Whether you’re new to sales and looking for training guide, or a seasoned veteran who wants an enticing read, we found the 18 best sales books that cover a wide range of topics. Hone in on your cold calling or presentation skills, read the biographies of sales masters or just enjoy some motivational stories. These best-selling books have it all:
The Surprising Truth About Moving Others
By: Daniel Pink (2013)
Daniel Pink teaches important lessons in sales that can be applied to just about any medium: B2B, B2C, retail, or even persuading others within your business. Gone are the days of “always be closing.” Instead, modern sales requires a selfless perspective and strong empathy for your prospect.
2. The Go-Giver
A little Story About a Powerful Business Idea
By: Bob Burg and John David Mann (2007)
“The Go-Giver” teaches B2B selling with the suspense of a mystery novel. A guru teaches a salesperson 5 principles of customer-centric selling, including how to expand your influence by valuing clients above anyone else and placing their interests above your own. Combining important business lessons with fiction makes this novel the perfect companion to a flight or as a bedside read.
3. Go For No!
Yes is the Destination, No is How You Get There
By Richard Fenton and Andrea Waltz (2007)
Another work of business education-meets-fiction, “Go For No!” tells the story of a copier salesperson that learns an important lesson: How to deal with hearing “no” from a prospect. The unique lesson of this book is to not only to accept failure, but embrace it. At only 90 pages, “Go For No!” is a short-but-powerful read.
A Simpler, Easier, And Faster Way To Sell Anything To Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere
By: Mike Kaplan (2012)
Those looking for a simple, step-by-step overview of the sales process should check out this book by Mike Kaplan. Unlike the works above, which tell fictional stories, Kaplan cuts the excess in favor of practical insight. It’s perfect for the beginner salesperson.
Taking Control of the Customer Conversation
By Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson (2011)
For those who deal in larger B2B enterprise sales, Dixon and Adamson offer a research-heavy training book. “The Challenger” outlines 5 types of salespeople: “Hard Workers, Challengers, Relationship Builders, Lone Wolves, and Reactive Problem Solvers,” although only the Challenger delivers consistently high sales performance.
The Untold Story of How Salesforce.com Went from Idea to Billion-Dollar Company-and Revolutionized an Industry
By Marc Benioff
A narrative biography about Marc Benioff’s founding of Salesforce.com and the revolutionary Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model it spawned. This book is an essential for anyone starting an SaaS company, although it reads less as how-to manual than it does a series of lessons and ideas.
Turn Your Business Into a Sales Machine with the $100 Million Best Practices of Salesforce.com
By Aaron Ross (2011)
Learn outbound selling from the mastermind behind Salesforce.com’s sales department. Ross shares his theory and gives actionable tips (like emailing during off hours and opening calls with “Did I catch you at a bad time?”) Sales teams will get more out of this book than solo entrepreneurs, as a key focus of the book is management and dividing up roles.
Using Data, Technology, and Inbound Selling to go from $0 to $100 Million
By Mark Roberge (2015)
If you’re using online ads or content marketing to capture inbound leads, then HubSpot sales wizard Mark Roberge offers critical advice on how to convert buyers. A prominent expert in “Inbound selling” – in which customers find you vs. you reaching out to them with a cold call or email – Roberge has technological solutions to increasing sales.
By Dale Carnegie (1937)
This classic training manual covers one of the most basic and essential selling skills: How to get along with people. Written in 1937, the book has been extremely influential to entrepreneurs for many decades. Although you won’t find specific tips on writing cold emails or closing sales, Carnegie offers timeless advice on how to influence people without making them feel manipulated.
By Frank Bettger (1952)
Another classic sales book. Frank Bettger writes a personal narrative of failing as an insurance salesman before becoming one of the most successful salesmen in America. Although some of the specifics are dated, Bettger’s basic principles of selling remain hugely relevant today.
11. SPIN Selling
By Neil Rackham (1988)
A more recent classic, SPIN Selling teaches lessons that came from Huwaithe corporation’s massive 12-year research project in the 1970s and 80s. The book introduces a then-groundbreaking approach called “S.P.I.N.” (Situation, Problem, Implication, Need-payoff) to help salespeople approach larger deals.
12.5 Principles of Sales Greatness
By Jeffrey Gitomer (2004)
A soon-to-be classic sales training guide. The Little Red Book is short, sweet and to the point – yet playful enough to include cartoons on almost every page. Gitomer gives you a broad overview of sales with advice on how to handle common situations. It’s not a technical guide – and if you’re an experienced salesperson, this may appear to be all common sense. For those new to sales, however, it serves to be both inspirational and go-to toolkit.
13. Smart Calling
Eliminate the Fear, Failure and Rejection from Cold Calling
By Art Sobczak (2013)
This book is for those who need to get over their dread of cold calling – or those who just want to hear more “yes” on the other line. Sobczak offers a step-by-step manual of cold calling, from research beforehand, to your opening statement, value proposition and more. The “Smart Calling Exercises” throughout the book encourage active involvement on the reader end.
Find Your Super Users, Master the Forever Transaction, and Build Recurring Revenue
By Robbie Kellman Baxter (2015)
This brand new training guide is all about building sales and boosting revenue in a subscription-based business. A popular pricing strategy in the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) industry, selling memberships has huge opportunities for upsells and loyalty rewards. Baxter teaches what works and what doesn’t – a unique opportunity for startups in the tech world.
The Ultimate Guide to Opening Sales Conversations and Filling the Pipeline by Leveraging Social Selling, Telephone, Email, Text, and Cold Calling
By Jeb Blount (2015)
Fanatical Prospecting is the ultimate guide to finding leads. As a newly published book, it covers all the relevant channels today: from social selling to cold calling, emailing, texting and more. Readers also praise the book for being very actionable – including not just motivational passages, but real concrete tips and templates.
16. Pitch Anything
An Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading and Winning the Deal
By Oren Klaff (2011)
Oren Klaff hones in on one of the most essential parts of the sales cycle: The pitch. His 5-step S.T.R.O.N.G. method gives you an actionable set of tools to pitch more effectively, and they’re backed up by some cutting-edge research in neuroscience and psychology.
As the name suggests, this book focuses on the end of the sales cycle: When you respond to a client’s objections and close the deal. Ziglar gives over 100 closing scenarios to serve as inspiration. At over 400 pages long and jam-packed with examples, Ziglar writes – by far – the most comprehensive training manual on closing the sale.
As a small business owner, you probably know the lust and frustration that comes with landing a big-name account. Konrath offers the essential training guide on how to approach these unique clients. From prospecting to closing, it covers the practical steps with explicit instructions.
The Bottom Line on the Best Sales Books
Selling changes fast. Whether you’re conducting complex B2B sales, or just looking to sell more goods in your shop, salespeople need to adapt to new technologies and new expectations from consumers. Picking up on the latest research and stories from experts is an easy way to stay on top of things.
At the same time, there are some standard sales lessons that never change – like how to make interpersonal connections. For this knowledge, the classics have held up for a reason!
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