It is often said that a book is the best way to enter the mind of someone who has spent more time researching and studying a particular field than you will ever have. This is because a book will provide you with information on the subject without any personal opinion or preference on the matter, and as such is one of the most reliable sources of knowledge available to people. Just like a new sales representative beginning onboarding, and logging into a call intelligence platform to review calls; books provide insight and knowledge from those who have been there before.
A Doctor goes to school, and over 8-12 years will read countless books. Lawyers, they are always reading. Because a degree in sales is not mainstream yet, a true sales professional will make their living by consistently learning through the consumption of great sales books.
While some of the books that made this list are “sales books”, others might be more aligned to psychology and its applications to a career in sales while still others that are discussed below might be more geared towards the attitude necessary for success.
THE GREAT 7
The Challenger Sale –
Highly regarded as an approach that should be reserved when pitching C-level execs, or Enterprise level companies; the Challenger Sale approach, depending upon how it’s delivered can sometimes come across as “cocky”. In short, The Challenger Sales Professional is comfortable coming into an organization and challenging the status quo, telling company leaders what problems they will face tomorrow that they don’t even know about today. For some reason, Marty Kann, from Showtime’s House of Lies always comes to mind when I think of trying to personify the individual who takes this book to heart.
The Like Switch –
It may be totally cliche, but in sales it holds true. Prospects buy from salespeople they like. Jack Schafer and Marvin Karlins share their experiences as FBI agents, entering sometimes hostile situations, and the tips and tricks they used to influence the person on the other side of the table. Much like a sales representative trying to handle sales objections, being able to influence an outcome in a hostile situation is key to success in sales (and hostage negotiation).
Jobs to be done –
This book might be just as many parts Product Management, Product Marketing, and even Marketing as it is sales; however, understanding how the product you represent fits into the “job” your prospect is looking for it to do is fundamental for success in sales. Take for example a Mcdonald’s Milkshake, why would more people buy a milkshake from 6:30 am to 8 am, Monday through Friday, than on any other day and time? Because they were looking for the Milkshake to do the job of making them happy while they sat in traffic on their way to work. A simple thing to do, ask people why they bought your product, their answer might surprise you.
Never Split the Difference –
If you take one thing away from this book, it is the concept of anchoring your price range when a prospect asks “how much does this cost?” If the real price is $80, tell them it ranges from $75-$100. Then, when you actually start negotiating, start it at $95. They will immediately feel like they are getting a deal, and you have already a built-in margin to go down to the real price. Anything on top of that is a bonus, in your pocket. In ABSTRAKT Software, our customers can easily find when techniques like this are deployed using our call intelligence platform. Tons of other great nuggets in this amazing book, but using this simple negotiation technique has been a game-changer. Begin by doing some call coaching with yourself, and try to deploy this simple technique for a week to see the results.
Extreme Ownership –
WWJD. What would Jocko do? As in life, or sales, removing the gut reaction to make an excuse first will serve one well. Taking ownership of failures, and not passing blame, only leaves the responsibility to fix things on your shoulders. Miss your number, own it. Don’t blame marketing. Lose a competitive deal, don’t blame the product team for not building a feature, own it. Take extreme ownership in your failures, and successes. The next time you are reviewing your last call on your conversational intelligence software, listen to the entire call and try to internalize ownership for every miss-step. It is a game-changer.
ProActive Selling –
Trains and learning to speak Russian! If you haven’t read Skip Miller’s best-selling book yet, you are missing out! The two concepts that are a must for any future sales star are learning to attach yourself to as many trains as possible, and learning to speak the language of your buyer. Cliff notes version – trains are equal to pain points, and different languages can be equated to the words a CEO uses, as opposed to a marketing manager fresh out of college.
Start With Why –
Again, arguably not a “sales book”, but the concepts outlined are extremely important to understand. Think about it this way; the CMO who has a lead generation number to hit knows why she needs to do that, to support her sales team. If she doesn’t hit the lead gen goal, then maybe she misses her quarterly bonus. If she misses her quarterly bonus, then maybe her little girl doesn’t get to go to the private school she just got accepted into. Being conscious of your prospect’s real why, and not just the “why” on their resume will separate you from all the other sales representatives in the world.
So, head on over to your local Barnes and Noble (or Amazon), depending upon where you like to buy your books from, and get these today! Not only will your success in sales take off, but a few of the concepts might just make a few other things in your life better as well! Just like the last time you logged into your call intelligence platform to learn, the next book you read will help you learn from someone who has already done the hard part for you!