A company I was working with needed to sell off a considerable amount of inventory and raise money for their year end P & L statement. It was a large company with sales people covering the entire country. The normal procedure would be to call all the sales people and tell them to call their customers and get the job done. If you have ever been on the selling end of this kind of situation you know how difficult something like this is.
The sales manager took a different approach. Instead of telling each regional manager to get out and sell the extra inventory, he called each one of them and asked for their help.
He explained that the company had over produced certain product lines and they needed to get the inventory down for the end of the year. He suggested to the sales people that they select some of their better customers and ask them to help us out.
The result from using this approach was outstanding. It turned out to be the best month the company had in its' entire history. When you ask for help you are giving them a compliment by putting them in a position of power. It is within their power to help you and this makes them feel important.
Try asking your customers for help on something and see what happens. Nine times out of ten they will bend over backwards to help you. And the other benefit of asking for help is you are building a closer relationship with your customer.