7 Essential Sales Books To Build A Strong Foundation For Your Career

essential sales books for beginners

Sales books provide a glimpse into the mind of another individual without the need for them to actively share their time. Their knowledge and experiences have already been eternally transcribed within the pages of their books for anyone to read at their own leisure. Sales just happens to be one of those things that you’d expect to be fairly straightforward but aren’t in practice. For that reason, we’ve listed 5 essential sales books for beginners. Study these to build a strong powerful foundation for your sales career! Check out this resource from Sales Hacker for a more robust list of sales books.

1. How to Win Friends & Influence People, by Dale Carnegie

This book is an absolute classic and must-read for any sales professional. It’s probably the book you’ll hear referred to the most throughout your career. It’s simply that powerful. Though written over 80 years ago, much of the advice in his book still holds true to this day. The book deals mainly with how to best communicate with other people by avoiding potential conflicts and proactively working to make a good impression. As such this can be a great read for all kinds of folks, not just those working in sales. In fact, anyone who deals with people for a living would benefit greatly from reading the teachings of Dale Carnegie.

Check it out – How To Win Friends And Influence People

2. Secrets of Closing the Sale, by Zig Zigler

Zig Zigler is a fairly renowned author, sales coach and motivational speaker. If you do a quick YouTube search for his name, you’ll find a long list of videos that are from his speeches, interviews or other segments where he’s given his knowledge and advice to others. If you have the time to look through a few of them, it may be worth your time as well but his book will certainly provide you with strategies and guidelines to make you as effective at persuasion as you can be. It’s also a relatively quick read so would definitely be worth adding to the reading list for those who are looking for a new book to get through.

Check it out – Secrets of Closing the Sale

3. To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others, by Daniel H. Pink

Here we have another book that seems to get quite a lot of love and attention from many professionals in the world of sales. I’ve heard this book get mentioned in conversations on a number of occasions from various networking events. Having only been published in 2012, it’s a very recent book as well.

Within its pages, Pink talks about the correlation between persuasion and selling. He also outlines that regardless of your profession, a challenge that comes up quite frequently in life is the ability to effectively persuade someone else of an idea. Whether it’s getting children to do their homework or convincing a significant other to eat at a restaurant of your choosing, there is always an element of persuasion or selling necessary. Thus, Pink is able to derive the name of his book from this basic principle.

Check it out – To Sell is Human

4. Predictably Irrational, by Dan Ariely

Now this book doesn’t particularly focus on the art of sales or how to improve your persuasion directly, but it does provide some very interesting insights into very common mistakes most people have in their thinking. What Dan Ariely proves in a series of experiments is that although in theory, you would think that everyone would make the most rational decision in every situation, that’s simply not the case. Even more so, people seem to make the same irrational decisions in a predictable manner.

If you’re interested in learning about these common falsehoods in people’s thinking, and possibly even your own, this is another great book to add to your reading list. As a quick bonus, if you want more from Dan Ariely and his research, he recently published another book called Payoff which dives into the hidden logic of things that shapes our motivation.

Check it out – Predictably Irrational

5. SPIN Selling, by Neil Rackham

This book is likely to provide you with some of the most tactical advice you can use immediately in your sales career. The book is titled after the selling methodology of the same name that it evangelizes. SPIN is an acronym for Situation, Problem, Implication, and Need-Payoff. Each part of the acronym relates to the different types of questions you should be asking to help build interest for your product or service within the prospect and effectively guide them through the sales process.

Many of you are likely already familiar with the BANT criteria for validating a sale. This is essentially taking that concept and flipping it on its head, where you can you now use the same criteria to validate the sale to the prospect rather than to yourselves internally.

Check it out – SPIN Selling

6. New Sales Simplified: The Essential Handbook for Prospecting and New Business Development, by Mike Weinberg

Mike Weinberg actually runs his own sales consultancy and it is safe to say that he knows a thing or two about sales.  He played a pivotal part in the successful growth of SlimFast in the early days, a story he talks about within his book. Outside of just his successful sales journey and the experiences that helped guide him to where he is today, he outlines a very solid framework that’s both easy to follow and leverage.

He provides best practices on how to productively kick off your sales process with ideas and tactics that have served him and his many clients well over the last several years. He goes over everything in great detail, from how to approach the whole process of prospecting to getting mentally prepared to hit the phones with the right message. This is definitely a must read for newer sales professionals and a great refresher even for those who are more seasoned.

Check it out – New Sales Simplified

7. Hacking Sales, by Max Altschuler

Max Altschuler was a key player in the explosive growth behind Udemy. He explains the process he used to prioritize both his prospects and key community members to get things going quickly during the infancy stages of the company. He’s since had a very successful career providing consulting work and founding an organization known as Sales Hacker. Similar to Mike Weinberg above, Max took his advice and wrote out this book for all sales people to benefit from. He presents his ideas in a very understandable fashion and offers more specific tactics around the sales technology tools available on the market and how to effectively use them to your advantage.

Check it out – Hacking Sales

Recap: 7 Essential Sales Books For Beginners

Of course, this is not to say that these are the only sales books worth reading. There are tons of other books you can read to improve your ability to sell like Predictable Revenue, Think and Grow Rich, The New Strategic Selling, The Challenger Sale, Endless referrals and so many more. There are even books that can teach you to be a better sales coach or leader like Coaching Salespeople into Sales Champions. Truly the list of books you can read in this realm can go on and on. That said, this list should serve you well as a great starting point for your new sales reading journey. Finishing these seven books should give you a very strong foundational understanding of how to think about and execute on your ability to sell.

-Dean Park

Dean Park is a seasoned tech sales professional that’s been involved with a wide range of organizations from startups to enterprise businesses. Dean is also a sales mentor at GrowthX Academy in San Francisco.

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