Top 10 "How to Sell" Books of All Time
Amazon contains 340,737 book titles containing the word "sales" and 48,427 containing the word "selling." Since you're probably not going to read all 389,164 of them, I thought it might be useful to identify the ten that should be in every business library. Here they are:
10. Selling to Big Companies
One of the biggest mistakes in the business world is assuming that all companies are alike and therefore should be approaching in the same way. In this instant classic, Jill Konrath explains how to manage the often-Byzantine politics of large companies in order to help them make intelligent decisions.
9. Mastering the Complex Sale
Prior to this book, much of the business world believed that a good salesperson can "sell anything to anyone." Author Jeff Thull, however, lays out the gradual process by which a salesperson can help customers clarify their needs, understand their alternatives, and make the internal changes required to buy a solution that will change their entire business.
8. The Psychology of Selling
Selling is more that just strategy and politics--it's the practical application of psychology in a business context. In this seminal work, Brian Tracy lays out the inner motivations of both buyers and sellers, explaining how they interact to create opportunities for both parties. Insightful and essential.
7. Strategic Selling
This is the masterwork when it comes to understanding how a company's sales strategy--and the execution of that strategy--can make or break a business model. Authors Robert Miller and Stephen Heiman (along with their amanuensis Tad Tuleja) detail the best practices of successful firms, showing how and why their strategies have worked.
6. Perfect Selling
In this quick read, author Linda Richardson encapsulates, in a very simple and straightforward fashion, the entire sales cycle. She simplifies where other sales books complexify, making it clear that there's no reason that any reasonably intelligent person can't move a sale forward. It's perfect for entrepreneurs and professional salespeople alike.
5. How to Master the Art of Selling
It's difficult to overestimate the enormous influence that Tom Hopkins has had on the world of sales. He was the first to recognize that what's now considered commonplace: that selling is primarily a process of managing your own fears and focusing on what the customer needs.
4. The Greatest Salesman in the World
In addition to being a groundbreaking business book (See Top 10 Most Influential Business Books), Og Mandino's classic helps the reader discover the positive "why" behind selling, reframing the act of selling from something that's manipulative to the act of helping other people achieve their dreams.
3. Secrets of Closing the Sale
There's a reason why Zig Ziglar's death last November generated an outpouring of tributes from nearly every corner of the business world. It's been said that all successful people "stand on the shoulders of giant." For the world of sales, Zig was the ultimate giant, the pioneer who laid out the basic principles on which all sales technique and training is based.
2. The Little Red Book of Selling
I like to think of Jeff Gitomer as the "Seth Godin" of the sales world. Jeff has a knack for distilling complex business issues down to their essence, and then explaining exactly how to use that essence to make yourself more successful. Note: this book was tied for second place with Gitomer's other classic work, The Sales Bible.
1. Spin Selling
Finally, this is the book that turned selling from an art into a science. While other sales books are heavy with anecdotes and assumptions, Neil Rackham examined hard evidence of actual sales performance and codified what works--and what doesn't--in real world sales situations. A must read for everyone who sells.
Like this post? If so, sign up for the free Sales Source newsletter.
Geoffrey James, a contributing editor for Inc.com, is an author, speaker, and award-winning blogger. Originally a system architect, brand manager, and industry analyst inside two Fortune 100 companies, he's interviewed more than a thousand successful executives, managers, entrepreneurs, and gurus to discover how business really works. His most recent book is Business Without the Bullsh*t: 49 Secrets and Shortcuts You Need to Know. If you enjoyed this post, sign up for the free weekly Sales Source newsletter.