The best sales book can be subjective to one’s experience and situation, but there are some universally great books that every sales professional should read. It takes time and expertise to hone your sales skills, but you can jump-start this process by reading the following books.
These 20 best sales books will give you a base of knowledge that will help you get started and become a better salesperson:
#1. How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling by Frank Bettger
A Pennsylvania fire equipment company sales representative who later became a high school teacher and door-to-door salesman before working as a life insurance agent for Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. In the book, he tells readers his story and tips for beginning salespeople and those who wish to improve their skills.
#2. The Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes
This is a step-by-step guide to mastering the 12 essential strategies that lead to success in sales. A big proponent of goal setting, Holmes believes that every second spent not doing something to further your goals is time wasted. Unlike many other books on this list, Holmes’ work focuses most heavily on organizations rather than individual salespeople.
#3. Secrets of Closing the Sale by Zig Ziglar.
Zig Ziglar, who is best known for his motivational speeches. In this book, he explains that you can make things happen with enough enthusiasm and an unwavering belief in yourself. He uses real-life examples of salespeople to show readers how to become successful sellers themselves.
#4. Be a Sales Superstar: 21 Simple Strategies for Closing More Sales and Making Customers Love You by Michele PW Smith
An entrepreneur, and sales coach, she gives readers the tools they need to excel at selling. She offers strategies that allow customers to take charge of their own buying decisions while still guiding them toward the right outcome.
#5. Learn How to Sell Your Way Through Life by Brian Tracy
An author, and motivational speaker, he has written more than 100 books translated into dozens of languages; he has also presented over 5,000 seminars on virtually every topic related to business and personal effectiveness. Here he gives readers the encouragement and tools they need to become more successful in both their professional and personal lives.
#6. SPIN Selling by Neil Rackham
An author and educator, before writing the book, he worked for four years with major corporations to develop effective selling strategies based on research. SPIN stands for Situation, Problem, Implication, Need-payoff. The strategy helps salespeople pay attention to their prospects’ concerns to build a rapport to sell their products.
Spin Selling by Neil Rackham, who is an author and consultant based in Cambridge, England. He has been a sales manager, sales consultant, and researcher since 1976; he has consulted with more than 100 clients in 25 countries. Here he explains how to use the SPIN method for making a sale: Situation questions asked by a seller that cause a prospect to reveal or discover a problem they have on the job.
#7. The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation by Matthew Dixon
An award-winning business journalist. This book tells readers how to stand out in today’s increasingly distracted buyers. It explains that companies must replace traditional selling tactics with a process called “The Challenger Sale.”
#8. The New Strategic Selling: The Unique Sales System Proven Successful by the World’s Best Companies by Robert Miller
With more than 20 years of experience in sales management and consulting, he helps readers use a strategic approach to selling that is needed in today’s competitive climate. The book explains how current economic realities have altered the buying process for suppliers and customers; it also presents data about significant changes in the sales world, including the increasing role of technology.
#9. Sell with a Story: How to Capture Attention, Build Trust, and Close More Deals by Paul Smith
An international sales speaker, and trainer, this book tells readers how to use storytelling techniques to get their message across more effectively. Smith offers 25 stories that he has collected from people in all types of professions-including salespeople, entrepreneurs, and leaders.
#10. The Science of Selling: Proven Strategies to Make More Money in Less Time by Michael Brooks
This book explains the psychological reasons behind why people buy certain products or services instead of others; it also presents some practical ideas about how to use this knowledge to increase sales.
#11. Closing the Deal: The Art of Persuading Customers to Buy by Tom Hopkins
Here he gives readers some techniques for ensuring that their customers are satisfied once they make a sale. He also presents tips for handling prospects more effectively. He stresses the importance of mastering the “soft skills” in selling, including trust and relationship-building.
#12. SPIN Selling for Financial Advisors: The Proven Method to Help You Make More Money, Close Deals Faster, and Build Lasting Business Relationships by Jeff Thull
Jeff is a speaker, consultant, entrepreneur, and former professor at the University of Chicago. He co-founded a financial services firm in 1994, which became one of the industry’s most successful companies within five years. Here he offers advice for capitalizing on six contact points built in to every sale, with particular attention to building rapport with clients.
#13. How to Master the Art of Selling by Tom Hopkins
He has taught over 300,000 people how to become effective communicators through seminars he has conducted in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Asia, Australia, Bermuda, Mexico, and Puerto Rico; here, he offers advice for developing communication skills that can be applied to any area of life.
#14. How People Really Make Decisions: Harnessing the Power of Counterintuition by Gerald Zaltman
A professor at the Harvard Business School and a former U.S. Treasury official under Presidents Nixon and Ford. He has spent more than 25 years studying how people make decisions, including those in the area of business. This book explains how people often base their choices on unconscious factors and urges readers to use this information to create products or services that satisfy both conscious and unconscious needs.
#15. Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In by Roger Fisher
a professor at Harvard Law School and an expert in international diplomacy. He was one of the top negotiators for U.S. President Jimmy Carter during the 1979-1981 Iran hostage crisis. He has taught negotiation skills to thousands of people through seminars conducted throughout the world. This book explains the concept of “principled” negotiation, which advocates seeking mutual benefit instead of winning arguments.
#16. Fanatical Prospecting: The Ultimate Guide to Opening Sales Conversations and Filling the Pipeline by Jeb Blount
A speaker, and consultant. He has coached thousands of salespeople in more than 50 countries through his company, Fanatical Support. Here he presents an approach to selling that involves building relationships with new customers before uncovering their needs; it also explains how to use this strategy to maintain long-term relationships with existing customers.
#17. Little Red Book of Selling: 12.5 Principles of Sales Greatness by Jeff Gitomer, a sales trainer, and speaker.
Here he condenses more than 25 years of his own experience in selling into a book that can help any reasonable person become an exceptional seller; this book uses the concept of “sales truth” to encourage people to be truthful and straightforward with customers, which will increase their level of respect and loyalty.
#18. To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others by Daniel H. Pink, an author, and speechwriter.
He has written for the numerous U.S. corporations and organizations—including Coca-Cola, Google, the National Geographic Society, Major League Baseball, and the United States Navy—and he is a contributor to several publications; in this book, he explores the reasons behind the need to sell, which involves influencing people’s behavior to make them change their minds or take action.
#19. What Great Salespeople Do: The Science of Selling Through Emotional Connection and the Power of Nonverbal Signals by Michael Brooks
An author and sales psychology consultant. In this book, he discusses factors in sales situations that can create a positive or negative impression when negotiating with potential customers; here, he presents suggestions on establishing and maintaining rapport with buyers to boost sales figures.
#20. Cracking the Sales Management Code: E-Commerce Insights from the Cutting Edge by Dan Hughes
A speaker, and consultant. In this book, he provides advice on managing an e-commerce sales team and developing new strategies for making successful online transactions; here, he offers suggestions on ways to lead a group of virtual employees.
#21. Agile Selling: Get Up to Speed Quickly in Today’s Ever-Changing Sale by Jill Konrath, an executive at Sales Solutions and a speaker.
This book explains the concept of “agile selling,” which involves modifying one’s sales approach according to changes in the market; here, she discusses how to use social media to generate leads that can be followed up on using more traditional methods.
#22. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini, a social psychologist, and marketing consultant.
In this book, he presents three concepts that explain why people say “yes”—reciprocation (the obligation to give back after receiving something), consistency (the desire to act in line with one’s previous commitments), and social proof (the notion that most people are inclined to do what others like them are doing)—and offers advice on how to use this information when persuading others.
#23. Sales Management. Simplified.: An Easy-to-Read Guide to Understanding and Motivating Your Sales Force by Mike Weinberg, a sales coach, and consultant.
Here he presents principles and tools for managing a sales team; in particular, he focuses on motivating and inspiring individuals to increase their performance levels.
#24. Secrets of Question-Based Selling by Victor Cheng, a due diligence consulting firm and a sales trainer.
In this book, he presents five questions that can help entrepreneurs uncover their clients’ needs to provide them with solutions; in particular, these questions guide sellers through a process that involves asking for information, requesting clarification on unclear points, and providing a summary of the conversation.
#25. Gap Selling: How to Identify Your Price Gap, Create a Customer-Centric Value Proposition, and Close the Sale by Jeff Thull, a speaker on business growth and development.
In this book, he discusses the gap selling approach that he developed over 20 years of working in various industries; here, he offers advice on how to find customers’ price gaps—the difference between what they are currently paying and the price of an alternative solution, such as your product or service—and how to use this information to offer them a superior value proposition.
#26. Mastering the Complex Sale: How to Compete and Win When the Stakes Are High by Jeff Thull, a speaker on business growth and development.
In this book, he discusses a sales technique known as a “complex sale,” in which the customer must make multiple decisions to proceed with a purchase; here, he offers advice on how to prepare for such an encounter, presents options to buyers, and manage the negotiation process.
#27. The Sales Bible: The Ultimate Sales Resource by Jeffrey Gitomer, who is a speaker and author.
In this book, he summarizes information from his previous works concerning sales techniques; here, he provides advice on improving one’s overall performance and the quality of one’s relationships with existing clients through specific changes in behavior.
#28. Sell or Be Sold: How to Get Your Way in Business and in Life by Blair Singer, a speaker on sales.
In this book, he outlines steps that one can take to achieve one’s goals in the business world; here, he presents advice on how to sell products or services to gain new customers and retain old ones.
#29. The Masterful Coaching Fieldbook: A Practical Guide to Building, Sustaining, and Extending Your Organization’s Network of Trusted Advisors by Jim Cathcart, a consultant.
In this book, he provides advice on establishing relationships with potential clients; here, he suggests coaching them through the initial stages of the sales process.
#30. Triggers by Joseph Sugarman, an entrepreneur.
In this book, he presents tools that can be used in sales settings; here, he offers advice on motivating buyers and presenting them with the advantages of purchasing a proposed product or service.
#31. Cocktails for Three: The Secret Formula to Selling More, Managing More, and Making More Money by Todd Duncan, who is a speaker on business growth and development as well as a consultant.
In this book, he discusses his own experiences and those of other successful entrepreneurs; here, he offers advice on how to sell a product or service to a client in a sale that involves the client, a large retailer, and an outside supplier.
#32. Pitch Anything by Oren Klaff, a consultant.
In this book, he presents advice on approaching buying and selling situations in which one must make a pitch; here, he offers tips that can be applied in any sales encounter to secure a business deal.
#33. Predictable Revenue by Aaron Ross, the co-founder and former COO of the lead generation company SalesforceIQ; Marylou Tyler, its president; and Mark Roberge, its SVP of global sales.
Here, they present their approach to generating leads at Salesforce.com, focusing on the use of value-based selling—a process that involves identifying target accounts, identifying the decision-makers within those accounts, and determining how your product or service can solve their problems—to help prospective clients develop an interest in learning more about your company.
#34. What Great Salespeople Do: The Science of Selling Through Emotional Connection and the Power of Nonverbal Signals by Michael Brooks, an author and sales psychology consultant.
In this book, he discusses factors in sales situations that can create a positive or negative impression when negotiating with potential customers; here, he presents suggestions on establishing and maintaining rapport with buyers to boost sales figures.