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Sitting down with a potential client who is reluctant or doesn’t see your value from the start is something that can mess with you if you don’t have a plan. So today Matt and Micah will be answering a question they got on this subject and breaking down how to address a situation like this, including how to demonstrate value and ask the right questions.

When it comes to highlighting your expertise, the guys share their experiences and tips on using questions and subtle methods to clearly show it off. Listen in to learn what reactions you’re looking for, how to clear the head trash that gets in the way with these situations, and the exact questions and talking points Matt and Micah use to gain attention and make connections.

What You’ll Learn In Today’s Episode:

  • Why you need to be asking the right questions.
  • What we think people want to hear vs. what they really want to hear.
  • The importance of creating a connection.
  • An exercise on finding out how to come off as an expert.
  • The reactions you’re looking for.
  • Matt and Micah’s list of talking points and questions.

Ideas Worth Sharing:

I was focused on changing the power dynamic and being able to show myself as the expert, when really the secret is to shut up and ask good questions. - @ThePerfectRIA Click To Tweet
A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer.- Bruce Lee Click To Tweet
If you are an expert, your expertise will come out with the questions that you ask.- @ThePerfectRIA Click To Tweet

Resources In Today’s Episode:

EP. 74 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:  Well, welcome back to The Perfect RIA podcast. I’m your cohost, Micah Shilanski, and with me, as usual, is the legendary Matthew Jarvis from the pandemic central and confusion area of the world, okay, maybe not the world, but Seattle. What’s going on, Jarvis?

Matthew Jarvis:   Man, we have taken a second place to New York City. In fact, we’ve even shut down some of our hospitals and sent back our ventilators. So apparently it is blue skies from here. Though it’s Seattle, so it’s gray skies. Yeah, pandemic central.

Micah Shilanski:  There you go. Jarvis was teasing me the other day about lack of sunlight living in Alaska, and I was like, “Well, you know what? I don’t know, I might have an argument for I get more sunlight than you do.”

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah, we get about a hundred clear sky days a year, so you might have us beat.

Micah Shilanski:  Nice.

Matthew Jarvis:   For the six months that we have sun, right?

Micah Shilanski:  Yeah.

Matthew Jarvis:   Minor details. Well, even though we are locked inside and under this quarantine and all this different pandemic stuff, it’s still a time to sharpen the skills, to sharpen the ax so to speak. And a Micah, we’ve got a great topic that came out of our Backstage Pass forum that we want to chat about today.

Micah Shilanski:  Yeah, we did. We did a 100K challenge and if you haven’t signed up for the Backstage Pass, it’s an interesting concept that’s there, so whether you sign up for it or not, but regardless of this pandemic, we are still moving forward with our 100K challenge, which is we are challenging advisors out there to deliver so much value you will increase your revenue by $100,000. You’ll bring in $100,000 of new revenue or 20% whichever is greater because of the value that we can offer and advisors. And that has only been amplified now that all this craziness is out there. And so Jarvis, as you said, we did one the other day on communication styles and talking with prospects and how to talk with prospects and how do you have that initial conversation? And someone brought up a good question. I’ll let you read it and go through it. But it was basically like, “What happens if you’re going after a prospect for a while then they come in the office and it’s a little bit awkward.” Right? You don’t quite have a good connection off the bat. So let’s start off with this question and dial down what are some things that we need to be focused on in that prospect meeting?

Matthew Jarvis:   I love it. Yeah. And this comes from Cody who posted it to the new Backstage Pass forum. He says, “There’s a prospect, I’ve been calling and emailing off and on for months in an attempt to get an office appointment.” And Micah, I think we’ve all been there, right?

Micah Shilanski:  Absolutely.

Matthew Jarvis:   There’s been a prospect that we’re aggressively following, especially early in our career when we don’t have as many prospects to follow up on, so we tend to follow up with on the one or two pretty often. So Cody goes on, he says, “Hey, the prospect finally agrees to meet and when he shows up it seems like they are slightly put out or doing me a favor by being there or here just to get me off their back. How can an advisor tip the scales to his side in this initial meeting? And would this meeting be different than somebody coming in who already has some level of expertise, like they’re coming in knowing that you’re a pro?” Well, I guess I would start by asking have you ever run into this situation? Have you ever had a meeting where the person’s kind of like, “Eh.” Or maybe one of the spouses, husband and wife is like, “Why are we meeting with his clown?”

Micah Shilanski:  Absolutely. So that’s all people say when they come in to meet with me, “Why am I meeting with this clown?” Right? I had that a lot. Now I must say it has tampered down a bunch because now we charge for initial consultations, which creates a whole different dynamic, right? We are coming out there and being very positive saying, “Look, we’re charging $500 for initial appointment and if you don’t think it’s worth it, we’re going to give you your money back.” So we’re focused on that value driven from the minute they’re contacting our firm. Even with that, every now and again a spouse will not be engaged and before I did this Jarvis, I would definitely run into this issue and again, new in my career, one of the things about how do you change that power dynamic that’s going to be there and I think I had the wrong focus on it at the time.

Micah Shilanski:  I was focused on changing the power dynamic and being able to show myself as the expert. When really the secret I think, and please correct me if I’m wrong, is shut up and ask good questions, right? It’s not about a power focus in the meeting. It’s not about highlighting that you’re the expert. If you are an expert, your expertise will come out with the questions that you ask. It’s not about highlighting your CFP. It’s not about highlighting how many clients that you help. Those could come out a little bit inside of questions that you ask, but it’s about the questions you ask and how you react and interact with the two people in your office. That’s what sets you apart and really will help the client because you’re focused on delivering value to them.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah, I 100% agree. We kind of get this, especially when we’re in an expert role. And you see this all the time, we think that people want to hear what we have to say and in a way they do, but really they don’t. They want to say what they have to say. They want to know that you understand them, understand their situation and almost that you know things about them that they haven’t even thought of themselves and you’re asking questions that they didn’t even know to ask. You’re saying things like, “Hey, you may have never asked somebody, but a lot of my clients are thinking about the best age to claim social security.” “My goodness, how did Matthew know that was on my list? That’s how good he is.” And you might think, “Oh, that’s a silly one.” It’s not, by the way, none of these are silly ones if I am establishing rapport.

Matthew Jarvis:   And I think the other thing I would throw out here for Cody is in your own life, think of places where you go, people that you interact with, where you feel that they’re an expert versus we feel that they’re a salesperson, right? So when I go to the car dealership, I don’t feel like I’m talking with experts, I feel like I’m talking with pushy salespeople. When I go to a really good doctor, good one, not all of them, I feel like, “Wow, I’m talking to expert.” Right? When I go to my physical therapist and he says, “Oh, your arm hurts when you lift it this way. I bet it’s sore when you lift it the other way.” And I go the other way and I’m like, “Oh, it is sore that way.” “Oh, that means that you need to do this exercise.” “My goodness. How did you know that about me?”

Micah Shilanski:  And what you can’t see because this is a podcast is when Jarvis is doing this, his facial reactions are exactly what we want in a prospect, right? I’m not making fun of you this time, but it is. I call it the eyebrow moment, right? When you bring something up and you see the eyebrows go up, the a-ha moment take place, now you know you’ve said something that resonates with that prospect, resonates with that client. That’s, “Oh my gosh, I haven’t even thought of that.” “Oh my gosh. How did you know?” You get that eyebrow and now you know this was a good line of questioning to have and that’s one of the reactions that you’re looking for to make sure you’re going down the correct path.

Matthew Jarvis:   Also, we talked about head trash a lot. This is a big head trash thing. Cody and everyone else listening, I used to be really intimidated when that person came in, who kind of like, “Why am I meeting this guy?” Especially early in my career when I looked really young like I had no credibility and I’m thinking, “Oh man, they can see right through me. They know I’ve only been doing this for a couple of years.” But now I turn it and I really just view it as a challenge and I’m like, “Wow, I’m really going to have to work for this one. I’m really going to have to demonstrate value to show this person how good of a professional I am.” And I’m excited, I’m fired up for this challenge of demonstrating value in this situation.

Micah Shilanski:  One of the things too, and we’re going to get into our little bit of a list of talking points or questions that we’re going to go through, if you will, during our prospect meetings on how to do this, but one of the things is trying to connect in some way with that candidate, with that prospect, with that client. And that connection can happen in a couple of different ways. Here’s a quick little funny story, Jarvis, if I may. I was meeting with one, they’re clients, today and when they first came in I remember, he’s a doctor and the wife came in and she was put off in the meeting. She was not happy to be there like physically was turning away from me in the meeting. I mean it was quite a negative dynamic and he was very engaged. He wanted to know and do this.

Micah Shilanski:  But it’s one of those things when you have those opposites, if I wanted them as clients, I had to get her engaged in this conversation. And if I couldn’t get her engaged in conversation, then this wasn’t going to go anywhere whatsoever. So I focused on her a little bit more about what she does as a profession, what she likes, and she was one word answers inside of there, asked her what she did. Yeah, and so finally I got to the occupation side and I said, “So may I ask what you do?” She’s like, “Well, I catch babies.” And I don’t know if you know this or not, but the only people that say that are midwives. And I said, “Well, how long have you been a midwife?” And she’s like, “I never said I was a midwife.” I was like, “Yes you did. Because doctors deliver babies because they think they’re doing all of the work, a midwife actually knows the mother’s doing the work and you’re just catching the baby and making sure everyone’s healthy.” And she turned around entirely. And now was engaged in that conversation because I valued the work that she did and it was a struggle that she has.

Micah Shilanski:  Now I didn’t know that she was having other issues with valuing her own work as a midwife, because it does beautiful things. But I had to find a way to connect with her on a personal level. And so that was probably the most opposite reaction that I had to now a really great relationship that’s been there.

Matthew Jarvis:   Boy, I really like that. I think a lot of amateur advisers or new advisers in that situation seeing the person that’s put off, if they even caught on that pretty obvious body language, would try to then just like, “Let me just convince this person of how much knowledge I have, of how many books I’ve read, of how many designations, how long I’ve been doing this, the standard deviation of a Monte Carlo simulation.” And it was, “Tell me more about what you do.” You know, like you said, drawing out, “What is it that’s important to you in life?”

Matthew Jarvis:   And I’ll do that at the same thing, I’ll find sometimes, especially more with men than women, but men will be really standoffish and I’ll just keep probing and I’ll say, “Hey, what reservations do you have about being here today?” I’ll just call it, “What concerns do you have with meeting with me?” And he says, “You know what? One time I met with an advisor, this, that, and the other.” I said, “Boy, that must’ve been really terrible. I’m really frustrated when advisors do that. I would feel really put off by that. I want to assure you that I don’t do that and here…” And then I would kind of lay out, I wouldn’t just say, “We don’t do that.” I would say, “Hey, we don’t do that and here’s what we do.” Right? “You got a hard sell, we don’t do a hard sell. At the end of this meeting, you’re going to go home. There’s nothing to buy. There’s nothing to sign. Is that okay with you? Can we proceed?” “Yeah, actually Matthew, that’s great. Perfect.”

Micah Shilanski:  And Jarvis, one of the things that I like to do with that as well is do the same thing in those circumstances, but give them permission to call you out. Right?

Matthew Jarvis:   Oh I like that.

Micah Shilanski:  Yeah. Because if they come in and they’re used to the timeshare-esque salesperson, the insurance guy that’s selling them all this stuff, says, “Look, we don’t do that. This is our planning process. We do the financial planning work. This is what it’s going to look like. And if any time during this meeting you feel I’m pushing something, I want you to call me out on it. You have 100% my permission to do that.” And it’s amazing how their guard drops because they’re starting to see we’re on their same side because we are, right? We don’t want to sell them something. We want to help them achieve their goals. This is our job that’s going to be there and we have to be able to connect with them so they understand that so they can be open to listening to our advice.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah. I totally agree. A quick counterpoint. If you’re listening to the podcast and you’re not doing financial planning, let’s say you’re just an insurance focused person, which great, there’s a real need for that in the world. I would, by the way, spin this to my… I would say, “Hey, there’s a lot of people out there that want to spend hours with you dissecting every element of your finances when really all you need is some life insurance to protect your kids. I’m not going to waste your time with that other stuff. Is that okay with you?” You can turn this however fits what it is you’re trying to do for clients,

Micah Shilanski:  Right. And that’s the important part is I think that sums that up right there, right? What do you do for clients? Make sure people know that and they can determine if it’s a good fit or not. Do they need this or not? They don’t need life insurance for their kids. Okay, well then it’s not an issue, right? Move onto the next person. There’s no way you’re going to help them. But focusing on that, huge. So Jarvis, let’s jump into some questions that we ask or some things that we go through. So we’ve talked about it on other podcasts, I don’t want to do over it too much, what our prospecting process is going to be like. We went through in depth and set it up, but what are some questions that you like to ask that get people engaged in talking in the meetings?

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah, I’d be glad to touch on that. And these are questions, Micah, I used to keep these written down on a Post-it note on a piece of paper and before the meeting, especially with new prospects, I would turn off my computer, I would mute my phone and I would sit and I would read these questions out loud and I would visualize myself asking them. That way I didn’t get into the meeting and just sort of like, “Uh… Let me tell you about my CFP.” So the one I use to this day, I say, “Hey, I’m really glad that you’re here today. How can I be of most assistance to you today?” And I have my paper ready and I’m looking at them intently and I just say, “How can I be of most assistance to you today?” I don’t start with my credentials, with my background, with how long I’ve been doing this. “How can I be of most assistance to you today?”

Micah Shilanski:  Now with that. So talk to me about your body language that you’re going to have right there. So in the video you were leaning forward, pen and paper in hand. Is that your posture?

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah, I don’t want to lean so far forward that I’m intimidating.

Micah Shilanski:  Aggressive, right.

Matthew Jarvis:   I don’t want to be too aggressive, but I want to be attentive. I lean in a little bit and actually, I do that on webinars, when I’m doing virtual meetings with clients, if we’re doing it video, I’ll lean into the camera just a little bit. Not so much that they’re seeing the pimple on my face or something, but I just want to lean in. I’ve got my paper and my pen ready. Or Micah, I know you do it on your iPad, but same thing, I’m attentive, I’m ready and that’s my 100% focus. And then if it’s a couple, I asked the question to both of them, whoever answers first, I turn to the other person. I say, “Hey, how can I be of most assistance to you today?” And I take their answers down.

Micah Shilanski:  I like that. That’s the only slight nuance between you and I in how we do this. I don’t pick up my pencil until they start talking.

Matthew Jarvis:   Oh okay.

Micah Shilanski:  Because I don’t like creating the examination feeling that’s there, because I do a lot to create a chat, welcoming, more casual, friendly environment. So for me, I don’t touch the iPad, the pencil, I sit back in my chair, I’ll match their body language. But I generally am sitting back in my chair when I ask these questions, like this, and then the hands at the side, just ask the question. Then as they talk, I grab the iPad pencil, lean in and I’ll start writing their questions down. So either way works, right? Where are you comfortable at in delivering it?

Matthew Jarvis:   I’m going to have to reflect on that in my next meeting and see if I am creating that exam atmosphere. Right? And it’s these smallest things that make such a big difference. It puts me in control of situation.

Micah Shilanski:  I think the most key part about this is when someone asks a question or says what they want to cover, you write it down.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yes.

Micah Shilanski:  And if they’d say two or three things, I have no problem going back and saying, “You know what? You said you want to talk about college planning, then you had a job. I’m sorry, what was that second thing? I missed it.” And it’s totally okay to go back because it’s so important I write down exactly what they ask. And I know Jarvis, you do the exact same thing.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah. And I repeat it back to them in their words, not to the point of being obnoxious. If they say, “Uh I don’t know when I’m going to collect my social security.” I’m obviously not going to throw the, “Uhs” in there. But if they say, “Hey, I’m not sure when I’m going to start social security.” I going to say, “Hey, looks like top on our list is trying to figure out when you’re going to start social security. Got it.” And we go through that.

Micah Shilanski:  Okay. I like it. So when you get these, we’ve gone through a little bit and that initial… Of course, making sure we’re asking a question to them, “How do they get the most value out of today’s meeting? How can you assist them the most today?” I like that. I think the next thing that we go through and we both ask is especially on a prospect meeting, asking them what their strategy for something is or how do they plan on handling X? Right? So, “What’s your strategy for turning on social security?”

Matthew Jarvis:   I was just going to say you might, if someone comes in with a lot of resistance, let’s say they came in as a favor to you, which early in your career there’s a lot of that and you ask them, “Hey, how can I be of most assistance to you today?” And somebody might be even really snarky and be like, “I don’t know. I’m not really sure what it is you do. I’m not sure why I’m here.” Boy, I just think, “Perfect. I’m just going to up my game just a little bit more.” And I say, “Hey, we would just want to see what your strategies are in these different areas.” Micah, to your question, “And if there’s any possible room for improvement.” And then, yeah, I wouldn’t say, “When do you plan to start social security?” I would say, “What is your strategy for social security? What is your strategy for not overpaying the IRS? What is your strategy, husband and wife, to make sure that whoever goes first, the other person isn’t put in the poor house? What is your strategy for paying for longterm care?”

Matthew Jarvis:   Now, I wouldn’t rapid fire them like that, right? Because they would feel interrogated. I would do one at a time to get their answers, but I’m going to draw out until I find their weak spot because every single person’s financial plan has a weak spot. I’m going to find that and then show them how to improve it.

Micah Shilanski:  I love it. You know, one thing I kind of skipped over, I want to go back to a little bit. So when I’m doing these meetings, after I’ve asked them how can we best assist them today and we’ve gone through and get those questions, I go through an outline what an agenda for today looks like. And so based on their questions I’m like, “Well here are some other things that I saw that I wanted to make sure we covered.” And so I weave their questions into my agenda or vice versa and I get their agreeance on moving forward with that, and that seems like a good natural flow, because, “Okay first we’re going to talk about cash flow because that dictates when we turn on our social security. Then we can talk about this…” Right? And I’ll just outline what that’s going to be for them because I like them to know what to expect in our meeting. It’s not just getting these questions, we ask them what do they want to cover today, then we’re randomly bringing things up. I like them to see that whole picture so they can also know the tempo of the meeting subtly as well, right?

Matthew Jarvis:   I would say with that, Micah, and that’s a great tool, anytime I’m asking a question, so if I’m trying to gather some data, so somewhere we’re asking, “Hey, what’s your strategy?” But sometimes I need to know, “What’s your year of birth?” Or, “How much is in your 401k plan?” If it’s not immediately obvious to them why I’m asking that question, I will always let them know why I’m asking that question. So I’ll say, “I know it’s not polite to ask…” And I’ll big smile, “But what year were you born so that we know what your social security benefits are?” “Oh, I was born in 1963.” “Oh, okay. Well that that makes a difference in our planning. Thanks for letting me know that. I would have guessed that you were born in 1980.” Like I’ll make some kind of joke about it.

Micah Shilanski:  I always ask the guys first, if I’m going to ask their age, if I don’t have it in advance, “How old are you?” Then when I turned to the lady, I say, “May I ask how young you are?”

Matthew Jarvis:   How young you are.

Micah Shilanski:  Yeah and I always split it and they always catch it and they’re like, “Oh, that’s good.” So I think going through those things are really good. One of the things that I do, Jarvis, along those lines, because of course most of my clients that are coming in are federal employees, we’re working with their federal retirement. And so I say, You know what, one of the most common mistakes I find working with federal employees is when they’re calculating their pension, they don’t have the correct creditable service for retirement. So is it okay if we spend a little bit of time and I ask you a few questions about your service, because I want to make sure you get your pension correct in retirement time?”

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah, that’s a perfect example, right? It’s drawing awareness to something they probably hadn’t thought of. “Hey, I just assumed the government had my numbers correctly. How could they not? Why is Micah asking me these questions about my career? This feels a little bit of interrogation.” But yeah, you’ve planted that out.

Matthew Jarvis:   An example I use all the time, especially when I’ve got to draw… Sometimes people come in, or a lot of times people now come in and I have credibility already because I’ve been doing this long enough, I don’t have any hair, whatever the case may be. But when I need to get a little bit deeper, I’ll look at whatever their retirement balance is and I’ll say, “Oh, it looks like you’ve got about $1 million in retirement accounts. Congratulations, by the way, that takes a lot of hard work to get there. Just so you know, somewhere between zero and $500,000 of that is going to go to the IRS. Do you have a strategy for getting it closer to the zero side?” They say, “Wait, 500,000 of dollars of this could go to the IRS?” I said, “Actually that is a low ball. We could actually get to 80% of it to the IRS, but we won’t talk about how you can get that far.” That’s harder to do, right? Which by the way, if you’re listening, that’s if you blow your RMDs, you could give 80% of your IRA to the IRS, right? 50% penalty plus 43% tax rate and the state level-

Micah Shilanski:  Yeah state level, right.

Matthew Jarvis:   You could, if you’re in California or some of these states, you could conceivably give 90% of your IRA to the government if you blew it.

Micah Shilanski:  But good news for those financial advisors, and I do bring this up in my meetings, good news, our highest tax rate that we ever had in the United States, do you know what it was, effective rate?

Matthew Jarvis:   Wasn’t it 93% in the ’70s?

Micah Shilanski:  103%.

Matthew Jarvis:   Wow.

Micah Shilanski:  With income tax, estate tax, I mean kind of across the board.

Matthew Jarvis:   That’s right.

Micah Shilanski:  It was like 103%. Guy went to court, thank goodness the courts came out in our favor. They said the government can take 100% of your money, but no more. So…

Matthew Jarvis:   That’s right. That was before you got the credit for income tax charged on your estate kind of thing.

Micah Shilanski:  That’s right. That’s right. Yeah. So I always like to throw that joke in, right? “So good news is you don’t have to give them more, just everything. That’s the worst case scenario.”

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah. And I’ve yet to run into a prospect, no matter how doctor, engineer, rocket scientist, that has thought through that fully half of their IRA could easily end up in the hands of the IRS. That’s why we say, “Boy, that’s why our planning together is so important.” And that’s what I’m looking for, “How do I blow their mind?”

Micah Shilanski:  And this is where I like to pivot, right, with those COIs that are going to be there. We’re not trying to replace their accountant, we’re not trying to replace their tax preparer, their CPA. And I try to view them in two different roles saying, “You’re working with a CPA. John does really good work for you. I know he’s taking care of things. John’s job is to make sure all your documents are in order, things are put together. So in reality, he’s driving through, looking at the rear view mirror. He’s looking at the last year and he’s making sure everything’s put together and John’s going to keep doing a good job of that. My job is to look through the windshield. My job is to look down the future and to say, ‘Hey, what obstacles are we going to have and how do we make John’s job easier? How do we save you taxes in the future?’ John’s going to worry about today. I’m going to worry about the next 20 years. Is that okay?”

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah. You mentioned COIs just briefly. If I’m talking to a center of influence, by the way, I used a very similar strategy. I’ll say, “Hey, Mr. CPA. I know you probably hate this, but when a client does something during the year that causes a big tax bill, and then when you’re the one who tells them, you’re the messenger telling them, ‘Hey, you’re going to owe all these taxes.’ They shoot the messenger.” And they’re like, “Oh, I hate that.” Because that’s CPA 101. “What do you mean I own $30,000?” “Well you you took $100,000 capital gain. That’s not my fault as a CPA.” So I say, “Mr. CPA, I want to make sure we don’t ever do anything that makes you be the messenger. I want to make sure we’re working together going forward. I want to make sure that we’re working as a team and not making you the messenger who’s going to get shot.”

Micah Shilanski:  I love it.

Matthew Jarvis:   And, and that’s again, the CPA says, “Why am I meeting with this clown financial advisor? That’s not a real profession. They’re just insurance salesman in disguise.” And I’m saying, “Boy, I understand your situation. I empathize and I want to make your job easier.” Not, “I want to come in here and tell you how to do your job or show you how much smarter I am than you.”

Micah Shilanski:  Yeah, I love it. You’re showing a little bit the differences. You’re making their job easier. You’re highlighting the pain points that they have. I think these are really good.

Micah Shilanski:  So jumping back a little bit on that prospect, right? Because it all started off with Cody’s question about the aspects of if they didn’t feel comfortable in the meeting why are they there? Because you chase them, that’s going to be there. Asking these open ended questions and as small as they seem, these are the focuses that need to be there because it really shows your expertise, number one. Or number two, it shows that they’re not an ideal client.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yes.

Micah Shilanski:  Maybe you can’t add that much value to their life. Maybe they have it figured out, maybe they have these other things. Now I don’t run into that that often, just to be fair. But maybe that’s the case. Okay, then they’re not an ideal client for you. Maybe they don’t want to answer any of your questions, and if they won’t answer any questions in the initial meeting, they’re not going to answer them when they’re clients. So you don’t need to bring them on. So these questions really do help not only to see what value you can add, but also see is there value really adding to the client and should you break away from that relationship before you engage in a client relationship?

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah, I like that. I very, very rarely see, I can think of maybe one or two situations in my career, where there wasn’t a spot we can add value. I can think of a handful of times though where the person couldn’t see that and I’m going to paint them as… That was either extreme ownership, that’s me not communicating it well, but in the case I thought, “Boy, these guys are just really arrogant.” They’re like, “Oh, I make money every year.” Well, I see that you’re carrying forward a $400,000 capital loss. What happened there?” “Oh, well that’s really nothing.” It seems like something to me. Those are big alarms. I thinking, “Boy, this is a person who doesn’t have a grasp on reality and they’re going to sue the shorts off of me as soon as they wise up on this stuff.” And so it’s not that I’ve lost this prospect. I have saved myself years of pain and suffering and a U4 disclosure. Don’t ever be afraid to walk away from a prospect who doesn’t see your value.

Micah Shilanski:  You know, and that’s one of my big red flags. If someone says, “I’ve never lost money in an investment.” There’s a huge red flag that goes off. Now sometimes I’ll have them be kind of cheeky and they’ll say, “No, I believe in Warren Buffet. You only lose when you sell. I’m in it for the long run.” Totally fine. Absolutely, that’s great. But if they think their TSP has never gone down in value, if they think their 401k IRAs have never gone down in value, I can’t help them, because as soon as they transfer their accounts to me, we will go through a 2008 bear market and it is all my fault. And so that’s a good warning sign that’s right there of saying, “You know what? Here’s an outline of some things for them to go and do. Probably not a best fit for us and our firm.”

Matthew Jarvis:   I totally agree. I totally agree. Well Cody, I hope that some of these have helped you. I would go back through and listen to it again and in fact… So let’s talk about some action items here, Micah, if that’s okay with you?

Micah Shilanski:  Absolutely. Well one quick thing before we get into some action items though, right?

Matthew Jarvis:   Please, please.

Micah Shilanski:  We got to keep in mind that we have a pretty cool series going on right now called the One Page Financial Planning Series. And what I love about this is Jarvis is putting this together and as soon as he said it to me, as soon as he said it to me, he’s like, “Micah, what about this series?” I said, “That’s great.” I said, “I think the first question I have to ask about…” Because he gets so many questions about his One Page Financial Plan, “The first question I have to ask, if it’s a one page financial plan, why is it six series in order to do this? Doesn’t it seem a little complicated?” But no, it’s good. It’s a great outline. So if you’re a member of the Backstage Pass, of course this is included with it. We’re going to be going through that, so look forward to that coming out. That’s going to be a ton of fun.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah, it really will be. Eight part series by the way, so there you go.

Micah Shilanski:  Oh, sorry.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah, yeah, that’s how good it is. Well, so action items, in addition to signing up for the One Page Plan series, first action item I would say out of this, and I mentioned this earlier in the episode, is create a list of questions that you’re going to ask prospects. It can’t be the intake questionnaire, it cannot be a risk profile questionnaire. What are thought provoking questions that are going to make them aware of things they didn’t know and demonstrate your value as an expert? And I would practice those before every single prospect meeting

Micah Shilanski:  And I’m going to tie into that one for your second action item. Is you need to have an agenda for your meetings. Just like Jarvis said, you need to practice it. And I have those questions written on my agenda that’s going to be there. Even today, right? Even now when I’m meeting with prospects, and I’ve been doing this for 20 years, even now when I’m meeting with prospects, I write down what those questions are because that’s how important they are. I want to make sure I’m asking these questions and it shows I’m prepared for this meeting that we’re going to have.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah. The last action item I’ve got is you need to watch out for imposter syndrome. It’s easy to walk into a meeting and think, “Wow, this person’s a rocket scientist. They must know everything that I know.” And that is never the case. And so for those of us that have been the industry any period of time, that bio could be how many books you’ve read, it could be how many conferences you attended, how many hours you spent studying, it’s number of CE credits you do each year, and I know we think inside the industry none of those are a big deal. They’re a big deal compared to what any prospect has done, right? What’s the average prospect done? Read two books and some Morningstar reports? You’ve read all of these. And by the way, if you’re brand new, if this is your first week in the industry, then my bio would be all of the firm resources we have to bat. We have an attorney, we have an account, we have a financial planner that has 30 years. So you can say, “I’m pretty new at this, but I am part of a team that has 107 years of combined experience.” And that bio is not for you to rattle off to them. It’s for you to rattle off to you when you walk in that room.

Micah Shilanski:  Let’s also think about the people that have 20 to 30 years in experience that are listening to our podcast Jarvis, because it’s not about your firm. I mean that’s a good spin for the new advisor, right? But once you have your own credentials, quit relying on the firm’s. That’s imposter syndrome too. Rely on yourself. You are very successful. You’re doing things. You’ve been in the business 10, 15, 20, 30 years. That resume alone speaks for itself regardless of a letterhead resume with all the other things. So, I mean balance those things out, but don’t let the imposter syndrome of the firm you were at hold you to, “This is the only value I have.” That is not the case.

Matthew Jarvis:   Totally agree.

Micah Shilanski:  Awesome. Well, one of the things, of course, our last action item that we have, jump on iTunes, Apple or Google Play. Give us five star reviews. We haven’t asked for a little bit. Those have continued to grow, we’ve really appreciated reading them. If you want some cool swag, of course, give us a five star review, take a screenshot or a picture of it and tag us on social media; Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and then we will send you some cool swag.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah, very good. Well thanks everyone for listening. We’re always excited to talk to the TPR nation and 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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