I read this statement many years back when I was starting out. I don’t remember who was the author. But he had given so many examples that I believed him and thought of trying it out.
Since then, one of the reasons for whatever success I have had in the B2B space, is because I always take the customer into confidence about the challenges that we have and then ask how we can find a solution.
In case of a delivery problem I tell the truth about where or how we are going to fail . After hearing the truth, the customer may initially fire me because the job is not done. But because she is a partner in the solution she then figures a way out.
Similarly if the customer trusts you because you have provided exceptional service in your earlier deals then you can use him to figure out a solution. This is especially useful when there are cost constraints. If you can have the customer advice you in building the solution which ensures that the key challenges are met, while non essential items are reduced to keep costs in control, gets you to win the deal.
In both the above cases , this is only feasible if the customer trusts you. When they trust you and then give you advice, they feel obligated to make your solution successful. The downside is, if you screw up then she will help you only till it does not impact her own reputation in the organization. If her reputation is put at stake because of the fact that you did not deliver, then she will drop you like a hot potato and ensure that she never ever works with you.
Robert Cialdini calls this the concept of Co-Creation. He even cites various data points from research, even from non B2B situations . So this is a universally applicable advice.
Try this and let me know your success or failure when using this idea, in the comments section below.
Till next time then.