In Getting Naked, Lencioni makes the case for allowing yourself to be vulnerable in front of the client. The alternative is to hold on to three types of fears, fears that the client can sense. And if the client senses those fears you won't get the business. Those fears are:
- Fear of losing the business. If a client senses this, they know that you're more interested in maintaining them as near-term income rather than helping them succeed in the long term.
- Fear of being embarrassed. When you fear this, you hold back ideas just in case you might be wrong. But a client who senses this thinks you're not giving their work everything you've got and that you lack transparency.
- Fear of feeling inferior. Are you more interested in maintaining a sense of status over the client or simply in doing whatever it takes to help them?
How to Get Over Fear of Losing the Business
Always consult instead of sell.
- Every sales opportunity is a chance to demonstrate the value of what you do.
- Start working for the client from the first moment.
- For every one client who takes advantage of you (by taking your advice but then not hiring you) the other nine will start seeing themselves as your client before they actually are.
- Demonstrating generosity and trust helps you turn prospects into clients.
- Giving away the business shows that you're more interested in helping them than in the short term revenue.
- Deliver difficult messages if they are in the best interest of the client.
- Present the truth with kindness, empathy, and respect.
- Fearlessly deal with issues others are afraid to address.
- You will be seen as having courage and integrity.
Ask dumb questions, make dumb suggestions.
- Humbly and quickly acknowledge the dumbest ones and move on – they'll be forgotten.
- Celebrate your mistakes.
- It's inevitable that you'll be wrong sometimes. Take responsibility and move on.
- Clients don't expect perfection – they expect honesty and transparency.
Take a bullet for the client.
- Take some of their burden in a difficult situation - but don't let them get away with it, and be sure to confront them later.
- This builds trust and loyalty.
- Downplay your own accomplishments.
- Understand, honor, and support the client's business.
- Take an active interest in the client's business and its importance to them.
- If you can't honor the client's work, don't take their business in the first place
- Doing whatever needs to be done, regardless of the prestige, demonstrates your dedication to their business.
- Admit your weaknesses and limitations.
- If you cover up your weaknesses you'll wear yourself out by being something you're not.
- Being something you're not also means you can't be something you're good at.