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The Top 5 Best Books For Sales and Sales Professionals

Updated on November 23, 2015

This doesn't have to be you...

Used car salesman
Used car salesman | Source

What do you think...

Selling is a skill.

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Be more like this guy...

This is a sales professional
This is a sales professional

What business are you in?

This question has two answers. The first answer is regardless of the industry, you are in the people business. The second answer is regardless of your position in the company or industry you work in, you're also in the sales department.

Whether you know it or not and whether you like it or not, you will at some point have the opportunity to help influence another person's decision about you, your company, your product or service.

Sooner or later, you're going to want something from someone and it will be your job to convince that person why they should do what you're suggesting or give you what you're asking for. This can be things like:

  • getting a promotion
  • the movie/restaurant you and your spouse will go to tonight
  • getting a loan
  • getting your kid to get dressed for school
  • getting someone to sponsor a charity

This list could be a turn into whole separate Hub called "Things You're Selling and You Don't Even Know It."

So often we hear the words "sales" and "selling" and confuse it with the guy at the top right...

This is usually the exception to the rule and not the rule itself. If you're alive and in this world, sooner or later you will find yourself in the position where you will need to convince, persuade, motivate or basically, sell something to someone.

Selling is a skill. It is not a talent. Yes, there are some very talented sales people out there but in order to convince, persuade or motivate requires a skill set that anyone can learn and employ into daily life.

The movie Boiler Room has a great line about sales and life and it goes like this:

"And there is no such thing as a no sale call. A sale is made on every call you make. Either you sell the client... or he sells you a reason he can't. Either way a sale is made, the only question is who is gonna close? You or him?"

So with that in mind, let's take a look at a few books that will help you develop your selling skills.

Sell Or Be Sold by Grant Cardone

Sell Or Be Sold by Grant Cardone is book number one. This book is the foundation upon which all selling skills will be built.

I read this book when it first came out in 2008. I had been selling for 5 years when this book came out and the first thing I thought after I read it was, where was this book 5 years ago?

Recently I was fortunate enough to attend a seminar held by Grant and I wound up with the Audio version of this book on CD. This CD set is great because it takes all the good stuff from the book and expands on it because when Grant starts talking and gets going, he's off and running. The audio version is the way to go in my opinion. More data, more detail, more Grant.

People tend to excuse themselves from expansion. They say I don't have time to read. OK, smartypants, how much driving do you do? How much time do you spend traveling from A to B? Instead of listening to the news, which will only bring you down, or listening to the local top 40 station, try an audio book, try to learn something you didn't know! Expand. Grow. Improve.

This book will expand on the idea that we are all, in one way or another, in sales and that regardless of the industry, we're in the people business.

In this book, Grant will challenge you to become a professional, teach you about the greats, and the show you why you are the most important sale you'll ever have to make.

He will then take a hard look at money and talk about how there really is no shortage. Grant will get you feeling the magic of agreement and trust and explain why it is so vital to give before you can receive.

If that's not enough for you, he will then go into the process of selling, how to be effective in that process, and how to manage time.

Finally he'll wrap it up with attitude. Of which Grant has plenty of. Good attitude and positive energy. Which is why I recommended the audio version over the written. Either way, this one is a keeper and a must read/listen whether you think you're in sales or not.

Sales Dogs by Blair Singer

I never would have made it this far without this book. Quick story. I started selling cars in January 2003. I was like a little puppy. Excited to be there, but clumsy and scared too. My team leader at the time decided for himself that I didn't have "it" and basically was waiting for me to quit.

If you're in management, sales management especially, let me take a sidebar here and give you a word of advice...

You know how frustrated you get when your salespeople decide in 5 seconds that this guy can't buy, is a jack, or a stroke? Why do you do the same thing to your sales people? Just because this guy isn't a clone of you, doesn't mean he ain't got it. Do you get that? Think about it and then recognize that the 20% of people one guy can close isn't the same 20% the other guy can close.

Sales Dogs by Blair Singer will teach you that there's more than one way to skin a cat, if you'll pardon the pun. The sub title here is "You don't have to be an attack dog to be successful in sales."

You see, my first sales manager was a Pit Bull Poodle mix. In the beginning I was all Golden Retriever. This turned out to be a bad pairing. My first month I tripped into 3 deals. The big boss said you got one month to figure this out or you'll be back waiting tables at that crappy restaurant you came from.

Well that wasn't going to happen. I had committed to this and had no intention on not finding a successful outcome. Two good things came from that. One, I got this book and tore into it like a dog on a bone. The second thing was I got moved off team Pit Bull/Poodle and over to a Basset Hound manager who took the time to show me the exact same process the Pit Bull showed me but in a language I could understand. The Basset Hound saw potential in me and then went about looking for a way to bring it out.

If you could see my copy of Sales Dogs it is underlined, highlighted, notated, folded, and littered with cafe receipts with notes on it. This book taught me how to get out of my own head, adapt to the customer, play to my strengths, and ask for the deal. All without ever having to feel like the guy in the picture up there.

The other little bono I got here was "Little Voice Mastery." For those of wondering what that means, you're little voice is also known as your ego and self esteem. The opinion of the ego and level of self esteem is separate from who and what you are and are actually capable of. If you want to learn how to handle that, Sales Dogs and Little Voice Mastery are defiantly for you.

The Psychology of Selling by Brian Tracy

If you find yourself in a professional sales situation, meaning you wind up in the actual sales department of a company or start your own business selling goods or services, this book by Brian Tracey is your next stop. The Psychology of Selling is great for teaching and renewing the basics.

Once again, if you got a CD player in the car, there's no reason why you can't listen to and enjoy this book.

This book will cover first and foremost exactly what the title suggests. The psychology of selling. It will look at how to set up your mind for selling success and then also look at how people buy and make decisions.

This knowledge is vital if you're ever going to have to convince someone of something at sometime.

Tracy will also lay out a blueprint for goal setting, give tips for getting appointments, take a look at handling objections, and go over the value of creativity in your process.

And speaking of process, what this book does really well is give you tools that you can plug into your own sales process that are based on your thought process and your buyers thought process. Once again, allow me to remind you that if you're about to start shopping for a home loan or find a new job then this book and every book I'm suggesting here will help.


In the case of getting a job, you are selling yourself. You are the product. How would a potential employer see you if you came into an interview and started asking him questions about what he's looking for and what's most important to him in an employee and then went about explaining why you're the perfect fit. Most people go in hoping they'll make a good impression without a plan or process.

What about the loan? Why should this guy give you a loan? You can't ask the bank for money like you used to hit your dad up for 20 bucks when you were a kid. You got to have some skills and a process in place.

A little taste...

Persuasion Engineering

First of all, forget the sales stuff for just a second.  This book is a great read.  Bandler is a maniac!  And I mean that in the nicest way.  More than anything this book is highly entertaining. 

From there it is a wealth of information that goes deep into the behavior of buyers and then arms you with the tools to negotiate through the mind of the buyer to get the sale. 

Look at this for a second.  Who is Richard Bandler?  He's the co-founder of NLP (Neuro-Linguistic-Programing)  He studies success.  How do the best at what they do, do what they do?  Then, how can we replicate that? 

In sales, the average closing rate is 20%.  Top producers go way beyond that.  Bandler then challenges you to go for 97%. 

How???  That's impossible, you're thinking!  So what?  What would happen if you took what you got from this book, plugged it in and applied it and went from 20% to a 30% close rate?  That's a 50% increase in sales which means what?  More income.  Exactly. 

After learning from the experts and then going out in the real world and testing, Bandler will teach you in the most entertaining way the two most vital things to success in selling. 

Take a look at just one page of notes I wrote down from the book and then see if this doesn't sound like something you want to explore further...

97% Close rate:  Build in and inoculate people against buyers remorse and be somebody who never has to overcome objections.  Beware of the "canned ritual" approach - it's too limiting  -INSTEAD- try being a professional - learn to identify external things - adjust behavior

The goal is to find out how to adjust my behavior accordingly and be flexible enough to close anybody 97% of the time

Let's increase two things: 

  1. Road map
  2. Flexibility

Are you curious yet?  This book will entertain, excite, and educate.  It will also help you expand.  More than your income.  You will expand your vision, thinking and view of life and the world.

The 7 Habits of...

...Highly Effective People. By Stephen R. Covey

No this isn't a "sales" book per say, but if you're alive and on this planet for any duration of time longer than a month, make it a point to read this book. You know how I said that "Sell to Survive" is your foundational sales book? So is this. It's the caper, the icing on the cake, the last nail so to speak.

This is a book that will teach you personal management and interpersonal management and once again teach them to you in a way that you can recognize these habits as skills you can learn and develop.

This book will teach you

  • how to be personally responsible
  • how to get in the right frame of mind
  • how to prioritize
  • how to interact with others
  • how to communicate effectively
  • how to cooperate well
  • and finally how to keep doing it over and over again

This one's a game changer for you and anyone in your life.

The other important aspect of this book and why I recommended it for sales people (everyone) is that it sets up for you a moral and ethical framework for which to build your life around.  Clearly, no one wants to be that cheesy A-typical lying salesman.  And the one's that do aren't reading this anyway.  The 7 Habits will keep you in check.


So there you have it.  5 books to make you a sales professional regardless of your chosen endeavor. 

I have been in professional sales for 8 years now.  When I first started, I was clueless.  Your boss may take some responsibility for your training and skill as a sales professional but at the end of the day, the one person completely responsible is you.  I took it upon myself to learn from my mistakes, study the craft and develop my skills.  This discipline will filter into all other aspects of your life.

Learning the basics of selling and persuasion is a skill set everyone should have.  Why they don't teach it in school is beyond me...


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