You have a product that’s unique to your market and much in demand, use a mobility-based CRM that’s second to none in recording your sales efforts, have a way with words, and work with the best sales team imaginable. Seems like all the elements are in place for success. But there’s something missing…

Self-learning is indispensable if you’re to excel personally and professionally. And with the internet, there are no excuses: we have limitless access to all the educational material we need. But the sheer volume of information and books available mean it’s not easy to identify the most reliable sources of learning.

Here’s where we can help. We’ve compiled the ultimate list of what we consider to be the best 25 books on selling:

1) Neil Rackham – Spin Selling

2) Dale Carnegie – How to Win Friends & Influence People

3) Brian Tracy – The Psychology of Selling

4) Jeffrey Gitomer – The Little Red Book of Selling

5) Jill Konrath – Selling to Big Companies

6) Zig Ziglar – Secrets of Closing the Sale

7) Mike Weinberg – New Sales Simplified

8) Tom Hopkins – How to Master the Art of Selling

9) Og Mandino – The Greatest Salesman in the World

10) Stephan Schiffman – Getting to Closed

11) Robert Miller & Stephen Heiman- Strategic Selling

12) Keith Ferrazzi – Never Eat Alone

13) Steve Marx – Close Like The Pros

14) Sam Richter – Take the Cold Out of Cold Calling

15) Jeff Thull – Mastering the Complex Sale

16) Linda Richardson – Perfect Selling

17) Rick Page – Hope is Not a Strategy

18) Geoffrey James – How to Say It: Business to Business Selling

19) Keith Rosen – Coaching Salespeople into Sales Champions Solution Selling

20) Thomas Baumgartner, Homayoun Hatami, Jon Vander Ark – Sales Growth: Five Proven Strategies from the World’s Sales Leaders

21) Chet Holmes – The ultimate sales machine

22) Mike Bosworth –What Great Sales People Do

23) Brian Halligan & Dharmesh Shah – Inbound Marketing: Get found using Google, Social Media, and Blogs

24) Jeffrey H. Gitomer – The Sales Bible

25) Stephan Schiffman – The 25 Sales Habits of Highly Successful Salespeople

You’ve probably heard of many of them and even applied their advice – they are, after all, considered as key references worldwide. If you don’t recognise any of the titles, take note. These recommendations will help you increase your sales experience with confidence, assurance – and enjoyment.

To help you along the road to more effective, we’ve prepared an overview of the first two best sales books on the list.

Spin Selling– Neil Rackham

The result of 12 years of research by Neil Rackham and his company, Huthwaite Corporation, Spin Selling analyses the closing of sales on a grand scale. His method revolutionised sales training internationally, demonstrating that traditional sales techniques used for smaller customers don’t work for large accounts, as the latter imply decisions with greater scope; the customer analyses added value in much more detail, and the sales force has to maintain a long-term relationship and excellent after-sales service.

The four stages of sales are (1) the pre-military stage: just before the sale begins. This is when you introduce yourself and have just two crucial minutes to convince your customer; (2) research: by asking questions you identify the customer’s needs; (3) demonstrate that you have a valuable solution to meet those needs and (4) get the customer to buy in.

Rackham created the term “spin” as a result of the 4 questions you need to ask to close a sale effectively:

  • Situation: know the past history and the context of the sale
  • Problems: identify the problems and concerns of the customer
  • Implications: detect the extent of the problem
  • Need for benefits: get the customer to tell the salesperson how the solution could benefit them.

How to Win Friends & Influence People – Dale Carnegie

Behind the attention-grabbing title, Carnegie talks of the power of public speaking and human relations from a position of respect, honesty and sincerity. Winning friends means learning to deal with people – something that in the sales arena is essential.

Carnegie explains that we are 100% emotional, which means it’s very easy to go on the defensive and dig our heels in. To gain the trust of a prospect, we need to learn to listen and understand them, spend more time and energy, and be generous. The process is easier if we start by recognising our own mistakes, as we then realise we’re not in a position to criticise, condemn or complain.

Know the value of a smile. Rate the importance for a customer of being friendly and addressing them by name. And if you want more advice on Spin Selling, check out the online version of the book.

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