When I joined the team at Brainshark, I became fascinated with both the art and science of selling. I’ve never held a formal sales role, but I’ve realized that many of us have experience “selling” on a daily basis: selling your friends on a new restaurant, selling your significant other to watch the movie you want to see, or selling your kids on eating their vegetables. Maybe it’s more “influencing” than true selling, but you get my point.
Despite this somewhat unrealized wealth of sales experience, I wanted to establish a more formal foundation of sales knowledge. So I created a summer reading list to better understand the sales world my colleagues have been immersed in for decades, and to see how it’s evolved with the growth of sales enablement solutions.
I scoured titles, examined reading lists and spoke with sales experts. Here are the 11 books on my list:
The Little Red Book of Selling by Jeffrey Gitomer
Nicknamed “The Sales Bible,” this book shares the concepts behind why people buy. Enthusiastically and concisely written, it even includes a few cartoons. A picture is worth a thousand words, right?
Agile Selling by Jill Konrath
Sales people need to learn a lot quickly to meet the goals under intense pressure. This book shares strategies for becoming an overnight sales expert. I have all summer to become an expert but overnight works great.
New Sales Simplified by Mike Weinberg
If you prefer science to art, this may be the book for you. Weinberg shares his formula for prospecting, developing and closing deals. One of his first points is creating strategic, workable lists – who doesn’t love lists?
Beyond the Sales Process by Dave Stein and Steve Andersen
Sales isn’t about closing the deal anymore, it’s about driving success before, during and after the sale. “It’s all about the relations” isn’t a famous quote but it should be.
Sales Manager Survival Guide by Dave Brock
I don’t know what it’s like to manage a sales team but this book paves the way. Managing other people is tough; managing a team under a high level of stress is perhaps why people argue sales managers have one of the toughest jobs in corporate America. It’s not always about the individual effort – there’s no “I” in “team!”
How You Make the Sale by Frank McNair
Eight simple steps to selling anything, whether you have sales experience or not. A perfect fit for creating a sales framework. McNair teaches honest selling – I appreciate that.
The High Impact Sales Manager by Ray Makela, Norman Behar and David Jacoby
How can sales managers focus on unlocking the full potential of their teams while avoiding burnout from the daily grind? If sales managers aren’t firefighters, why do they spend so much time putting out fires?
Conversations That Sell by Nancy Bleeke
Buyers want meaningful, collaborative discussions. Bleeke shares a five-step sales system based on the acronym WIIFT, “What’s In It for Them,” and provides tips to capture the buyer’s attention. Hopefully I haven’t lost yours yet.
The Natural Laws Of Selling: The Essential Truths by Daniel Jacobs
Helps us understand the fundamental principles of sales while learning effective methods of applying those principles.
Bottom-Line Selling by Jack Malcolm
We’ve all experienced a salesperson eagerly describing why you need their product or service, without any understanding of your unique circumstances. This book shares the value of having good conversations and speaking the language that resonates with customers and prospects. (I’ve always wanted to learn a second language.).
Shore shows readers how to be bold and embrace the discomfort salespeople feel when initiating calls, dealing with difficult customers and asking for the sale. I’m a huge believer in growing by stepping outside of our comfort zones. Matter of fact, sounds like how I learned to swim…
Bonus: Sales Enablement for Dummies by Brendan Cournoyer
Disclaimer: I report to the author of this well written, easy-to-read eBook. It’s a great primer for specifically understanding the basics of sales enablement, and includes how to develop your strategy, the role content plays, and ideas for better training, buyer engagement and coaching. And the good news is – it’s free! You can download a copy here.
Do you have suggestions? I’d love to hear them. You can also share them with me on Twitter @PJCarter25.
Cheers to soaking up the summer weather while quenching our thirst for knowledge.