The Business of Expertise | One Step Ahead

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The business of expertise

I read a lot. I also take a lot of notes. But they all end up buried away in some folder far, far away from my memory.

So, I decided to sign up for Readwise.

Have you heard of it?

It's an app that makes it easy to revisit and learn from your eBook and article highlights.

It syncs your Kindle highlights, reminds you to review the best parts with daily emails and helps you recall more and grow your knowledge.

Anyway, the first highlight it sent me was from a book I read a while back, called The Business of Expertise and it got me curious (or is that furious?)

It talked about the fact that consultants who bounce in an out of the client relationship have more status and impact than account managers that deal with the client daily.

"A strategist who bounces in and out of the relationship with a client has more status and impact than the account manager that the client interacts with every day." ~ David C. Baker

It happens all the time. You make a recommendation, and clients do nothing. When someone else gives the same advice, they take action?

Transform information into knowledge

The best way to have your client listen to your advice is to make your advice worth listening to!

View everything through a customer improvement lens and ask yourself, is what I'm about to share, ask or show useful?

Step 1. Choose a subject

Here are some universal topics all clients are interested in:

  • Industry trends.
  • What their competitors are doing.
  • What your other clients are doing.
  • Cost avoidance.
  • Cost reduction.
  • Revenue generation.
  • Improving quality
  • Improving efficiency.

Step 2. Transform the information

  • Filter. Reduce the quantity of information by assessing its relevance.
  • Validate. Make sure the information is reliable and correct. Save your client the time and confirm it’s from a trustworthy source or supported by data
  • Analyse. What trends, patterns, benchmarks, opportunities and implications does this information have for your client?
  • Customise. Apply the information to your clients’ situation.
  • Communicate. What's the best format to present the information and your findings? Email? Call? Meeting?

Step 3. View through a customer improvement lens

  • What opinions do you have? You certainly have ideas on how your customer could improve their business. Apply them to your new-found knowledge.
  • Write them all down. It will help you organise your thoughts.
  • Cast a critical eye. Which are the absolute best of them?
  • Share your insights with your customer. Experts give recommendations, not options. Decide on the course of action your customer should take and present an alternative. Any more than that and you risk confusing your customer and having them question your expertise.
  • Back it up with evidence. Give them confidence your ideas will work and quantify the return on investment to motivate your client to act.

What I'm reading

I've just started to read First Things First by Stephen Covey (author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People).

I's another productivity book that promises to help you get more done in less time. (yawn)

But this one grabbed me right away with this:

"My output is tremendous; I’m getting a lot done. But I get this feeling inside sometimes, “So what? What are you doing that really counts?” I have to admit, I don’t know."

Covey says we are in a constant struggle between the clock (commitments, appointments, schedules, goals, activities) and the compass (our vision, values, principles, mission, conscience, and direction). The gap comes when we don't feel like we're contributing to what's most important in our lives.

Covey says we have an urgency addiction

"It’s become a status symbol in our society—if we’re busy, we’re important; if we’re not busy, we’re almost embarrassed to admit it. Busyness is where we get our security. It’s validating, popular, and pleasing. It’s also a good excuse for not dealing with the first things in our lives."

Addicted to tabs?

I know multi-tasking doesn't work. And I know I'm easily distracted. Every time I open my browser I'm greeted by an endless sea of half-read stories, unwatched videos, reminders, spreadsheets, news, social media.

And every time go to close a tab - I just end up going further down the rabbit hole.

This week I finally installed a tab browser extension and I'm AMAZED at how quickly this has become my favourite app.

Workona is a free chrome extension that brings together everything scattered across your browser into one centralised project dashboard. You organize your tabs and bookmarks as resources, add notes to projects and even create tasks.

Anyway - I'm so excited about it I filmed a short 3-minute walkthrough of Workona for you so you can get the idea of how it works.

In other news

  • 12 Best Exercises to Do at Your Desk. A hilarious look at how to stay in perfect shape while working a desk job. Exercises include banging your head, fighting the urge to scream and bending over backwards.
  • The Key Account Manager's Spotify Playlist. A collection of episodes from different podcasts to help you grow client revenue, reduce churn and develop your career. I add new episodes whenever I stumble across something interesting, so why not follow along?
  • CNO Professional Reading Program. For the past 200 years, the US Navy has created an annual reading list to help train and inspire sailors. There motto is "Read Well to Lead Well" and there's some titles in this year's list on leadership, strategy and teamwork.
  • What Buyers Want and How Buyers Work. A new study from Sandler training that explores the most recent preferences and practices in the buyer/seller environment.

Quote of the week

"Never miss a good chance to shut up." ~ Will Rogers

Final word

Thanks so much to everyone that reached out to say how much they enjoyed the new format of the newsletter. I'm humbled.

If there's any particular topics you'd like me to cover in the newsletter, blog or YouTube channel then let me know - I'm always looking for content ideas.

Let me know if anything in this email caught your eye, I'd love to hear from you.

Have a great week

Warwick Brown

Warwick Brown


Warwick Brown has led business development and account management teams in Australia and Europe for more than 15 years and worked with some of the world's most prestigious firms, including Merck & Co, Deutsche Bank, McKinsey & Company and Vodafone. As the founder at Account Manager Tips, his mission is to help organisations leverage the power of key account management to accelerate client retention and revenue.

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