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#248 Russell Collins – Transcript

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Fraser Jack 

Welcome back to the x y advisor podcast. I’m Fraser Jack interjet. Today, I am joined by an absolute legend of the risk insurance industry, Russell Collins. Hello, Russell. Hi, Fraser. Thanks for inviting me in. fantastic to have you now do you want to give the listeners who don’t know who you are a quick overview of who you are?

 

Russell Collins 

Well, from the industry point of view, I joined the industry in 1971. And I practice early in the risk insurance area right through to my handing in my license, so to speak, on the 30th of June 2010. About 15 years before that, I started to be coming involved in mentoring, training, running training sessions, and so on in the risk area. And so when I finished as a advisor, so to speak, I’ve maintained that practice of training, and so on, right through up until today, so to speak, is something that I enjoy, I’m very passionate about the risk insurance area. It’s been hammered a lot in the last whatever decade or so. But I still think that there are the advisor, broadly, is the most important job in the industry in the financial services industry. And from my point of view, in the risk area, until the adviser submits an application form. And nobody in the life insurance company has a job, so to speak. That’s the importance of the role. And I still think that there are a lot of people in our industry that may see it as a job, rather than my case as a vocation. And you know, because you’ve been in this business before, the relationship between you and the client just becomes that of a friendship that if it’s done well, it’ll go on for forever and ever. So just to let you know, because off camera, you asked me about where I am. I two years ago, my wife and I have been married with married on the seventh September 1963. So you can do the sons, they’re 58 years, we have four children, Matthew, whom, you know, join me in 1998, as my succession plan has done really, really good. In that time, we have a daughter Gabrielle, and another son, Justin, then our daughter, Kristen, and Christian, was responsible if you come to this, for really getting me on board in terms of doing the audio book, but up here, because I have some free time as well. I continue to do the mentoring and you know, with zooming and so on like that. And I’m always I just feel there are so many great opportunities in our industry, for pickly, particularly for the new advisors coming in. Luckily for them, they they’d come in with no baggage, so to speak. And if I take Matthew son, Timothy migrane son, when he first started with me a few, just forgetting about maybe five years ago, he used to come to my place weekly 7am in the morning, and for an hour, he would record everything. And then he would take it back and don’t ask me how he did it. But he would put on his computer, what we talked about as a sort of a as a guide. So if something comes up he would he knows he’s got an index he knows where to go, and so on like that.

 

Fraser Jack 

antastic so you obviously a very long career of vocation, I should say, with regards to your experience, obviously, came from a time when when the soft skills was A very, very important part, it still is a very important part of the job, but a part that you want to make sure that you can help pass on internally doing that with all of the different things you’ve been doing from keynote speaking to, you know, training and mentoring and coaching people. Let’s go. Let’s, I mean, obviously, you’ve seen a lot of change. I mean, when I let let’s quickly run through the concept of, obviously, you’ve been through the idea of people used to work as tied agents, then moving through to you know, there was a broker, period, and then obviously, into financial advice. Tell us about that transition those transition periods?

 

Russell Collins 

Well, when I first started in 1971, everybody was an agent of a major company. In my case, it was a Prudential. And so you just sell their products, you’re trained by them? And the question of, for example, with the Prudential, my wanting to go into business with another insurance company was frowned upon. Well, I mean, you got the you got fired for on that basis there. But one interesting thing that a lot of people aren’t aware of Fraser, is that in those days, if you were a thing called twisting, you know that the

 

Fraser Jack 

term, if I

 

Russell Collins 

come across you, and I take you away from the ANP, to the Prudential, if the advisor, the imp, found out about that, he tells his manager, who rings my manager, and the commission for that particular policy, is it rebated to the ANP advisor. So that’s how strict we were, on what I would think like a pretty ethical thing in those days. But after a while, if I could just say, in my case, in 1978, I had come to a stage where I had learned, like, I couldn’t learn anything more, I must say this, the managers trained you in that day. The problem with that was that if it was me training them, I train them as Russel Collins would do something. And so what I found in my agency, with about a dozen people is that my character, my values, my whatever, were different to everybody else in that thing. But it’s this is the way that Mr. X did it. And so I found that extremely difficult. In those days, I was fortunate enough to have access to I’m very successful, advise them by name of Bruce flick. And so I, he, when he heard I was going in the industry, he put the word out if I need any help, so I went to see him and he used to assist me a lot in advancing my knowledge. And when I went to my first million dollar round table meeting in 1973, that’s when I found the major problem with the training that I done is that they’re the advisors took the speakers who are advisors spoke about how they would ask people what they wanted, rather than tell them what they needed. And that became the secret to that was the next mdrt meeting I went to was a presentation called the miracle of the probe. And what that then put To my mind, this is that aha moment, so and so it was the questions you asked to get the responses you need from people. So what I’m getting at there is that I developed. And I learned this obviously food. Yeah, it was what I call penetrating questions. So the rule was ask a penetrating question, listen for the answer, and then record the answer in an orderly manner. So penetrating question is one where people have to think before they answer instead of a yes or no type thing. So like an example of a penetrating question might be an event of your death. Would you like your family’s current lifestyle to continue? And person would say, let’s assume they said, Yes. Now the other thing that I learned, I only learned this maybe 20 years ago, after I know it was before I finished practicing, listening with a year of the heart. Now, in my book, I talked about the importance of attentive listening. But attentive listening is like, yes, it’s more than Yes. Now it’s was that person saying, but listening with the ear of the heart, if I just go back to their question, and the person says what I want? Yeah, I want it to continue. I would say why, for example, and I would say, well, the last thing in the world I would want is for my wife and family or whatever was to leave without what I created for them at this point in time. So what I did In the recording, we’re done. I’d write down verbatim. What I gave you a lengthy conversation. I gave your lengthy response and but the usual response, who I want my family’s lifestyle to continue. And then I would send a file note back after the meeting, which very Navid, he used to do that in those days. But I would send a file no back. And I would have the question that I asked there and their response. So what I found was that, and I didn’t know this till many years after, when people would tell me is that when they got the file note, and let’s assume it was a Saturday morning, they poured a cup of coffee, they sat down, they started to read the file, nope. They started to see in there, because I’m repeating what they told me, almost always questioning whether they had enough life insurance to do the job. And quite often, many people when they came in the office, this says, I got more experience outside of grass. Before we start, Fraser Jack is a great, great friend of mine. And I’m sitting here because he suggested it, but he doesn’t know this. Because we had discussed this, but I’ve got, I own a million dollars of life insurance. Now, that never happened in the early days. I’m just trying to give you an example, maybe more today. Now that he is then saying, I think I’m uncovering so I that. So in my situation, I go into more depth in the book, but the opening of the meeting, right? What do you say, I have to say a lot, it sets the tone for the rest of the meeting. And so when a person opens it by saying that, you know, what do you do? Do you freeze, I would just in my case, I would take them for telling me that and just put it out $1 million, and then proceed on with what I prepared? Because preparation is the key. And I’m not going to be deterred by that. But that particular person now when he or she is getting the filename? Because when he said or he or she said, Yes, I want their current lifestyle continue. I say, Well, what sort of a finger? Would they need to do that? Sometimes people will throw a finger at you that you know, even in the small amount of time. Yeah. So I repeat that, as I said in the question, their current lifestyle, because a luxury once enjoyed quite often becomes a necessity. And so the school that you’re sending the children to the ski trips that you take here, all those things that add up to the lifestyle. And then the million dollars, doesn’t seem so much, particularly if today they’re sitting on a mortgage of $750,000. So am I answering? Are we going where

 

Fraser Jack 

you want me to go that? No, that’s certainly you’ve sort of got me if I’m not you sort of you get into the the place that I actually think is what we call values based or goals based advice. And there really is it’s understanding what the client really wants, why they really want it, why that’s important to them. And then the the the goal, the goal essentially starts to develop itself the goal of these sorts of things. And then of course, what’s needed after that is the strategy and the product. And of course that just flows on from that is part of the conversation, rather than starting with a product, which I guess is a lot of, you know, going back to your title, Agent total days, in your original teachings, a lot of it would have been about the product, the product, the product, the product, people need the product,

 

Russell Collins 

correct. That’s the problem. That was the problem. And that’s just what the audience that’s what really introduced the financial service reform that began in the mid 1990s. And I think the legislation came out in 2004. But the whole idea of that was to move the industry from a product driven industry to do a relationship type industry.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yet now. Now as that transition took place. I’m thinking obviously, the I’ll go back to the tide agents, you were you were working for one company, you were essentially representing the pool of clients that are in their company. It wasn’t just a product now I want to talk to you about what that you know what life insurance means to you a little bit later. But it’s a pool, right? It’s a pool of people, we you know, they’re all in it. As you said before, there wasn’t any twisting because that was frowned upon. Word, I’d forgotten that Thank you. This was the twisting, slice Sham, you know, churn we call it these days. It’s the idea of the idea of taking someone who already has life insurance and then moving it to a different life insurance product. Now, the in this way, this kind of gave the insurance companies a level of control over the the pool itself and the premium pricing, which obviously premium pricing has changed recently and going through some problems. But this this essentially provides the insurance can be some security, as you all moved in to brokers. In that broker realm, and then could start recommending other companies that sort of remove that control from the insurance company. So I think was probably the start of what we call it, we had some weird pricing that’s going on at the moment

 

Russell Collins 

that that sort of crept in. If I just finished what I said before, in 1978, I felt that I couldn’t go any further with where I was with Prudential. And so I end up going into joining another library, and Tony was legal in general in a partnership with then at that time, Bruce flick. So what I’m saying is that when I left the Prudential if I, I was an exception to the rule. But if advisor left and went somewhere else, they immediately cut off his total any contact with that life with with a Prudential, say, and all my renewal commissions were withheld. In my case, when I because I was upfront to tell the manager where I was going the state manager, he said, Why are you leaving? I said, Well, I can’t learn anything more here. And he said, Well, I, I can’t, I can’t disagree there. So what he did was he allowed me to continue to have access to their records without any money, any. So most important going back to the vocation, but at least I was able to maintain the clients that way. So just Sorry, just going back to the point that you got me to there, because I, I just wanted to make sure that I answer your question properly.

 

Fraser Jack 

So that the point was around the concept of during the FSA, you mentioned the financial services reform when it took place and the control that insurance companies lost.

 

Russell Collins 

Okay, let me come back to that. That was the control thing there. So even even in in the next company, where I went to, it was the same thing. So it wasn’t until I actually left that partnership, and went out into what you just said, as an independent way, multi agent or call it whatever you like, that you had the freedom that you wanted. But you know, the insurance clients still followed you, where you went. And I think that was build on the relationship, because it wasn’t a life insurance company you were selling, it was yourself that you’re selling there. And I think that in today’s world, you would probably know better than I that just wouldn’t survive with today at the moment. I know, the banks were probably the classic example of that, do you think when that sort of happened, and I think that that just faded off there. So I think that today’s situation where the advisors should be in, I assume they are given the opportunity to spread the products. But nobody, no one life insurance company has the best products, if you if you want to get down that track. But from my perspective, the opportunity today, for the people coming in is the choices. The responsibility, then is on them to get the right choice. And that’s the recommendation list and someone like that.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yep. Fantastic. Now, when he first came in, back in 2001, the the everybody went to becoming a financial planner, or financial advisor, how was that from? Obviously, the game was different. But all of a sudden, it’s sort of a different, different vacation. And as you mentioned, people that have been as a vocational training that risk insurance as a vacation, we’re now class the sort of the same as people doing investment, hedge energy.

 

Russell Collins 

Well, that’s great. That’s a very good point. Because before I said, the purpose behind the legislation was to go from a product driven industry to I think I said, relationship should to an advice driven industry. That’s what so that’s, there’s a very good point very perceptive of you there. You see, in my era, if I can say this, that prior to that, selling big started to become a dirty word, if I could use that word. I’ve written articles on this. And what was what was in the mind of people, then particularly the, the professional people, if I could say that there were any problems with the advisors in those days, with people’s accountants and with their lawyers. So to the illustration that I used to draw two circles, put one in selling at one and prefer the other professional, yellow. And I’d say these, these two circles are mutually exclusive. If you sell for a living, you can’t possibly be regarded as professional. And if you’re a professional, you would never sell for a living. Well, you and I know that every minute of every day, somebody somewhere is selling somebody something. So I learned many years ago, and it was around that time, that with all the definitions of professional production. Definition I’ve ever heard was professionals are defined not by the business they’re in, by the way, they’re in business. Think about that. So the soft skills like, up until about five years ago, I had to keep with the audience’s I had kept thinking and say selling just say soft skills. And the master of the soft skills. What I have found, certainly in the last two decades, is Don Conley, of in the United States. He is I mean, that’s all he does. And he came out of the out of the financial planning side or the investment side. So and by the way, that’s interesting that you say that, because there are many people, my in my peer group that were retreating, you know, prior to that, but almost before to where they were becoming financial planners, and or estate planners or something like this, you know, nobody ever said that they sold insurance for a living. I know that they were very successful when I made the transition because of their selling skills. And I still think that one of the things that’s missing in the training programs today, well, I can’t say today, but I can go back even four or five years ago, where the new entries the training programs, were very heavy on compliance on product, non technical, and very understated in the area of communication skills. And yet, like people buy people, they buy your advice first, and they buy your product last, and there’s daylight in between. And so what is it then, that makes your advice? First, I mean, everybody, whether you’re a professional financial planner, or a financial this, or whatever, everybody’s in the selling business, but what we’re selling what you’re selling is advice. I mean, that’s the product. That’s what the lawyers sell. That’s what the accountants sell. That’s what everybody the politicians selling your diet cues. Don’t take me down that track. Yeah.

 

Fraser Jack 

Can I can I just can I just highlight that people buy people? Because you absolutely, that’s, that’s, I’ve heard you say that before. And, and you mentioned Don Connolly, I remember Don Colleen Connelly speaking, in the early 2000s. And it’s funny how you remember these anecdotes, but I remember him saying, and this has been classic in the robo advice space. And I remember him saying that, you know, the, you’re at Sydney Airport, and you’re about to board a flight to LA and there’s two planes, one with the pilot and one without which one you’re going to get on. Because, you know, taking off is pretty essential but prioritize planning?

 

Russell Collins 

Well, the analogies are brilliant. And I think that you have to, you know, just on that point, which is really interesting, because I’ve become very friendly with Don and I use a lot of his staff, with because the people, a lot of them are trying to invest and so on. But he, like 2004 was his first presentation mdrt he made this comment he said, you know, sighs your Commission’s he saw us with commission have nothing to do with how much you know about. He said, investments, you know that time, but everything to do with the way you communicate with people who know nothing about investments. And so I just use that with my audiences with your remuneration, rather than your Commission’s have nothing to do with how much you know about life insurance, but everything to do with how well you communicate with people who know nothing about life insurance. And that’s such a big, I mean, even as late as in the last month, I was talking to advisors in person said, Well, how much is the insurance going to cost? That’s the star, the mean, and the guy was nearly 80. So you don’t get into a conversation on product. That’s what it is. You’ve got to see the conversation.

 

Fraser Jack 

This is a this is a this is a really interesting, interesting point, because I remember coming through, you know, as a as a young back knowing every single thing about every single product, because because that was the way you learn stuff, you read that you read the CI B’s or PDS, and you would you would understand it. And then and then of course, you know, you find out pretty quickly that it doesn’t really matter how much you know, and you know, people don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care. So this, this whole conversation around becoming a good communicator, and in a way a translator of that information to suit the client’s way of learning or getting information in, which could also vary from client to client.

 

Russell Collins 

One of the things by the way before it why on that point, Don Kelly talks about is the curse of knowledge. And he just what you just said made me think of that. He says the curse of knowledge is when you the advisor. So I’m talking here Russell can’t understand why jack Hawaii Fraser can understand what he’s saying. I don’t you get it. They don’t know. And yet, what I found was But when, when they know, so I’m pointing to you, when you know that I know that I know what I’m talking about. That’s when the acceptance comes. In that first meeting, I talked about four questions that people subconsciously want to answer. If do I like you to I trust you? Are you competent? And are you the sort of person that was my best interest before your own? Which is really the fall down situation? What negativity we’ve had in our industry? Anyway, I Won’t you take the lead.

 

Fraser Jack 

A very good new year. So we could we could talk about these. Now I want to talk about the fact that when it comes to these soft skills, and in the all of the knowledge information you had, you decided to write a book. So tell us about the book.

 

Russell Collins 

Well, the book, everything that I learned, I say this, like, I’m in my fifth year in the industry, so to speak. But everything that I learned that that helped me to do, well, I learned from somebody else. And the whole of learning for me was the million dollar round table in the United States and the IFA, or whatever you call it that time here in Australia, and taking what I learned from speakers, and then Russell Ising. It and so that it came out as, as my my comment. But you know, if I’ll give you a quick history, in the mid early 90s, I gave a presentation up in Brisbane, and at a conference and one of the sort of revered le advisors come up to me afterwards. And he said, I hadn’t met him. I knew who he was. He said, that was a great presentation. He said, When are we going to see the book? And I said, What book he said, the book you’re gonna have to write, so that people understand what you just told him to do and, and take it to another level anyway. The point I want to make is that that was in my mind for a while. And many people said the same thing. But in 2009, I was on the FPA national conference, I was a risk advisor, speaker on that. And in the audience was a fella by the name of Darrell lebra. I don’t know whether you know him from down in Melbourne. He came up and asked me, you know, how can I learn more about this, by the way, at the same time, Peter Sobel, was there. Do you know who he is? Yes. He interviewed me afterwards. He said, I’m thinking of getting a business going. So that was, he said, Can I have five minutes of your time? Well, two hours later, we sort of moved on, you know, but what Darrell said, he asked me, could I do a workshop for him his group, which I did in Melbourne, and then at the end of the meeting, he said to me, you know, you really should write a book. So now this is about five, six minutes, he signed up that month, that year, he came up to Sydney, he had lunch with me, he invited me to lunch. And he said, I want to talk to you about the book. He said, because in our workshop, he said, You’re frequently told us that we have to teach speak in real time. So you don’t say to somebody if you should die in the future, because everybody’s going to die in the future. You say if you died yesterday. So he said, the legacy that you what you’re doing at the moment is sharing a live legacy to your audiences, like you’ve captured all his information. He said, If you died yesterday, he said, everything in your head would die with you. So everything that took you like 30 or 40 years to learn is gone. And so that was really the trigger. And

 

Fraser Jack 

now, I really want to highlight this point, because it’s a very interesting one from anybody. Because often financial advice, whether it’s investments or superannuation, or aged care, or whatever it might be, it deals with these concepts. A lot of concepts are dealt with in the future, obviously, you know, risk insurance is one of them. But you know, if you were if you were to retire, if you were retiring, if you retired yesterday, what are we talking about today, if you were told you had to go into an aged care home, now, what a summit. So that idea really resonates not just for those people and around risk insurance, it resonates for any sort of financial advice, its future dated him.

 

Russell Collins 

Of course, it also could be like most financial plans in the financial planning industry, if I can take that as an example. Every financial plans build on a time frame. So if you’re 40 now and we’re aiming for 25 years, or whatever, down the road, and so used to draw a horizontal line with an arc over the top, and I say, so here you are today, and here’s where you want to be. But during that period of time, I pointed the arc if you died here, and then I’d say, for example, if you died yesterday, like the plane was completed, it wouldn’t but I would say halfway down the plane we’ll never complete. How will the plan complete? That’s my question. How will a complete and so that’s how I think you invite people into I mean, they’re either gonna die become disabled or retire along the way. So if the death or the disability occurs, how’s the playing going to be completed?

 

Fraser Jack 

Fantastic. Now let’s get back, let’s get back to the book now we sort of got sidetracked a bit. So you started date, you started writing the book,

 

Russell Collins 

writing the book in, first of all, in a couple of years later, where I had another person say to me, so I sat down with my wife, Jackie. And I said, you know, this is gonna be a big commitment, etc. And as she was what I joined the industry in 1971, then she said she was 100%, behind me. So I said, Deanna, because I had four drawer file, four drawer filing cabinet filled with presentations that I’d done over like 20, something years, I then started to what I wanted to do, fries was, like, I just leaning over here, now. And I come up with the book. So if you could see here, even now, I’ve got a library of books, which were beside me when I worked. And I knew that where I had a problem, I could go to that book, and pull out that chapter. So on the, on the cover of it, I’ve got here a communication guide for risk by so it’s almost as if this is alongside them. And they could pull it out and have a look at it. So what I did was to work out, like mapping out the chapters in the book. So what I did was to follow my process, starting off with preparation, and if you already go through that I can, but each one then became a chapter in the book. And so I had to go through all my presentations, and then drag out those sections that applied to preparation, those actions that apply to opening the meeting and sound like that. And then then I moved into because I had been did reasonably well very well in the business owner market. So that for those days, I don’t want to lose track of this. But there was a progression in the personal market, the mums and dads market or the employee market, there was with so much insurance that an employed person could needed or could afford to pay for. So then, when you you can’t do that forever. So then I moved into the business owner market, because their needs are always changing. So half the book is on the business owner market. And then at the end of that meeting, when I say the business owner market, I’m talking about a chapter on key person insurance, partnership, that sort of thing. And then at the end of that I did a chapter on estate planning, because I think, not only for the investment side, and people back for the risk side, there’s a lot to be done in the estate planning area. Interestingly, one of the questions in that estate planning area for investors asked for any investment advice. And I learned this at mdrt is to ask a person when you ask them about their, their state and so on. And they’ve got there they are already having a financial plan. Who in your world who have you nominated as the investment advisor to your state, and most people will say now, or haven’t thought of it, and why I’m telling you that I had an experience where I’ve been looking at, I dabble a little bit in the financial planning area in the late 80s when everybody was doing it. And after two years, I realized that I couldn’t be all things to all people. I had one client that I hated over all my quote unquote, superannuation clients. And one I’d done a lot of work like a lot on insurance bonds, a civil rustle, keep the insurance bonds with you. And the other chap can do the shares and sound like that. And that’s the way it was then when he died. About a month after he died. I then rang his wife to follow up on a meeting and she said, What do you want the meeting for us if I want to talk to you about the insurance bonds? Because some of them were in her name? And she said Oh, she said, Well, look, don’t worry about that. He said she said so. And so that’s the other advisor. I’ve had a meeting with him and he’s convinced me that he really should look after everything. So the professional financial planner creates the estate, he should be the person that helps administer the estate. See if I, if I had died yesterday, and my four children, each had their own financial advisor probably wouldn’t be if I was still. Then as an adult who’s going to handle Jackie’s in my if we bite here that he was going to hate our state. So now there’s a fight over. And I learned that from Sarah Cal bear. This is a girl and this is why she said it. People say she said look, they start to say I haven’t done it. She said well, you know I’ve been dealing with you for so many years. I’ve helped you build this. What I’d like you to do is to include me as the advisor in the event of you and The wife died here. And she said, but just put a term period of two years. And so I can’t do the job in two years time, then the children can sack me. So she was putting, you know, I built it. I know more about it than anybody else. So if you, you and you marry, go down in a plane, I have a Rome, your children don’t know anything about what you and I have done. So I’m the best one to look after that, that. So that’s in the estate planning thing. The other thing in the estate planning thing, and I’m going to say this, because it’s veterans, is, sadly, there’s been so many divorces over recent years, well, many times in the first marriage, the is the struggling part, for example, to build businesses or whatever, then in the second marriage, things have got better financially. And so when I would meet with people, and they told me that they had divorce, because I’d asked to have independence, and I’d say to them, Do you have an estate equalization plan for your children? And without like you does not, then everybody would say to me? Like they know, that’s a good question. Now, I doubt the majority said, I’m really concerned about this. It’s the one thing that I’m because I’ve got all this, I built up all this, for example, wealth here. And how can I separate this current family from the first family? Well, that the answer that was like, I mean, the answer that is to create another asset, for the children of first marriage, it’s called Life Insurance. Instead of when he or she dies, everything that they wanted to leave to the children of that marriage is paid for by a third party. And the people in the second marriage, say the spouses, they’re not, nobody gets the nose out of joint out of that. And I think that’s good planning. Then there’s another one I just finished is on drying time and integrity. Because all we’ve got to offer our clients is our brain, our time and our integrity. And the final chapters are living the life of the professional financial advisor. So that took me by the way, two years to write.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, amazing. It’s certainly an as you mentioned, a heck of a lot of preparation, obviously, for filing cabinet drawers full of preparation, and then a lot of sorting it all out and working out, you know, what your buckets were going to be? I’ve heard you talk about preparation before you’re gonna go into into deepen into that into preparation, especially for financial advisors before client meetings.

 

Russell Collins 

Yes. The book I’ve written on preparation came about when I first started, I think of it at an mdrt meeting with a speaker and he’s talking this way. preparation, like the doll person of here, bride, and the bride person appear brilliant. Louis nizer said it and I believe it. Now I had no idea Louis nizer was. And in those days, we didn’t have the internet or whatever. But I was able to find out to my friends in United States. He’s a very successful lawyer in both the criminal and the civil area who have never lost a case. And so in his book, he wrote a book called my life in court. And so, by the way, if Louis’s Hello, hello, you is in Isaiah. And when his book was launched, apparently, at the launching, somebody said, Louis, can you just tell us in one word, what made you so successful? And that’s what he said that preparation will make you. So I, what I’m saying to the advisors in the book, is that if the opening comments, set the tone for the rest of the meeting, then you should be well prepared. So for me, the preparation should be the adviser seeing himself being interviewed. At a job interview, he the advisor being interviewed as a possible trusted adviser. So if there’s going to be a lifetime of your employment, you prepare for it. And I think sadly, when they introduced the templated, fact finders, you know, in the, the FSR, that all came in, because there are so many advisors there, they had to have some control over them. And so these were prepared, generally speaking by people who hadn’t practiced, you see. So if you’ve got one, that is it for me, for example, as Russ alized, what I did was to work out over the years, I got all these questions that I knew the penetrating questions that people needed to be asked. Because when you ask somebody a penetrating question, when they answer the question, they’re really giving you information about problems that they aren’t even aware exists at that point in time. And then when you repeat those questions back in the fall note you send back to them the question you asked them and their answer, now they start to think more about their insurances and sound like that. So coming back to the preparation for me, if I was meeting with you, I would always go through, pull out my list of questions that I go through. By the way, I did this, and I don’t train people to do this. But I used to, then I then would write them here and write the questions. If I’m gonna say Fraser Jack, what I know about him. And whether I knew minimal. I used to put a lot of questions if I knew what I wanted to do, I could sort of Tyler that way. So when I met with you, and I hand write these questions, and I had one of those folders that you open up, you know, so I said, part of it would be, I have no idea whether my ideas are going to be of any value to you. But we can sort that out over the next hour or so. If I can just run some questions past you that I prepared, especially for today’s meeting. Then you open up the folder, and they say all these handwritten questions, they saw that now, I don’t I don’t try to do that today. But what I felt was that gave the integrity that I had prepared. And you know, when Matthew joined me in 1998, I said, Matt, just do what I asked you for a year. And then, in 12 months time, we’ll sit down and you tell me what, what works, what you don’t like, wherever. And so in the 12 months, he said, there, there’s only one thing. He said, I hate that running, writing stuff, you know, he said, I’m not good at that. And he said, it’s so time consuming. And I said, Well, what was he? He said, Well, I can develop a template of the questions. And he explained to me what a template was, for all the questions on that. And he said, Don’t number them. And I’ll just say the girls, I’m meeting with Fraser, Jack, here’s his profile, I want you to give me questions, four 620 80. And like that. And so they would then cut and paste them onto a piece of paper with an edge between each question from Matthew to writing. I said, Well, why don’t we let’s go back to the opening of the meeting, when you say these questions, and I’ve specially prepared. And they see this template a thing? He said, Well, I thought you’d ask that. So he said, I’ve created another template. And on the front page of the template, in, in font size that you could see if you were six feet, or I would have meeting with Fraser Jack, the date, and then he put agenda, I prepared these questions. So Fraser is looking at it, you are the other side of the table, you can see your name there in big letters. And then he would open up and proceed with that way. Now the what what the preparation does that why fries and when you open the meeting, I’ve got these questions. And I want to ask, the people say, and I say is it okay, if we proceed? They say yes, like, let’s get cracking on this? Well, they’re giving you control of the meeting. Now, so you’ve opened the meeting in a positive manner that’s in the book. And then now you take control. So the most talkative person dominates the conversation, but they’re good listener controls. And so you’re asking the question, you’re listening, and you’re writing at the same time. Now in 1992, so that’s 20 years after I start. I’m sitting there with a general manager of a midsize public company. And I’m asking the questions. And he said, he put his hands up, I said, Can we just stop for a minute? I put your pen down. And he didn’t say that, but put your pen down. He said, Do you do this with everybody? Like he pointed out? I said, what he said, Well ask questions and write down answers. I said, Yeah. And he said, Do you realize that’s the greatest compliment, you can pay anybody to ask you a question? and write down the answer. And I’ve been doing that for 20 years? I No idea. See those four questions that when people meet me the first time do I like you, too? I trust you. Are you competent? I use your personal foot mimes. I think you start to answer these questions so that they don’t prepare for that that subconsciously. But you’re answering these questions as we’re talking to it, you say? So by taking it down, then transferring it from that into a fall night suffer, come back for preparation. What I found and what people try and people to do is that they can now open the meeting. See, I’m writing down the question. I’m gonna ask Fraser Jack. So I’m really rehearsing, mentally rehearsing. What I’m going to say to Fraser, Jack. So when I meet with Fraser, Jack, and start asking the questions, that’s the second time that I’ve touched on these questions. And if you prepare, and I’ve got like, maybe 30 questions, and you say something to me, and I can say to you, you know, that’s a good point. But I’ve got to cover that later. But let me so I turn over, I go straight to that point, and answer what you said. And then I come back to where I was, I had nothing have been lost because I knew her I miss left off on it. So when you’ve got control of the meeting, you know, you know that the director that’s going on, and if they move you sideways, where you can still come back to where you were,

 

Fraser Jack 

Can I just add something to the conversation around asking a question, listening for the answer, and then taking the time to write the answer because often in the conversation and you know, we I do a lot of it. Because I can get this way where you move on to the next question because you don’t necessarily need to pause in time. But listening to an answer, and then just pausing after it, as you let it sink in is actually quite a compliment as well.

 

Russell Collins 

That’s very good point. He said, when I said before you’re listening with the Euro the heart. Yes, no questions. There’s no, you know, your attendee, of course, you’re writing it down. But what does that person saying? What does he mean when he says, the last thing in the world I want is for my family to be saddled with all this debt. And then you put in the fall note, the last thing that I want is for my family is saddled with all this debt. So that reminds him of what he said to you. So not only is the attentive, listening, good for writing down everything like that, but it starts to develop the empathy. See, if you want to sell john smith, what john smith buys, you got to see john smith, through john Smith’s eyes. That’s empathy. By the way, when I’m talking to financial planners, I say if I don’t say if you want to sell, Jim, I said, if you want to advise him or something like that, but I go back to it. Yeah. You and I can talk about selling, we know it’s not a dirty word. And we know that every minute of every day somebody is selling somebody something.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yeah. Now I want to touch on this chapter around, you know, brain time and integrity. I think it’s, it’s, it’s grabbed my interest, told me about that chapter.

 

Russell Collins 

Will the brycie we have nothing to offer ourselves. But as I said, Ryan, time Tegrity. Now the brain when I talk about the brain, is it were more advice, were more educators, and we are advisors. And the education starts with our own self education. So when I start talking about these things at PD days, and I didn’t have my ideas about the workshops, and they’d be great. Oh, yes, let’s do the workshop. So I’d say, well, this one’s gonna cost this, by the way, I’ve been invited there by a dealer. So the dealer sitting down, I said, Well, why should we have to pay for it? Because you appointed the dealer, you’re the ones getting the benefit of this? Well, I think that’s pretty short sighted. So what I’m talking about is self investment, investing in the most important skill that you have as your communication skills. So I can tell you that I spent hundreds of 1000s of dollars, over 40 years, investing in my communication skills. Now, if that was four, or $500.04, or 500,000. If you divide that by 40, it breaks it down. But you know, in 1973, going to America, I had to borrow the money from my father to attend that meeting. But that was an investment. So you learn an idea, the chap that said, What Lewis nizer said, you know about preparation, he had an idea that I took away from that. That’s 9090. And then I wrote 10s of millions of dollars of insurance on one idea, and not about remuneration. So Fraser, what did that what is the cost of that trip? Which might have been five or $6,000? What did that reward reward me as a percentage return on that. So you I say this, the invite you out to your advisors to become the best you that you can be. Now with fussier and other things. academic qualifications are important. But you could be the highest qualified person in the industry and starve to death, at the same time, because of your inability to communicate that knowledge with people. So it’s for me, it’s investing. And that’s a third of that particular chapter on that. It’s seeking, where can I go, what I mean, all these things are available, that are going to help you with your communication skills. Now with time, the one thing that I’ve noticed with people who are good at selling their poor time management and their poor administration. So this is 24 hours in the day. Well, how I got this idea was at the mdrt meeting, I went to a 973 bucks spike there, his name was Alec McKenzie. And he written a book called The time trap, a best seller in corporate America. And the theme of the book is, nobody ever has enough time. Yeah, we all have 24 hours. And that’s which is all the time we have a towel we use the time. And so what I found out that to get what I need to get done each day, is that I had to prepare in advance for each day. So I got up. It’s all in the all in the book. I got up very early morning and I would spend an hour working out what I was going to do in that day. And I had given templates in the book as to how to do that but why needed to do was to have my day laid out and then in those days, I would fax that ahead to the to the staff So they knew who I was meeting. I also listed all my phone calls for the day because we didn’t have cell phones in those days. And I send them through. So people rang in, I’m not there. They knew why other people were ringing, because I sound like that. So Ryan, your time. And so the time factor is how to make like, I meet new advisors, I say how many appointments you having a week, and I say three or four. And when you ask them why it’s they’re bogged down with stuff that they shouldn’t be doing. Like, if your time’s worth $100 an hour? Why would you be doing $20 an hour work? That’s the point. And for the argument, well, I can’t afford to hire somebody, I’d say, Well, how much would go across the home. So let’s say those ties will cost me $60,000 a year. I say what you’re not going to pay him $60,000 in the first month, you’re going to pay them $5 a month for 12 months. So if you so what I show in the book is to measure your time to say Alec McKenzie has taught us write down all your activities that you do every day ran it for a month in 15 minutes, slides, the date, the day of the week, the time I tried 15 or whatever, the activity, and then another column This is Can this be delegated yes or no. And so at the end of each day, you’ve got all the y’s and all the ends, that all the y’s then give you a job stress of occasion for some reason. So they can start and say, here’s what I want you to do. I mean, I’ve set my people, the girl say, Well, the first two weeks, I did nothing, because he didn’t know what he wanted to tell me, you follow me. But if you’ve got a job spec, you say, here’s what I want you to do. So the Brian the time, the integrity is where, you know, this is a problem in our industry at the moment. And I mean, it’s in, in, in every industry, not just our industry, it’s in every I mean, it’s wherever you want to go. And so everybody knows, like values and morals, morals, everybody knows the difference between right and wrong. I don’t want to oversimplify it. And the values are the things that have made us as we go along the way there, they relate to our character and their behavior. And so you develop them over there, but, you know, people by people? And if that fourth question in those four questions is, Are you the sort of person that that will put my best into before you. So you can’t have two sets of values? You can’t have? I’m meeting with Fraser Jack values, and then I’m going out for a party with the boys or something like that values. And people pick that up. In your I mean, if you met one of your best clients out at the races and you fill it out, Hall, I wouldn’t go over well, I’m not trying to. I’m not trying to be critical. I’m not I’m not standing in judgment, but I’m just saying that the people are people by you. Yes,

 

Fraser Jack 

yes, I think that’s what

 

Russell Collins 

isn’t. And ethics is you know, it’s become a subject in whatever it is that they’re doing. And, and by the way, my grandson, Timothy, who he told me, he said, I didn’t think I could learn anything from it. But he said the examples that they gave, he said at the corporate level I never thought about. So there is a level I mean, I’m over simplifying and as you know, right from wrong. But what Frank Solomon used to say, and I learned this at mdrt. So when you prepare a presentation, and you’re ready to go, stand in front of a mirror, and say to yourself, knowing what I know, if I was in phrases, shoes, when I buy what I’m proposing, and he said if the answer is a resounding yes. Sit down and go back to the drafting board. Now, I never used to stand in front of the mirror. But I tell you, I asked that question myself many times. And when I thought now, I think I can do better. Well go back and do it.

 

Fraser Jack 

Prepare. And they said No, never. I said the books called dumb skills that succeed. And as you mentioned before, is a communication guide, if anything else tell us about? Obviously, you’ve got the book? Where can people find it? And also for those that don’t do a lot of reading, maybe their podcast, let’s do and they like to listen to audio files. Talk to us about that.

 

Russell Collins 

Okay. The book on my website is Rick’s risk insurance communication skills. That’s our ics.com.au. And on there, you can find out about me in social media and where to buy the book. You can buy the ebook and the printed book of me on that website. But with the audio book, it’s done. You can buy it from the website, but you’re buying it overseas, you know, and all these other platforms. And the reason I mentioned my daughter Kristen, She’s the youngest when the book came out after that She said, you know, Dad, you ought to do an audio book. Like I didn’t even know an audio book was. And she’s self employed. And she listens to a lot of podcasts and stuff like that. Anyway, she hammered away. And then I, you know, Gavin glows you of course, yes. And then about three or four years ago, he was we were an IFA conference. And he said, how’s the book going? And I said, Well, unless I can get the audience’s to speak, you know, I can’t sell the book. So he said, how’s your marketing, I said, I’ll leave that to you. So he sort of took over my marketer. But he also said, we’ve got it do the audio book. And so I put a team together with Kevin, my IT consultant, Matthew McGregor, and my daughter, Kristen. And so that’s where the audio book was born. So now, and then how long did it take me to record the audio book? Two years. Now, I didn’t do it nine for five because your voice goes on you. But what I found doing the audio book is that I have to change the expression because it’s not written, it’s got to be that Christmas, Tommy said, Dad, she said that neural, they don’t read books anymore. Like, they won’t listen to podcast and sound like that. And so that’s why we launched that which was last last December. So you go to the website, and then for the audio book that’s got a half a dozen, or maybe more eight or nine different platforms that you can use to buy.

 

Fraser Jack 

Fantastic Russell, thanks for coming on and chatting to us on the podcast today. What are the plans for the future?

 

Russell Collins 

Well, we’re at the stage in our life, where we have grandchildren and great grandchildren. And it’s important that we spend time together. For the sake of your audience, I want to say this, for the information, the audience know, success in the field is worth a failure in the home. And I learned that very, I mean, this job can choke you to death with the work. And today I see people walking around, almost chained to their cell phones, particularly on weekends, you go into cafes, or restaurants, and they’re sitting there with this thing, and it glows and they look at the I mean, that’s not if it’s your wife, I think that’s an insult, you know, but anyway, I’ve, I just make the point that relationships, it’s, you work too hard in this job. When I came in the industry, I was tired after, what, 20 hours a week. in their first year, I worked 7080 hours a week. So when you’re working Monday to Friday, like 60 hours, try and give them family, the balance of your time by finding that balance is is really, really tough. So what am I doing? I’m struggling with my golf game. I’ve had I’ve got the same handicap that I had 30 years ago, but I’ve got more time to work on it. But we just were up here in tea guns. It’s a change in lifestyle. And it’s an operation opportunity for us to grow even closer together. I feel

 

Fraser Jack 

fantastic. Russell, thank you so much. Really, really appreciate you coming on and having a chat to us today. About to your 40 year career. Well, that was before you even written the book. But yeah, I just really appreciate it. Thank you. Good. Thanks a lot for heavy. Well, there you have it another episode of The X Y advisor podcast. I’m Fraser Jack joined by Emily Blanche. Hello, Emily.

 

Emily Blanch 

Hello, Fraser. Great, great podcast. Great discussion, by the way, really enjoyed it.

 

Fraser Jack 

Thank you. Thank you. And it’s time for the the the cool part where we get to, you know, highlight some of the great work the explanations are doing in the community.

 

Emily Blanch 

Yes, so today, I want to give a shout out to x y advisor, Julian mc goldrick. Now Julian has jumped in to a few discussions recently and added some really thoughtful comments, you can tell he’s really taken the time to think and provide some really valuable answers, sharing his experiences and his approach and the way that he does things. So yes, Julian, thank you for being a legend. Thank you for getting involved. The thoughtfulness and the value that you’ve shared to discussions certainly does not go unnoticed.

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