“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.”

That was from Daryl LaBrooy, a financial adviser based in Melbourne, and that’s the line that I usually tell my audience when I talk to them about how to create a sense of urgency among prospects. I joined him for lunch in Sydney in late 2010 where he unwittingly caused me to seriously think about my legacy to the industry over food.

For years, I’ve had people ask me when they are going to see my book or if I even planned on writing one. My answer was always the same: I had no time. Until Daryl happened.

But I didn’t write immediately after that meeting. But it never left my mind. Finally, in December that same year, I looked back at the milestones of my life, the professionals that I’ve met, the things that I’ve learned, and the clients that I have helped, to help me start the fire. Skills That Succeed is the result.

This book represents my professional odyssey and chronicles the wisdom that I have acquired in four decades of work. It answers the question, ‘Why am I successful?’ and proves that technical know-how will only get me as far. There are greater precursors to success and only a few people realise what these are.

But in this book, I am sharing what I know with you.


Russell Collins, 2020


From the preparation to the sale, Skills That Succeed is your ultimate guide to success in the financial services industry. Here are only some of the chapters you can read about in the book.


How can you separate yourself from your competitors? Preparation is one of the most neglected areas of the fact-finding meeting training process. It shouldn’t be the case. Read this and understand why they say that preparation is key.


Presentation is both an art and science in the same way as persuasion. So how should you design your presentation? What effective delivery tactics leads to a positive close? Discover the answer in this chapter.


In a meeting, what do you say after ‘hello?’ How do you open the meeting in a positive manner, and close it in a way that will eliminate competition? More importantly, what is the fact-finding meeting really for?


Selling insurance is the easy part. But getting it through the underwriters is the hard part. This chapter examines how you can process applications with no delays and how to handle difficult cases.


What do you do with the information in the file note? How can you use it to close a sale? The file note isn’t simply an instrument – it is the instrument. Learn how you can harness its untapped power in this chapter.


How do you harness your brainpower and your time, and build your character in the process? Apart from your knowledge of insurance, what else can you bring to the table? The answer is a given. But not everyone is up to it.


Many people have welcomes Skills That Succeed when it was printed. Finally. These are their testimonials.

  • Are you a Risk Protection Specialist? Do yourself a favour & get industry legend Russell Collins’ latest book “Skills That SUCCEED”! I highly recommend it.

    DAVID J. EARLEY, Dip. FS (FP), AFA, Dip. FS (Brok.), QPI
  • Russell,

    Just wanted to put into writing how much I enjoyed your book. The messages and lessons for all of the industry are awesome. Insurance underpins everything we do and I hope this book helps others protect families and businesses.

  • Our industry needs clarity and leadership. Russell Collins has written an excellent book that is a guiding light for anyone on the financial service journey. His practical and explicit comments and tools are keys to success. Any practitioner, new or experienced will benefit from reading and applying his wisdom and experience.

    GUY BAKER, CFP, MBA, MSFS, Past President Million Dollar Round Table
  • With 30 years of experience as an insurance adviser, I purchased Russell Collins’ ‘Skills that Sell’ with an expectation that it would be excellent and also reaffirm what I already know. I was only half correct; yes Skills that Sell is excellent, but it also taught me more about the business of offering insurance advice. ‘Skills that Sell’ should be compulsory reading for anyone new to advising on life insurance as well those you want to move up to the next level of insurance advice.

  • This book will help you discover what it truly means to be a professional in one of the greatest professions of all: the sale of Life and Disability Insurance.


    JOHN CRAIK, Former National President of AFA
  • Your book on financial planning is just great. I am reading it and it’s turning out to be simply a treasure. Made me remember that I should not forget my basics and what brought me to MDRT. Wow! The best part was in me emerging as one of the top advisors in this financial year for my company out of its 1.1 million agents.

  • Russell,

    Thank you for your book. I won’t loan it out to anyone and it’ll stay pretty close by. I finished it a few weeks ago and have marked it up as a quick reference guide. It is the most useful and highly relevant guide I have thus far. I am lucky to have some fantastic mentors, which now include you via your book. Thank you!

    PAUL CONTE, B.Com (Accounting) ADFP
  • Russell,

    I finished your book over the weekend. It took me a couple of weeks as I was so enraptured by it, I was changing some of my systems/processes as I was reading it. It is a great read and I thank you for putting a “Lifetime of Effort” in writing. I got so much out of it.

    TROY EDMONDSON, Business & Estate Planning Specialist, QLD
  • Brilliant! At last, a book published by a successful adviser with a lifetime of Risk Insurance experience. Russell’s book illustrates his knowledge and commitment to his career. Whilst Russell’s expressed target market for his book is new advisers with less than ten years’ experience and advisers with ten to fifteen years’ experience, I believe all advisers interested in becoming proficient in the Risk Insurance market, irrespective of their number of years’ experience, will gain tremendous insight and motivation from Russell’s book.

  • A must-read for every financial adviser who cares about their clients. Russell has given us a step by step review and raison d’être of what works in the marketplace and why. Every financial adviser can benefit from his time tested, integrity filled advice and guidance. One of the very best books on the subject that I have read in my 50 years of practice. Bravo!

  • What should you read after you think you have read everything about how to sell life insurance? Russell Collins’ new book! I’ve read scores of ‘how-to’ books in my nearly 50 years in this great business. This one is the best as far as I’m concerned. A new ‘rookie’, as well as a seasoned veteran, will find gems within its covers. Russell’s tips on questioning, on note-taking, on presenting and on follow-up, are things that are as important today as they have ever been. Each time I re-read this book I find new insights. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

    GENE MAHN, CLU, ChFC , MDRT President, 1998