Sometimes the best books for sales aren’t just about selling… To become the best leader, salesperson, speaker, etc., you need to truly study your craft. It can be tough to choose from the thousands of books out there, which is exactly why we have made a list of 10 of our favorite sales books to point you in the right direction.
Before you hop on Amazon and start ordering audiobooks, make sure you have a goal in mind as to what you want to get out of reading these books. Decide on whether you're wanting to focus on personal growth, sales techniques, or leadership skills (or maybe a combination of two or all three). The goal is to not try and read all 10 sales books at once, because who has time for that? Try and be strategic to get the most out of this learning process.
With these 10 books, you will most likely find yourself associating new concepts to ideas that you already know. Make sure to engage and apply the material after you’ve finished reading the books. We also suggest sharing what you've learned with your team so they can benefit and grow from that knowledge too.
Personal Growth & Development Books
Did you know - reading the right books can lead to higher income and more meaningful careers? It's true! Tom Corley, author of Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals, found that people who make more than $160,000 a year read for education, self-improvement, and success. It makes you want to pick up a self-improvement book, right? Well, here are four personal development books you should definitely check out. They will rock your world!
1. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
What it's about: Stephen Covey's life-changing book describes how you can be happier and more effective. As a salesperson, you'll appreciate the different approaches Covey suggests for conquering your day. You'll start to understand what is in your control, what you can influence, and what is out of your reach for maximum productivity.
How to apply it: Come up with a game plan to implement in your life after reading the seven habits. It all comes down to balance to make sure you’re covering all the bases to becoming highly effective and successful.
2) What to Say When You Talk to Yourself by Shad Helmstetter
What it's about: Affirmations, affirmations, affirmations. Many of us don't realize how negative today's society can be, especially in the things we say to ourselves. Think about it - even simple sayings like “I’m so clumsy” or “this just isn’t my day” are actually harmful to your subconscious. This book will explain the principles of positive self-talk and how to reverse the negativity and in turn achieve high levels of success.
How to apply it: Write down, record or have someone else record positive affirmations to read or listen to multiple times a day. It could also be helpful to have a journal to jot down affirmations and goals every single day. It may feel weird at first, but over time, these practices can help you start catching yourself when negative self-talk escapes you. Also, don’t be afraid to call out your friends or co-workers when they are speaking down about themselves. If you work together and help one another, it makes it much easier to make improvements.
3) How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling by Frank Bettger
What it's about: This is a great sales book for any seller. Bettger goes through his journey as a failed insurance salesman to having the ability to retire at age 40. He will share those sales secrets that turned his entire life around as one of the highest-paid salesmen in the nation.
How to apply it: Be enthusiastic, have no fear, and honestly, always keep this book in your car. You will feel like you can conquer anything after reading Bettger’s story and this could be your story too, but you have to first believe in yourself. Frank isn’t going to knock on your door to make sure you follow these principles. Your success is in your hands and it's up to you to take the necessary steps. Step 1: read this book as soon as possible.
4) The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz
What it's about: Schwartz starts out with the usual “believe you can succeed and you will", and “cure yourself of your 'excusitis' (or the condition of having too many excuses)". He dives into some deeper concepts later on in the book as well, so don't stop reading at this point. He gives great advice for life in general. For example, becoming a better salesperson will happen once you work on yourself first. Fantastic words of wisdom!
How to apply it: 1) Be human and talk to people, and be curious and get them to talk about themselves. 2) Progress is made one step at a time just like a house is built brick by brick. Every big accomplishment is just a series of little accomplishments, so don’t forget to celebrate those too! 🎉
Sales Skills Books
Okay, now that you’ve got your reading list with some of the best personal development books out there, you’re ready to fill your brain with the sales skills that will take you to the next level of your career. These sales books are for anyone, whether you’ve been selling for two months or 20 years. We all have something to learn!
5) Fanatical Prospecting by Jeb Blount
What it's about: This sales book is all about filling your pipeline by leveraging social selling, cold calling, email, and text. Blount is adamant about not filling the pipeline with useless names and information. Instead, it must be healthy and sustainable. Nobody wants a useless pipeline, but you’d be surprised how many salespeople look at their pipeline as another task, not as an investment in their future. Let’s face it - prospecting isn’t the most fun activity, but Blount turns it inside out with his humor and insights. Definitely a must-read!
How to apply it: Treat your pipeline as your lifeline and take the time necessary to find good, quality prospects. Remember, the work you put in today and tomorrow will pay off in a couple of months, so be patient. Diversify your prospecting methods by leveraging a combination of social media strategy, text messages, phone calls, and email. With those tactics, you’ll have a higher chance of reaching your prospects.
6) SPIN Selling by Neil Rackham
What it's about: This book is based on 12 years of research and 35,000 sales calls. That's a lot of time, effort, and expertise! In this sales book, Rackham states that salespeople should ditch traditional techniques and instead, build value, identify needs, and serve as a trusted advisor for your customer. SPIN stands for Situation, Problem, Implication, and Needs, and according to Neil, it is the acronym that should drive your sales process moving forward.
How to apply it: Great sales representatives should always ask questions and try to understand the prospect’s problem. That way, you can prevent objections before they ever arise. If this isn't something you're comfortable with, to better understand SPIN selling, download or create a template for note-taking and grab a friend or co-worker to role play for practice before getting in front of or speaking to your prospect.
7) Gap Selling by Keenan
What it's about: This sales book is all about getting the customer to say "yes". We're not going to lie, the core message is in direct conflict with what we have been told for years. You’ll learn about what a gap is in regards to buyers and how to get them to buy. The larger the gap, the better because your solution will be extremely valuable to your customer.
How to apply it: Customers don’t like change, but they like it when it is worth the cost. Every time you ask “why”, you chip away layers to get to your customer’s true intrinsic motivations. This is the whole reason they met with you in the first place. Typically, when someone doesn’t buy from you, it's because you didn’t ask enough questions to figure out their true need or convince them that their current situation is critical and needs to be resolved.
Sales leaders are the front line for business growth. But, to do that successfully, you need to acquire new business. In order to effectively train, monitor, and coach your team, you must first educate yourself. You've probably heard the saying - “You can’t fill someone else’s cup until your cup is full”. By reading these leadership books, you will learn the tools you need to get the most out of your sales representatives and increase team productivity.
8) The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John C. Maxwell (aka The Leadership Legend)
What it's about: With over 30 years as a leader, Maxwell has combined his experiences (both mistakes and successes) that he has encountered to put together a pretty life-changing study. In this book, 21 laws are revealed that can help anyone to become a better leader if mastered. While each stands alone, they also complement one another, so it’s important to fully understand all 21.
How to apply it: After you read this book, evaluate your leadership ability with the assessment that's included. Earn the respect of your team and uphold the laws you want to implement.
9) Strengths-Based Leadership by Tom Rath & Barry Conchie
What it's about: This book is the result of 20 years of scientific data around individual strengths that was interpreted by Rath and Conchie. Strengths range from achiever (for those that are driven by achievements), positivity, includer (for people that don't like anyone to feel left out), and so on. To figure out what your own strengths are, there is a free leadership evaluation. The book also includes inspiring stories, as well as actionable ideas to reinforce what you’ve read.
How to apply it: To understand your team’s strengths, you should have them read “Strengthsfinder” and take the evaluation. Employees feel engaged when their leaders focus on their strengths and abilities. This book will help you invest in your strengths, too. By understanding your own strengths, as well as the strengths of your team, you can determine the best way to address, work with, and support each individual. A great read for anyone new to leadership or growing their team!
10) Sales Management Simplified by Mike Weinberg
What it's about: Mike Weinberg is an expert consultant and is called every day with questions like “why is my sales department falling short?”. The answer is not what people are expecting to hear. The issue lies outside of the sales team members, and instead with how it is being led. In this sales book, Weinberg teaches how to implement a simple framework for leadership.
How to apply it: The solution starts with you! By reading this book, you’ll understand how to foster a high-performance culture, retain top producers, help salespeople set goals, conduct productive meetings, and much more. This book is another must-read for anyone, but especially sales managers in a between a rock and a hard place.
Now, Get to Reading!
Whether you’ve been in sales for eons, have recently moved into a leadership position, or you’re in a funk and could use some new affirmation cards, these 10 sales books we've listed are fantastic resources. Make a list of the ones that interest you most and start reading. After all, there is no better time than the present to make a positive change in your career. Happy reading! 📚
Learning helpful tips from sales books can definitely help you with your leads. But, if you need a little extra help, inbound marketing may be the solution! Download a copy of our free Inbound Marketing Checklist to see which tactics you're missing and should start implementing into your strategy.