This years Top Sales Books to Read in 2013
consists of books that were published between October 2011 and December 2012. They represent the freshest, most innovative thinking on sales currently on the market and take into consideration the changing sales climate and competitive realities every sales rep and sales leader is facing. While the title says “Sales Books” I encourage marketing pro’s, business executives and entrepreneurs that need to win the support and dollars from others to read these books as well. In fact, I am convinced that the most successful sales people in 2013 will begin to think as much as a marketer as they do a sales person.
Please note that my Top Sales Books to Read in 2013 does not include any of the “classics” in sales. There are several of these that I believe everyone in sales should read to help establish a solid selling foundation from which to base a sales career. Books such as Neil Rackham’s Spin Selling and Jill Konrath’s Selling to Big Companies are included in this group. The books listed this year can provide that tweak or adjustment that might be lacking in your current skill-set and approach. I believe several on this years list will become future additions to the sales “classics” list. If you are interested in reviewing the entire selection of books on Sales, I recommend the website: Top Sales Books as the place to begin or even last years Top Sales Books to Read in 2012.
Most of these authors are new voices, with fresh ideas and perspectives that will expand your thinking about how you approach your professional life.
You have probably observed and read that buyers have changed, and anyone in sales will most likely agree. Salespeople have changed as well. Having a CRM solution installed in your organization is no longer enough. Social Media platforms now provide access to more customer data than ever before. Sales pro’s now understand that web tools are a critical must-have for their success. LinkedIn has become a “cool” tool. The authors included in this years list of Top Sales Books to Read in 2013 address everything from strategy to day to day tactics, and even thoughts on keeping organized and maintaining a positive attitude.
We lost one of my all time sales and motivational guru’s at the end of 2012 – Zig Ziglar. He served as a primary thought-leader for my entire sales career as well as life in general. Having had the privilege to have met him and sat with him and his terrific wife at dinner and seeing first hand that he was walking his talk, reminds me that books can and should claim a significant portion of the education and self-improvement for everyone. My all-time favorite audio book is his Born To Win: The Ultimate Seminar and my favorite book of his is See You At The Top, now in a 25th Anniversary edition. R.I.P. Mr. Ziglar, you were one of a kind!
The books below are not listed in any particular order. Each comes packed with it’s own unique gifts of insight and wisdom to share with you if you take the time to read them.
If you are not in sales yourself but looking for a gift for someone that is, give one of these and you will receive thank you’s for years to come.
Top Sales Books to Read in 2013
1. Zero-Time Selling: 10 Essential Steps to Accelerate Every Company’s Sales
Customers today have a simple request of all sellers: “Just give me the information I need. Now. Don’t dress it up, don’t overdo it, don’t take me to lunch. The time I have to invest in you is limited, and all your extraneous activity just wastes my time.” Zero-Time Selling gives every sales professional, sales manager, entrepreneur and CEO the tools to be completely responsive to that customer request. And win more orders in less time. Author Andy Paul clearly understands that neither sales people nor buyers have the luxury of time. If you know you are leaving business on the table, or missing opportunities due to the pace of your day, you will gain significant improvement and understanding after reading this book.
2. Winning the Battle for Sales: Lessons on Closing Every Deal from the World’s Greatest Military Victories
To be honest, when I received this book, I was concerned about comparing sales to military tactics but my concerned left after the first 30 pages. Through the use of historical battles, author Golden brings home the point time after time about the importance of strategy in the outcome of your sales efforts. There’s no way to look up the best tactic to use to close a deal when the critical moment has arrived. Golden recognizes this challenge, and he writes about war to address it. Humans remember by association, Golden writes, by mentally linking concepts to images and stories. By connecting proven techniques to close sales with vivid historical anecdotes, he not only conveys information, he conveys it in a way that will make readers remember it when they need it most. Don’t let the references to war and battle keep you from reading this book, you will loose some thought-provoking insight.
3. Selling Fearlessly: A Master Salesman’s Secrets For the One-Call-Close Salesperson
If this title doesn’t catch your attention, then you aren’t in sales. Author Robert Terson has invested over 38 years in the sales profession and been extremely successful the entire time. During this time he has developed a well-honed talent of story-telling, of sharing useful information in ways that you will remember. I recommend you pick a long weekend with some quite time available to read this book. Once you begin the journey with Terson, you will keep reading until you get to the end, and then you will want to call him and continue the conversation! Chock-full of techniques, tips, quotes and life-lessons that you will be able to apply the moment you finish the book. And yes, he will lay out what it takes to accomplish the One-Call-Close with such clarity that you will be looking for the first opportunity to try this on your own. I think you will find, as I have, that this is one of those surprising gems that you will remember for a long time.
4. 52 Sales Management Tips: The Sales Managers’ Success Guide
Sales Management has been called the loneliest job in the world. Pressure from above, below and sideways to deliver results through others is unrelenting. Industry veteran Steven Rosen provides 52 Sales Management Tips, each of which you will most likely be referencing throughout the year several times. Written with the hectic life of a front-line sales manager in mind, you can grab just what you need at the time, appreciating his specific, to the point writing style. It reminded me of a mentor that I can call any time and ask for some help with a particular challenge. This book will not be a “read-once and then put on the shelf” type of book. Mine is full of yellow sticky notes, highlighting those areas that pop of frequently in the day of a busy sales leader. Rosen consults with some of of the largest companies in North America and bills accordingly. Grab this book and you will save tens of thousands of dollars and drill right into the problem you are facing. You might want to buy three copies, two for you because you will wear them out and one for your boss so she/he can use the same approach with you.
5. LinkedIn Marketing: An Hour a Day
This is an example of a book where the lines between marketing and selling become very fuzzy. This book could have just as easily been titled LinkedIn Sales: An Hour a Day. Author Viveka von Rosen delivers her extensive knowledge of LinkedIn in a fresh voice, using real-world examples that we can all relate to. Her passion for this topic is evident in every chapter, sharing her personal experiences as well as those of her contacts and customers. You won’t find `Rock Star’ or `Guru’ advice within these pages, but rather practical, actionable tips and techniques that can be applied immediately to achieve measurable results. In the swirling sea of “experts” on this topic, Viveka is a volcano of verifiable expertise, shooting out helpful information on every page. She needs not call herself an expert on LinkedIn, you will bestow that title on her yourself after reading this book.
6. Small Message, Big Impact: The Elevator Speech Effect
We have all heard of the Elevator Speech. Many of us have had to present it in front of our peers in sales training. In this day of Twitter and text messages, the importance of a short, tightly-focused message to potential clients and prospects is more important than ever. Author Sjodin describes an elevator pitch as “a brief presentation that introduces a product, service or idea.” She adds, Don’t just think of an elevator speech as a generic tool you use in chance moments-consider the concept a strategy to manage multiple talking points and to communicate more complex ideas as well.” In any competitive endeavor, none of us is entitled to anyone’s time and attention. That means you must get serious about earning the right to be heard and making your brief time count. I found her writing style very easy to digest, and noticed after I finished the book that there were many pages with more yellow highlighter than white paper showing. Get this book, read it, and put the information to use immediately. It is that practical and that important!
7. New Sales. Simplified.: The Essential Handbook for Prospecting and New Business Development
New Sales. Simplified. is one of those books that can change the path of your career. It is that good. Prospecting is a topic that every sales organization should be talking about every day. It has been the core focus of my entire sales career, so when I am introduced to an author and a book about sales prospecting and new client acquisition I will be eager to dive in. Mike Weinberg is someone I met online earlier this year, and then in person in Chicago several months ago. It became immediately clear that he not only has experience as a top notch sales hunter, but has a passion for the topic. At our meeting I learned that he was nearing the completion of his book titled New Sales. Simplified. and he wondered if I would be interested in reading it. Sold! It became clear in the first few pages of New Sales. Simplified. that Mike has paid his dues, walked in the B2B outside salesman’s shoes, facing challenging sales objectives all along the way. He has won (and lost a few) in the streets. In other words – he is credible. You simply need to buy the book and read it from front to back. There is a ton of useful information within it’s covers for anyone that has the need and desire to uncover new sales opportunities. He covers everything from identifying the right attitude for the role, to identifying the targeted prospects, to the tactics he uses to gain the appointment, the sale and eventually the relationship. There is no fluff in this book. He hits topics like “inside sales” and “Sales 2.0″ head on and with gusto. He believes in field sales, face to face and traditional selling. I don’t agree with everything that he writes, specifically around inside sales and Sales 2.0, but this book will still be a ready, frequent reference in my office. Sales is not easy, hunting is even tougher, and the rewards for being good at hunting are proof of it’s value. Buy it, read it, internalize what he recommends and I guarantee you that you will achieve greater sales success.
8. Rules of the Hunt: Real-World Advice for Entrepreneurial and Business Success
I first came across the work of author Michael Dalton Johnson through his work on SalesDog.com website and blog and have been following him ever since. Michael brings his down-to-earth real world experience to readers that want to improve their business success. I mentioned in the intro to this list that I believe that sales and marketing activities are merging together. Not only do I find this especially true in the SMB and entrepreneur segments, but even enterprise sales reps as they realize that the techniques that are at work at their corporate marketing headquarters can be even more productive for them personally. Recommendations like “build your list” using email service providers like MailChimp or AWeber carry more weight when delivered in this book. Newsletters, social media activity and even webinars at the individual level are all explored. If you look at your role as sales professional as I do, that of an individual entrepreneur building a business and reputation, then you will thoroughly enjoy this book. Ignore it’s recommendations and you run the risk of having others that read it pass you by in the fast lane. Informative, concise and with real-world credibility makes this one a must read. If Garth Moulton, co-founder of of Jigsaw.com recommends it, you know you need to read it too!
9. To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others
To be honest, I read everything that Daniel H. Pink puts out. Drive, A Whole New Mind, and Free Agent Nation are all on my bookshelf and read from front to back. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, one in nine Americans works in sales. Every day more than fifteen million people earn their keep by persuading someone else to make a purchase. But dig deeper and a startling truth emerges: Yes, one in nine Americans works in sales. But so do the other eight. Whether we’re employees pitching colleagues on a new idea, entrepreneurs enticing funders to invest, or parents and teachers cajoling children to study, we spend our days trying to move others. Like it or not, we’re all in sales now. To Sell Is Human offers a fresh look at the art and science of selling. As he did in Drive and A Whole New Mind, Daniel H. Pink draws on a rich trove of social science for his counter-intuitive insights. He reveals the new ABCs of moving others (it’s no longer “Always Be Closing”), explains why extroverts 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. Along the way, Pink describes the six successors to the elevator pitch, the three rules for understanding another’s perspective, the five frames that can make your message clearer and more persuasive, and much more. The result is a perceptive and practical book–one that will change how you see the world and transform what you do at work, at school, and at home.
10. Insightful Selling: Learn The S.A.L.E.S. Formula To Differentiate Yourself And Create Customer Value
Do you know the new formula for success? Adon Rigg thinks so and delivers his message with a fresh voice to the market. In this book shares how to prepare for the changes now required to sell successfully in the 21st century. Rigg outlines an easy to apply 5-part formula that causes customers to see you as an Insightful Executive who understands their business. The language of any and all business is financial in nature. To be valuable to customers, you need to know this language. Whether you call on CEO’s or purchasers of office supplies, your prospects have an obligation and desire to make a positive impact on their company’s income statement. Insightful Selling will show you how to demonstrate your value and how you can make the most substantial impact to their business. Ifyou are a sales representative, sales manager, entrepreneur or business owner desiring to drive revenuegrowth, this book is for you.
11. Do YOU Mean Business? Technical/Non-Technical Collaboration, Business Development and YOU
Every Sales Engineer that I have ever worked with was a valuable part of the sales process, yet most of them did not feel comfortable with the “sales” label. If you, or someone that you know feels the same, buy them this book – it might just change their business life. The author, Babette Ten Haken has spent most of her career in the technical side of business. Her personal experience and empathy for those technical and in support roles comes through in every page. She leads the reader through the awareness of the current situation and how to leave your baggage and biases at the door, opening up significant personal and professional growth opportunities. Babette is a respected speaker and business coach, and mentors those that are navigating the business hurdles that develop in the technical to business development and sales areas. If you are managing or leading a team of technical specialists, this book is guaranteed to flip on some light bulbs in areas that you might not have even known existed. Make a techie’s day – buy them this book.
12. Emotional Intelligence for Sales Success: Connect with Customers and Get Results
This book has all the makings of a classic. With over 10,000 hours of research, author Colleen Stanley unveils what “the difference between a sales person who’s effective and a sales person who is truly outstanding” is. Stanley focuses not only on achieving immediate results but also how to make it in the long run, to flourish over time. Emotional Intelligence, “EI” as she refers to it, highlights her findings that sales is not just tactics and techniques, but understanding the entire environment. Lowering prices too early in the negotiations? Realizing the day after the client meeting that they were ready to buy but you missed the opportunity. This book will expand your thinking about sales, management and human interactions. If you like to challenge the status quo in your thinking and in your world, I recommend this book as a high priority.
13. Strategic Sales Presentations
When your leadership moment comes, will you be ready? If you’ve been in sales for any length of time, you can probably look back on several moments in your sales career where you have had an extraordinary opportunity to close a large sale. As a result of your hard work and positioning you have managed to get the customer’s high-level decision makers together to listen to your presentation. Such moments are precious because they are leadership moments for two reasons. First, because they are occasions that have an outsized impact on your success – they may determine whether you make quota that year or even the path of your career. Second, regardless of the rank or position of the people in the room, when you are standing in front of them delivering your presentation, you are the leader in the room. If you can relate to this scenario, and the hair on the back of your neck tingles just a bit, then you will enjoy this book. Rather thank a how-to book about style, you will learn credible, real-world ideas and techniques to help you nail your next “extraordinary opportunity”. Your chances of success will be greatly increased after reading this book.
Each of the book titles listed is a link to the book on Amazon.com. Last year we added a Kindle link at the end of each overview if a Kindle edition was available. This year Amazon changed their layout so that you can always select a Kindle version from the main link. These links are affiliate links in which I will receive a small commission from Amazon. How else can I afford to feed my Starbucks habit?
There are many other excellent books, so I encourage you to share them in the comments area below for others to read.
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