Collaborative Discovery: The RPM Questioning Model

Factfinding is what you do TO someone …. Collaborative Discovery is what you do WITH someone. There is a huge difference between “factfinding” and engaging in a collaborative discovery with a prospect or client. The discovery process involves active listening as well as the art of questioning. Regretfully, this is not currently being taught very effectively in organizations.

Trustworthy Selling features the RPM Questioning Model which is Reality Questions, Pain/Gain Questions, and Magnification Questions. They represent the three categories of questions necessary to move a prospect or client through the entire collaborative discovery process – from a dormant need to a visible need and then to the prospect seeing the financial professional’s solution as the answer to their financial gaps. Let’s take a look at each of these in more detail: 

Reality Questions – Reality questions uncover the facts about the prospect’s existing situation. This can be data, facts, and figures.  It can also be their beliefs, perceptions, values, and history. Reality questions are generally used at the beginning of the discovery process to gain background information and factual data. They help to identify relevant information about the prospect’s current reality, such as the planning they’ve already done in the areas of insurance, retirement, etc.

Pain / Gain Questions – Pain-Gain questions expose the prospect’s problems, difficulties, and dissatisfactions with their current situation. They also help to uncover the prospect’s goals, desires, wants, and/or unmet needs that represent potential gaps. Pain-gain questions explore areas the prospect may want to improve. This is the heart of the diagnosis during collaborative discovery. These questions are more powerful than reality questions and serve to lay a foundation for advancement. They help to clarify where a prospect’s actions are misaligned with their intentions.

Magnification Questions – With experience, average financial professionals eventually become very proficient at asking safe reality questions and a bit more confident in asking pain-gain questions. Quite often, an advisor is able to help prospects identify gaps in their current planning. However, the prospect still is not motivated to move forward because there is no sense of urgency. This is one of the single biggest frustrations for a financial professional. The key is learning how to use magnification questions to highlight the potential implications of the problem and create a sense of urgency within the prospect.  

Magnification questions help to identify the consequences, effects, or implications of a prospect’s current financial situation. These questions help the financial professional develop clarity and strength of a potential client’s financial problems and the chain of ramifications that can result from those problems. Magnification questions also help to expand the prospect or client’s perception of value in solving the problem.