Would you rather sit down to make a hundred sales calls or stick a fork in your eye? If you’re like most small business owners, you’re already reaching for the closest fork.
Save your eye and get excited about sales. The 10 best sales books on this list will help you understand all the intricacies that go into selling,.
But first, a word of warning. None of the books on this list contain a silver bullet. Selling is a lot like living a healthy lifestyle. The steps are obvious, but it’s the successful implementation of the steps that define winners when it comes to selling.
The best books about selling on this list contain the right amount of inspiration and motivation to get you excited about selling along with specific tips, strategies, words and tools that will help you structure a winning sales process.
1. The Psychology of Selling: Increase Your Sales Faster and Easier Than You Ever Thought Possible
by Brian Tracy
Psychology is a recurring theme in many sales books because it plays such a role in the interaction between the salesperson and the prospect. Brian Tracy helps isolate key principles, strategies, and techniques involved in convincing prospects that your offer is more valuable than the asking price. This book provides a series of ideas, methods, strategies, and techniques that readers can use to make more sales, faster and easier. Key gems in this book include advice for sales reps on how to manage your own psychology as you sell, keep your confidence high, avoid sales resistance, and systematically improve your skills until you are one of the top 10% of salespeople in your field.
Written in 2004, The Psychology of Selling is a classic. It reads somewhat like a pep talk, and that’s exactly what you need if you’re going to get into the selling game and commit to success. According to follow-up research of people who used this material, more salespeople have become millionaires by reading (or listening to) this book, than any other sales program ever developed. Read this book if you want to truly understand the underlying factors of what it takes to make sales.
2. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
by Robert B. Cialdini PhD
The book offers teachings into the six universal principles of influence and how they can be used to become a skilled persuader. But it also offers advice on how to defend yourself against them. The book appeals not only to those engaged in selling but to the general public as well. It helps you move toward profound personal change and act as a driving force for your success. It is written in a conversational style, allowing readers to go through the insights and experiments from the field of psychology in an engaging way. Read this book and you will learn to appreciate the importance of emotional intelligence and how to win friends while you improve your selling skills.
If you want to know what makes people tick and how to inspire potential customers to your way of thinking, start with reading Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. Cialdini is recognized as today’s leading authority on influence and it all started with this book. You’ll be introduced to the 6 principles of influence; Reciprocation, Commitment and Consistency, Social Proof, Liking, Authority, and Scarcity.
3. Fanatical Prospecting: The Ultimate Guide to Opening Sales Conversations and Filling the Pipeline by Leveraging Social Selling, Telephone, Email, Text, and Cold Calling
by Jeb Blount and Mike Weinberg
Fanatic Prospecting helps answer the conundrum of empty pipelines through continuous prospecting and achieving the best sales results. It points to the need to continuously prospect for success in sales and win friends in the process. The book offers great insights on how to keep the pipeline full of qualified opportunities and avoid debilitating sales slumps by leveraging a balanced prospecting methodology across multiple prospecting channels. The authors deliver high-powered strategies, techniques, and tools you need to fill your pipeline with high-quality opportunities.
Every successful sale begins with prospecting a point, and Fanatical Prospecting makes abundantly clear. By ignoring the power of prospecting, many otherwise competent salespeople and sales organizations consistently underperform. You’ll get tips and strategies on how to structure phone calls, voice mails and text messages to get appointments. On the topic of prospecting, this is one of the best sales books you can read to ensure your selling doesn’t hit a slump.
4. Hacking Sales: The Playbook for Building a High-Velocity Sales Machine
by Max Altschuler
Through this book, Altschuler helps you walk through the entire sales process from start to finish, learning critical hacks every step of the way. This includes finding and capturing your lowest-hanging fruit at the top of the funnel, building massive lead lists, utilizing multiple prospecting strategies, perfecting your follow-ups, nurturing leads, outsourcing where advantageous, and much more. This book will provide you with valuable insights on how to identify the Ideal customer; build massive lead lists and properly target your campaigns.
Human relationships haven’t changed. The know-like-and-trust factor is just as important as ever. But, sales systems and processes have changed. And this is where Hacking Sales comes in. This book helps you build a process using the next generation of tools, tactics, and strategies. Includes tips and hacks on building email lists, nurturing leads, and using the latest automation tools.
5. Selling to the C-Suite, Second Edition: What Every Executive Wants You to Know About Successfully Selling to the Top
by Nicholas A.C. Read and Stephen J. Bistritz
Selling to the C-Suite provides all the insight on how to gain access to executives; establish trust and credibility; leverage relationships; and create value at the executive level. It also reveals when executives personally enter the buying process and shed light on what role they play. This sales book provides field-tested techniques to put you well ahead of the competition when it comes to making those multi-million-dollar sales you never thought possible.
If you’re in the business of selling to larger organizations or directly to executive decision-makers, Selling to the C-Suite is a must-read. The authors asked more than 500 senior decision-makers what they look for when salespeople call. You’ll learn how to win support from the executive’s network of gatekeepers and influencers and position yourself as the supplier who will add the most value with the least risk.
6. DISCOVER Questions™ Get You Connected: for Professional Sellers
by Deb Calvert
The data in this book comes from the analysis, observations and research of over 10,000 sales calls spanning 25 years. In terms of actual data of real-world use cases, this is one of the best sales books you can read to understand how people respond to questions. It offers both experienced and novice salespeople guidance on how to ask questions, drive the sales conversation and show you care. The anecdotes that come from actual sales calls help show how you can become more effective in all stages of the sales process. The book has three major sections: how questions help us be better connected; the types of questions to use; and the need to practice.
The key to every successful sales conversation is asking the right questions. DISCOVER Questions™ Get You Connected: for Professional Sellers is an ideal resource for sales professionals with any level of experience. You’ll learn how to build trust with prospects by asking questions that get to the heart of what matters. Differentiate yourself from your competitors by asking the right questions and linking your customers’ needs to the features that solve their unique problems.
7. The Big Book of Words That Sell: 1200 Words and Phrases That Every Salesperson and Marketer Should Know and Use
by Robert Bly
Considered among one of the best sales books when it comes to the language of sales, it contains what Bly calls the 1,200 words and phrases that have proven to sell most effectively. The author provides keywords and phrases to help you sell any product or service, make lasting connections, and become a more powerful and persuasive copywriter. This sales book is packed with trigger words and phrases and it will teach you to leverage them so you can improve your sales and marketing results.
Whether you’re writing an email or mapping out a sales conversation, it helps to have a little book of inspiration for just the right words. With so much of the sales process happening online, The Big Book of Words That Sell will help you find the perfect words to use in emails, sales letters, promotional landing pages and more.
8. The Go-Giver, Expanded Edition: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea
by Bob Burg and John David Mann
The book tells about the encounter of Joe who is desperate to land a key sale at the end of a bad quarter. Through the encounters, Joe learns that changing his focus from getting to giving, putting others’ interests first and continually adding value to their lives will ultimately lead to unexpected returns. Imparted with wit and grace, this book is a heartwarming and inspiring tale that brings new relevance to the old proverb “Give and you shall receive.”
The Go-Giver takes a different approach compared to the traditional best sales books on this list. But the lessons it imparts across the board is what has made it a bestseller.
Who says you can’t be entertained and learn valuable sales skills at the same time. Mann and Burg’s The Go-Giver is an engaging story about Joe who learns about the power of changing his focus from getting to giving and putting others’ interests first and continually adding value to their lives.
9. Sales Differentiation: 19 Powerful Strategies to Win More Deals at the Prices You Want
by Lee B. Salz
Whether you have been selling for twenty years or are new to sales, reading this book will equip you with the tools for sales differentiation. It will boost your selling skills, help you knock out the competition, build profitable new relationships, and win deals at the price you want. Salz presents easy-to-implement strategies and concepts that apply to any salesperson in any industry and is based on the foundation that how you sell, not just what you sell differentiates you. Sales is all about convincing the customer to buy your product, so this should be one of your top sales books on your list.
If your customers are constantly complaining about your price and you’ve been tempted to drop prices to compete — DON’T! You’ve got a differentiation problem, With Sales Differentiation learn how to stand out from your competition using these nineteen easy-to-implement concepts to help salespeople win deals while protecting margins.
10. Secrets of Closing the Sale
by Zig Ziglar
This classic is considered one of the best sales books of all time. It is a great how-to guide for anyone who aspires to rise to the top of the sales profession through a combination of sincerity, hard work, and professionalism. Ziglar advises readers to create a notebook to write down lessons learned. Then, as they gather their own experiences, add them to come up with their own guidebook for sales success. Read this book to learn about closing every kind of persuasion; questions that will open your eyes to new possibilities you may have overlooked; how to paint word pictures and use your imagination to get results; and tips from 100 most successful salespeople.
Next to prospecting, the most difficult part of the sale is closing. You’ll find a long list of closing tactics that will give you ideas, inspiration and options as you plan your “closing” strategy. You will undoubtedly find that some of the language and strategies in the Secrets of Closing the Sale are dated (because Zigler used them in the 1950s). But the essence and context of the message are timeless.
Additional Sales Resources
The best sales books will teach a lot of valuable lessons. However, you need to continue learning beyond reading the best books of all time. Thankfully, there are many more resources online today on the subject of sales. Take a look at some of the many pages we have on small business sales on our site.
Managing your sales reps effectively will dictate how well they do in the long run. It all starts by knowing what makes a good salesperson and the steps you take to hire your first sales rep. Beyond that, you have to keep your sales team engaged and motivated by finding solutions to break through a sales plateau. The goal is to provide the resources they need so you can get the best sales effort from your team.
Beyond managing your team, you have to implement a sales process that allows everyone to work as a unit to close that sale. Having a process in place will set clear objectives and benchmarks as well as improve communication, efficiency, and financial forecasting.
Once a process is put in place generating and managing your sales leads is just as important. Selling the products and services you offer requires cultivating your leads. This means nurturing the relationship so you can make the move when the opportunities present themselves. If you manage your leads carefully, you will be able to identify when the right deal comes along to ensure you close the sales.
With all the processes you put in place to optimize your sales, don’t forget to use tips from experts, the best sales books, seminars or other sources. The point is to always keep learning and adopting the latest methods and technology along with sales best practices to help your company achieve its goals. Whether you are trying to increase your online sales or looking for outside sales tips, there are resources out there.
As a sales professional, you will need to invest in yourself to help you stand out from the crowd and advance your career. If you want to master your persuasion skills, outperform the competition, strengthen your sales team and grow your revenue your reading list should include the best sales books you can get your hand on. The best books on selling offer insights from experts and life long experiences to help you address the many different scenarios you will face when facing potential clients.
The process of selling is not only meeting quotas but also understanding the process, using emotional intelligence and connecting with people in the right way. The list of best sales book will help you not only navigate the often elusive world of sales but also offer insights on how people tick, how to set yourself apart from the rest, and how to deal with difficult people. These skills will not only improve your sales techniques and teach you how to get what you want but also provide valuable life lessons.
Thank you, Ivana. Immensely
grateful to see John David Mann’s and my book included in your list of top sales books along with so many that have made a significant difference in my life and business. Please know how very honored I feel by that!