I will be honest, this wasn’t the original article I had planned for this week’s 5 Minutes of Sales Thinking, on Thursday I sent my kids off to school for World Book Day, later that morning with books still on my mind I posted a question to my LinkedIn network to understand which book or books had influenced their sales career and their thinking, but when it came to thinking about the books that have influenced my own career and my own sales thinking, it quickly became clear that this was a subject that I not only wanted to write about but that I wanted to share with you.
I’m a serial reader when it comes to sales books, business books, and personal development books, so when it came to creating a list this was tougher than I thought, but here we are and I have listed the 12 books that have influenced my sales career and continue to shape my thinking but in reality, I could have listed 4 times that number, my list is made up of some classic books that are relevant today as ever and also what I would call modern classics.
We couldn’t decide in the office how I should index this list or if I should index the list at all, how on earth would I do it? Most influential, how many times I have read it (I have read all of these books several times) autobiographical, so in the end, I decided to just make a list in no particular order.
SPIN Selling – Neil Rackham
This book was the first sales book that was recommended to me by a sales manager, back in the early nineties when I was forging a career in sales this was groundbreaking at the time not just for me but for the sales industry, and this shaped and still shapes a lot of my sales thinking and this was a large influence when I was creating our 360 sales model.
The Psychology of Selling - Brian Tracy
This book has been a hugely influential book for me when I first read it I wanted to read again and it immediately reshaped my thinking on how I approached the sale as a process , it offers so many proven, practical, and easy to apply ideas and techniques and really got me thinking about how I sold
Little Red Book of Selling - Jeffrey Gitomer's
Where do I start with this great little book, I remember picking this up at a shop at an airport and immediately fell in love with its directness and honesty, this book is filled with so many great ideas not only on how we sell but also on mindset, attitude and developing yourself in sales
Strategic Selling - Robert Miller and Stephen Heiman
When I found myself working for a global company managing big deals with even bigger clients, the complexity that these deals presented required a dramatic change in my thinking and this book had a huge influence on that change, I love this book for its ability to translate complexity into a straightforward approach.
The Platinum Rule - Dr Tony Alessandra
If there was a book that has had the biggest influence on my thinking and probably my career then this is the book, this changed my thinking completely when it comes to relationships, building rapport, and communicating with buyers and was the catalyst that would start a journey into psychometrics and behavioral psychology.
How to Win Friends and Influence People - Dale Carnegie
This book has been around for decades but the lessons from this book are still so relevant today as ever, I’m not surprised that it’s described as one of the most influential self-help books of the last century and one of the best motivational guides in history, this book people needs very little introduction and simply had to be part of my list, it covers almost every aspect of building relationships, communicating and influencing buyers and prospects through to truly great insight on leadership if you haven’t read this book get onto amazon now before people find out that you haven’t read it yet!
To Sell Is Human - Daniel Pink
Another airport purchase I recall and I wasn’t able to put it down for the entire flight, I enjoyed reading Daniel’s previous book Drive which could have easily made this list but this is a wonderful book that tackles one of the key truths in life, everyone sells, what I like about this book is its ability to make sales relatable dare I even say appealing and takes a new twist on the key elements that are critical to sales, influence, problem-solving and how we pitch to clients
New Sales Simplified Summary - by Mike Weinberg
This is a great book for anyone if prospecting and finding new business opportunities is a big part of your role, I’m a big fan of Mike’s writing and I love the journey and storytelling of his early career in business development which really sets the scene for the whole book and in my option, it is one of the most valuable books anyone in new business sales should read, I love its depth and detail it goes into but how the book makes every element easy to apply and it’s well explained throughout the book.
The Challenger Sale
This book could be described as a modern classic I would personally place this alongside SPIN selling and the Platinum rule in terms of influence on my thinking but this book is a bit different this book helped me to ratify my thinking rather than change it, the teams and individuals that work with me will understand that conversations lead by strong and Intelligent questions, gaining valuable insight and value and this books tackles all of these elements and is definitely a book I would recommend to take your sales approach to the next level.
Fanatical prospecting - Jeb Blount
I struggled to decide which Jeb Blount book I should include in this list but I kept coming back to this one, it’s difficult to narrow down what I like about this book but this is another book that if you need to prospect and have to generate new business this is a book you need to read, not only does it cover a wide range of prospecting approaching including cold calling and telesales through to social prospecting, email and text messaging, but for me, the most powerful thing about this book is Jeb’s insight on the mindset of salespeople that are incredibly successful at prospecting, there’s also a great section on the importance and power of using CRM.
Follow Up and Close the Sale – Jeff Shore
There aren’t too many books out there that tackle this subject but this doesn’t take anything away from just how good this book is, Jeff Shore’s writing and insight came to my attention only a few years ago and I’ve been a huge fan ever since, he breaks the process of closing and getting the customer to commit through the process of following up into three key areas and what I love about this book is his understanding that closing and following up is a process, not a single act.
The Lost Art of Closing
I love this book for its practical and really intelligent approach to closing and getting clients to commit, he talks at length about the process of closing and the various stages and areas we need to focus and explore when closing rather than falling into the trap of viewing closing as a single act.
So if you are thinking of investing in some sales books then this should certainly point you in the right direction, enjoy them and please let me know about your own books that have shaped your sales career and thinking