If you ask anyone what a salesperson looks like, they might describe a smooth-talking used-car salesman or possibly even Don Draper from Mad Men but the truth is that anyone can learn to sell. It doesn’t matter if you’re shy or high-strung, as long as you invest the time to learn, you can be a world-class salesperson.
The hardest part is knowing where to start. Sales is a skill and like any skill set, you can only improve it by putting in the time to perfect your trade. One of the best ways to get ahead in sales is by learning from experts. So, we’ve gone ahead and compiled a list of our team's 25 favorite sales books, all written by the best closers and negotiators in history.
1. Never Split the Difference (Team Favorite)
Authors: Chris Voss, Tahl Raz
Published: May 17, 2016
Back Cover: After a stint policing the rough streets of Kansas City, Missouri, Chris Voss joined the FBI, where his career as a hostage negotiator brought him face-to-face with a range of criminals, including bank robbers and terrorists. Reaching the pinnacle of his profession, he became the FBI’s lead international kidnapping negotiator. Never Split the Difference takes you inside the world of high-stakes negotiations and into Voss’s head, revealing the skills that helped him and his colleagues succeed where it mattered most: saving lives. In this practical guide, he shares the nine effective principles―counterintuitive tactics and strategies―you too can use to become more persuasive in both your professional and personal life.
2. Spin Selling
Author: Neil Rackham
Published: May 1, 1988
Back Cover: SPIN Selling is essential reading for anyone involved in selling or managing a sales force. Unquestionably the best documented account of sales success ever collected and the result of the Huthwaite corporation's massive 12 year, $1 million dollar research into effective sales performance, this groundbreaking resource details the revolutionary SPIN (Situation, Problem, Implication, Need payoff) strategy. By following the simple, practical, and easy to apply techniques of SPIN, readers will be able to dramatically increase their sales volume from major accounts. Packed with real world examples, illuminating graphics, and informative case studies and backed by hard research data, SPIN Selling is the million dollar key to understanding and producing record breaking high end sales performance.
Author: Jeffrey Gitomer
Published: September 25, 2004
Back Cover: If salespeople are worried about how to sell, Gitomer believes they are missing out on the more important aspect of sales: why people buy. This, he says, is "all that matters," and his latest book aims to demystify buying principles for salespeople. From the red cloth cover to the small trim size to the amusing (but not cloying) cartoons on almost every page, this is an appealing and accessible book. The author is obviously enthusiastic, if not manic, about sales, and though some of his mantras verge on hokey, much of his prose is straightforward and realistic. Each chapter includes a mini table of contents, pull quotes and takeaway sound bites, examples of typical whines from salespeople (e.g., "the client said they spent their whole budget") paired with a positive response (e.g., "Decision makers make the budget. Non-decision makers spend the budget"), and plenty of advice and ideas that can be taken in and studied as a whole or referred to at random for inspiration.
Author: Chet Holmes
Published: May 27, 2008
Back Cover: Chet Holmes helps his clients blow away both the competition and their own expectations. And his advice starts with one simple concept: focus! Instead of trying to master four thousand strategies to improve your business, zero in on the few essential skill areas that make the big difference. The Ultimate Sales Machine shows you how to tune up and soup up virtually every part of your business by spending just an hour per week on each impact area you want to improve. Like a tennis player who hits nothing but backhands for a few hours a week to perfect his game, you can systematically improve each key area.
Authors: Matthew Dixon, Brent Adamson
Published: November 10, 2011
Back Cover: Based on an exhaustive study of thousands of sales reps across multiple industries and geographies, The Challenger Sale argues that classic relationship building is a losing approach, especially when it comes to selling complex, large-scale business-to-business solutions. The authors' study found that every sales rep in the world falls into one of five distinct profiles, and while all of these types of reps can deliver average sales performance, only one-the Challenger- delivers consistently high performance.
Author: Zig Ziglar
Published: September 1, 1985
Back Cover: Full of entertaining stories and real-life illustrations, this classic book will give you the strategies you need to become proficient in the art of effective persuasion, including how to project warmth and integrity, increase productivity, overcome objections, and deal respectfully with challenging prospects. This new edition includes fresh opening and closing chapters as well as tips and examples throughout that illustrate the relevance of these truths in the marketplace today. Also includes a foreword written by Tom Ziglar.
Authors: Roger Fisher, William Ury
Published: July 31, 2003
Back Cover: Negotiation is a way of life for the majority of us. Whether we're at work, at home or simply going out, we want to participate in the decisions that affect us. Nowadays, hardly anyone gets through the day without a single negotiation, yet, few of us are armed with the effective, powerful negotiating skills that prevent stubborn haggling and ensure mutual problem-solving. Fisher and Ury cut through the jargon to present a few easily remembered principles that will guide you to success, no matter what the other side does or whatever dirty tricks they resort to.
Author: Dale Carnegie
Published: October 1, 1998
Back Cover: You can go after the job you want...and get it! You can take the job you have...and improve it! You can take any situation you're in...and make it work for you! For over 60 years the rock-solid, time-tested advice in this book has carried thousands of now-famous people up the ladder of success in their business and personal lives.
Authors: Dale Carnegie and Associates
Narrators: Brent Cole, Robert Petkoff
Published: October 4, 2011
Back Cover: Dale Carnegie could never have predicted the trajectory that new media would take, and the ways that the simple television screen would be adapted into computers and handheld communication devices. He didn’t know the term “social media” and Facebook was something not even dreamed of in Buck Rogers cartoons. And yet his lessons remain relevant for everyone who communicates online today. In fact, with problems such as cyber bullying and email etiquette, we need Carnegie’s help more than ever. Dale Carnegie and Associates, Inc. has re-imagined Carnegie’s lasting lessons for this difficult digital age, reframing Carnegie’s insights about communication, self-expression, and leadership. This book is a must-have guide for anyone who wants to find success on Facebook, Linked-In, Twitter, and any social media format today and in the future.
Author: Daniel Pink
Published: December 21, 2012
Back Cover: To Sell Is Human offers a fresh look at the art and science of selling. As he did in Drive and A Whole New Mind, Daniel H. Pink draws on a rich trove of social science for his counterintuitive insights. He reveals the new ABCs of moving others (it's no longer "Always Be Closing"), explains why extraverts don't make the best salespeople, and shows how giving people an "off-ramp" for their actions can matter more than actually changing their minds. Along the way, Pink describes the six successors to the elevator pitch, the three rules for understanding another's perspective, the five frames that can make your message clearer and more persuasive, and much more. The result is a perceptive and practical book--one that will change how you see the world and transform what you do at work, at school, and at home.
Author: Jill Konrath
Published: December 1, 2005
Back Cover: Setting up meetings with corporate decision makers has never been harder. It's almost impossible to get them to pick up the phone. They never return your calls. And if you do happen to catch them, they blow you off right away. It's time to stop making endless cold calls or waiting for the phone to ring. In today's crazy marketplace, new sales strategies are needed to penetrate these big accounts. Discover how to: target accounts where you have the highest likelihood of success, find the names of prospects who can use your offering, create breakthrough value propositions that capture their attention, develop an effective, multi-faceted account-entry campaign, overcome obstacles and objections that derail your sales efforts, position yourself as an invaluable resource, not a product pusher, have powerful initial sales meetings that build unstoppable momentum, and differentiate yourself from other sellers. Use these sure-fire strategies to crack into big accounts, shrink your sales cycle and close more business.
Author: Brian Tracy
Published: May 22, 2007
Back Cover: Confidence and self-esteem are just two of the factors that separate the successful salesperson from the unsuccessful one. In this comprehensive program, Brian Tracy - an expert sales trainer - shares more than 50 practical, day-to-day techniques for increasing your confidence in your sales abilities and boosting sales profits, including: the two major "motivating" factors in closing a sale, the three "hot buttons" to push when selling to businesses, and how to avoid the five simple errors that spell the difference between success and near-success. Brian Tracy will help you master the art of closing the deal.
12. Solution Selling
Author: Michael Bosworth
Published: September 22, 1994
Back Cover: When products or services are hard to describe, intangible, have long sell cycles, or are expensive, chances are they're difficult to sell. In situations like this, conventional sales techniques not only don't help, they may in fact hinder success. Solution Selling is a process to take the guesswork out of difficult-to-sell, intangible products and services. It enables sellers to make the way they sell as big an advantage as their product or service. After reading this book, salespeople and sales managers will be able to use a well-tested model that guides them through the process of selling. No more smoke and mirrors, blind luck, or high-pressure selling. Just a step-by-step system that ensures a higher rate of success for salespeople and a higher probability that the buyer's expectations will be met.
13. Agile Selling
Author: Jill Konrath
Published: July 7, 2015
Back Cover: When salespeople are promoted, switch jobs, or face new business conditions, they need to learn lots of new information and skills quickly. It's a daunting task, compounded by the fact that they're under intense pressure to deliver immediate results. What Jill Konrath calls agile selling is the ability to quickly learn all this new info and then leverage it for maximum impact. Having an agile mindset, one that keeps you going through challenging times, is the crucial starting point. You also need a rapid-learning plan that helps you establish situational credibility with your targeted or existing customers in just thirty days. In Agile Selling, you'll discover numerous strategies to help you become an overnight sales expert, slashing your path to proficiency. Jill Konrath's fresh sales strategies, provocative insights, and practical advice help sellers win business with today's crazy-busy prospects.
Authors: Robert Miller, Stephen Heiman, Tad Tulaja
Published: April 20, 2005
Back Cover: This modern edition of the business classic Strategic Selling confronts the rapidly evolving world of business-to-business sales with new real-world examples, new strategies for confronting competition, and a special section featuring the most commonly asked questions from the Miller Heiman workshops. Learn: how to identify the four real decision makers in every corporate labyrinth, how to prevent sabotage by an internal deal-killer, how to make a senior executive eager to see you, how to avoid closing business that you'll later regret, how to manage a territory to provide steady, not "boom and bust," revenue, and how to avoid the single most common error when dealing with the competition.
Author: Robert Cialdini
Published: December 26, 2006
Back Cover: In this highly acclaimed New York Times bestseller, Dr. Robert B. Cialdini—the seminal expert in the field of influence and persuasion—explains the psychology of why people say yes and how to apply these principles ethically in business and everyday situations. You’ll learn the six universal principles of influence and how to use them to become a skilled persuader—and, just as importantly, how to defend yourself against dishonest influence attempts: reciprocation, commitment and consistency, social proof, liking, authority, and scarcity. Understanding and applying the six principles ethically is cost-free and deceptively easy. Backed by Dr. Cialdini’s 35 years of evidence-based, peer-reviewed scientific research—as well as a three-year field study on what moves people to change behavior—Influence is a comprehensive guide to using these principles effectively to amplify your ability to change the behavior of others.
16. Never Be Closing
Authors: Tim Hurson, Tim Dunne
Published: July 10, 2014
Back Cover: Everyone knows that the first rule of sales is “always be closing”. But what if the less time you spend trying to close, the more time you can devote to helping people solve problems and seize opportunities? And what if following the new rule of sales, “always be useful”, results in more business? If you sell and if you aim to sell better, you need to know about the stranger’s dilemma. A stranger doesn’t have the leverage of instant credibility. So it’s not surprising that a wide range of sales tactics, tools, and closing techniques have been developed as a substitute for credibility. Their purpose is often to wrangle a commitment to buy, even when buying may not be in the best interests of the client. The approach advocated in Never Be Closing is designed to overcome the stranger’s dilemma, but in a very different way.
Author: Mike Weinberg
Published: October 21, 2015
Back Cover: Every day, expert consultants like Mike Weinberg are called on by companies large and small to figure out why their sales departments are falling short. Is it lazy and ineffective salespeople? Is it outdated methods of client building? Why are these team members not producing as they should? And more often than not, the answers are not what they expected: the issue lies not with the sales team… but with how it is being led. In Sales Management. Simplified. Weinberg tells it straight, calling out the problems plaguing sales forces and the costly mistakes made by even the best-intentioned sales managers. In most organizations he has been hired as a consultant, he has found that through their attitude and actions, senior executives and sales managers have unknowingly been undermining the performances of their employees. But the good news is, that with the right guidance, results can be transformed.
Author: David Schwartz
Published: April 2, 1987
Back Cover: Millions of people throughout the world have improved their lives using The Magic of Thinking Big. Dr. David J. Schwartz, long regarded as one of the foremost experts on motivation, will help you sell better, manage better, earn more money, and—most important of all—find greater happiness and peace of mind. The Magic of Thinking Big gives you useful methods, not empty promises. Dr. Schwartz presents a carefully designed program for getting the most out of your job, your marriage and family life, and your community. He proves that you don’t need to be an intellectual or have innate talent to attain great success and satisfaction—but you do need to learn and understand the habit of thinking and behaving in ways that will get you there. This book gives you those secrets!
Author: Thomas Freese
Published: November 5, 2013
Back Cover: For nearly fifteen years, The Secrets of Question Based Selling has been helping great salespeople like you deliver big results. It's commonsense approach has become a classic, must-have tool that demonstrates how asking the right questions at the right time accurately identifies your customer's needs. But consumer behavior and sales techniques change as rapidly as technology―and there are countless contradictory sales training programs promising results. Knowing where you should turn to for success can be confusing. Now fully revised and updated, The Secrets of Question Based Selling provides a step-by-step, easy-to-follow program that focuses specifically on sales effectiveness―identifying the strategies and techniques that will increase your probability of success.
20. Pitch Anything
Author: Oren Klaff
Published: February 16, 2011
Back Cover: Whether you're selling ideas to investors, pitching a client for a new business, or even negotiating for a higher salary, Pitch Anything will transform the way you position your ideas. According to Klaff, creating and presenting a great pitch isn't an art, it's a simple science. Applying the latest findings in the field of neuroeconomics, while sharing eye opening stories of his method in action, Klaff describes how the brain makes decisions and responds to pitches. With this information, you'll remain in complete control of every stage of the pitch process. One truly great pitch can improve your career, make you a lot of money and even change your life. Success is dependent on the method you use, not how hard you try. "Better method, more money," Klaff says. "Much better method, much more money." Klaff is the best in the business because his method is much better than anyone else's. And now it's yours. Apply the tactics and strategies outlined in Pitch Anything to engage and persuade your audience and you'll have more funding and support than you ever thought possible.
21. Gap Selling
Published: November 3, 2019
Back Cover: People don't buy from people they like. No! Your buyer doesn't care about you or your product or service. It's not your job to overcome objections, it's your buyer's. Closing isn't a skill of good salespeople; it's the skill of weak salespeople. Price isn't the main reason salespeople lose the sale. Gap Selling shreds traditional and closely held sales beliefs that have been hurting salespeople for decades. For years, salespeople have embraced a myriad of sales tactics and belief systems that have unknowingly created many of the issues they have been trying to avoid such as: long sales cycles, price objections, no decision, prospects going dark, last minute feature requests, and more. Success at sales requires more than a set of tactics. Salespeople need to understand the game of sales, how sales works, and what the buyer is going through in order to make the decision to buy (change) or not to buy (not change). Gap Selling is a game-changing book designed to raise the sales IQ of selling organizations around the world. In his unapologetic and irreverent style, Keenan breaks down the tired old sales myths causing today's frustrating sales issues, to highlight a deceptively powerful new way to connect with buyers.
Authors: Aaron Ross, Marylou Tyler
Published: July 8, 2011
Back Cover: Discover the outbound sales process that, in just a few years, helped add $100 million in recurring revenue to Salesforce.com, almost doubling their enterprise growth... with zero cold calls. This is NOT another book about how to cold call or close deals. This is an entirely new kind of sales bible for CEOs, entrepreneurs and sales VPs to help you build a sales machine. What does it take for your sales team to generate as many highly-qualified new leads as you want, create predictable revenue, and meet your financial goals without your constant focus and attention? Learn: how an outbound sales process can generate a 9% response rate and millions of dollars from cold prospects, the seven fatal sales mistakes CEOs and sales VPs (even experienced ones) make time and time again, how outbound sales and selling can be friendly, helpful and enjoyable, and how to develop self-managing sales teams, turning your employees into mini-CEOs.
23. The Go-Giver
Authors: Bob Burg, John David Mann
Published: January 1, 2012
Back Cover: The Go-Giver tells the story of an ambitious young man named Joe who yearns for success. Joe is a true go-getter, though sometimes he feels as if the harder and faster he works, the further away his goals seem to be. One day, desperate to land a key sale at the end of a bad quarter, he seeks advice from the enigmatic Pindar, a legendary consultant referred to by many devotees simply as the Chairman. Over the next week, Pindar introduces Joe to a series of successful 'go-givers' who teach him how to open himself up to the power of giving. Joe learns that changing his focus from getting to giving - putting others' interests first and continually adding value to their lives - ultimately leads to unexpected results.
24. Sell or Be Sold
Author: Grant Cardone
Published: March 1, 2012
Back Cover: Whether it's selling your company's product in the boardroom or selling yourself on eating healthy, everything in life can and should be treated as a sale. And as sales expert Grant Cardone explains, knowing the principles of selling is a prerequisite for success of any kind. In Sell or Be Sold, Cardone breaks down the techniques and approaches necessary to master the art of selling in any avenue. You will learn how to handle rejection, turn around negative situations, shorten sales cycles, and guarantee yourself greatness. Cardone will also teach you the success essentials of: selling in a bad economy, overcoming call reluctance, filling your pipeline with new business, and staying positive despite rejection. With the experience of a seasoned sales vet at the helm, Sell or Be Sold will change the way you perceive the sale and life.
Authors: Michael Bosworth, Ben Zoldan
Published: January 10, 2012
Back Cover: This groundbreaking book offers extraordinary insight into the greatest mystery in sales: how the very best salespeople consistently and successfully influence change in others, inspiring their customers to say yes. Top-performing salespeople have always had a knack for forging connections and building relationships with buyers. Until now, this has been considered an innate talent. What Great Salespeople Do challenges some of the most widely accepted paradigms in selling in order to prove that influencing change in buyers is a skill that anyone can learn. The creator of Solution Selling and Customer Centric Selling, Michael Bosworth, along with veteran sales executive Ben Zoldan, synthesize discoveries in neuroscience, psychology, sociology, anthropology, and other disciplines, combining it all into a field-tested framework―helping you break down barriers, build trust, forge meaningful relationships, and win more customers.
Author: Brian Tracy
Published: July 18, 2006
Back Cover: Double and triple your sales—in any market. The purpose of this book is to give you a series of ideas, methods, strategies, and techniques that you can use immediately to make more sales, faster and easier than ever before. It’s a promise of prosperity that sales guru Brian Tracy has seen fulfilled again and again. More salespeople have become millionaires as a result of listening to and applying his ideas than from any other sales training process ever developed.
If you don’t have time to read a book, I don’t blame you. Sometimes books can feel repetitive, almost as if a series of bullet points would be a suitable replacement. If you’d like to perfect sales at a more rapid rate, we invest a lot of our team’s time in sharing the tactics and processes our team uses internally to close more deals. You can check them out at any time on our Sales Blog here.