Sales is one of the most exhilarating and rewarding professions – but it can also be challenging, especially when you’re just starting out. Thankfully, fresh salespeople have many resources from which they can learn and grow as they begin their career.
In this article we’ve compiled a list of high-impact sales books that every sales newcomer should read. If you want to build a solid repertoire of sales skills, desire to learn sales fundamentals, or are interested in attaining the secrets of top sales strategy and execution, you’ll find something that meets your needs. Here’s our list of top 9 sales books for new salespeople.
1. SPIN Selling by Neil Rackham
Although Neil Rackham’s book clocked 34 years in May this year, SPIN Selling continues to be essential reading for anyone pursuing a sales career. Crafted off a sprawling 12-year, $1 million research into effective sales tactics, this career-defining book details how to sell successfully with the SPIN (Situation, Problem, Implication, Need) strategy.
Rackham’s methodology particularly fits B2B sales practitioners who favor a process-driven approach to selling. The book is packed with real-world examples and practical techniques that guide new salespeople through the entire sales process, from prospecting to closing.
Ryan Serhant captured national imagination when he went from a timid, jobless hand model in 2008 to a superstar realtor in just nine years. In Sell It Like Serhant he shares the key principles and tactics he employed to reach the top of his industry.
Serhant covers topics like “The Seven Stages of Selling”, “How to Find Your Hook”, and “Negotiating Like a BOSS” within his book. But beyond the theoretical principles of successful sales, he shares vivid examples and practical guidance that he guarantees will make anyone a master at sales.
While the first two books introduce you to hard core sales tactics, Chet Holmes’ book helps provide a foundation on which to build your career. He explains the fundamentals of successful selling and how to supercharge your career or business by focusing on one impact area weekly.
The Ultimate Sales Machine shows readers the keys to time management, effective marketing, and results-driven sales techniques. He’s also famous for explaining how pig-headed discipline and determination can become part of your secret sauce to success.
Although they’re amongst the hardest marketing channels to exploit, cold emails can be highly effective when done well. Recent data indicates that the average open rate for cold emails is 40%, and 8% of cold emails enjoy double the success rate. Consequently, if you’re looking to hone this niche skill, you’ll likely benefit from Alex Berman’s well-regarded guide to cold email marketing.
In The Cold Email Manifesto, Berman teaches how to pitch prospects that don’t know you, make your sales pipeline more predictable, and attain high level skill with cold emails. The book is quite recent, published in 2022, so you’re certain to gain the absolute latest techniques and tactics within the industry.
Although it’s a word that every salesperson will hear a few million times in their career, it’s still hard to get past hearing a “No” even if you’ve been in sales for years. What’s harder still, as most marketers admit, is turning a “No” into a “Yes”.
But that’s exactly what Jeb Blount promises to teach in his book Objections: The Ultimate Guide for Mastering the Art and Science of Getting Past No. Using powerful examples, lessons, and principles, he teaches potent human-influence frameworks for overcoming “No.” Importantly, Blount doesn’t advocate shallow schemes or bait and switch tactics that leave your customer without value and you feeling dirty.
Instead, he gives excellent guidance in understanding why people say No, and practical tips to bring them over to your side.
With the low conversion rates inherent in the task, prospecting is easily most marketers’ least favorite job. If you’re of the same mind, Jeb Blount’s Fanatical Prospecting may be just the book for you.
Fanatical Prospecting offers timely advice and tips to help salespeople set up a balanced prospecting methodology that delivers results across various marketing channels. The book explains innovative techniques and high-powered strategies, such as the Law of Familiarity and the 30-Day Rule, to help turn your prospecting efforts into a lead generator for your business.
7. Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business by Gino Wickman
Due to the interconnected nature of today’s business world, it’s not enough to understand or excel at sales – it’s just as critical to know and be able to apply good business fundamentals. In Traction, Gino Wickman shares the keys behind how the parts of a business work together and real-world strategies for running a successful enterprise.
Wickman explains The Entrepreneurial Operating System, a framework that divides business strategy into six core aspects – vision, data, process, traction, issues, and people – and how they combine to help establish and grow successful companies. As a salesperson, you’ll learn what makes a successful enterprise tick and how to add value through sales across the entire business.
8. Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Carl Newport
In a world filled with distractions, doing focused, productive work may not always be easy. Carl Newport’s book proposes a simple yet powerful solution: Deep Work. He argues that just a few hours of intense focus daily on your most challenging tasks can bear outstanding results – without taking away the time you need to unwind and feel human.
While Newport didn’t write his book from a sales perspective, it’s not a stretch to apply the principles he advocates in Traction to your sales deliverables. In fact, the book rigorously explains in its first part how focused work can be a differentiator in any industry before going on to share four “rules” to transform your work habits. So, there’s no doubt you’ll find the book useful, even as a fresh salesperson.
9. 3HAG WAY: The Strategic Execution System that ensures your strategy is not a Wild-Ass-Guess! by Shannon Byrne Susko
Many sales practitioners have an understandably tight focus on short-term goals such as half-yearly, yearly, or quarterly sales targets. Shannon Byrne Susko advocates a broader perspective in 3HAG WAY though, teaching readers how to set specific and achievable three-year goals that align with corporate strategy and help deliver long-term wins.
If you want to have better discussions with leaders about corporate strategy and direction, or want to begin positioning yourself for sales leadership roles, then 3HAG WAY can help give the solid foundation you need.
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With our executive recruiters, you get senior partner-led searches, due diligence-run networking, meticulous candidate vetting, and so much more, all geared towards one goal — placing the very best talent as soon as possible, all while ensuring a seamless fit with your company culture, your big-picture objectives, and other factors. Plus, we have one of the highest candidate retention rates in the industry while consistently delivering world-class talent faster than the competition.
That’s how Cowen Partners has become a leading executive search firm nationwide, and it’s why our executive recruiters have a reputation for excellence and success.
We also invite you to continue exploring more executive recruiting insights from our team: