Transform Fears Into Triumphs

Have you ever unknowingly sabotaged your own ability to build trust and loyalty?  You are not alone. This happens in relationships and in business.  Left untouched, these failures can lead to losing your business or your relationship.  If addressed honestly and humbly, these can be pivotal moments that can turn into triumphs.


Most people prefer honesty and someone self-confident who communicates directly over those who tell you whatever they think you want to hear because they are desperate or just want to “smooze.”   By applying the principles similar to what is offered in this book, Getting Naked: A Business Fable about shedding the three fears that sabotage client loyalty by Patrick Lencioni, we have found ways to more effectively serve and help our clients in meaningful ways.Cover of "Getting Naked: A Business Fable...


Naked service is all about the ability of a service provider to be humble, selfless, transparent and vulnerable for the good of the client.  In so doing, we are susceptible to three main fears.  Here are the fears and powerful practices to transform these fears into opportunities to build stronger, long lasting relationships:


1.  Fear of Losing the Business – This fear keeps us from doing the difficult things that build greater loyalty and trust with people we are trying to serve.  In other words, we have to be more concerned about helping our clients than about maintaining our revenue source.  If our actions and recommendations are based on protecting ourselves, then the client smells that and is repelled by it.

What we do and do not do has to be in the best interest of our client.  If we want to succeed, the focus has to be about them, not us.


Powerful Practices to Shed This Fear:

A.  Consult Instead of Sell

Transform every sales situation into an opportunity to demonstrate the value of what your client does.  Generously serve the client so they start to see themselves as a client even before they formally decide to become a client.

B.  Give Away the Business

Offering prospective clients advice and service is not only generous and builds trust, but it also proves to them that we are capable of helping them.  If you are interested in long-term relationship with clients, it is in your best interest to show them that you are more focused on helping them than you are in maximizing your own short-term revenue.

C.  Tell the Kind Truth

Even when it puts the relationship with the client at risk, it is important to deliver the difficult message when it is in the best interest of the client in a way that respects their dignity.  Advice is best when offered with kindness, empathy and respect.  You have a responsibility to be the truth teller.

D.  Enter the Danger

Have the courage to fearlessly deal with an issue that everyone else is afraid to address in a group setting.  Though it can be “dangerous” and cause awkward moments, it is usually a relief to address situations that have been smelly “elephants in the room” especially when it has been negatively impacting the team.   Clients view this as adding value and building trust with integrity.


2.  Fear of Being Embarrassed – You can probably still recall the “most embarrassing” moment in your life when you wish you had the power to become invisible rather than endure the scrutiny of who witnessed your unfortunate moment and made you into a spectacle to be marked forever.  The root of this fear is pride, and ultimately about avoiding the appearance of ignorance.  We all would rather be viewed as smart and competent.   However, if our concern is about what is best for our client, then we must ask the tough questions and be willing to make suggestions even if our questions or ideas turn out to be laughably wrong.  If you make an error, own up to it, learn from it and help everyone else benefit from your mistake.  Authenticity, modesty and transparency are more attractive to clients than intelligence.


Powerful Practices to Shed This Fear:

A.  Ask Dumb Questions – When you ask a question that others were wondering too but were too afraid to ask, you become the person they look at with respect and gratitude.

B.  Make Dumb Suggestions – Objective thinking is valuable.  Offer insights.

C.  Celebrate Your Mistakes – We cannot be right all the time.  Even though it is not fun to be wrong, you might as well acknowledge it and take responsibility for it.  No one is perfect.  Be honest and transparent about the mistake and humbly apologize for it.


3.  Fear of Feeling Inferior –  Though tied to ego and intellectual pride, this fear causes us to be more concerned about being overlooked or treated in an inferior way, than about truly “serving” our client.  We can overcome this need to feel important by purposefully putting oneself in a temporarily lower position in order to help the client improve.   Interestingly, clients come to trust, respect and admire service providers who do this because they recognized that they have put the needs of others ahead of their own needs.


Powerful Practices to Shed This Fear:

A.  Take a Bullet for the Client– Find moments when you can humbly and sacrificially take some of the burden off clients in a difficult situation and then confront them with the kind truth.  The natural response is to deflect responsibilities for problems, especially if we feel innocent.  Without the confrontation, this would be enablement.

B.  Make Everything About the Client – Give full attention and focus on understanding, honoring and supporting the business of the client.

C.  Honor the Client’s Work – Develop an active, genuine interest in the client’s business and appreciate the importance of that business to the client and the client’s customers.  Pass business opportunities on to others if you cannot support or honor what they do.

D.  Do the Dirty Work – Sometimes clients need our help to provide services that are not fun, attractive or exciting, but we do them because we are more concerned with helping the client than we are about ourselves.

E.  Admit Your Weaknesses and Limitations – If we try to do things we are not good at or try to cover up for our weaknesses, we wear ourselves out trying to be something we are not.  Put forth your best in the areas of your strengths.


Therefore, naked consulting means we use a simple, humble and informal approach to serving clients that provoke surprising levels of trust and loyalty.    Why are people losing business?  The answer lies in whether we implement game changing strategies at critical moments or if we shrink into a bubble of fear that paralyzes us and prevents us from courageously confronting our weaknesses and mistakes.



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