It’s Not Just What You Ask, It’s How You Ask

Have you ever watched a famous journalist or talk show host approach the way in which they ask their guests questions? They ask for permission. And then they ask their question. The same applies for you in your rural sales role.

The way you ask, not just what you ask can make all the difference. The technical term is paraverbal which sits nicely alongside its better known friends: verbal and non-verbal.

When you ask questions of your rural sales prospects you need to approach it in the right way.

Ask them upfront and they might recoil. Ask them with some gentle caveats that soften your questions and they are far more likely to open up and answer because they can see you are genuinely trying to understand them and serve them.

It works because people prefer to be consulted rather than interrogated.

Ask them questions as if they were a guest in your home or a close friend or family member who needed your help.

Here’s some examples you can use immediately in combination with some of the powerful questions I shared last week:

  • “Please forgive my ignorance and naivety here but would you mind me asking you how do you go about XYZ….?”
  • “Would it be ok for me to ask you a few simple questions please?”
  • “It’s probably me being a bit slow off the mark here but could I ask you…”
  • “Please could you help me to understand this a bit better, what you’re saying is XYZ….have I got this right…?”
  • “I’m sure you’ve thought of this before and we might be going over old ground here so could I ask you…?”
  • “Would you mind telling me…?”
  • “Would you mind if I asked you…?”
  • “Forgive me here but you can please explain…?”
  • “Permission to brave here but I sense we’re assuming that…?”
  • “I’ve probably got this all wrong but…?”
  • “I might haven’t got this entirely right but could I ask you…?”
  • “Have I got this right…?”

Like permission-based opt-in marketing, you are asking your rural sales prospect for permission to ask them a question.

By doing so it prepares them to be more willing to answer you. Because you’ve readied them, you’re far more likely to get a better, deeper answer than if you went steaming in hard and cold.

Remember, the success of a rural sales person depends on the quality – not the quantity – of the questions they ask and the way in which they ask them.

When you combine the what with the how and master the art of asking powerful questions, you’ll be flying in no time.

Go get ’em.