay and then it gets submitted to our office. Our office gets that. Then they review that information, they contact the prospect to make sure to see if they have any questions, make sure they get their meetings scheduled, all of those things. Then we also follow up with them with the data form. We want them to fill out an intake form before they meet, and they go through and outline what this process is going to be.

Micah Shilanski:  So they outlined… Generally a prospect can’t get in to see me for somewhere between three to six months. So they make sure they’re aware of that and they’re comfortable with that, that it’s going to be addressed. They ask them what concerns they have that they need to address anything immediate, so there’s a whole little script that they go through to make sure that the prospect is comfortable with this engagement. One of the things that we’re doing now is because we have that long lead time, I want to… Let’s say it takes three months to get a prospect into to see us, we’re actually doing quick little video snippets we’re sending out to all of our prospects in one month intervals leading up to their appointment. We’ve got some great feedback on that. Now I say these are generic videos, we let everybody know they’re the same videos, but what are some common things that they should know about their appointment?

Micah Shilanski:  There’s three sets of videos that we do leading up to that. And prospects have really enjoyed those videos because they feel like now we’re more connected, we’re having a positive communication, they’re getting excited about their meeting. I’m telling them, I’m excited about their meeting and saying, you know what? If you really want to have this meeting of value, make sure you fill out that data form that we sent you. Because if you don’t give me information, when we get in the meeting you’re going to watch me read. I promise that’s not nearly as fun as me answering your questions. So we really need this information in advance.

Micah Shilanski:  It just gives a little bit more commitment for that prospect. So they go through that. We get all the forms in advance, the team confirms everything at least two days before their meeting. Then we have that initial meeting with the prospect. So ours is a lot digital that’s going to be there. Now if they called the office, it’s virtually the same thing. The team lets them know that there’s a fee for the meeting, which is $497, they collect their credit card right there, they run it, they then use DocuSign and get the contract signed by the client, or the prospect to this stage, and then they book the meetings, et cetera. But nothing gets on the calendar until they paid a fee.

Matthew Jarvis:   I love that. Now for our backstage pass members, a lot of those things that Micah just talked about samples of those will be inside the backstage pass. Micah, I want to draw one thing out because I want to make sure the nation didn’t miss that. You said that when a prospect contacts you, either on the phone or digitally and they pay their $497 fee before they can even get on your calendar, but then it’s three to six months, not weeks, not days, three to six months before they can see you. Do you have any sense of how many prospects at that point say, “Oh, screw this, I can go down to the street and see big firm tomorrow?” Do you have a lot of people give real hard push back on that?

Micah Shilanski:  No, and I think a lot of it because it’s pretty clear on our website. To meet with me there’s a fee that’s going to be there. We also talk that it takes several months on our website in order to book appointment, and we explain why. So we explain that we’re busy, we’re meeting, seeing other clients, our current clients are our top priority, prospects come number two. So our first goal is to make sure we’re taking care of our clients. Then as time allows, we’re going to make sure we take care of prospects when they come in, but we’re going to honor the commitments we’ve already made. I’d have to go back and ask Tori to see if she gets it, but I don’t hear about any of that and we have an abundance of prospects coming in.

Micah Shilanski:  I think last year we had north of, firm-wide, so this is a little bit of a skewed number, it wasn’t just all people I met with, but I think it was somewhere north of 90 people ish that contacted us for an initial appointment, of that I think I met with about 35, 37 of those people personally for initial prospect appointments.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah, I love that. I just want to highlight that for the nation because we hear a lot of times from advisors that are getting ready to start doing time walking or surge or take extended periods of time out of the office and the first question I would say, “What if a prospect calls and wants to come in and see you?” Well, they can see me in four weeks or six weeks, Micah in your case, three to six months. There’s a lot of head trash there. I’ll admit I have head trash that too.

Matthew Jarvis:   My team will come and say, “Matthew, we just got…” In fact this happened last week, “Matthew, we just got a referral from a great client. This person has $6 million. They want to come meet with you, but your next slot isn’t for eight weeks.” All right, well great. Well tell them it’s not for eight weeks. But in my mind, I’m like, “No, they should come in. I’ll come in from my vacation. They should come in.” But it’s written, it’s on the calendar, it’s blocked in, great, well, whenever the next block is, that’s when they can come in.

Micah Shilanski:  I tell my team, do not ask me do because I will… Because I do. I want to take care of my clients. I want to take care of prospects, and they’re like, “Oh they really need to get in. All right, can we make an exception? Can we do this?” But several bad things are happening when you make an exception. One, your systems aren’t going to work that you have in place. If I take a meeting outside of surge, the team’s not going to prep for the meeting because it’s outside of surge. They’re not used to prepping for meetings outside of surge. So if I have a one off, we’re going to totally break our process, then I’m going to look like an idiot in the meeting.

Micah Shilanski:  The second thing is now I’ve set an expectation for that prospect that I will meet with them whenever they want to. So if you do your first meeting at like 5:00 PM because it’s the only time that’s going to work for them. Oh, it’s just the first meeting and I can meet with them at 5:00 PM. You are committed to 5:00 PM meetings the rest of that relationship because you had that meeting in place. So you got to be really careful about setting good expectations. Because every prospect I meet with, I want to deliver massive value. I also want to envision them as a future client, and that means they have to fit into this mold.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah. There’s this total false idea that by making exceptions for prospects or making exceptions for clients, you’re doing them a service, and nine times out of 10 you’re doing them a disservice. You’re setting up bad expectations, you’re delivering subpar experience because your team’s not ready. Just put it on your calendar and if you need to do Micah’s approach, don’t ask me. I do that. When people want to meet with me, I say, “Great, here’s the link to my calendar.” It says I can’t see you for six weeks. Okay, I guess that’s what it says. I don’t know. That’s Colleen. She controls my calendar.

Micah Shilanski:  You know, I tell people all the time, and clients know this now, so they don’t even ask me to book appointments inside of there because they’re like, “Well when can I see you?” You know what? Every time I touch the calendar I screw it up. The ladies have asked me not to touch it. I’m going to leave that in the hands of Sierra and Victoria, they’re going to make sure you get taken care of. The clients laugh about it, right? They’re like, “Okay, I could see that.” And so the team makes sure it’s taken care of, so I need to remove that from me. What system works for you? That’s the big question inside of this. It’s not necessarily you have to duplicate what Matt and I say. If it works for you, awesome, then do it, duplicate what we’re talking about. But you need a system that works that you can implement for your prospects.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah. Just one quick example is for example, I intentionally do not charge for my initial prospect meeting, and we’ve had discussions about this on the podcast. I don’t want to belabor it, but it goes to Micah’s point. We need a system that delivers results and if your system delivers results, work it. And if it doesn’t, change it. It really boils down to that.

Micah Shilanski:  You know, Matt, and I think a lot of ours, just doing a little bit different, our team at the same thing wasn’t super comfortable asking qualifying questions, so we pivoted versus from qualifying questions to a fee. It was questioned about how much would I be happy to meet with someone even if they weren’t going to be a qualified client. How much could I get paid and be happy to meet with them? At the time it was $500, now it’s going to be 1000. I’m happy to meet with them for $1000 for that hour to see if it was a good fit or not. So yeah, whatever works for you.

Matthew Jarvis:   Whatever works for it. Well, should we talk about that initial prospect meeting?

Micah Shilanski:  Yeah. Considering we already burned most of the time talking about leading up to it. Maybe we should focus on that just a little bit.

Matthew Jarvis:   This might have to be a two part episode. Actually, we’re going to end up doing an entire webinar on the prospect process. We’ll talk about that in a minute. Since we don’t have a lot of time to talk about the actual prospect meeting, I want to hit on some really high points. I think a high point number one, this has to be a Ritz Carlton level of experience. We beat up on this all the time. You need to be there as a man in a suit and tie, as a woman professionally dressed. This needs to be a quality experience. Your office needs to look sharp. Everything has to be intentional about your prospect process, about your prospect meeting, about your office. Nothing can be by chance. Nothing can be by accident.

Micah Shilanski:  Yeah, absolutely with that. So one of the things with that is it’s also with the team engagement inside of this as well. And again, this is why I like to meet inside of surge with my clients. And in the backstage pass, there’s a whole lot of videos inside of this as well that talk about the theory behind this concept. But one of the things that I really like about meeting with prospects during surge, and another reason I don’t make an exception, is when a prospect comes in, what are they most likely going to see? They’re going to be greeted by our receptionist. They’re going to sit down in our lobby and they’re going to see me meeting with another client because I run my meetings back to back. Social proof. Micah has at least one client that’s going to be there. I then exit that client, clients are generally happy to meet with me. They see that positive engagement. I talk with them real quick. Then I escort them to the door, I go and change portfolios, I come back up and I greet the prospects.

Micah Shilanski:  I meet with the prospect meeting. When they leave, guess what they see? Another client waiting. At least Micah now has two clients, right? So, this is at least some social proof that’s going to be there and that’s another reason I like to have these prospect meetings inside of surge.

Matthew Jarvis:   It’s easy to dismiss that, that social proof as a small thing that doesn’t matter, but it does matter and that’s why I know this was a mistake I made all the time and I see advisors making this mistake all the time. Oh, it doesn’t matter if they see that you have other clients. It doesn’t matter if your chairs are straight. It doesn’t matter if your tie is on straight. All of those things matter because remember the person is coming into trust you with their life savings. In fact, they trust you more than they trust their doctor. How do we know this? Because most people would take death over running out of money when asked. The littlest things make a huge difference. Don’t dismiss any of those.

Micah Shilanski:  The spelling of their name, the pronunciation of their name is absolutely critical. And if I’m borderline at all… So if I’m meeting with a prospect with a unique name and we couldn’t figure out, maybe it was just all online, and I will ask the team, how do you say their name? Have you talked to them? What does their voicemail say? What does it say? What did they say? How did they pronounce it? Trying to find out. And if we don’t know that, then I’ll go up and I’ll introduce myself and if I missed their name, I will lean in and say, while I’m holding their hand and shaking their hand, I say, “I’m sorry, would you help me pronounce your name one more time?” And it’s amazing to say that. They will slow down and then you can correct the pronunciation right there, but it shows you care from that initial interaction with them. It shows you care about them as an individual person. This is critical.

Matthew Jarvis:   It really is, and we can do a whole episode just on this because there’s a lot of psychology that says everyone’s favorite word in the dictionary is their own name, which is why it’s so important to use people’s names. When I’m meeting with a prospect, I don’t just say, “Tell me about your retirement plan.” I would say, “Dave, tell me about your retirement plan. Susan, tell me about what you’d like to do in retirement. Dave, tell me about your tax strategy.” Because me repeating their name, to Micah’s point with the correct pronunciation, I just picked two really easy to pronounce names, that reinforces in their brain, wow, Micah understands me. Matt understands me. These are my kind of people. Those small things make all the difference in the world.

Micah Shilanski:  Absolutely. And on that note, using their children’s names, not, oh, you have two sons. It’s, “Oh, how is Bob and John doing?” Talking about them, asking those questions, those are really important little details that matter in these prospect meetings. And again, in the prospect meeting, what you’re trying to do is one, deliver massive value to them. Okay, so table stakes, we should all know this. You’re always putting the needs of the client ahead of your own. Boom. We shouldn’t even have to have this conversation. But you’re also trying to see if they’re a good fit for you. If they’re a good fit for you, you’re trying to engage them so they want to hire you and pay you a substantial amount of money to make sure they’re taken care of.

Micah Shilanski:  Therefore, the details matter. You are trying to set yourself ahead of the other people they are meeting with, and you will do that with small things. This isn’t like you have some super secret financial planning recipe that’s not on Google, that they can’t figure out for themselves if they wanted to, or go one 800 dial a CFP to get a quote financial plan printed from MoneyGuidePro to go through. No, they’re looking for something different by hiring you and you have to show that you’re different and using names is a very key way of doing that.

Matthew Jarvis:   Micah, I’d really be curious your thoughts on this. I run into advisors and I will confess early in my career, I had this thought as well saying, hey, I won’t do those kinds of things because that’s manipulative. That’s what sleazy salespeople do. And it’s interesting. As you all know, I’ve been on a big Jocko stent recently. I’ve been at a couple of his events. Someone asked him that about one of his leadership techniques. They say, “Hey Jocko, isn’t that manipulative?” And Jocko really paused back and he said, “I get this question all the time.” And again, I’m paraphrasing here, “It’s only manipulative if you have bad intentions. If your intention,” and he was talking about leadership, “Is to make someone a better person, or if your intention is to help a client achieve their financial goals, then these are all perfect means.” And the opposite extreme would be like, why don’t you come to work in your underwear? Oh, that’s absurd. And what would they think about me? Exactly. Exactly.

Matthew Jarvis:   So if you won’t come to work in your underwear, then why not come in a full suit? Why not come really dressed to the nines. So, we’re saying these things make a difference, Micah’s and I’s point is take it one step further, take it one step further than anybody else is taking it.

Micah Shilanski:  Yeah. I’d like to add to that too, and I love your example, why don’t you come in your underwear, but also how do you talk to your wife? How do you talk to your spouse I should say, how do you talk to your children? How do you talk to your friends? You don’t talk to them the same way. So are you manipulating everyone in your life? Is that what you’re doing? Or do you realize that different people need to be communicated with differently, and you’re going to pivot in order to have a better source of communication with them so they can achieve their goals? Again, what’s your intent?

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah, I’m just looking at the clock here. We’re going to have to do a second part of actually being in the meeting. So perhaps this episode is getting to the prospect meeting and being in the meeting because there’s so much critical stuff to cover in the meeting itself. In the backstage pass, we’ve actually did some videos of Micah and I meeting with pseudo prospects, actor prospects to outline through some of that. Micah, some other points you want to cover before we jump into action items?

Micah Shilanski:  I think we might run a little long if that’s okay, just a little bit.

Matthew Jarvis:   I’m fine with that.

Micah Shilanski:  But I would love to talk about the fee question that’s there, and maybe we can just scratch the surface on it because it goes so much further than just a quick conversation that we’re going to have. But how do you get over that fee conversation that’s going to be there? So let’s take it easy. Let’s say you have $1 million client, and I know Jarvis, what you do is the same thing with myself. We explain our fees in dollar amounts, not just in percentages, right? So if you have a client that you’re onboarding that has $1 million portfolio, you’re not going to say you’re going to charge them 1.5 or 1.75%, you’re going to say the fee is $15,000 a year or 17,500 a year, something of that nature, but how do you position your value for that fee?

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah, boy, and I’m not even talking about fees until my second meeting unless they say bring it up directly, but whenever that fee discussion comes up, because it is a common one, I would say Mr and Mrs Client, each quarter we deduct a fee from your account. In this situation, it’s a quarter of a percent, which would be about $5,000 a quarter. That’s a line item on your statement. It’ll say Jarvis Financial advisory fee, and you’ll look at that number and I’ll look at that number and we’ll decide if the value we bring is worth some multiple of that fee. If the answer is yes, we’ll go another quarter. And if the answer is no, that we better have a discussion or decide to part ways as friends. But either way, every quarter you have the opportunity to see if we’re worth our fee. And people say, “Oh wow, that’s great. You mean at any time I can stop?” “Yup, anytime you can stop. I will warn you. No one ever stops. I mean almost never. But you have that opportunity at any time.”

Micah Shilanski:  Yeah, I love it. The only thing that I do slightly different in mine, if I may bring up, is I try to put a time period inside of this because especially the first year that we’re going to do it, I’m expecting at least a one year commitment. It takes time to get things in place in their financial plan because we slow down their planning process and do a five step process. So those are five different meetings. And so I tell them, I expect a commitment of at least a year. Now, you can cancel at any time and if you’re not happy with it, I will give you a refund of your financial planning fees and no problem whatsoever. But I need you at least mentally to commit to me for at least a year to make sure we can get these things done. And then about majority of our clients, like all of them keep us on longer than a year, but at least one year so we can build an implement your financial plan. Does that seem fair?

Matthew Jarvis:   So notice with both of these Micah’s and mine, there wasn’t any ums or ah or it’s kind of like, or maybe kind of, sort of, if you don’t mind. We say it just like the doctor would say, “Hey, you need to take this prescription.” The doctors not going to say, “Well, you know, I don’t know. Maybe if you think so.” It’s just this is it. And the more you dance around it, we think, oh, I’m going to kind of dance around it. Nope. The more you do that, the worse it gets. Just, here it is. I deliver massive value and either this makes sense for you or it doesn’t. There’s not even a chance for rejection. Micah’s wasn’t like, “Hey, do you like me?” Do you think it’s worth the fee? And if you think so, then yes, and if not, then we’re not a good fit.

Matthew Jarvis:   If someone came in and said, “Hey Micah, will you work for $12 a year?” That’s an easy no. And I view that the same thing, if someone says, “Well, Hey, I can get it for 0.7 somewhere else.” Perfect. Well, you should go there.

Micah Shilanski:  Great. And the reality is they can’t, and especially when you work in a niche that becomes more and more evident, that’s going to be there. You can’t get my services somewhere else for 0.7% because we do a tremendous amount of client service that’s going to be there. Now, if they don’t want our level of client service, that’s totally fine. Great. I have no problem with that. I want what’s best for you. We can’t work with everyone in the world too. That is okay. I hope this meeting has been a benefit. If it hasn’t, delighted to refund their $500 fee. Seriously. Wish them nothing but the best of success in their retirement planning. That doesn’t happen. Whether they may or may not engage as clients, majority do. However, we’re not refunding that $500 fee because people find value in that. And I have noticed, and I know we do it differently, but I noticed by charging that financial planning fee, it removes the fee conversation from the beginning of the meetings.

Micah Shilanski:  We don’t even talk fees until we get three quarters of the way through the meeting before they’re asking about what our fees are going forward because they know they’ve paid for it. So this isn’t a sales prop for them. They know they’re not being sold something, they know they’re not being led into something, they paid for my time. So just like if you paid for a doctor’s time, you’re not expecting the doctor to sell you something. You’re not expecting the dentist to sell you something when you go there, you’re expecting them to do their job. And that’s one of the ways that I like charging this fee is again, it just pivots the conversation in our world.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yep. And fee or no fee both work as long as you manage the expectation. So I meet with prospects, I say, “This initial meeting is just for us to get to know each other. There is no fee because I want you to see what it’s like to work with me before you pay. There’s also nothing to buy. This is not a timeshare presentation.” I say that, “Ha ha, we’re not going to lock the door. At the end of this meeting the only thing I’m going to ask is if you want me to do an analysis of your situation.” And they say, “Great.” It’s going to take an hour. So we’re just managing expectations every step of the way on every aspect. The expectation, you’re going to pay a fee expectation, you’re not going pay a fee, but you’ve got to get rid of this, when am I going to get sold?

Micah Shilanski:  But I liked that, we got to talk about that real fast, then we’ve got to pivot it to the action. But look at what Jarvis just did right there. He says this close to the beginning of the meeting with the prospect, but he said, “The only thing I’m going to ask you is X.” I really like that. I do think it’s disingenuous and it will probably put the prospect up a little bit on their hackles if you said, “Well, I’m not going to ask anything at the end of this meeting.” What do you mean you’re going to a free meeting and you’re not going to ask anything? That doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. So Jarvis just addresses it right away. And just says, “Look, we’re not going to sell you anything. The only thing I’m going to ask you at the end of the day is if you’d like to move forward and if you want me to do an assessment of your situation.” That’s it.

Micah Shilanski:  And they’re like, “Oh, okay, well I know what he’s going to ask.” And now their, I don’t want to say their guard is let down, but now they’re more open to having a conversation that could benefit them because they know what he’s going to “sell them or ask them” at the end of the time. It’s not a mystery.

Matthew Jarvis:   Totally. Totally. All right, well we’re going to have to do a second part of this, what you do when you actually get in the meeting, but let’s pivot to action items because this podcast is as always about taking massive action and it’s about adding $100,000 of revenue to your practice this year. So having just a rock solid prospect process is essential to that. So Micah is going to kick us off on some action items. So starting with our backstage pass members.

Micah Shilanski:  Absolutely. Our backstage pass members, you will have, in addition to getting this, you’re going to get some templated information that we have. You’re going to get our prospect videos that Matt and I have done with a sample prospect, hired an actor and went through this of what our prospect process is. In fact, we’re going to give you a video that I absolutely love, which is the prospect going crazy on Jarvis and how he handles a frustrated prospect. And he’s never had a prospect like this. Matt went in a separate room and I was jabbing at the actor a little bit. Oh, he let him have it. It’s great. So you’re going to see that for comic relief, but you’re also going to get how we sit down with our meetings. Now, if you do not have a prospect process, you need to have one.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yep. Second action item for the entire TPR Nation, on February 27th, because this is such a popular topic, we’re going to do another one of our webinars where we’re going to walk through the tools visually on the screen that we use. So on the Perfect RA website, you can sign up for that webinar. That will be February 27th 9:00 AM Pacific time. For another action item, I know we didn’t quite get quite this far in the conversation, but I want to plant this one out there. You need to start becoming aware in prospect meetings, how much time you are talking versus they are talking, and we could spend a whole hour on this. Just be aware, make little tallies on your page, anything, because the more they talk, the better experience they’re having. They’re really not coming to listen to you talk. They’re coming to have you listen to them.

Micah Shilanski:  Right, and I’m always shocked that we have to mention this, but it still holds true today. You have to remember the spouse. Nine times out of 10 that’s the wife. You have to remember the wife, the spouse that’s in there, you have to engage them in conversation. I am shocked at salespeople that I will see and, regardless of industry, that they will physically turn and look directly at the guy, kind of cutting off communication with the woman and having this conversation. It blows my mind, right? Both people have to be engaged in this conversation. I will not onboard a client unless both of them are engaging with me. So, really important to bring that spouse into the conversation.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah. The last action item that I’ve got is make sure each step of your prospect process, and Micah mentioned this with the videos, that each step delivers massive value to the prospect. We, for example, one example would be we have this thing that goes with one of our confirmation emails. It would say, “Hey, attached is 10 questions you should ask every financial advisor and for your convenience we’ve included our answer,” and there are of course 10 questions that make us look really good and make everyone else look not as good. And that says something that’s on the backstage pass for you to look at as well.

Micah Shilanski:  Absolutely. I love it. So of course this podcast is all about action items, so make sure you are implementing small steps. You don’t got to do everything right, pick one thing and implement it in your practice. That is how you build the perfect RIA. If you aren’t sign up for our backstage pass, well registration has closed. You did miss it. Jump on our site. There’s the member’s login page, you can click that, you can sign up to be notified when we open it again because we’re going to run this a little bit like surges like we do with our clients. That means you need to get on a waiting list to make sure you can join. I think one of the huge benefits of the backstage pass is instead of just this content, you get this content plus the examples from our office, which is our number one asked question from the TPR Nation. How do I get X document from you?

Matthew Jarvis:   Perfect. Well, very good Micah, as always, this is a pleasure. I look forward to recording the second half of this. Until next time. Happy planning.

Micah Shilanski:  Happy planning.

Hold on before we go. Something that you need to know. This isn’t tax, legal, or investment advice. That isn’t our intent. Information designed to change lives. Financial planning can make you thrive. Start today. Don’t think twice. Be a better husband, father, mother, and wife. The Perfect RIA. The Perfect RIA.

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