I recently had the opportunity to listen to author and consultant Patrick Lencioni–whose book, Death by Meeting, I had previously read–at the Virtuoso Travel Week convention at the Bellagio Hotel.
In his remarks, he shared how to take our relationships with our clients to a higher level of value by losing our fears, taking risks, and being more genuine. His thesis is that this approach will build stronger relationships that can lead to much bigger rewards. He calls the approach “getting naked.”
At its core, “naked service” is the ability of a service provider to be vulnerable, to embrace humility, selflessness, and transparency for the good of a client.
He explained that most of us live our lives trying to avoid awkward and painful situations, which is why we are all susceptible to the three fears that sabotage client loyalty. He defined them as follows:
Fear of Losing the Business – Worrying about losing a client’s business may cause service providers to avoid doing or saying the things that could create strong trust and loyalty. He recommends that you be honest, that you “tell the kind truths,” and that you “consult” instead of “sell.”
Fear of Being Embarrassed – Rooted in pride, this fear can lead service providers to withhold their best ideas from clients. He recommends that we go ahead and ask our “dumb questions” and make our “dumb suggestions.” Don’t be afraid of them. Playing it safe can eliminate your relevance.
Fear of Feeling Inferior – To avoid feeling irrelevant, service providers try to achieve a high level of importance in their clients’ minds. He recommends that we don’t be afraid to do the “dirty work.” Make everything about your client, they will appreciate the small things you do and will see you as being invaluable.
As a business travel agency, we plan to take these tips to heart in our dealings with our clients.