If there was a one-size-fits-all model for salespeople then it would probably be a pretty easy gig. However, we all have various methods of learning, growing, and perfecting our pitch. That’s why there are thousands of outstanding sales books that we can relate to. But, if you need a solid starting point, here are five sales books that every salesperson should read.
1. Little Red Book of Selling: 12.5 Principles of Sales Greatness by Jeffrey H. Gitomer
Jeffrey H. Gitomer, a leading authority on sales and customer service who has worked with IBM, AT&T, Coca-Cola, and Hilton Hotels and is the author of the bestselling book "The Sales Bible," released in 2004. There’s no filler here. Gitomer gets directly to the point by discussing the reasons why people purchase items and how to take note of what they’re thinking.
Preview: “Your job as a master salesman is to create an atmosphere where people want to buy.”
2. Secrets of Closing the Sale by Zig Ziglar
Zig Ziglar was a world renowned author and motivational speaker for organizations of all sizes. He was also the best selling author of inspirational books like “Born to Win,” “See You at the Top,” and “Developing the Qualities of Success.” With this 1985 book, Ziglar explains the importance of building relationships with clients and how to achieve that goal in 432-pages. Any book written by Zig Ziglar or any speech he gave during his life is well worth the time or effort it takes to read or hear his work. YouTube has most of his speeches and they are a great listen as you drive to work.
Preview: “There are five basic reasons people will not buy from you. These are: no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, and no trust. Since any “reason” or “excuse” for not buying will cost you a sale—and will cost the prospect the benefits he would accrue from the purchase—the missed sale is a loss for both buyer and seller.”
3. Growth Juice: How To Grow Your Sales by John A. Weber
John A. Weber is an Emeritus Professor of Marketing at the University of Notre Dame who has worked with organizations such as General Electric, AT&T, Federal Express, IBM, 3M, Xerox, Kellogg, and Bristol-Myers. In “Growth Juice,” Weber divides the book into three different sections that examine proven sales concepts, an explanation of Solution Selling, and how to convert one sale at-a-time in a steady stream.
Preview: “Growth starts when you first recognize your company’s true business. You can do this by asking what set of fundamental needs your company is trying to address with its current primary product or service. Focus on identifying these underlying needs.Thinking of your business as providing solutions rather than specific products or services can open up entirely new avenues of potential growth.”
4. The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson
Matt Dixon, a managing director of strategic research at Corporate Executive Board, and Brent Adamson, a renowned speaker and facilitator, conducted a study of sales reps in multiple industries to develop the theory that the most effective salespeople just don’t build relationships with prospects, they actually challenge them by teaching the prospect something new about their business.
Preview: “If your customer is dead set on buying the cheapest option today, then chances are pretty good they’ll be dead set on buying the cheapest option tomorrow as well. And that may or may not be you. After all, there’s usually little stopping your competition from discounting their way to a win. In that game, loyalty is essentially irrelevant, as customers aren’t looking for a partner, they’re looking for a bargain. And that’s not what this story is all about. This is a story about a customer’s willingness not only to keep buying from you, but to buy even more over time and to advocate on your behalf. And if that’s your goal, price is simply a bad way to get there.”
5. The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino
First published in 1968 by Og Mandino, who is considered the most widely read inspirational and self help author in the world, as well as the former president of Success Unlimited magazine and the first recipient of the Napoleon Hill Gold Medal, “The Greatest Salesman in the World,” focuses on habits as opposed to sales techniques. Through the story of Hafid, an impoverished camel boy who achieves success through ten ancient scrolls, this book is one that provides uplifting and motivational advice.
Preview: “In truth, the only difference between those who have failed and those who have succeeded lies in the difference of their habits. Good habits are the key to all success. Bad habits are the unlocked door to failure. Thus, the first law I will obey, which precedeth all others is—I will form good habits and become their slave.”