In case you don’t know, Soundview identifies, selects, and summarizes the best business books that are published every year. And, since we’ve been doing this for the past 41 years, we’ve seen A LOT of business books filter through our offices. This got us thinking …
Why haven’t we ever compiled our list of the Best Sales Books?
So, that’s what we did! After countless hours of research we’re ready to reveal our list of the best sales books ever published. Most are recognizable business classics – the books that every aspiring sales manager or salesperson needs to read. These are evergreen books that offer the tips, tricks, and techniques that are required to understand the psyche of buyers, establish positioning tactics, get you in front of the prospect, and ultimately land the sale.
Without further ado, here is our list of the 25 Best Sales Books of All Time (in no particular order):
NOTE: Unfortunately, Soundview has not had the good fortune to have been able to offer each of these titles in our Executive Book Summary format.
Situation – Problem – Implication – Need Payoff
by Neil Rackham
Backed by 12 years and $1 million in exhaustive research, SPIN Selling by Neil Rackham is absolutely essential reading for salespeople and sales managers alike. Rackham boils all the research down into what he’s coined as the SPIN strategy (Situation, Problem, Implication, Need payoff) that will help anyone become both a problem finder and a problem solver.
The Challenger Sale:
Taking Control of the Customer Conversation
by Matthew Dixon & Brent Adamson
A Challenger is a distinct sales rep profile – these reps consistently deliver high performances. In The Challenger Sale, authors Dixon and Adamson analyzed a study of thousands of sales reps and shockingly discovered that classic relationship building may actually be detrimental to the overall sales process. They also lay out a methodology for turning average sales representatives into these high-performing Challengers.
Getting to Yes:
Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In
by Roger Fisher & William Ury
Based on the work and findings of the Harvard Negotiation Project, Getting to Yes lays out a proven strategy for obtaining mutually acceptable, win-win agreements in negotiations. Since its original release almost 40 years ago, more than 1 million people have benefited from Fisher and Ury’s no-nonsense negotiating advice that can be used in both business and personal settings. This is one of those books that when you reread it every so often, you’ll discover more and more of it’s practical greatness. It’s one of the best books on negotiation that we’ve ever run across.
The Ultimate Guide to Opening Sales Conversations and Filling the Pipeline by Leveraging Social Selling, Telephone, Email, Text and Cold Calling
by Jeb Blount
If you’re a salesperson that wants to hit your numbers and become a sales superstar, you can’t neglect your pipeline. In Fanatical Prospecting, Blount (one of the world’s Top 30 Social Selling Influencers according to Forbes) describes how failing to prospect leads to an empty pipeline, which ultimately results in a failing sales career. Learn top prospecting secrets like the 30-Day Rule, the Law of Familiarity, and the 4-Step Email Prospecting Framework. This is just one of Blount’s great sales books – others include Inked and Virtual Selling.
Little Red Book of Selling:
12.5 Principles of Sales Greatness
by Jeffrey Gitomer
The ultimate in blunt, straight forward, and to-the-point sales advice. Little Red Book of Selling focuses on the salesperson’s preparation, motivation, and focus and provides sound advice for getting out of your own way and achieving success in sales. Gitomer, the author of the New York Times best seller The Sales Bible and 14 other books, outlines strategies and answers from a lifetime of selling.
To Sell Is Human:
The Surprising Truth About Moving Others
by Daniel Pink
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that one in nine Americans works in sales, but author Daniel Pink believes that the other eight do as well. In one way or another, we’re all in sales. To Sell Is Human provides a 21st-century look at the art and science of selling. With his usual reliance on social science, surveys, and stories, Pink (the author of Drive and A Whole New Mind) will transform the way you sell – at work, at home, or in school.
Zig Ziglar’s Secrets of Closing the Sale:
For Anyone Who Must Get Others to Say Yes!
by Zig Ziglar
From one of the top salesmen of all time comes one of the top sales books of all time. Zig Ziglar’s Secrets of Closing the Sale is one of the foundational texts on how to be a successful salesperson. Ziglar packs tons of real-life, tested methods into the book, including closing techniques, probing questions, and professional tips from other successful salespeople. Every business professional is also a sales professional – and every sales professional should read this book.
Never Split the Difference:
Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It
by Chris Voss with Tahl Raz
Voss, a former international hostage negotiator for the FBI, offers a field-tested approach to high-stakes negotiations – whether in the boardroom or at home. Never Split the Difference is filled with compelling stories that illustrate the empathy-based techniques and approaches (like Mirroring and Labeling) that Voss advocates. Taking emotional intelligence and intuition to the next level, Never Split the Difference will gives you a competitive edge in any discussion.
The Art of Closing the Sale:
The Key to Making More Money Faster in the World of Professional Selling
by Brian Tracy
Over his business lifetime, legendary author, consultant, and speaker Brian Tracy has studied and analyzed sales-closing techniques across may different industries. Bringing the sales conversation to a close is difficult, however with the time-tested skills in The Art of Closing the Sale, you can do it skillfully and propel your sales career to new heights. A must read for salespeople looking to boost their closing numbers.
Get Up to Speed Quickly in Today’s Ever-Changing Sales World
by Jill Konrath
Agility is an essential skill in sales, especially in the age of self-educated buyers who complete 60 to 70 percent of the sales process on their own. Veteran sales consultant Jill Konrath (author of SNAP Selling and More Sales, Less Time) shares the wisdom of the highly successful who know that great salespeople have a mindset, an attitude, and practice the right habits that create success and minimize failure. Agile Selling is a must-read for sales professionals whose careers have changed significantly due to the forces of digital, social, and mobile.
The Psychology of Persuasion
by Robert Cialdini
The seminal book for understanding why people say “yes” and how to ethically use that information to your advantage. In this New York Times bestseller, Cialdini (also the author of Pre-Suasion) presents the 6 Principles of Influence, including Reciprocation, Commitment & Consistency, Social Proof, Liking, Authority, and Scarcity. Influence is a result of 35 years of scientific research and a 3-year study that identified what moves people to change their behavior.
Sales Management. Simplified.:
The Straight Truth About Getting Exceptional Results from Your Sales Team
by Mike Weinberg
Common sense dictates that sagging sales figures are the result of underperforming teams or ineffective processes. Author Weinberg pulls the shades back and shows that more often than not, the issues are a result of how the team is being led. In Sales Management. Simplified., Weinberg outlines exactly how results can be transformed by implementing a concise sales leadership framework, incuding actionable solutions and tools that will take your sales team to the next level.
Secrets of Question Based Selling:
How the Most Powerful Tool in Business Can Double Your Sales Results
by Thomas Freese
This is the authoritative book on how to harness the power of the question to increase the likelihood of sales success. Secrets of Question Based Selling is the must-have tool that demonstrates how asking the right questions at exactly the right time can accurately identify your customer’s needs. Through questioning, Freese will show you how to earn credibility, motivate buyers, and ultimately close more sales … faster.
Getting the Customer to Yes: How Problem-Centric Selling Increases Sales by Changing Everything You Know About Relationships, Overcoming Objections, Closing and Price
Gap Selling is the powerful, provocative book that seeks to flip traditional sales beliefs (sales cycles are always long, people only buy from people they like, price is always the determining factor in a sale) on end. Keenan will show you how to exude influence at every stage of the buying process to get your prospects make a change decision (ie, buy your product/service). This book is raw, unapologetic, and written with passion – a fresh take on what success looks like in sales.
Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive:
Outsell, Outmanage, Outmotivate, and Outnegotiate Your Competition
by Harvey Mackay
With almost 2 million copies sold, Mackay’s first book (he’s written 10) is, in our opinion, his best. In Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten, the self-made millionaire provides nugget after nugget of advice for everything from getting appointments and negotiating to the proprietary Mackay 66 customer profile system. Mackay’s book will truly inspire you to outsell, outmanage, outmotivate, and outnegotiate all of your competitors.
Mastering the Complex Sale:
How to Compete and Win When the Stakes Are High!
by Jeff Thull
Thull (The Prime Solution, Exceptional Selling) presents a rigorous process for successfully completing the complex sale built around four phases: discovering the prime customer; diagnosing the complex problem; designing the complex solution; and delivering on the prime promise. Mastering the Complex Sale takes you through the Diagnostic Business Development process which Thull says is the key to getting your entire organization on the same page, as well as differentiating your products and services from your competitors.
A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea
by Bob Burg & John David Mann
While not necessarily a ‘sales’ book per se, The Go-Giver posits that the secret to success in anything, including sales, is giving. The authors, who also wrote The Go-Giver Leader, believe that if you shift your focus toward giving and finding solutions for others, your rewards will be success and stronger relationships. This parable is rooted in timeless principles that act as a constant reminder throughout – give and you will receive, givers prosper, and givers change the world. Great advice for everyone, including salespeople.
The Ultimate Sales Machine:
Turbocharge Your Business with Relentless Focus on 12 Key Strategies
by Chet Holmes
In the cut-throat world of sales, many managers leap from one strategic trend to the next, becoming bogged down during the process instead of rising to the top. In Author Chet Holmes –– known as “America’s greatest business growth expert” –– says that doesn’t have to be the case if you take the time and focus. In The Ultimate Sales Machine, Holmes provides 12 key strategies to turn any business into what he deems “the ultimate sales machine.”
Sell or Be Sold:
How to Get Your Way in Business and in Life
by Grant Cardone
If you’re looking for a new, vibrant, 21st century voice for your sales advice, look no further than Grant Cardone. His fresh, upbeat writing style oozes to the forefront in Sell or Be Sold. Cardone (who also wrote The 10X Rule), an international sales training expert and multiple-times New York Times bestselling author, breaks down the tactics you need to excel in sales and provides a roadmap for success that can be used in any type of endeavor. His key piece of advice is that you have to be sold on the product that you’re selling.
An Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading, and Winning the Deal
by Oren Klaff
Whether we’re presenting ideas to investors, selling products/services to prospects, or negotiating at work or home, we all ‘pitch.’ In Pitch Anything, expert pitch-man Oren Klaff (author of Flip the Script), lays out his STRONG method of pitching that will give you a leg up in any pitch situation you find yourself in. This book will open both your eyes and your mind to what your pitches and presentations have been lacking in the past.
What Great Salespeople Do:
The Science of Selling Through Emotional Connection and the Power of Story
by Michael Bosworth & Ben Zoldan
Influencing change in buyers is a skill that anyone can learn, and What Great Salespeople Do can teach you the skills to win more sales. Combining research and evidence from multiple disciplines (neuroscience, sociology, phychology), Bosworth and Zoldan show you how to use the power of story to exact the change you want to see in buyers. This book digs deep into a salesperson’s emotional intelligence and how it can be used to engage coworkers, prospects, and current clients alike.
Cracking the Sales Management Code:
The Secrets to Measuring and Managing Sales Performance
by Jason Jordan with Michelle Vazzana
An essential title to have on the bookshelf in any sales manager’s or sales director’s office. Cracking the Sales Management Code is the most comprehensive analysis of how to track, evaluate, set goals for, and motivate today’s modern sales force. Jordan and Vazzana (who also penned Crushing Quota) have written one of the few real gems devoted entirely to the topic of sales management.
The Challenger Customer:
Selling to the Hidden Influencer Who Can Multiply Your Results
by Brent Adamson, Matthew Dixon, Pat Spenner & Nick Toman
In the follow-up to the hugely successful The Challenger Sale, the authors argue that it’s not enough to be a Challenger seller – you must also target Challenger customers within the organizations you’re trying to sell to. Challenger customers are the ‘mobilizers’ within companies – those employees who can challenge key stakeholders to change from the status quo. The Challenger Customer is chock-full of research, tools, and case studies that reveal how to engage these ‘mobilizers’ and get them to help you get the sale.
New Sales. Simplified.:
The Essential Handbook for Prospecting and New Business Development
by Mike Weinberg
Common sense tells us that the lifeblood of any business is its ability to attract and close new accounts. In New Sales. Simplified., Mike Weinberg offers a structured approach to both attracting and gaining new business. From identifying prospects and building rapport, to tips on having productive dialogues and establishing trust – this book is jam-packed with tricks and techniques for generating new sales.
The Psychology of Selling:
Increase Your Sales Faster and Easier Than You Ever Thought Possible
by Brian Tracy
Brian Tracy has sales training and development running through his bones. He regularly speaks to thousands of people each year and has written more than 45 books – none more important to salespeople as The Psychology of Selling. This book helps you get inside the head of your prospects and also addresses the psychological toll that sales can take on the salesperson herself (self-esteem, fear of failure, fear of rejection). Tracy, who also wrote the bestsellers Goals! and How the Best Leaders Lead, will motivate to achieve a higher level of sales success.
We hope you enjoyed reading through our list. Please take a moment to leave a comment below … and to get the conversation started, here are a few questions to consider:
- How many of our 25 recommendations have you read?
- Which titles are on your bookshelf as constant reference pieces?
- What is your ONE favorite sales book ever written?
- Which titles that you love were omitted from our list?
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