Similar to Nemawashi, you must understand Honne and Tatemae.
Before a decision making process happens, if you ask customer of their opinion, they will not give their real feeling or truth.
If you ask a customer to decide on something during a meeting, they will not do it on the spot.
They will go back and gather their team - run thru a decision making process and then only they will provide the results/decision.
We might keep insisting them on giving their decision immediately or provide an honest opinion - They will not share the true feeling.
However, they will share what looks like a true feeling, called Tatemae.
What we actually need is Honne.
What is Honne?
Honne is real feeling.
Honne written in Japanese Kanji is 本音
本 here means True
and 音 means Sound
Thus it is True Sound - which is True or Real feeling.
What is Tatemae?
Tatamae is the feeling we show in public.
Tatemae written in Japanese is 建前
建 means to build
and 前 means in front
Thus it is “built in front” or a “facade” - which is what the public sees
In Japan, just because some thing is true, a person cannot express his “true feeling” or “real feeling”.
This will disrupt the harmony of the group or may hurt feeling of an individual.
Hence any negative remarks will not be shared as negative as we would expect
To learn a persons Honne - the true feeling:
One must be in a good relationship with that Japanese person’s and must have established trust and confidence to open up. Mostly opening up truly will happen during a nomikai - informal dinner.
Trust and confidence
+ In Japan everything happens on trust and confidence
+ If a customer trusts you, he will assign an engineer in their project just because you recommend him
+ So you must build trust and strong relationship with customer
+ This is a long process, start from Day-1
+ Have many informal meetings and Do Nomikai