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Selling Naked

Recently I reread one of the better books on consulting and selling, Getting Naked by Patrick Lencioni.  Getting Naked is a business fable about three fears that sabotage client loyalty. Getting Naked is also about how these three fears sabotage new client acquisition.  I use the term selling naked.

Selling naked, at its core, boils down to the ability of a sales professional to be vulnerable - "to embrace uncommon levels of humility, selflessness, and transparency for the good of a client" or prospect.

#1 - Fear of losing the business: No salesperson wants to lose a sale.  According to Lencioni, "this fear of losing the business actually hurts our ability to keep and increase business, because it causes us to avoid doing the difficult things that engender greater loyalty and trust with the people we're trying to serve."

Lencioni goes on to say, "What clients want more than anything is to know that we're more interested in helping them than we are in maintaining our revenue source.  And when we do something, or fail to do something to protect our business, they eventually lose respect for us and understandably question whether they should trust us."

To me, this is so true!  Does this fear strike a cord with anyone?

#2 - Fear of being embarrassed: Naked sales professionals are so concerned about helping their client or prospect that they are willing "to ask questions and make suggestions even if their questions and suggestions turn out to be laughably wrong.  They readily admit what they don't know and are quick to point out their errors."

Prospects and clients trust naked sales professionals because they know they will not hold back their ideas or hide their mistakes.

Again, does this resonate with anyone?  I know personally that when I sold for IBM I always worried about appearing incompetent in front of prospects and customers and sometimes would hold back for fear of looking stupid.

#3 - Fear of feeling inferior: All professionals want to be respected and admired and have a disdain for being overlooked, condescended to or made to feel insignificant.

Naked sales professionals overcome their need to feel important and will purposely and cheerfully set aside their egos and make the needs of others more important than their own.

I appreciate your interest in my blog.   Praise this entry or tear it up!  Let me know your thoughts.  Thanks.




  1. Christian says:

    John, great post. I totally relate to fear #1: The fear of losing the business.

    Look forward to future posts.

  2. Mark Morsheimer says:


    Thank you! All of this is so true - simply and purely.


  3. Catherine Marshall says:


    As usual, relevant information that makes an impact out in the trenches.

    Catherine M.

  4. Tim B. says:

    All three are right-on. I have felt them myself many times, especially being newer in the world of sales!

  5. Joe Enoch says:

    For those that #1 is a problem, remember - You can't lose what you never had!

    • Joe Enoch says:

      Hi Joe,

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting on "da Blog." Getting Naked is as good a book on selling as they come. Joe, it is true that, as you put it, "you can't lose what you never had." However, you can lose an opportunity; an opportunity to acquire a new customer or additional business. I hate that when it happens! Thanks for the comment. - John D.

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