SKILLS THAT SUCCEED: THE BOOK

“Russell, if you had died yesterday, everything you have in your brain would have died with you. As a consequence, you would have missed a golden opportunity to have left your legacy to our industry!”

These words came from Daryl LaBrooy, a Financial Adviser based in Melbourne, and his “if you had died yesterday” comment was actually repeating back to me what I usually tell my audience when I talk to them about how to create a sense of urgency amongst their prospects and clients. I had joined Daryl for lunch in Sydney in late 2010 where his kind words unwittingly caused me to seriously think about my legacy to the industry.

For years people had been asking me when were they going to see my book? Or had I planned on writing one? My answer was always the same – I had no time! Until Daryl happened.

I didn’t start on the book immediately after that luncheon, but the thought was regularly on my mind. Finally that December I started to look back on important milestones of my career: the national and international professional advisers who had influenced and mentored me; the things that I had learned and was able to pass on to others for their benefit; the hard business decisions that had enabled me to build a clientele from scratch – all of which had added meaning and value to my life. This helped to start the fire. Skills That Succeed is the result.

This book represents my professional odyssey and chronicles the knowledge that I acquired during my four decades as a Financial Adviser. It addresses the importance of developing communication skills which people will both understand and act upon. These skills enabled me to achieve a level of success which far exceeded my initial expectations, as well as the personal satisfaction of knowing that when I left home for work each day I had the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives. Hopefully, my book will provide you with the opportunity to discover your own untapped potential.

Russell Collins, 2020

AVAILABLE IN BOOK, EBOOK, AND AUDIOBOOK FORMATS

WHAT'S INSIDE

From the “preparation” to the “sale”, the basic denominator in Skills That Succeed is communication. This book is a Communication Guide for Risk-Based Financial Advisers. Here are samples of some of the chapters in the book.

THE IMPORTANCE OF PREPARATION

Templated fact-finding documents can take away the need to separately prepare for each initial meeting where advisers have only one opportunity to separate themselves from their competitors. In this session Advisers will have access to dozens of penetrating questions to cull through, selecting those most appropriate to each meeting as well as those that would eliminate any of the usual objections raised at presentation time. This will enable the adviser to successfully turn each initial meeting from a Q & A-type meeting, into a relationship-development meeting.

THE FACT-FINDING
MEETING

The primary purpose of every initial meeting is to develop a relationship; secondarily, to obtain information. This session focuses on how to open the meeting in a positive manner, how to control the meeting throughout by the use of questions and how to close it in a positive manner which will eliminate competition from the outset. This is the result of proper preparation.

THE FILE NOTE: A POWERFUL TOOL

The greatest compliment an adviser can pay any person in an initial meeting is to ask a question, listen to and record their answer. This session focuses on the benefit of sending a file note as soon as possible after the meeting, which includes both your questions and their answers, seeking confirmation of the details. Confirming the details indicates a desire to meet with you for a follow-up meeting which also has the immediate effect of eliminating competition.

DISSECTING THE FILE NOTE

Confirmation of the file note details creates the opportunity for a follow-up meeting where the adviser can address the problems uncovered in the initial meeting. This session discusses how to prepare a Strategy Paper for this meeting where the adviser can present those problems in a manner which at the same time invites the other party into the decision-making process, in order to obtain an agreement in principle that the problems exist.

Once that agreement is reached, the adviser is then in the position of being able to prepare recommendations and figures for inclusion in the SOA. Since the latter contains recommendations based on their decision-making, there should be no reason why they wouldn’t proceed to form a relationship with you.

THE PRESENTATION

Many advisers fail to understand that the SOA document is a statement of the Adviser’s “advice”. Its initial purpose was not to be that of a “presentation vehicle”. The latter is actually done in the previous Strategy Paper meeting, which highlights the importance of having that meeting prior to the delivery of the SOA. This session addresses the importance of presenting the SOA so that the meeting will flow smoothly and thus conclude with an agreement to proceed. It touches on the importance of rehearsal, location, seating arrangements. The SOA document should make the meaning more so, the complex less so and the dry mind-numbing detail come alive.

THE FOLLOW-THROUGH

Once the recommendations within the SOA are accepted, the adviser then undertakes the most important role in this delivery process – that of getting the recommendations approved by the underwriters. This session focuses on developing a process that deals with submission of the application form and separate questionnaires; why it is crucial to maintain regular contact with the life insured throughout the whole process; debating loadings/exclusions with the underwriter and then ensuring the latter are accepted by the life insured. Then the relationship is on the way.

PROSPECTING

One of the major reasons’ advisers have difficulty in growing their businesses profitably is an inability to have a continual flow of new people to meet. Prospecting is the key to activity, activity is the key to productivity, and productivity is the key to profitability. This session addresses the need to prospect continually, preferably through referrals, and referrals are more easily gained through the use of specific profiles. Gaining referrals is a presentation all in itself which is discussed in detail in the session.

SPECIFIC SALES CONCEPTS

The Personal Market. Successful financial advisers are more educators than they are advisers and the education process starts with them. In other words, the adviser has to be able to present the complex with such simplicity that it can be understood by all categories of communities. This session focuses on how to create long-term client relationships with the single person; two-income families– no children; two-income families with children; sole income family, and divorced situations.

THE BUSINESS OWNER MARKET

Without question, this is the most neglected market in the risk insurance area. This session is an introduction to the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) business owner market. It focuses on why the market is so neglected by advisers and why they should consider accessing it. The session outlines how to enter the market and to gradually develop it by becoming specialised in the various insurance areas that business owners need to address i.e. Keyperson Insurance, Guarantor Protection Insurance and Buy-out Insurance.

KEY PERSON INSURANCE

In the SME market, the business owners are usually always “key” to the organisation – its continuity, productivity and profitability. This session focuses on developing questions that give rise to the need for this type of insurance for the Sole Trader, Husband and Wife-type businesses and Arm’s-length owner businesses. It also looks at developing specific presentations for each of these areas and how to present with success.

GUARANTOR PROTECTION INSURANCE

When seeking lines of credit from lending institutions, business owners are normally required to provide personal guarantees AND collateral security to cover the debt. In meeting these requirements business owners are in fact placing their families as “hostages to fate” because if a business owner dies and the debts cannot be repaid then the lending institution becomes “first heir” to that business owners’ estate. This session addresses how the use of guarantor protection insurance ensures that that can never happen in the case of a sole trader, family businesses and arm’s-length businesses.

BUY-OUT INSURANCE

Partnerships make up a large part of the SME market and buy-out insurance is very specific in that its purpose is to protect a business partner’s “lifetime of effort” – not the business itself. In other words, the surviving partners can continue the business but what does the deceased’s family receive in relation to a “lifetime of effort” (his or her equity in the business)? This session covers the questions required to introduce this topic to partnerships, why they should own it and how to present successfully so that all partners’ “lifetime of effort” is protected, resulting in the surviving owners then owning 100% of the equity between themselves.

ESTATE PLANNING

Throughout the financial services industry in Australia, the topic of estate planning always only ever relates to “death”. But there are in fact three phases of estate planning – creation, preservation and distribution – and the first two are just as important as the distribution. This session focuses on understanding how these three phases can produce a series of questions to highlight the need for estate planning, which in turn ensures that in event of a person’s death a lifetime of accumulation falls into the right hands. The session also covers the importance of eliminating debt on death, so that a person’s gross estate and their net estate will always be one and the same.

BRAIN, TIME AND INTEGRITY

When an adviser meets with someone for the first time the latter expects that the adviser is competent and capable of putting together a portfolio (if the discussion is around investments) or an insurance program (if the discussion is on insurance). After that, what else does the adviser bring to the table? This session highlights the importance of advisers using their brain to educate themselves to become the best that they can be; time management processes to ensure that their days are never wasted so that they always deliver what was promised at the beginning of a client relationship; and integrity. In relation to the latter an open discussion on what constitutes integrity in the financial services industry.

LIVING THE LIFE OF THE PROFESSIONAL ADVISER

Risk insurance advisers need to develop an unshakeable mindset in the benefits of life and disability insurances, and that the power to persuade will always be closely aligned to the integrity of the adviser. People are looking for a quality individual and not someone offering a product with the lowest price. They are looking for someone in whom they can trust, and once that trust is established, someone upon whom they can rely for the rest of their lives to take care of their needs. This session focuses on developing the belief that there is no substitute for what you do on a daily basis. Your value comes from the problems you solve, not the products themselves. And with experience comes self-esteem, self-confidence and self-satisfaction. The financial services industry offers advisers a fantastic career by developing great relationships and adding meaning and value to the lives of clients on a daily basis.

WHAT PEOPLE SAY

In the rapidly evolving world of financial advice, one thing has not changed: the need to protect every day Australians with life insurance. To succeed in this mission, and to help address the under-insurance problem, modern advisers need outstanding communication skills. Skills That Succeed provides them with a firsthand definitive guide to learning those skills.

Below are some of the testimonials that Russell Collins have received about this book.

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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, ebook and audiobook formats available.

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