Every month I share a selection of popular titles to help with your professional development as a key account manager.
Here are the book recommendations for October 2022.
We Need to Talk: How to Have Conversations That Matter
In this urgent and insightful book, public radio journalist Celeste Headlee shows us how to bridge what divides us--by having real conversations
BASED ON THE TED TALK WITH OVER 10 MILLION VIEWS
“We Need to Talk is an important read for a conversationally-challenged, disconnected age. Headlee is a talented, honest storyteller, and her advice has helped me become a better spouse, friend, and mother.” (Jessica Lahey, author of New York Times bestseller The Gift of Failure)
Today most of us communicate from behind electronic screens, and studies show that Americans feel less connected and more divided than ever before. The blame for some of this disconnect can be attributed to our political landscape, but the erosion of our conversational skills as a society lies with us as individuals.
And the only way forward, says Headlee, is to start talking to each other. In We Need to Talk, she outlines the strategies that have made her a better conversationalist—and offers simple tools that can improve anyone’s communication. For example:
- BE THERE OR GO ELSEWHERE. Human beings are incapable of multitasking, and this is especially true of tasks that involve language. Think you can type up a few emails while on a business call, or hold a conversation with your child while texting your spouse? Think again.
- CHECK YOUR BIAS. The belief that your intelligence protects you from erroneous assumptions can end up making you more vulnerable to them. We all have blind spots that affect the way we view others. Check your bias before you judge someone else.
- HIDE YOUR PHONE. Don’t just put down your phone, put it away. New research suggests that the mere presence of a cell phone can negatively impact the quality of a conversation.
Whether you’re struggling to communicate with your kid’s teacher at school, an employee at work, or the people you love the most—Headlee offers smart strategies that can help us all have conversations that matter.
Why this book?
Conversation is at the heart of key account management. We need to be skilled at communicating to uncover unmet needs, persuade clients to take action and manage difficult situations with diplomacy.
And key account managers span boundaries, coordinating a variety of stakeholders from colleagues, end users, decision makers and influencers to get things done.
We Need to Talk promises to teach us how to bring renewed focus to the art of conversation, and build dynamic relationships with the people in our lives that matter.
Insight Selling: How to sell value & differentiate your product with Insight Scenarios
Selling value to B2B buyers today can feel like trying to stop a freight train that's hurtling towards the sales graveyard of commoditization and discounting. Today, an empowered buyer has done research, has a clear idea of his or her firm's needs, and how much the firm is willing to pay. This type of buyer does not want a salesperson to talk about features and deliver a series of open-ended questions that delivers no value. What this buyer wants is insight.
But how does a salesperson deliver insight so that it challenges the customer's thinking without challenging the customer? That's the question that this book will answer.
In Part One of this book, we will examine why "Insight Selling" will help you sell value and differentiate your product to empowered buyers.
In Part Two, we will provide six reasons why Insight Scenarios™ trump verbal persuasion at delivering insight to your customers. These reasons are backed by solid research: eight neuroscience studies and 20 research footnotes. This research is then followed by social proof on how SAP, Microsoft & Oracle are doing it.
Finally, in Part Three, we will show you how to create Insight Scenarios, so that you can not only arm your salespeople with insights, but so that you can also show them the most effective way to deliver them.
Once you have created your own insight scenarios, your salespeople will be more effective in two ways:
They will be able to deliver insights without upsetting the buyer, and;
They will be able to let the customer take your product out for a virtual test drive, so customers will discover for themselves the unique value of your product.
Why this book?
A big part of the key account manager's role is to solve our clients' existing problems and uncover new ones. You must develop your insights, support them with evidence, and convince clients why they need to evolve.
And why you are the one to help them transform.
Insight Selling promises to help you start those conversations with clients and make the case for change through storytelling
Humor, Seriously: Why Humor Is a Secret Weapon in Business and Life (And how anyone can harness it. Even you.)
We are living through a period of unprecedented uncertainty and upheaval in both our personal and professional lives. So it should come as a surprise to exactly no one that trust, human connection, and mental well-being are all on the decline.
This may seem like no laughing matter. Yet, the research shows that humor and laughter are among the most valuable tools we have at our disposal for strengthening bonds and relationships, diffusing stress and tension, boosting resilience, and performing when the stakes are high.
That’s why Jennifer Aaker and Naomi Bagdonas teach the popular course Humor: Serious Business at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, where they help some of the world’s most hard-driving, blazer-wearing business minds infuse more humor and levity into their work and lives.
In Humor, Seriously, they draw on findings by behavioral scientists, world-class comedians, and inspiring business leaders to reveal how humor works and—more important—how you can use more of it, better.
Aaker and Bagdonas unpack the theory and application of humor: what makes something funny, how to mine your life for material, and simple ways to identify and leverage your unique humor style. They show how to use humor to rebuild vital connections; appear more confident, competent, and authentic at work; and foster cultures where levity and creativity can thrive.
President Dwight David Eisenhower once said, “A sense of humor is part of the art of leadership, of getting along with people, of getting things done.” If Dwight David Eisenhower, the second least naturally funny president (after Franklin Pierce), thought humor was necessary to win wars, build highways, and warn against the military-industrial complex, then you might consider learning it too.
Why this book?
Humour is a great tool to help get along with people, show leadership, and alleviate stress, anxiety and burnout.
If you don't laugh, you cry, right?
As key account managers we face difficult clients, challenging colleagues, constant deadlines, ambitious targets and more work than we can handle.
But somehow we do it.
I chose Humor, Seriously, because it promises to show us how to look on the bright side and use laughter to strengthen relationships, diffuse stress and boost resilience.