I hear the question “what’s your favorite sales book?” so often you’d think I would be tired of it, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. I can’t pick just one book. Different books handle different parts of sales better, so I’ll give a recommendation based on a few different aspects of sales.
Note: There are so many good sales books out there, and they often contradict each other. While that can be intimidating to many sales reps (Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Why do they disagree?), I think there’s no such thing as a perfect sales methodology, so there can’t be a perfect sales book. Take parts from each book and combine it into something that works for you.
Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin
I realize it’s unorthodox for me to start out with a book that’s not specifically about sales, this book taught me more about how to be a better employee, salesperson, manager, and person than any other book I’ve read. It should be the next book you read.
The Challenger Sale by Brent Adamson and Matthew Dixon
This book does the best job of encompassing all the different components of sales that I’ve found. It uses a lot of statistics to back up the methodologies it presents. This book definitely benefits sellers from beginner to VP.
Sales Acceleration Formula by Mark Roberge
This book won’t teach you how to deal with conflicting rep personalities or how best to motivate an underperforming rep. However, the sections on how to hire successful reps, train them to be rock stars, and provide them with great opportunities through demand gen are invaluable to a modern sales leader.
How I Raised Myself From Failure to Success in Selling by Frank Bettger
While this book has lost a lot of its luster over the years (there’s a whole section about how to organize your Rolodex), the first section, the one about Enthusiasm, still rings true today. If you don’t feel like learning how to sell insurance in the 1940s, there are large swaths that can be skipped — but don’t skip the enthusiasm part.
There you have it. Not a complete list of books I recommend, but these are the 4 most common books I tell people to read. If you have any that I missed, please email them to me: firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m always on the hunt for the next great sales book.
Bonus, non-sales book:
Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely
Behind Extreme Ownership, this is my favorite all-around book. As someone who studied economics in college, I assumed that people act in a rational manner. You increase price and demand will increase. I can judge how much something I own is worth just as if I didn’t own it. Dan Ariely turns these assumptions on their head and does it with storytelling grace. I could probably find a way to make this book about sales, but it’s better if you just enjoy it for what it is.