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20 Best Business and Sales Books


Little Red Book of Selling
by Jeffrey Gitomer

With The Little Red Book of Selling, Jeffrey Gitomer has created a real-world, practical, and fun book that salespeople will love and profit from. Salespeople want answers. That’s why the Little Red Book of Selling is short, sweet, and to the point. It’s packed with answers that people are searching for in order to help them make sales for the moment – and for the rest of their lives.

Excerpt: When you’re in a slump, you begin to press for orders instead of working your best gameplan (which is: “sell to help the other person,” and let your sincerity of purpose chine through). When you have the pressure to sell, the prospect senses it, and backs off.

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The Game
by Neil Strauss

This isn’t a book about sales, per se. But if a “chick repellant” can transform himself into a “babe magnet”, these strategies can make your worst products become best-sellers. Filled with abbreviations and acronyms, (AFC, “average frustrated chump”; HB, “hot babe”; PUA, “pick up artist”) Strauss lays out the FMAC technique, “find, meet, attact, close”. You’ll learn the “three second rule” (probably not what you think) and how to open a “call.”

Excerpt: For years, nervous AFCs who were new to the community were told to take the newbie mission. It involved simply showering, putting on nice clothes, going to the nearest shopping center, and smiling and saying “hi” to every woman who passed by. Many AFCs found that this not only helped them overcome their shyness, but that some women actually stopped to talk.

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Presentation Zen
by Garr Reynolds

To be great in sales, you need to be a presentation master. Presentation Zen is not a technical manual for PowerPoint, but a guide from a communications expert on how to create striking presentations that will leave any audience rapt.

Excerpt: Both Steve Jobs and Bill Gates use slides to complement their talks. The biggest difference, however, is that Jobs’s visuals are a big part of his talk.

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The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Cold Calling
by Keith Rosen

SalesHQ featured author Keith Rosen has written the quintessential book on cold calling: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Cold Calling. Of course you’re no idiot, but cold calling is one of the most challenging tasks for any salesperson.

Excerpt: I often hear salespeople use the word “prospecting” and the phrase “cold calling” synonymously. To eliminate any further confusion as you move deeper into this book, let’s draw a distinction between the two…

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Sales 2.0 for Dummies
by David Thompson with Elaine Marmel

As part of the first Sales 2.0 conference held in October 2007, CEO David Thompson wrote a quick guide for integrating social media with the sales process, Sales 2.0 for Dummies. With the proliferation of online communities like Facebook, Thompson shows you what Sales 2.0 is (and can be) and offers 10 ways to boost your 2.0 abilities.

Excerpt: A great source of new business is your current customer base. Effectively maintaining and cultivating your existing customers is an enormous Sales 2.0 opportunity for any company.

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How to Master the Art of Selling
by Tom Hopkins

Whether you’re a seasoned sales pro or just starting out, How to Master the Art of Selling is a classic – an indispensable source of information that includes the five essential steps to successful selling. Guaranteed to give you the edge you need to excel in today’s competitive business environment, Master the Art of Selling is for anyone who is ready to realize their goals and fulfill their highest potential.

Excerpt: I am not judged by the number of times I fail, but by the number of times I succeed: and the number of times I succeed is in direct proportion to the number of times I fail and keep trying.

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Selling the Invisible
by Harry Beckwith

Harry Beckwith was an advertising and marketing man, but the lessons he lays out in Selling the Invisible are essential for any successful salesperson. He argues that people do not buy products for their features, but for the way their company does business.

Excerpt: The problem wasn’t that the story had no appeal. It was that the story was just a story to the editor because he had never heard of Hellenic Adventures. How could he be sure the company was real and viable, his trust in me notwithstanding?

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The Psychology of Selling
by Brian Tracy

Brian Tracy’s The Psychology of Selling isn’t going to make you an expert on Freud, but it will help you change the way you think about sales. With visualization techniques and tried and true sales advice, Tracy will teach you how to take command of your mind and also your customers.

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Attitude 101
by John C. Maxwell

Attitude 101, part of the 101 series, is a short read but for someone looking to be a sales leader it is a good desk reference to remind you that your attitude, as much as anything else, can determine your success.

Excerpt: Value people. Praise effort. Reward performance. I use that method with everyone. I even use a form of it with myself. When I’m working, I don’t give myself a reward until after the job is finished. When I approach a task or project, I give it my very best, and no matter what the results are, I have a clear conscience.

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Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
by Richard Carlson

Richard Carlson is a stress expert and in Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff he lays out 100 meditations that will let you keep perspective. Drawing from the Buddhist tradition, Carlson knows how destructive negative mental energy can be. This is especially true for people in sales.

Excerpt: The solution is to notice what’s happening in your head before your thoughts have a chance to build any momentum. The sooner you catch yourself in the act of building your mental snowball, the easier it is to stop.

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Dog Eat Dog and Vice Versa
by Jerry Rossi

America’s largest companies spend billions on advertising every year. The ad agencies that get their clients’ products sold use nine secrets that Jerry Rossi reveals in Dog Eat Dog and Vice Versa. According to Rossi, many sales strategies are stuck in the 20th Century and have not adapted as times have changed.

Tips from Rossi:NEVER turn your back to the audience and read the visual! In Hawaii, the room was set for 700 people and it was packed. It was set up with my computer at the back of the room, stage left. I could barley see it, let alone pick up clues as to what it said. I elected to leave it as to change it would delay the already time-filled program. I, therefore, had to turn my back to the audience to see which slide was up. BAD FORM.”

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Secrets of Closing the Sale
by Zig Zigler

Make ’em say YES! All of us are involved in selling every day. Whenever we present a product or a principle, inform a client, or instruct a child, we are engaging in the art of effective persuasion. In Secrets of Closing the Sale, Ziglar explains proven, practical sales techniques all of us can use every day.

Excerpt: Success means doing the best we can with what we have. Success is the doing, not the getting; in the trying, not the triumph. Success is a personal standard, reaching for the highest that is in us, becoming all that we can be.

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Secrets of Question Based Selling
by Thomas Freese

Do you want to read Secrets of Question Based Selling? Have you tried opening every statement with a sentence? If you haven’t, Thomas Freese thinks you should. He lays out every stage of a selling process that begins and ends with a question.

Excerpt: The “kill ’em with customer service” closing mentality isn’t restricted to department stor clerks. It’s alive and well in large account corporate sales, insurance sales, medical sales, technology sales, and many other types of selling.

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The Greatest Salesman in the World
by Og Mandino

Og Mandino’s The Greatest Salesman in the World offers a spiritual philosophy of salesmanship, which involves a message of honesty and believing in what you are selling.

Excerpt: Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again.

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Selling to Big Companies
by Jill Konrath

Sales may be one of the easiest industries to get into, but selling to the Fortune 500 is not an easy feat. In this economy, in particular, getting meetings with corporate decision makers is one of the biggest challenges any salesperson faces. SalesHQ featured writer Jill Konrath shows you how to stop wasting your time with cold calling through sure-fire strategies that will get you into the board room.

Excerpt: The challenge of getting into big companies is formidable, but the payback can be huge. Preparing enticing voice mail messages requires some serious thinking, a good understanding of your business case, and the panache to pull it off as a professional.

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How to Win Friends and Influence People
by Dale Carnegie

Dale Carnegies classic best seller was first published in 1937. More than 70 years later it is still the go-to-guide for developing advanced “people skills.” Carnegie’s key message was that only 15% of business success comes from professional ability, the rest from you “ability to express ideas…and to arouse enthusiasm.”

Excerpt: My guess is—and this is only a guess—that after writing that letter, Lincoln looked out of the window and said to himself, "Just a minute. Maybe I ought not to be so hasty.

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The Art of War
by Sun Tzu

What can a 2,500 year-old book on Chinese military strategy teach you about sales? Everything. You have to begin by seeing your prospect as “the enemy,” always rebuffing your broadsides.

On cold calling: “Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected.”

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Covert Persuasion
by Kevin Hogan

Though salespeople don’t pride themselves on tricking customers, Kevin Hogan’s Covert Persuasion still provides invaluable insights into buyer motivation and how purchasing decisions are made. You can make the most logically persuasive case to a prospect on why he should buy, but reason isn’t driving him.

Excerpt: We like people who we think are just like us. We become quick friends. We trust and follow our friends. We all have a deep desire to be liked. This is why friends will often dress in very similar clothes, travel in the same social circles, and even drive similar cars.

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The Definitive Book of Body Language
by Barbara Pease

We all know that our body language can convey as much, if not more, information than the words coming out of our mouths. For salespeople, Barbara Pease’s The Definitive Book of Body Language provides two guides in one: how to master your own body language and how to read your clients’.

Excerpt: Body language is an outward reflection of a person’s emotional condition. Each gesture or movement can be a valuable key to an emotion a person may be feeling at the time.

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by Tim Reiterman

Raven is a fascinating look at Jim Jones, the cult leader from the 1970s who founded the People’s Temple. Why is this book on this list? Jones skills of persuasion were clearly unparalleled. It can also provide a moral guide for which sales skills to use and which might go a little far.

Excerpt: Bob welcomed the change of scenery too. In October 1973, he either had quit or been fired as a sales representative for Xerox in Mendocino and Lake Counties.

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