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A Business Fable About Shedding The Three Fears That Sabotage Client Loyalty

Author: Patrick Lencioni

Naked service providers achieve a completely different level of client loyalty and its primarily about the foundation of any relationship, trust.  That trust is developed by being vulnerable and getting outside your comfort zone, the areas I most admire and aspire to myself.  That is what this great book is all about.  Lencioni does this in his unique style by writing the book and teaching the content as a fable.  He is a fantastic story teller and I really connected with the humor that was added in this book.  The main characters is in charge of ‘integrating’ a new team from a company that was expected to be swallowed up in an acquisition and he quickly discovers that his integration is going to require integrating the smaller company’s more effective consulting methods are what truly need to be integrated.

Of course the main character and whom is telling the story is faced with many challenges of learning this new style of vulnerable consulting service.  The humorous aspect is that the main character constantly narrates his thoughts as if he is saying them and then explains which I found myself laughing out loud from many times and the shock of what is really said versus what is thought brings life to the characters and realism to the story.  In fact, the impact of this I believe actually helps to convince the reader of each of the unconventional service methods that are presented through the main character’s learning by practice approach throughout the story.  I feel the book provides so many great examples (and realistic ones) all while clearly explaining the reasoning and doubts from the dialogue and thoughts of the characters.  It’s a fun story to read and an even better one to learn from if you are at all interested or involved in any kind of service to others.

The following is an outline of the “Naked Service” that is demonstrated in the book and is tough to digest without the context of the story or more examples, but here it is anyway, which I hope will wet your appetite and entice you to read this book.  It’s well worth it!

Fear of Losing the Business

Put your self at stake even when there is a risk to lose that business or jeopardize the relationships.  Honest and self assured consulting is the best approach here.


  • Always consult instead of sell – demonstrate value by serving
  • Give away the business – give away advice and be generous even before they are a client.
  • Tell the kind truth – Protect the client needs by telling every truth. Its presented with kindness and respect but never sugar coated even if the service provider will be sacrificed as a result.
  • Enter the Danger – Step right into the middle of any uncomfortable situation to fearlessly deal with an issue that others are afraid to address. This grows great loyalty and shows integrity with an opportunity.

Fear of Being Embarrassed

Making suggestions even if they might make them look foolish.  Clients learn that this is a way to trust the provider.


  • Ask dumb questions – Asking more questions and possibly obvious questions shows courage and results in uncovering
  • Make dumb suggestions – Suggestions without confidence often turns into a great insightful suggestion and is what is remembered, not that some suggestions are ignored or denied.
  • Celebrate your mistakes – Being wrong is an inevitability and perfection is never expected, so acknowledge mistakes

Fear of Feeling Inferior

About getting past trying to look superior with a high level of standing or expertise.  To get over this, the service provider must be willing to purposefully put themselves below the client and make the needs of others (no matter what it is) more important than their own.


  • Take a Bullet for the client – Finding moments when we can sacrificially relieve some burden from the client and then confront them with the kind truth
  • Make everything about the client – A powerful tactic by focusing on helping, supporting and honoring the client
  • Honor the client’s work – Take an active interest in the client’s business
  • Do the dirty work – Be willing to take on needs of the client regardless of the level of the work and do it humbly to earn gratitude and loyalty
  • Admit your weaknesses and limitations – General weaknesses should never be covered up since it prevents you from doing best in areas you can thrive

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