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15 Best Books Every Key Account Manager Should Read

Unlock the secrets of key account management with must-read books that reveal how to master every challenge. To be the best, you have to learn from the best.
25 Best Books Every Key Account Manager Should Read

Tom Corley in his book Change Your Habits, Change Your Life: Strategies that Transformed 177 Average People into Self-Made Millionaires, surveyed wealthy entrepreneurs and discovered 88 percent devoted 30 minutes or more to education or self-improvement each day through reading

Maybe one of the following books will unlock the secret to millions? At the very least it will make you a better key account manager.

I’ve hand picked 15 titles that I have personally read cover to cover. I’ve focused on topics that will guide you on the journey to key account management greatness.

I’d love to hear your book suggestions too, so connect me with me on LinkedIn and we can share recommendations and compare notes.

(P.S. Check your local library to see if they have a copy or if you pick up one for yourself, consider a used copy – you can save a bundle!)

* Note: As an Amazon Associate I may earn from qualifying purchases.

Table of Contents


1. Branding Pays: The Five-Step System to Reinvent Your Personal Brand

Branding Pays by Karen Kang was the book that completely transformed my outlook on my career and, ultimately, set me on the path from being an employee to becoming an entrepreneur.

Picking up this book came at a crucial time for me, right after a performance review that didn’t go as I had hoped. My boss told me I needed to be more visible—a piece of feedback that initially stung but turned out to be a wake-up call I didn’t know I needed.

I had been under the illusion that simply doing my job well was enough. Kang’s book shattered that illusion, presenting a stark reality check on the importance of personal branding.

It wasn’t just about the work I was doing; it was about who knew about it and how I was perceived in the larger context of my industry and my network.

‘Branding Pays’ is a deep dive into the essence of who you are professionally and what you stand for. It made me realize that I was a long way from differentiating myself in a sea of competent professionals.

The book is filled with exercises that push you to reflect, analyze, and ultimately act on building a strong, authentic personal brand. It’s hard work, but incredibly rewarding.

Two major lessons I took from this book have stayed with me:

  1. Aligning Values with Your Job: It became clear to me that having a job that resonates with my personal values is non-negotiable. If there’s no alignment, it’s not about trying to change the organization to fit you; it’s about finding or creating a place where you naturally fit.
  2. Understanding the Importance of Managerial Relationships: In my quest to serve my clients to the best of my ability, I had neglected the relationship with my manager—the very person who had a direct impact on my growth and opportunities within the company. I learned to view my manager not as an adversary but as a key ally in achieving mutual goals.

‘Branding Pays’ was more than just a book for me; it was the catalyst for a fundamental shift in how I approached my career. It taught me that hard work and excellence in your job are crucial, but without a strong personal brand, you might just be the best-kept secret in your organization.

For anyone feeling stuck or invisible in their professional journey, this book is a powerful tool to help carve out a distinct, impactful identity.

Branding Pays: The Five-Step System to Reinvent Your Personal Brand

The focus on personal branding as a career accelerator and its practical exercises for self-discovery and positioning are transformative.

2. The 7 Rules of Power: Surprising But True Advice on How to Get Things Done and Advance Your Career

The 7 Rules of Power: Surprising But True Advice on How to Get Things Done and Advance Your Career by Jeffrey Pfeffer turned out to be an eye-opener for me at a time when office politics felt like an insurmountable barrier.

If you’ve ever found yourself bemoaning the political games in the workplace or feeling lost in the power dynamics, this book could well be the guide you need.

Pfeffer dives into the often-uncomfortable reality that job performance, while critical, isn’t the be-all and end-all for career advancement. The truth is, power plays a significant role in leveraging your talents and achievements to reach your goals.

This realization can be unsettling at first, but Pfeffer’s insights on power as a tool for positive change are both enlightening and empowering.

One of the book’s core messages is that power, despite its ability to make us uneasy, shapes the world. The discomfort comes from a misunderstanding of power and its potential for good.

Many shy away from engaging in power dynamics (myself included), either out of denial of its existence or fear of its implications. However, as Pfeffer points out, understanding and mastering power is not just advisable; it’s essential.

My journey through the book led me to confront my own biases against office politics and organizational power. It challenged me to become less judgmental and more proactive in cultivating my own influence.

The section on the ‘curse of authenticity’ particularly struck a chord, emphasizing that while being true to oneself is valuable, it shouldn’t be a barrier to adapting and thriving in various situations.

Pfeffer’s advice isn’t about wielding power for the sake of power itself. It’s about recognizing that power, when used ethically, can be a force for tremendous good—both for individual career progression and for broader organizational success.

For those of us who have always viewed office politics with a mix of disdain and apprehension, ‘The 7 Rules of Power’ offers a fresh perspective.

It’s not about becoming someone you’re not; it’s about acknowledging the rules of the game and learning how to play it to your advantage.

Embracing this mindset doesn’t just open doors; it empowers you to create opportunities where none seemed to exist.

The 7 Rules of Power: Surprising But True Advice on How to Get Things Done and Advance Your Career

Its unflinching look at the role of power in career advancement and how to ethically wield it is both enlightening and empowering.

3. First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting Up To Speed Smarter and Faster

Stepping into a new key account manager role can feel like you’re being asked to solve a mystery with hardly any clues left behind. That’s why First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Smarter and Faster by Michael D. Watkins has been nothing short of a revelation for me.

It’s like the roadmap we all wish we had on day one, detailing how to navigate those initial, often bewildering, first three months on the job.

Watkins doesn’t just offer generic advice; he provides a toolkit packed with detailed actions designed to help you get oriented quickly, understand the intricacies of your company and clients, and forge those all-important internal networks.

It’s all about hitting the ground running, without wasting time feeling lost or unsure of your next step.

What’s particularly brilliant about this book is how versatile the guidance is. Although it’s framed around starting a new job, I’ve found its strategies just as effective when taking on a new client.

Adapting Watkins’ 90-day plan to the context of understanding a new client’s needs, their business landscape, and how best to serve them has been game-changing. It gives you a clear structure for those critical first months, ensuring you build a strong foundation for a successful relationship.

‘First 90 Days’ is essential reading, not just for those new to a role, but for any key account manager looking to refine their approach to taking on new clients or projects. It’s about making those first 90 days count, setting the stage for long-term success by being strategic, proactive, and, most importantly, smart about how you get up to speed.

This book is a valuable asset in any key account manager’s arsenal, offering the strategies needed to not just survive but thrive from the get-go.

First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Smarter and Faster

Its unflinching look at the role of power in career advancement and how to ethically wield it is both enlightening and empowering.

Sales & Selling

4. The Expansion Sale: Four Must-Win Conversations to Keep and Grow Your Customers

The Expansion Sale: Four Must-Win Conversations to Keep and Grow Your Customers by Erik Peterson and Tim Riesterer is, hands down, the one book I’d press into the hands of every key account manager if I could.

It’s not just a book; it’s a goldmine of actionable strategies tailored to the unique challenges we face in our role.

If there’s one guide that’s transformed how I approach selling within key accounts, it’s this one.

Peterson and Riesterer break down the essential conversations into four types: Why Stay, Why Evolve, Why Pay More, and Why Forgive.

Each one targets a critical point in the client relationship, from securing renewals to managing upsells, handling price increases, and navigating the tricky waters of making amends.

What makes this book invaluable is not just the clarity with which these conversations are outlined but the depth of guidance provided for each.

Complete with step-by-step frameworks, templates, and illustrations, it equips you to not only craft but also deliver your message effectively.

The discussion on the incumbent advantage and status quo bias was a game-changer for me. The concept that you can either disrupt and defeat the status quo to win over clients from competitors or defend and reinforce it to keep your current clients from looking elsewhere gives you a powerful strategic edge. It’s about understanding the psychology of change and leveraging it to your advantage.

The advice on how to preemptively address competitive threats and engage in early conversations about renewals has been particularly impactful. It’s changed my approach from being reactive to proactive, allowing me to steer conversations with clients in a way that not only strengthens our relationship but also solidifies our value proposition.

‘The Expansion Sale’ is more than just a book; it’s a strategic partner for anyone in key account management. Its insights into defending your position, advocating for growth, and navigating the complexities of client relationships are unparalleled.

This is the book you need to not just survive but thrive in the world of key account management.

Seriously, get your hands on it.

The Expansion Sale: Four Must-Win Conversations to Keep and Grow Your Customers

I love the focused approach to navigating the four critical sales conversations with practical strategies and frameworks.

5. Exactly What to Say: The Magic Words for Influence and Impact

Exactly What to Say: The Magic Words for Influence and Impact by Phil M. Jones has been a revelation in how I approach conversations in my role. It’s packed with 23 powerful concepts designed to navigate customer relationships like a pro.

Whether it’s building rapport, uncovering needs, handling objections, or guiding decisions, this book offers a toolkit that feels almost like having cheat codes for communication.

Although it’s geared towards salespeople, I’ve found it to be an absolute goldmine for anyone in a role that demands effective client communication.

The strategies it presents are not just about selling but about connecting on a deeper level, understanding client needs, and presenting ideas in a way that resonates.

Two concepts from the book have become my go-tos:

  • If… Then: This concept taps into a deeply rooted psychological pattern. We’ve all grown up with conditional statements (“If you do this, then that will happen”), and they have a powerful hold on our belief system. Applying this in conversations with clients by framing outcomes and scenarios in an ‘if… then’ structure not only makes your point clearer but also more persuasive. It’s about showing the natural progression of actions and consequences, making the advice or solutions you’re offering feel more logical and acceptable.
  • The Good News: Starting conversations with ‘The good news is…’ has been a game-changer in shifting discussions from problems to solutions. It’s an incredible way to steer conversations positively, encouraging clients (and sometimes ourselves) to adopt a more optimistic viewpoint. This approach not only diffuses negativity but also opens up the space for more constructive and forward-thinking dialogue.

Jones has a way of breaking down complex psychological concepts into simple, actionable advice. ‘Exactly What to Say’ is not just a book; it’s a comprehensive guide to enhancing your communication skills, making every word count, and positively influencing those around you.

Whether you’re in sales, key account management, or any role that involves client interaction, this book is a must-read for honing your ability to communicate effectively and make a meaningful impact.

Exactly What to Say: The Magic Words for Influence and Impact

Its concise and powerful communication strategies for influencing others and driving results are truly impactful.

6. Questions that Sell: The Powerful Process for Discovering What Your Customer Really Wants

Questions That Sell: The Powerful Process for Discovering What Your Customer Really Wants by Paul Cherry is nothing short of a masterclass in the art of strategic questioning.

As key account managers, our success hinges not just on providing great service but on continuously uncovering and expanding opportunities for growth and profitability within our accounts. This book has become my go-to resource, my bible, for doing just that.

Cherry walks you through the entire sales process, from lead qualification to the final pitch, armed with an arsenal of questions designed to open doors you didn’t even know existed. With 25 chapters packed with hundreds of questions, this book covers everything—discovery, needs analysis, cold calling, social selling, and even how to engage with C-suite executives effectively.

What really sets this book apart for me is the comprehensive breakdown of questioning techniques. It not only teaches you what to ask but helps you understand why these questions work and in what situations they are most effective.

The chapter on Vision questions, for instance, delves into understanding the underlying needs of your primary contact by exploring seven key areas: success, independence, recognition, security, stimulation, peace of mind, and simplicity.

This was a revelation for me, highlighting the dual nature of decision-making—both rational and emotional.

Cherry’s insights have profoundly influenced my approach, allowing me to craft conversations that truly resonate with clients and uncover deeper needs and opportunities.

The book has encouraged me to see beyond the surface, recognizing that the right questions can unlock not just business opportunities but also forge stronger, more meaningful relationships with clients.

For anyone looking to elevate their key account management game, ‘Questions That Sell’ is an invaluable tool. It’s taught me that the quality of the questions we ask is directly proportional to the value we bring to our clients.

It’s not just about selling; it’s about understanding, connecting, and ultimately delivering solutions that matter.

Questions That Sell: The Powerful Process for Discovering What Your Customer Really Wants

The extensive range of probing questions it offers to uncover deep client needs and opportunities is a game-changer.

7. Bargaining for Advantage: Negotiation Strategies for Reasonable People

Negotiation isn’t exactly my forte, which probably rings true for a lot of us in key account management. Our days are often more about service than the hardcore selling and contract negotiations that come with new business.

That’s exactly why Bargaining for Advantage: Negotiation Strategies for Reasonable People caught my eye. It’s designed for those of us who aren’t natural-born negotiators but find ourselves needing to navigate these waters effectively.

What I love about this book is how it distills negotiation into a clear, four-step process:

  1. Preparing Your Strategy: It all starts with preparation, laying out your goals and understanding what you bring to the table.
  2. Exchanging Information: A reminder that negotiation is a two-way street, and how crucial it is to listen as much as you talk.
  3. Opening and Making Concessions: This section demystifies the art of give-and-take, showing that flexibility can lead to better outcomes for everyone involved.
  4. Closing and Gaining Commitment: The ultimate goal, right? This part offers strategies on sealing the deal in a way that leaves all parties satisfied.

The chapter on leverage was a game-changer for me. It offered some eye-opening strategies on tilting the balance of power in negotiations subtly in your favor.

The book doesn’t just tell you what to do; it shows you, with examples and a handy checklist at the end of each chapter to ensure you’re on the right track.

But what makes this book a must-read isn’t just the practical advice—it’s the engaging way it’s presented. Reading it feels less like studying and more like uncovering secrets that can transform the way you negotiate.

It’s both a fun read and a rich resource of actionable techniques that promise to level up your negotiation skills.

For anyone in key account management who finds the idea of negotiating daunting, ‘Bargaining for Advantage’ is a treasure trove of wisdom.

It breaks down the process into manageable parts, making the art of negotiation not just accessible but something you might actually start to enjoy.

Bargaining for Advantage: Negotiation Strategies for Reasonable People

The detailed negotiation strategies and the emphasis on ethical persuasion make it a standout read for me.

Business Writing

8. Writing Without Bullshit: Boost Your Career by Saying What You Mean

Writing Without Bullshit: Boost Your Career by Saying What You Mean by Josh Bernoff is the book that transformed my daily grind of emails into something far more productive and less overwhelming.

As key account managers, our inboxes are often battlegrounds of communication, filled with endless threads of emails where we’re constantly putting out fires, answering queries, and trying to foster relationships, all while trying to make our messages stand out in a sea of information overload.

This book is the beacon of clarity in the chaos of corporate communication.

The core lesson I carry with me every day from Bernoff’s guide is:

The Iron Imperative: Treat the reader’s time as more valuable than your own.

This principle has revolutionized the way I approach every email, ensuring that my communication is always clear, concise, and respectful of the recipient’s time. It’s about getting to the point without losing the human touch that’s so crucial in maintaining and expanding key account relationships.

Bernoff doesn’t just stop at telling you to be brief; he equips you with the tools to effectively streamline your communication. From crafting compelling subject lines that ensure your emails are opened, to mastering the art of active writing that engages and persuades, this book covers all the bases.

You’ll learn how to format your emails for easy readability, how to cut down on wordiness, and even the nuances of email etiquette that can make or break your professional relationships.

After reading ‘Writing Without Bullshit’, I’ve seen a marked improvement not just in how my emails are received and responded to, but also in how I perceive and construct every piece of communication. Bernoff has turned what used to be one of my most dreaded tasks into an area where I now feel confident and effective.

For anyone drowning in their inbox or struggling to make their communications count, this book is a must-read. It promises—and delivers—a way to become a communication powerhouse, ensuring your ideas are not just heard, but respected and acted upon.

Writing Without Bullshit: Boost Your Career by Saying What You Mean

The book's relentless focus on clear, efficient communication and the Iron Imperative principle are a breath of fresh air.

9. Writing Business Bids and Proposals For Dummies

Let’s talk about a task that might not be everyone’s cup of tea but is absolutely crucial in the world of key account management: writing bids and proposals.

Yeah, I know, it’s not the most thrilling part of the job, especially when you’re more used to nurturing relationships than pitching for them.

But here’s the thing—Writing Business Bids and Proposals for Dummies is the ally we never knew we needed.

If you’re like many key account managers, you’ve probably found yourself in the hot seat, having to whip up a proposal with little to no experience in bid writing. And let’s be real, the resources that could help are often tied up with chasing new business.

This means you’re flying solo, and it can feel like you’re expected to be an expert bid writer overnight.

That’s where this book comes into play. It’s a godsend, honestly. It breaks down the entire bid and proposal process into manageable chunks. We’re talking everything from assembling your bid team to the nitty-gritty of writing that winning proposal, and even how to nail your final round presentations.

It’s like having a coach by your side every step of the way.

What I appreciate most about this book is how accessible it makes the whole bid writing process. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never written a bid before in your life; this book guides you through each phase with clarity and insight.

It’s filled with practical tips and strategies that you can apply immediately, making it an invaluable resource for key account managers, especially those of us who might find ourselves a bit out of our depth when it comes to bid writing.

‘Writing Business Bids and Proposals for Dummies’ is more than just a book; it’s a comprehensive toolkit that empowers you to approach bid writing with confidence. It belongs on the bookshelf of every key account manager, ready to be pulled down and consulted whenever the need arises.

Trust me, having this resource at your fingertips can transform a daunting task into a manageable, and even rewarding, part of your job.

Writing Business Bids and Proposals For Dummies

Its step-by-step guide through the proposal writing process makes daunting tasks manageable.

10. Show and Tell: How Everybody Can Make Extraordinary Presentations

Show and Tell by Dan Roam is a gem of a find, and trust me, it’s not another book about making slides on PowerPoint. It’s a journey back to the basics, all the way to kindergarten, believe it or not.

The genius of Roam’s approach is in using something as simple as doodles to revolutionize the way we think about presentations. The entire book is filled with these sketches, making it not just a fun read, but an unforgettable visual experience.

Roam has this incredible way of reminding us that at the heart of every successful presentation is the ability to connect with your audience on a human level. It’s about building your talk on a foundation of truth, then wrapping that truth in engaging storytelling and compelling visuals. It’s a formula that seems so simple yet is profoundly effective.

For those of us in key account management, presentations are part of the job description. Whether it’s pitching a new idea to a client or sharing results and insights, how we present can make all the difference. And let’s be honest, not all of us are naturals when it comes to standing up and captivating an audience. If the thought of presenting sends you into a panic, ‘Show and Tell’ is the lifeline you’ve been looking for.

What I adore about this book is how it strips everything down to the essentials, teaching you to find the passion in what you’re presenting. It’s not about dazzling with tech or jargon; it’s about conveying your message clearly, engagingly, and memorably.

Roam demonstrates that with the right approach, anyone can create a presentation that resonates and leaves a lasting impact.

 ‘Show and Tell’ is a must-read for anyone who wants to elevate their presentation game. It’s especially perfect for key account managers looking to connect with their clients in more meaningful ways. Dan Roam proves that sometimes, going back to basics is the most innovative move of all.

Show and Tell: How Everybody Can Make Extraordinary Presentations

The innovative use of simple visuals to enhance communication and presentation skills is both inspiring and immensely practical.

Key Account Management

11. Key Account Management: Strategies to Leverage Information, Technology, and Relationships to Deliver Value to Large Customers

Key Account Management: Strategies to Leverage Information, Technology, and Relationships to Deliver Value to Large Customers by Joël Le Bon and Carl Herman is a breath of fresh air in the landscape of key account management literature.

Let’s face it, many books on the subject are penned by academics and can be, well, a bit of a snooze fest if you’re trying to get through hundreds of pages of dense theory.

Not this one, though.

At about 150 pages, it’s concise, straight to the point, and jam-packed with practical advice that you can start using right away.

What sets this book apart for me is its focus on delivering real value to key accounts. It’s not just about managing relationships on the surface; it’s about diving deep to understand what your clients truly need from you and your company. This section filled with questions designed to help you pinpoint exactly what value you bring to the table is golden. It makes you think, reflect, and then act with precision.

Then there’s the dedicated chapters on leveraging CRM and technology. In today’s digital age, understanding how to use technology to enhance your key account management strategy is non-negotiable.

This book gets it.

It gives you the lowdown on how to make technology your ally in building stronger, more productive relationships with your key accounts.

The coverage on strategy and planning is just as invaluable, offering insights that light the way for not just maintaining but significantly growing your key accounts. It’s all about laying a solid foundation and building from there with a clear vision and smart tactics.

If you’re after a book that covers the essentials of key account management without dragging you through endless pages, ‘Key Account Management’ by Le Bon and Herman is the way to go. It’s got everything you need to elevate your game in managing those crucial client relationships—and then some.

Key Account Management: Strategies to Leverage Information,Technology, and Relationships to Deliver Value to Large Customers

The focus on leveraging technology and building relationships to deliver unmatched value to key accounts really stands out to me.

12. Key Account Management: Tools and Techniques for Achieving Profitable Key Supplier Status

Okay, so I might have mentioned my slight aversion to those hefty, academic key account management books, but Key Account Management: Tools & Techniques for Achieving Profitable Key Supplier Status by Peter Cheverton is the exception to my rule.

Yes, it’s technical, dense even, but think of it as the encyclopedia of key account management. It’s that detailed manual you didn’t know you needed until you’re deep in the trenches, looking for a way out.

This book is incredibly thorough, covering the Ato Z of building a robust key account management function. From training and hiring the right talent to mastering relationship management, and from detailed key account planning to customer segmentation and analyzing profitability, Cheverton leaves no stone unturned.

It’s the kind of book that’s not necessarily your bedside read, but rather, the one you keep at arm’s reach on your work desk for constant reference.

What I really appreciate about this book is how it’s structured as a practical guide. You might not read it from front to back in one sitting, but you’ll find yourself flipping through its pages time and again.

Whenever I need a deep dive into specific strategies or tactics, this is the book I turn to. It’s detailed, it’s comprehensive, and it’s been instrumental in helping me refine and execute my key account management strategies with precision.

It might be on the heavier side, but it’s an indispensable resource. For those moments when you need to get into the nitty-gritty of key account management, there’s no better companion.

It’s a book that you’ll reference over and over again, each time uncovering new insights and tools to enhance your approach to key account management.

Key Account Management: Tools & Techniques for Achieving Profitable Key Supplier Status

Covers all aspects of key account management, making it an indispensable manual for developing a successful KAM strategy.

Data & Analytics

13. Financial Intelligence: A Manager's Guide to Knowing What the Numbers Really Mean

Financial Intelligence: A Manager’s Guide to Knowing What the Numbers Really Mean by Karen Berman and Joe Knight has been a revelation for me. Let’s be honest, as key account managers, diving deep into financials might not be where our passions lie. But understanding the nuts and bolts of financial statements—like pricing, margins, and profitability, not just in our own company but also in our clients’ businesses—is crucial.

This book comes in as the perfect guide for those of us who aren’t accountants yet need to make sense of the numbers.

What I love about this book is how it breaks down complex financial concepts into bite-sized, easy-to-understand pieces. Income statements, cash flows, balance sheets—you name it, the book has it covered, and in a way that doesn’t make you want to nod off.

It’s like having a translator that turns financial jargon into our everyday language.

But it’s not just about understanding these concepts; it’s about using this knowledge to up your game in discussions with decision-makers. Whether it’s within your client’s organization or your own, being able to speak confidently about the financial implications of your projects can really set you apart.

Suddenly, you’re not just talking strategies or solutions; you’re discussing their impact on the bottom line, which is music to the ears of executives.

‘Financial Intelligence’ has been a game-changer for me. It has equipped me with the tools to have more meaningful, informed conversations with clients and colleagues alike. If you’re looking to elevate your understanding of the financial side of business and make your discussions with higher-ups more impactful, this is the book for you.

Financial Intelligence, Revised Edition: A Manager's Guide to Knowing What the Numbers Really Mean

Its ability to demystify financial concepts and make them accessible for non-financial managers is invaluable.

Customer Relationships

14. The Trusted Advisor

Oooh, The Trusted Advisor—now that’s a classic that really lives up to the hype. More than two decades on the shelves and it’s as relevant as ever, which says a lot about the timeless advice it offers. This book has it all: how to dish out advice that actually helps, build rock-solid relationships, earn trust, and then make that trust work wonders for you and your clients.

I’ve got the 10 characteristics of Trusted Advisors printed out and right here on my desk. It’s like my North Star, guiding every interaction I have with my clients. These principles have become second nature to me, reminding me every day that being a trusted advisor means putting the client relationship above all else. ROI comes second, which might sound radical, but it’s true.

  1. It’s about the client, not me. Every decision, every piece of advice, is for their benefit.
  2. I see my clients as people, not just roles or functions in their companies.
  3. Spotting problems and fixing them? That’s the job, but it’s also about caring enough to look for those problems in the first place.
  4. Always on the lookout for ways to up my service game.
  5. I’m always thinking two steps ahead, knowing exactly where we’re headed next.
  6. Doing the right thing is my jam, even when it’s tough or goes against the grain.
  7. If a process doesn’t serve my client, it’s out. Efficiency is key, but effectiveness is king.
  8. Short-term wins are great, but I’m in it for the long haul, building something that lasts.
  9. Selling isn’t a dirty word to me; it’s part and parcel of serving my clients well.
  10. My professional life is personal. My clients aren’t just accounts; they’re relationships that matter.

‘The Trusted Advisor’ isn’t just a book; it’s a mindset, a way of doing business that turns transactions into relationships and advice into trust.

It’s been a cornerstone of how I work and how I live. If you’re looking to be that person your clients can’t do without, this is your playbook.

The Trusted Advisor

The practical framework for building trust and becoming an indispensable advisor to clients really resonates with me.

15. Developing Knowledge-Based Client Relationships

I really got a lot out of Developing Knowledge-Based Client Relationships by Ross Dawson. It’s one of those books that made me see my role as a key account manager in a new light. Dawson gets into how crucial it is for us to be more than just the go-to person for our clients when they need something.

Instead, he shows how we can become an essential part of their planning process—someone they rely on for insights and not just solutions.

What’s great about this book is that it doesn’t matter what industry you’re in. The ideas Dawson shares are universal. He talks about how to make your relationships with clients richer, which is something I’ve always aimed to do.

Following his advice, I’ve worked on becoming a key player in my clients’ decision-making processes, and it’s been a game-changer.

If you’re looking to step up your game and build relationships that go beyond the usual client-key account manager dynamic, this book is for you.

It’s practical, insightful, and has been a big influence on how I approach my work. Highly recommend it if you want to be seen as more than just another account manager by your clients.

Developing Knowledge-Based Client Relationships

I love how it emphasizes the power of expertise in fostering deep, consultative relationships with clients.

Additional Resources

  • How To Retain More From The Books You Read in 5 Easy Steps. It’s not just what you read, but what you remember.  This is  step by step guide on how to  make notes and retain more of what you read.
  • 15 Books for KAMs on Amazon. If you plan on picking up  a book or two, save time and find all the titles I  reviewed in a single list on Amazon. 
  • This is the notetaking app I use. It does cost around $80 but I’m happy to pay for it because it’s the only app I’ve found that keeps your notes organized with AI. I can just talk to the chatbot and it’ll find my notes and suggest similar notes to help me make connections between ideas.
  • Glasp. A free social web highlighter that makes it a breeze to capture and organize quotes and thoughts from the web. 


BrandingPays: The Five-Step System to Reinvent Your Personal Brand
7 Rules of Power: Surprising--but True--Advice on How to Get Things Done and Advance Your Career

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