Looking for the best sales books? Whether you’re looking to improve your sales pitch, learn the secrets of closing, or learn how to influence people, read on for some of the must-reads for any inside sales rep.
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In this article:
- Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers into Friends and Friends into Customer – Seth Godin
- How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie
- Never Eat Alone – Keith Ferrazzi and Tahl Raz
- The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation – Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen R. Covey
- Digital Minimalism – Cal Newport
- Secrets Of A Master Closer – Mike Kaplan
- The Little Red Book Of Selling – Jeffrey Gitomer
Best Sales Books for Sales Development and Strategies
How Reading the Top Sales Books for Sales Professionals Can Help Reps
Sales reps today can educate themselves on sales best practices with a variety of books available on the subject, but there are so many books out there it’s often hard to know where to start.
We’ve done the work for you and listed our ‘Top 8 Sales Books” to help inside sales reps increase their performance and expand their technique.
This list consists of both classic and recently published sales books, which can help reps get insight into what can help them become more successful salespeople.
Many of the books on this list are best sellers and sales must-reads; even if you have read them, it might be time to pull them off the shelf and review their quality content.
Here are eight best sales books to read, absorb, and share with the entire sales organization for better results in delivering sales pitches, closing deals, and building secured relationships with potential customers.
1. Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers into Friends and Friends into Customer – Seth Godin
What is Permission Marketing? This marketing concept recognizes and respects the consumers’ right to choose if they want to receive marketing materials or not.
While at first glance this book seems to be pointed toward marketers, sales reps can still learn a thing or two from this book. Permission marketing offers great advice and information that sales reps today can use when dealing with leads and prospects.
Also, sales and marketing are converging. By learning how to approach new leads and prospects, reps can build upon the foundations the book suggests to get the sale.
Learning how to gain permission makes sense and can help any rep become a better marketer when pitching to a prospect. This concept respects the consumer’s choice as a valuable part of its sales strategy.
So, instead of pushing a lead into making a purchase, this marketing concept understands the power of a consumer’s choice to listen to your pitch. When a potential client shows interest in sales conversations you initiated, there’s a higher chance for sales success.
2. How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie
This book by best-selling author Dale Carnegie is one of the sales books of all time. It’s a classic for any aspiring sales champions.
The benefit of reading this book is that it can help a sales professional develop the interpersonal skills needed to clinch a sale. The techniques Dale Carnegie teaches not only helps with lead generation, but they are also necessary for closing the sale.
Learning techniques on how to interact with people, becoming likable to others, winning people over, and other helpful information can benefit anyone who works in sales.
It’s great for newbies who want to improve in the business. Experts and sales executives should also re-read this book to refresh themselves when they find themselves in a rut.
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3. Never Eat Alone – Keith Ferrazzi and Tahl Raz
Learning how to network and develop sincere and good relationships with others is something every great sales rep need to know. This book can help sales professionals connect with others at trade shows and in everyday situations over the phone and Internet.
To discover more about the psychology of selling, a salesperson must first learn how to decode human psychology. The book teaches the importance of not asking, “What’s in it for me?” But rather, “What can I do for you?”
This is an essential lesson for successful salespeople to become more compelling to their prospective buyers. By doing so, they can build lasting relationships, opening chances for future sales as they follow their buyer’s journey.
4. The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation – Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson
This book is great because it is one of the more current books about the sales industry. It looked at the skills, attitude, behaviors, and know-how of top reps.
The authors did a comprehensive study that involved sales reps across various industries and locations. They discovered that reps fall into one of five profiles. And, while all reps can deliver average results, only one (“The Challenger”) can deliver great results consistently.
For sales reps, it teaches the importance of how to pitch to customers, creating a tailored message, and taking control of the sale.
The Challenger is a great read for sales reps who might be a little out of the game and are trying to learn the modern processes of sales. Salespeople who have been following classic selling tips and techniques will find this book insightful.
5. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen R. Covey
The late Stephen Covey was the author of this highly successful book that influenced millions of people and taught them to be their best productive self.
In 7 Habits, Covey showed readers (and sales reps) how to be proactive and take responsibility for their own success and failures. C-level executives have read and followed this book’s to lead their sales organizations towards success.
In fact, people beyond the sales industry read and stand by these habits. Executives of other companies apply the seven habits in their operations.
Sales reps can also learn to not get caught up in the “here” and “now.” Rather, they should start everything off with the beginning in mind and develop a personal mission statement.
By incorporating the lessons learned from this book, a sales rep can become a sales professional if they are able to apply these principles to their daily lives.
At the end of the day, it’s up to the sales rep to determine if they have done everything they can to get the sale. Books can be a great asset to help improve skills and, hopefully, increase performance.
6. Digital Minimalism – Cal Newport
Cal Newport’s best selling book teaches you how valuable it is to focus on the technology that is helping you rather than distracting you. This is the concept of digital minimalism. The concept is not saying no to any technology, but to say no to unnecessary technology.
It’s a modern problem that affects everyone. In the age of multi-platform social media, distraction is everywhere. The constant beeping of your smartphone is taking your focus away from the tasks at hand.
If you think about your smartphone’s development over the last 10 years, you know that there are new apps added to every upgrade. What Newport is proposing is that you take time to think about what the benefit is of all these new apps.
What technology do you need to improve your skill-set, and which ones are just distracting you from your tasks?
The benefits in the workplace of a focused sales team are apparent, but what about your employees’ downtime? Are they fully rested when they arrive at work, or do they binge the latest’ must-see’ until 2 am on their tablet?
This book may not seem like it belongs in the category of best sales book, but it is a top seller for a good reason. Your sales team may resist the idea of editing down the apps on their smartphones, but it has been proven to improve sales revenue and the quality of life away from the office.
It is important to be mentally present at work, and it isn’t easy to do this when your smartphone is dictating your life.
7. Secrets of a Master Closer: A Simpler, Easier, And Faster Way To Sell Anything To Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere – Mike Kaplan
There is a clear, no-nonsense approach to educating you on how to sell in this popular best sales book.
Mike Kaplan sets out an 8-step road map to help the reader understand the nuts and bolts process of sales. Using scripted dialogues between the seller and buyers is a useful guide for beginners and a good refresher for the more experienced.
Kaplan is from the common-sense school of sales. He is critical of the modern trend towards gimmicks for selling and how it can come off as disingenuous to your clients.
Instead, he recommends following the tried and tested path, the fundamentals of selling. This includes understanding your clients and selling to them rather than at them. Taking the aggressive spin out of sales is more likely to endear you to your clients and generate repeat business and referrals.
The book asks you to follow all the steps and not skip over any closely. The ideas behind Kaplan’s book is that once you master these skills, you don’t need to learn anything else, just reapply the rules to every sale and enjoy the rewards. According to reviews by salespeople, this is proven to be very successful in the field.
Kaplan says that you must be a driven and motivated person to sell. Use his techniques, and your mission to succeed will drive home those sales.
8. The Little Red Book of Selling – Jeffery Gitomer
The Little Red Book of Selling is a neat and humorous way to brush up or learn sales skills. Along with the cartoon illustrations, the cover should not deter you from this pocket-sized guide to all things sales.
The appeal is that it is pocket-sized and not sales manual sized. The author realized that most salespeople do not want to pick up a book about sales on their downtime.
Gitomer is a respected business author, and this book wants to take the mystery out of why customers buy what they buy. Using his tips, you should improve your sales figures if you can understand the motivation for customers purchasing decisions.
Another important tip that is covered is learning about who sets the budgets rather than spends the budgets. How do you deal with a client who says ‘my purchasing budget is spent’? This small red book has the answers.
This strange little book is a top best sales book because it is to the point. Designed to be dipped in and out of when needed, it has all the obvious’ work hard, stay motivated’ lines that you hear at every sales meeting, but this book reminds you with a little wit and a funny cartoon.
Then again, all of the best-selling books in the world won’t be of much help if reps don’t apply the lessons properly.
It really comes down to if the sales rep has absorbed what they have read and implemented it into their daily sales strategy.
Which book do you consider your sales bible? Let us know which books can help other salespeople improve their techniques in the comments section below!
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on October 6, 2012, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.