The Essential Sales Bookshelf

essential sales bookshelf

As a sales process consultant, I’m often asked to recommend books to help clients navigate their way through one issue or another. Over time I’ve realized that I keep referring people to the same books over and over. I’ve come to think of them as the Essential Sales Bookshelf. If you’re in sales and you don’t own them, go shopping!

Insight Selling by Michael Harris

Use insights to prove value to your customers.

Insight Selling: Sell Value & Differentiate Your Product With Insight Scenarios
by Michael Harris (2014, Hardcover)
The Challenger Sale book by Adamson

Use questioning of assumptions and paradigms to establish credibility and strengthen sales.

The definitive book on building the sales story that will best help your customers understand how your product is uniquely situated to solve their need. Selling on value and history is the name of the game, and selling on price is unnecessary.

The Challenger Sale : Taking Control of the Customer Conversation
by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson (2011, Hardcover)

If you’re in sales at all, rep, manager, VP, or Director, this book is vital to selling in the internet age. Because we have access to so much information, most buyers have quite a few pre-conceived notions that will keep them making the same mistakes, and the same purchases, over and over again. This book revolutionized sales by demonstrating that the most successful reps challenge the thinking and habits of their prospects, making room for a new conversation.

The Challenger Customer

Identifying and working with key advocates in buying relationships.

The Challenger Customer : Selling to the Hidden Influencer Who Can Multiply Your Results
by Matthew Dixon, Pat Spenner, Nick Toman and Brent Adamson (2015, Hardcover)
Drive by Daniel Pink book cover

The surprising truths about what motivates us.

Taking into account that almost all purchases are made by teams (the team behind the Decision Maker) this book identifies who those other players are, and demonstrates how many other decision makers they influence. Instead of strictly selling to the “DM” The Challenger Customer challenges us to sell to the people with the most influence as well.

Drive : The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us
by Daniel H. Pink (2009, Hardcover)

Recognizing the core components of what motivates humans to act and feel in particular ways is key in a successful sales process. By understanding the motivational factors in play, a sales pro can much more effectively navigate some of the seemingly unreasonable objections and requests we receive from so many sales prospects.

Looking for a more hands-on approach to improving your sales team? Contact us.


To Sell Is Human by Daniel Pink book cover

An explanation of how all of us are selling, what works, and what to do about it.

To Sell Is Human : The Surprising Truth About Moving Others
by Daniel H. Pink (2012, Hardcover)

Mr. Pink takes us through the psychology of basic social behaviors, and demonstrates that many of our core interactions with others are fundamentally selling them on our idea, desire, or offering. Sales is primarily based in persuasion, and secondarily in filling a need or solving a problem. So, as it turns out, is most human interaction. Recognizing the similarities helps sales pros develop natural, agile relationships with their prospects.

Fanatical Prospecting by Jeb Blount book cover

How and why to prospect in new ways and create better sales foundations.

Fanatical Prospecting : How to Open Doors, Engage Prospects, and Make One Last Call
by Jeb Blount (2015, Hardcover)

As I tell my sales reps, “You’ll never close what you didn’t open.” Fanatical Prospecting is a step by step guide about opening a sales relationship with prospects, instead of just “networking.” Activity is not a result in itself, and often too much time is spent collecting business cards and phone numbers. What counts is making the contacts that are the beginning of a sales relationship. With this book, it just became much easier.

The Art of Closing the Sale by Brian Tracy

An explanation of the complexity of the sales closing, and how to make the details work for you for higher sales.

The Art of Closing the Sale : The Key to Making More Money Faster in the World of Professional Selling
by Brian Tracy (2007, Hardcover)

Of course with all that opening of sales conversations, you’ll want to
make sure you’re closing as many deals as possible. From Brian Tracy, we learn that many of the old closing techniques no longer work at all because of the colossal  number of ads and transactions people perform every day. We’ve become immune.

What works now?  A more natural, transparent approach that challenges expectations.

Snap Selling

How to have success with a shortened sales cycle without sacrificing client experience.

SNAP Selling : Speed up Sales and Win More Business with Today’s Frazzled Customers
by Jill Konrath (2010, Hardcover)

Jill Konrath has been helping sales professionals assess the sales climate for decades, and her work resonates over time.  In this book from
2010, she helps us identify the overwhelmed buyer. With so many options and so much information available for each purchasing decision, sometimes what is needed is to break the sale down into a few simple, but key, steps. A must-read for highly competitive industries.

Agile Selling by Jill Konrath book cover

How to come up to speed quickly on client industries to sell effectively to any buyer.

Agile Selling : Get up to Speed Quickly in Today’s Ever-Changing Sales World
by Jill Konrath (2014, Hardcover)

Finally, a book about onboarding sales pros in a way that they can start selling within the first few weeks! Onboarding as a new sales rep in an unfamiliar industry often takes months to over a year to become fully competent in your role. Agile Selling addresses the issue head on, inviting sales reps to approach learning their new industry and market differently, making consistent, useful progress from Day 1.