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.