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I had the privilege of hearing Patrick Lencioni  speak last week at the National  Vistage Conference.  He is an outstanding speaker:  funny, genuine and smart.     He spoke for over two hours so it’s hard to recap all the good content.  Here are some of my favorite take aways from his new book, ‘Getting Naked.’  (Hey, with a title like that….you just have to run out and buy it!)

Success in business:

If you want to sell more, quit selling and start consulting.  Stop  worrying about losing the business.  When a salesperson goes into the meeting with the idea of “closing” the deal, the focus is on their objectives, not the prospect.   The focus on closing creates an entirely different dynamic during the meeting and a different outcome—one that  usually ends up in stalls, unspoken objections and chase mode.

Step into the danger zone:

This sounds like a line out of the Top Gun film.   Patrick Lencioni  practices  the powerful influence skill of  truth telling.  Instead of avoiding the tough questions and conversations, Patrick encourages people  to step into the danger zone.  Deliver bad news, tell clients and prospects things that their peers and employees won’t share with them.    Honesty is the best policy and is the foundation for building credibility and long term relationships.  Business owners don’t need another yes person.  They need another truth person.

Ask dumb questions:

This one made me laugh out loud.  How many of us are guilty of impression management?  You know, trying to look like the smartest guy in the room.  Lencioni turns this principle upside down.  Ask the dumb questions, test the assumptions and put your ego aside.  You might just learn something during the conversation that better frames your solution.    Let your competitor spew expertise.  You can be the consultant that shows expertise by the power of the questions you ask. 

It’s time to ‘Get Naked’ with your clients.  Everyone is tired of rhetoric, cliché’s and technique sales calls.  Get real, be honest and be transparent.  Amazing what these simple traits will do to close business.

Colleen Stanley
Colleen Stanley is president of SalesLeadership, Inc. a business development consulting firm specializing in sales and sales management training. The company provides programs in prospecting, referral strategies, consultative sales training, sales management training, emotional intelligence and hiring/selection. She is the author of two books, Emotional Intelligence For Sales Success, now published in six languages, and author of Growing Great Sales Teams.


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