THE RICS STORIES

Hear from the people who have met people and who have experienced the power of RICS.

It’s rare in the financial planning world in Australia to meet someone who is prepared to help you unreservedly and to provide you with so much value! Russell Collins is an exceptional person in this regard. I have known Russell since 2009. He has inspired me to write a book which I use for marketing purposes to find my ideal clients. Russell suggested I join the best Financial Adviser membership organisation in the world, the Million Dollar Round Table and in doing so it has helped my career and life immeasurably.

Russell brings a lifetime’s worth of experience and knowledge to all his mentees. After working with Russell and importantly implementing all his ideas, you’ll find you have a better business, a less stressful life and you can look forward to the future with greater confidence. What’s more, Russell has written an amazing book which contains his most powerful client-facing strategies that will always serve as an easy reference guide long after you finish working one on one with him. As an adviser you always need some lucky breaks in your working life, I was indeed very fortunate to have attended Russell’s presentation at the Financial Planning Association’s Annual Conference in 2009 and acquired a lifelong friend and mentor as a consequence.

If you seriously wish to improve your success, struggle less and reduce your work stress, I wholeheartedly recommend you consult and employ Russell to guide you in your endeavours. It’ll be one of the best decisions you ever make.

Daryl La’Brooy, Certified Financial Planner (CFP), B Comm, B Bus (Acc.), MBA, FFin, FCPA

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

PRODUCTION

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.

PROFESSIONALISM

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.

Godfrey Phillips, FAFA JP

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.

Alexandra Homann

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 Ltd

I was 25 years old, fresh out of uni, and thrust into the business world when I came across Russell Collins in early 2011.

 Essentially responsible for running my father’s financial planning business, I found myself with all the textbook knowledge in the world, zero practical experience, and facing the daunting “where to start” question.

 Luckily for me, Russell had all the tools to get me on the right track.  His insight, knowledge, processes and procedures taught me so much in our regular mentoring sessions in those early days.

 Only six months into my career, Russell helped me prepare for my first big assignment: to pitch for a $50,000 business insurance case.  I could only dream to get this case across the line – but presented to the client prepped with my questions to run through, my diagrams to draw on the whiteboard, and my stories to tell. IT WORKED!

 To this day, Russell’s questions, diagrams, stories and overall “russellisms” are my go-to for client presentations.  The diagrams are simple to follow and don’t overwhelm the clients. The questions allow a subtle connection with the client while drawing out all the solid information required to ensure success.

 

Eleanor Hanrahan, Financial Adviser / Accountant

I have been a financial adviser in Australia since 2011 and a paraplanner for 6 years prior to starting my own business. All of my training and qualifications did not even touch the surface when it comes to selling our services to clients and prospects. I read some general sales books which helped and have gone through training provided by the licensee but I was not confident in my interactions with prospects. On top of that, compliance procedures would stifle my ability to connect with clients.

Russell’s mentoring provided me with the structure and confidence to “sell” myself and to connect with prospects. He also provided guidelines that I could follow and adapt to my style that dealt with asking the right questions and a process to lead the client on a journey to the next steps. His mentoring has been invaluable, increasing my close rate and the confidence to continue advising despite the increasing compliance & educational requirements.

Sofie Korak, JP, BAppSc, GDipFP 

Much to my eternal good fortune, Russell undertook to mentor me very early in my career in July of 2011. At that stage, I was less than 12 months into having started my financial planning business, and I was going backwards quickly. I still remember our meeting in Russell’s Insurance Communications workshop and being blown away not only by his incomparable skills in the insurance game but more notably, his moral compass.

What sets Russell apart is that he is not a typical “salesperson.” Rather, he has made an art form of communicating, of asking the right questions, and of implementing an interviewing process that has one sole purpose: to act in the best interests of his clients.

I’ve learned so much from Russell, and no more important lesson than how to be a better person, and therefore to be a better adviser in the process. These days, I continue being mentored and challenged by Russell because of the value I place on having him in my life.

If you’re fortunate enough to have been mentored by Russell, you will most certainly be a better insurance and financial adviser as a result. Most importantly though, you will also be a better individual.

Dominique Schuh, B.BusMan. BA. Adv. Dip. FS (FP). ChLP. SSA SMSF Specialist Advisor™

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.

Jordan Hawke

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.

Mark Thompson, DFP

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.

Rajesh Chheda Goa

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.

Barry Vanderbergh, CFP, FAFA, Dip AII

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!

Bruce Etherington, BA, CLU, CFP, CHFC

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

Hi, Russell,

Thank you for a fantastic session yesterday. I know our advisers really valued your ideas and we have had some great feedback.

Shivani Gopal, M Comm (Financial Planning), ADFS

Hi, Russell,

Your presentation today was awesome and very helpful – the best I’ve been to. I will definitely use your strategy for my clients. Thanks, Russell.

Tien Pham, BCom, MBank & Fin, DipFS

Jim, the MDRT meeting in Vancouver in June was fantastic. Your friend Russell Collins was probably my favourite speaker of the whole deal! Still processing all that I learned, but it was amazing!

Joshua Tomeoni, CLU, CFP

Hi, Russell,

You don’t know me yet but I thought I would send a sincere thank you. I was reading through your presentation from the MDRT 2013 conference today. The quote you provided by Jack Dulworth. “The three stages of development in the life of a salesperson” really was an aha moment for me.

The best advice I always got was from my dad when I was growing up. He said, “Find an old fella who’s seen it all and ask him what he would do if he had his time again, as great advice is gained from years of experience”. Best advice ever! Teaching us “young blokes” who want to learn what works. Isn’t it amazing how sometimes the old ideas become the new, new?

 

Ben Law, B.Ag.Ec., Dip F.P. CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ – Risk Specialist

Russell,

You gave a wonderful talk at MDRT Vancouver Meeting. Keep up the good work. Our members need your advice and your new book is the bible for the Business Owner Market. A Classic!

All the best.

James D. Pittman, CLU, CFP, First Vice President of MDRT

Russell,

I just wanted to say thank you for your presentation in Brisbane. I was planning to speak with you after to say it in person but unfortunately had to leave a little early before you had finished. I really enjoyed the day and you have provided me with some really great tools and concepts, some of which I have started to use already, others that we will implement in the very near future. I would like you to know that in my experience, this is the best 1-day sales (soft skill) workshop that I have ever attended. I have come from a family of insurance advisers and you have always been spoken of in legend, the man to see, who up until now I hadn’t. Well, it was worth the time invested and I have taken on board your advice to invest in myself and the improvement of my skills.

Justin Walker, Fortnum Private Wealth

Hi, Russell!

I have just finished finalising the feedback from our Fortnum advisers who attended the National Summit. I thought some of this may be of interest to you as it shows not only our gratitude in having you as a presenter at our Summit but also the value you have imparted into our advisers. There were many positive feedback comments which were left in regards to your presentation which have been summarised into the following:

  • Great practical opportunities, and numerous takeaway strategies that can be implemented in all sectors of their businesses;
  • Helpful in allowing our advisers to reflect better on how we interact with clients and let them decide;
  • You were a great communicator with a wealth of knowledge; and
  • Valuable sales skills. 

Thanks again Russell for taking the time to come in and present to our advisers. What a great presentation. It was so well received by all our advisers.

Sym Yeow for the Fortnum National Summit

Dear Russell,

A massive THANK YOU! Yes, I wish I could shout it from the rooftops!

I’m not sure that there will ever be words enough to thank you for the presentation you did in Perth yesterday. It was the most valuable workshop/seminar that I have ever been to in my 8 years as a Life Risk Adviser.

Natalie Ashworth

Hi, Russell,

I attended my first MDRT seminar in Philly a few weeks back and was lucky enough to hear your presentation. Your focus on building relationships in the initial meeting, preparing for the initial meetings, asking penetrating questions etc. were the game changes for me.  I have since changed the structure of how I conduct the initial meetings which have produced solid results to date. Great tips for sure and I left your presentation motivated.

Glenn Malkiewicz, B.Bus (FinPlan)