It took 33 years for Russell Collins to discover what made him successful as a financial adviser: The Big Four.

He realised that there are four questions that people have in their minds when meeting a financial adviser.





As a consequence of this epiphany, Russell established RICS – Risk Insurance Communication Skills – with the goal of educating both new and existing advisers on how to maximise their potential to achieve greater success, with particular emphasis on their soft skills.

But who is Russell Collins?


Having retired after 40 years of being a financial adviser, Russell is now invested in giving back to the industry by sharing everything that led him to his success. If you wish to learn about what he knows and to discover the keys to his memorable career, now is your chance.


For over 40 years Russell has been speaking at state, national and international conferences, association seminars and dealer group professional development events.


Russell also conducts one-day workshops on selling insurance in both the personal market and the much-neglected business owner markets.


You can also have Russell become your mentor where he will walk you through finding your own success and leaving your mark in the industry.



In the rapidly evolving world of financial advice, one thing hasn’t changed: the need to protect every day Australians with risk insurance, especially life insurance.

To succeed in this mission, and help address the under-insurance problem, modern advisers need outstanding communication skills.

Skills That Succeed is a product of 40 years of experience that provides a first-hand definitive guide to learning those skills.

Book and ebook formats available. Audiobook will be available soon.

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It took 33 years for Russell Collins to discover what made him successful as a financial adviser – The Big Four! He realised that there are four questions that people subconsciously have in their minds when meeting a financial adviser for the first time: do I like you? Do I trust you? Are you competent? Are you the sort of person that will put my best interests before your own?

  • Russell Collins’ book is a game-changer for any adviser regardless of their time in the business. It will help you be referred to larger cases that are more easily placed and have better persistence.

    JIM PITTMAN, CFP, CLU 2014 MDRT Secretary
  • Matrix would like to thank you for your involvement in the 2009 Business Owners Conference held on 15 – 17 April in Hobart, Tasmania.

    I have to ask you, did any of the delegates follow you home? They were so taken away with you and your practical presentation that I thought they might never let you get away!

    Your presentation and round table sessions played a vital part in the total event. The feedback we received has been very positive, and delegates have confirmed that the insights you offered were valuable and relevant to them in their business. To give you an example, “an outstanding professional with a wealth of experience – he makes it look so easy.”

    I know you were worried about using the 1995 MDRT presentation, but another delegate said, “this is the fifth time I have heard Russell’s presentation and I am still learning from it.”

    Thank you so much for your contribution to our conference, Russell. In the words of another delegate, you are “a class act and a true professional.”

    Allison Dummett, DFS, BA, MA, and CEO

    A previous employer of mine felt it would be worthwhile for me to train under Russell. The objective was, with some training I might be able to double the production target. When I heard Russell present his Business Insurance Masterclass and Questions approach, I was impressed with his attention to detail and meeting preparation even before meeting with the prospect. Asking the prospect pre-prepared questions, recording the answers, typing this up into a document/detailed file note and sending this to the prospect for confirmation seemed like a very professional process but would take a lot more work.

    At the start of the training, Russell attended two prospect appointments. A first meeting and a presentation meeting. I led the meetings and asked the leading questions. Russell would ask a few additional questions. Due to his ability to hear what the prospect was saying and asking further questions rather than assuming what the prospect meant, Russell, assisted me with uncovering much deeper issues than what the prospect would ordinarily have offered. I got to see firsthand the art of asking a question and the science of hearing what was being said. Then ask further questions to clarify and draw a clearer picture. By doing this the problems and gaps the prospect has becomes clear to them and they want to resolve this.

    When we left the meetings, the agenda for the next meeting and the work to be done was set.

    With Russell’s training, I started to build a pipeline of business. The questions approach and working through the responses in detail meant I was having more meetings with the same prospect. This also meant my cases were more complicated than what I had previously managed on my own. My employer was very anxious, I had hardly closed any business in the last nine months. Russell just told me to show them the agenda progression and to stick with the process.

    I finished the year with 250% of the target which completed in the last 4 months of the financial year. I also started the following year at 250% of plan measured on a year to date basis.


    Prior to meeting Russell, I had a three-step sales process. First meeting: get to know the customer and objectives, financial position etc. 2nd meeting present a discussion paper with 2 to 3 alternatives to meet risk protection objectives. 3rd meeting to complete applications and personal statements. Sometimes I would need to do a fourth meeting. I would have to ring to book the meeting or be sure to set up the next meeting before I left the prospect’s office. This worked well for me. However, it was all about the sale because numbers were the measure of success.

    After working with Russell and getting to prepare questions, asking questions, hearing what was being said, making a note of this. Asking more questions till you drilled down to the heart of the matter. Recorded this. Emailed this to the prospect for confirmation which then set the agenda for the next meeting. With this, I developed a consultative process. Uncover the problem and first ask the prospect what their solution would be and explore this fully before you discussed what your solution would be. Having the prospect outline their solution, gave me the opportunity to professionally highlight some of the loopholes with their solution. There was more buy-in for the solutions I recommended.

    If not for the opportunity to work with Russell, my sales training might never have evolved from sales 101 to a professional consultative process and relationship building with customers. Most of these prospects are still clients of mine 7 and ten years on.

    “Russell, I think I have used up too many words so totally understand if you want to edit this down to a more suitable size.”

    I wanted you to know this example. Up to you if you want it included or not.

    The man was a radiologist, owned his own practice. Worked from 7:00 am to 10:00 pm 5 days a week and half-day Saturday.

    I was asked to call him and see him. He did not want to see me and was avoiding me. What changed this? I used Bruce’s idea of inviting him to a morning or afternoon tea. He became very pleasant on the phone but mentioned he could not leave his practice. However, if I could meet him at his house at 7:00 am, he would provide the coffee. So, we met.

    He told me frankly I was wasting my time seeing him. He had enough insurance to last a lifetime and it was awfully expensive. I said thank you for letting me know. However, out of courtesy for him and not to waste his time, I had completed some initial research and asked would it be ok if I asked him some questions which I had prepared in longhand on a note pad (Can you imagine the pressure I would be feeling if I had not prepared question the day before). When I got his permission to ask a few questions, I also said he could stop the meeting at any time, also not answer any question if he felt it was too personal in nature. He said the meeting would have to finish in 30 minutes.

    So, I got going. I checked with him at the 30-minute mark. He asked me to keep going. One and a half-hour later we concluded the meeting. He was very anxious about what was uncovered about his risk protection position. He wanted to make our next meeting for a weeks’ time. What he thought was expensive at $10,000 annual premiums he settled on what he considered was much needed at the $35,000 premium level.

    MDRT insights

    Getting my production levels up not only qualified me for MDRT, but it also made it affordable for me to attend the MDRT conference overseas. Here Russell introduced us to Top of the table production advisers who gave time and information about how they conduct business. My take on life is if you have the right teachers and mentors, the sky is the limit.

    LAWRENCE KENNEDY, Financial Adviser and Director, Surety Life
  • Very early on in my career, I was fortunate enough to attend a PD Day which Russell was presenting at. After seeing his brief presentation, I immediately realised that I needed to learn more and enrolled in Russell’s two-day workshop. Little did I know that this investment 15 years ago would define my career and underpin my success in the field.

    Russell’s teachings resonated strongly as they focus on building relationships with clients, in order to reveal the needs and position the solutions which are targeted at the client’s problems. His approach to fact-finding and conducting client interviews showcases modern-day best practice even though his techniques have been collated over a 40+ year career.

    To this day, I continue to use concepts and phrases that I have borrowed from Russell which I continue to benefit from. Our professional relationship has grown into a wonderful friendship and Russell continues to be a source of advice and guidance in many facets of my life. There is no doubt that all Financial Advisers would benefit from Russell’s teachings on building client relationships, fact-finding, constructing client presentations and conducting business.

    SAM PERERA, Grad Dip FP and Adv Dip FP
  • This is a must for every Financial Adviser to invest in and use every week in planning their meetings with clients. Russell has done the hard yards for them, they just have to ‘execute’ and ask the ‘right questions’. It was a pleasure and honour to go through this masterpiece of 40 years’ worth of learning in our great life insurance industry.

  • Russell started mentoring me from the outset of my Financial Advice career. His knowledge of people, insurance and soft skills was invaluable to me and I feel working with him gave me years of experience in the insurance industry. He taught me how to ask the right questions to your clients. He had a question and answer for every client scenario and he spoke openly about his years in the industry. Being mentored by Russell gave me the confidence to conquer the risk environment. Without Russell, I would never have had the success I have had in my business. I encourage everyone starting out or needing help with the risk industry, to read his book and get to know him personally through mentoring.

  • It is rare to find someone who combines integrity, competence and a genuine interest in people. Russell is one such person and with whom I have been privileged to work with since I started in the industry. The time I have spent with him has been of great benefit and professional growth for me.  I have learned from his immense wisdom and experience, gleaned over the years. His guidance on business strategy and his insights in making decisions have proved invaluable. Topping it off is the bond of friendship that we have come to enjoy. Anyone using his services would, no doubt, benefit greatly.

    D. SARKER, Authorized Representative, BlueRocke Investment Advisors Pty Lt


Start your journey to success today.

If you have any questions for Russell, please do not hesitate to get in touch.