Secrets to Surging

What Other FA’s Don’t Tell You About Surging

5 min read

Jamie Shilanski
Financial Advisor, CFP®

Surge Scheduling has taken the Financial Advisory world by storm. What started as a slow adoption in 2017 has become the most talked-about strategy for Financial Advisors. Take control of their time, focus their teams, deliver massive value to their clients, and have some semblance of healthy family life while their kids still want them to be around. 

Whom do we have to thank for the industry being abuzz? Matthew Jarvis and Micah Shilanski, co-founders of The Perfect RIA and acclaimed authors on how single practitioners and larger enterprises can achieve head-spinning levels of success, have an active and healthy lifestyle, and show up for their respective families by being genuinely present during family time. 

Surge meetings happen with the FA systematically holding client meetings in strategically designed blocks of time. Making this change has allowed FA’s to increase their productivity team efficiency and, believe it or not – triple revenue over a couple of years.  

Designing your surge schedule – super simple, don’t let anyone overcomplicate it with overthinking steps and deep, drug-out theories. It goes a little something like this,

  1. Determine how many clients you currently have. 
  2. Determine how many prospects you want to meet with.
  3. Add clients and prospect numbers together to get the total sum. 
  4. How many meetings can you have in a day? 
  5. How many days of the week do you work?
  6. Now the magic math: take the total number of clients and prospects you have calculated in step 2 and divide by the number of meetings you can have in a day. Now you know how many days your surge needs to be, and account for any days of the week you don’t want to work if you are a slacker who takes Fridays off or something. 

If you have 100 clients and like to see ten prospects each surge cycle, you need 110 appointment slots. Assuming you keep a moderate cadence of 5 appointments a day, you need 22 surge days. Those days should be back to back if you want to incorporate the “Deep work” strategies that Cal Newport discussed in his epic book.

But there is another part of a surge that FA’s don’t talk about, which is the potential downside of having a surge schedule. 

SECRETS TO SURGING What Other FA’s Don’t Tell You About Surging
SECRETS TO SURGING What Other FA’s Don’t Tell You About Surging

When I Surge, You Surge

How did that song go? “When I dip, you dip, we dip….” Same for Surge Scheduling. When you are surging, so is your entire office and your family.

Yep, your family too.

Surging has to be a family commitment. One of the biggest rookie mistakes FA’s will make when they start surging is thinking that this is work and home life is home life, so that is separate. It’s not. Ever try dieting or a new fitness program that your spouse is just not committed to? While you’re eating kale chips, they’re indulging in pizza – not cool, not cool. 

Families who aren’t informed when and how the surge is happening may not realize how intense surging can be and how focused the FA needs to be to operate at this level. When they are not aware, they can sabotage a surge without knowing they are even doing anything disruptive. 

Here are some family rules that I implemented after a few years of surging under my belt.

My Family is Aware of Surge

Of course, I have giant laminate wall calendars in our home. When you get licensed and credentialed, your first home comes its laminate calendars if you are an FA. 

Surges are on the schedule a year in advance. The dates are set in stone, and no one asks for one-offs during those times. I have even missed a family member’s wedding because it was planned during a surge period that had already been set a year in advance. When it is on the schedule, it’s in stone. 

I do not allow any vacations for team members when we are in a surge. As a leader, I will not ask my team to do anything for me that I am not willing to do myself. So, when it came to the wedding, I made the same judgment call that I would for an employee: no time off during surge.

Sounds intense? We aren’t training for a second-place around here. It is intense. That is required to be at our best for the people we serve.

A Slow Death by Social Events

No social events during a surge. No dinner parties, wine tastings, gala’s, fundraisers, or other networking events. When I get the invitation, my assistant sends a respectfully declined card before I can even get involved. I cannot get involved. 

I know for a fact that if I am invited to something that I think will be good for business, I will for sure justify in my mind how I can do both: surge and social events.

Social events will kill your surge energy. They are always at night or on the weekends when you should be recharging. 

You have to be as dedicated to your success as you are to your recovery. That means when you’re not face to face with a client in a surge, you spend time recovering so that when you’re “up” again, you are on your A-Game. 


As I mentioned before, when you surge, so does your team. That means that they are working on overdrive too.  

One of the first things I implemented when we started surging in our multi-FA office was to ensure that all the food and drinks available during that period were healthy and full of nourishment. Or, at the very least, not full of sugar, salt, grease, and other morsels of deliciousness that try and convince you that “Casual Fridays” can happen all week. You’ll know when they start working their sweet lies on you because you say to yourself, “my clients don’t care what I wear anyways….”

Three weeks before surge starts in my office, my assistant goes on Amazon and loads the office up with healthy snacks. Amazon even sells a healthy snack box that gives a ton of variety. 

I find a local chef in our area that can customize healthy lunches and order them for the entire team. Note: I do not go around every day asking my team what they want to eat for lunch. Kill me now.

I find the chef; I give my assistant marching orders to hire up a team shared document. They can make a mark about any dietary restrictions they may have: real allergies, fake allergies, preferences, whatever. That goes to the chef responsible for making meals around that list. The meals are delivered each day around 11:00 a.m., and just like my parenting meal prep style, they come in two options: take it or leave it.

So you see, a surge is not only your responsibility, and it is not only one part of your business schedule – it is a way of life, of your life, the lives of your team members, and your family. 

But reading is nothing without taking action!
Here is what you should do in order to see results

Action item #01

Let your family be aware when you surge. That will help you get needed support, and help them understand the intensity of the surge itself. It is a win-win situation for everyone.

Action item #02

You have to be as dedicated to your success as you are to your recovery. No social events during a surge. No dinner parties, wine tastings, gala’s, fundraisers, or other networking events.

Action item #03

When you surge, so does your team. That means that they are working on overdrive too.  Ensure that all the food and drinks in your office, available during surge time are healthy and full of nourishment.

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I have been EXTREMELY SURPRISED about the process so far. In just a couple of weeks I have already increased fees to 1.5% on about 10 million in assets ($20k in actual revenue change) and I have never felt more proud, empowered, and excited. I almost look forward to the next conversation rather than run from it, it’s a weird feeling

– Cameron V.


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