So much advice on the internet today about marketing says Ask Your Customers to get the best ideas or to build meaningful relationships. Yet most prospects don’t want to spend time with potential vendors until they have learned everything they can without direct contact. So many mistakes could be averted if we would simply ask our vendors about what is possible and what are the critical specifics.
Studies show that vendors are being brought in later and later in the buying process. Vendors are doing this to themselves by providing so much free information on their websites in order to attract prospects (ourselves included). Giving away the information means that the prospects believe they know as much has the vendor about what they are buying. The problem is prospects want to milk collected information while giving as little as possible in the way of specifics. Giving insight to vendors means vendors might know too much or demand more air time. It also opens the door to misinformation if the nature of what is being proposed changes. Everyone accepts that time is a scarce commodity but time to make sure everyone is on the same page is critical to ultimate success.
I have seen more problems arise from the lack of shared information or from misinformation that causes the vendors to assume incorrectly. This leads to cost overruns and delays and makes no one happy.
From experience, I have learned the art of the impossible from our customers and the skill of the possible from our vendors. To hear from a prospect is to hear a wish list of things that are not in their budget. To ask our vendors is to learn what could be done reasonably.