The new year is here, and unless you’re a sales rep who’s already perfected their craft, you’re probably looking to level up your sales game for 2022. While there are plenty of resources out there to give you an edge (like this sales blog), there’s nothing that can help you understand the complicated world of sales quite like a great sales book.
But not all sales books are created equal. In fact, there are plenty of self-published sales books that aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on, and simply serve as a lead magnet for fly-by-night sales trainers looking to make a name for themselves.
We wanted to help you wade through the nonsense and pick out a handful of sales books that can truly make a difference, so we went digging for the cream of the crop and came up with the following list. While you might have heard of many of these books before, there might be a few you haven’t seen, so don’t be afraid to pick up a copy from your local bookstore or library to give yourself a leg up on 2022.
Here are eight sales books to help you crush your sales goals:
1. The Challenger Sale by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson
Based on an exhaustive study of thousands of sales reps across multiple industries and geographies, The Challenger Sale argues that classic relationship building is a losing approach, especially when it comes to selling complex, large-scale business-to-business solutions. The authors’ study found that every sales rep in the world falls into one of five distinct profiles, and while all of these types of reps can deliver average sales performance, only one – the Challenger – delivers consistently high performance. It’s a B2B sales classic.
2. Fanatical Prospecting by Jeb Blount
Blount, a world-renowned sales trainer and CEO of Sales Gravy, wrote this book in 2015, but it’s as relevant as ever. At the heart of this book is the (correct) thesis, that prospecting is at the center of sales success, and that a full pipeline can cure all. Blount educates and motivates the reader, and helps them keep their eye on the prize. This book is a sales favorite, and for good reason.
3. Gap Selling by Keenan
Written by sales trainer Keenan, Gap Selling takes an unorthodox approach that Keenan developed over years in high-level B2B sales. The book throws out what Keenan believes are closely-held misconceptions and challenges the reader to reimagine the sales process from the ground up. It’s a groundbreaking and popular read.
4. Sales EQ by Jeb Blount
Another instant classic by Blount, Sales EQ argues that in our age of technology where information is ubiquitous and buyer attention spans are fleeting, a new crop of sales superstars have learned how to leverage a new psychology of selling – Sales EQ – to keep prospects engaged and create true competitive differentiation, as well as shape and influence buying decisions. This book focuses on psychology, and attempts to modernize some of our antiquated beliefs about sales.
5. Sales Management. Simplified. by Mike Weinberg
True to form, Mike Weinberg doesn’t hold back in this comprehensive guide to managing sales teams. Weinberg tells it straight, calling out the problems plaguing sales forces and the costly mistakes made by even the best-intentioned sales managers. According to Weinberg, “In most organizations he has been hired as a consultant, he has found that through their attitude and actions, senior executives and sales managers have unknowingly been undermining the performance of their employees.” If you lead (or want to lead) a sales team, this is the book for you.
6. To Sell Is Human by Daniel Pink
Daniel Pink’s brilliant book takes a look at the true psychology behind why people buy and sell, approaching the question from a pop-science perspective a la Malcolm Gladwell. Pink draws on a rich trove of social science for his counterintuitive insights. He reveals the new ABCs of moving others (it’s no longer “Always Be Closing”), explains why extraverts don’t make the best salespeople, and shows how giving people an “off-ramp” for their actions can matter more than actually changing their minds. It’s a must-read.
7. Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
While you might be surprised by the inclusion of Theodor Geisel’s (aka Dr.Seuss) famous book on this list, it’s considered by some to be one of the most important sales manuals ever written. The book’s protagonist, Sam, acts like the perfect sales rep, going through all the steps of the sales process without ever taking offense that his enthusiasm isn’t reciprocated. It’s a fun and delightful lesson in presentation and persistence, and has the added benefit of being a book you can read along with your children.
8. How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie
How could any sales book list be complete without Dale Carnegie’s groundbreaking classic? Considered by some to be the original sales book, Carnegie wrote this guide long before any framework for contemporary business and motivation was ever in place. The book is a bit on the simple (and by today’s standards, obvious) side, but it’s still worth a read, if only to remember that we should stick to the basics. Every seller needs a copy on their shelf.
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