How Being Vulnerable – or “Getting Naked” – Strengthens Client Relationships

When my financial planner tells me to do something for my business, I do it. If Steve Lear can get me financially independent and traveling the world by age 58, I’ll do whatever he says.

He tells me: “Stacy, you must read Getting Naked. It’s a book about how to serve our clients better.”

I bought the book months ago, and it has been waiting patiently on my bedside table to be read. I finally picked it up at 1 a.m. today (couldn’t sleep). I was so impressed with author Patrick Lencioni’s first few chapters, I wanted to share it with you. Keep reading.

Lencioni suggests that by being vulnerable – or “naked” — our client relationships become stronger.

Why this book? How is this going to help you and your clients?

Because its going to teach you the value of vulnerability.

According to Lencioni, vulnerability “is one of the most undervalued and misunderstood of all human qualities.” He believes it’s vulnerability — not constant projections of strength, confidence and poise — that is key to building the important, long-lasting client relationships.

That, in fact, by covering up our vulnerability — our nakedness — we stifle our ability to build trust with our clients.

In the book’s introduction, he poses this important question, which he gets asked all the time: “But can’t you be too vulnerable?” He says, surprisingly, no.

How can this be?

There is a difference between competence (Can you do the job? Do you know what you are doing? Are you an expert in your field?) and admitting weaknesses.

But what about “Never let them see you sweat”?

Lencioni says, “The truth is, our clients almost always know when we are sweating.” By pretending we aren’t sweating, we lose credibility. Instead, we should raise up our arms and admit to sweaty armpits, and show them we are self-assured and honest enough to be worthy of their trust.

Trust. It’s everything.

Clients trust their service providers, and especially in the issues management and reputation industries, with their own vulnerabilities, weaknesses, and faults. If they trust us, it stands to reason that we must likewise trust them.

Without trust in each other — we got nothin’.

I’ll check back when I’m further along in the book.