The pandemic has changed a lot of things. Today I’m going to talk to you about a positive change that has affected me personally – rediscovering the power of reading.
On average, more adults are finding solace in books now than in the past. Though some people tend to seek out the latest fiction bestseller or fall back into their favorite novel, it’s also an excellent time to do some research for your job – whether it’s for general knowledge or honing your craft.
During the pandemic, I’ve reread a few of my favorite sales books to deepen my sales knowledge. But I’ve also found new ones discussing prospecting, emerging sales tactics, and negotiating. Here are few of the sales books I recommend to anyone interested in leveling up.
1. Fanatical Prospecting by Jeb Blount
This book is an excellent way to learn how to maximize your time and success using traditional sales tactics. One of this book’s most important mantras will always be relevant to sales – one more call! Blount believes the biggest reason for failure in sales is an empty pipeline. Filling this pipeline by always pushing yourself to make one more call or send one more email will lead to greater success and customer retention.
Blount suggests there are a few things holding back most sellers. Perfectionism, procrastination, and analysis paralysis all slow down the process and eventually lead to fewer prospects. Managing expectations and actually doing the work rather than over-analyzing it frees up both mental space and time for more prospecting.
If you want to learn more about mastering traditional sales methods, this book is for you.
2. Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss and Tahl Raz
Chris Voss has a storied history as an FBI hostage negotiator. This puts him in a great spot to discuss negotiation in every aspect of life. It isn’t about winning or fighting – it’s about reaching a mutual understanding through what he calls “tactical empathy.” While it’s not directly about sales, the book’s ability to teach tactical empathy can be used on the phone, via email, and even on social media.
His suggestions for tone and talking methods help in any situation. He gives a few of these tones of voice names – the slow-talk, smooth radio DJ voice, the playful and positive voice, and the direct and assertive voice. Understanding when each should be used is crucial in negotiating and walking away with results.
If you want to understand how to actively listen, engage and succeed in negotiations that previously seemed impossible, give this book a try.
3. The Challenger Sale by Brent Adamson and Matthew Dixon
This is a book most people in sales are familiar with or have read multiple times. Based on a massive study of B2B sellers, it covers the five profiles most sellers will fall into and how to manage the expectations that come with them – the relationship builder, the reactive problem solver, the hard worker, the lone wolf and, as the book’s title suggests, the challenger. The challenger is the most successful seller of all profiles, using their knowledge to challenge traditional selling norms and pushing customers for more.
The challenger’s ability to negotiate and assert their own opinions into the conversation pushes their sales success and pipeline. Though the book is almost 10 years old at this point, the ever-increasing complexity of the sales world still puts the challenger in the top-performing bracket due to adaptability and deep knowledge of their customers.
All new sellers – and even veterans of the industry – can get an excellent lesson in how to become more successful in the sales world.
4. Leading Sales Development by Alea Homison and Jeremey Donovan
Learning how to build, scale, and optimize a sales development team is no walk in the park. For anyone who wants a 101 crash course on the strategy and tactics that should be considered when building out a sales development team, you’ve got to read this book.
In particular, the book talks about very specific things that hiring managers should look for when hiring candidates as well as how to build out a messaging structure that generates pipeline.
Regarding hiring, one trait that is often overlooked is curiosity. The book goes into great detail around why this quality is important as well as how to find it. In addition, many teams struggle with how to write email copy and create call scripts. This book provides specific examples that not only work well, but also provide a strong framework for efficient pipeline generation.
5. No Forms. No Spam. No Cold Calls by Latané Conant
Traditional methods of marketing need to be replaced by newer, technology-driven alternatives which put the customer first – that’s what Conant believes in No Forms. No Spam. No Cold Calls. Cold calls, generalized ads, and automated emails can annoy customers and drive them away from your product. This book dives into how a drastic reimagining of seller priorities and tools will help customer retention, efficiency, and costs.
This book is for anyone looking for the future of sales. Conant believes now is the time to ditch tradition for something newer and more in line with our technology. Buyers are smarter than ever before – research, anonymity, and access to multiple choices all make a buyer harder to read for a sales team. Rather than cold calls and emails, she describes new ways of gauging buyer interest through AI and intent data, all of which bring the buyer and seller closer than ever before.
I recommend this book to anyone looking to change up the way they sell for the future.
While it may be hard to pull away from the many distractions we have, I recommend putting the novel down and picking up one of these highly beneficial books. Sales is all about adapting. Reading up on different perspectives will prepare you for your next selling experience and the future of sales in general 📚
As the Director of Sales Development at 6sense, Ernest Owusu leverages his passion for helping others succeed as well as his insights from the field to foster a winning team. With previous experience as an NFL athlete, Ernest thrives in team environments full of high collaboration and healthy competition. Outside of the office, you’ll find him tackling the industry’s diversity problem by mentoring and empowering under-represented people so they can confidently grow their careers.