22 Best Sales Books that Should be on Your Reading List

Kritika Batra | Last Updated : 30 Nov, 2021

“Books are a uniquely portable magic”, says Stephen King in “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft”.

A good book educates, enlightens, and leaves you feeling a tad bit wiser. Some even consider them the best mentors because you can keep coming back to their learnings.

Although your days may be hectic, and full of practical learnings, reading a good book is a tiny step you can take towards learning from the masters of selling. There are over 70,000 books about sales, and even though it’s impossible to read them all, here’s a reading list you could start with!

This list includes some of the highest-rated and highly recommended sales books packed with many tips and techniques that you can use. Add them to your reading bucket list and let them work their magic.

Table of contents

1. “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie

Goodreads rating: 4.21/5

One of the first self-help books to ever be released, it is a gem for aspiring sellers. It has some of the best advice on how to get out of any mental rut, increase your popularity, and make you a better salesperson. It has six sections, each of which takes you through becoming a much better person. This book has been in the Top 20 of Amazon’s list of highest selling non-fiction books for a long while.

How to Win Friends and Influence People” is said to have influenced the lives of many great people including, Warren Buffet and Donna Reed.

Why is it a must-read: Described as an “action book” by Carnegie, the book has continued to hold a great appeal almost a century after it was published. If you are new to reading, this is a good place to start.

A Thought that stuck: “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”

A reader’s review:

There are some books which you can call classic in the true sense. Particularly this books has much to offer for every reader. The facts and stories presented in the book are awesome. Every chapter leads us to a better person. While reading this, after finishing every chapter I felt rejuvenated and motivated. If anyone tries to stick with the principles described in the book, I don’t think he is going to have any troubles in his future.

Amit Mishra (via Goodreads)

2. “Selling to Big Companies” by Jill Konrath 

Goodreads rating: 3. 88/5

Selling to Big Companies” is for you if you are looking to sell to large organizations. Written by a leading sales strategist, the book helps you identify why you are not getting calls back from the organization, how to identify key decision-makers and in the end, how to advance a sale to these companies. It focuses on the first part of sales—prospecting and making inroads with the first interaction with mammoths.

Why is it a must-read: The book comes with practical advice and easily actionable steps in dealing with large organizations.

A thought that stuck: “If you’re struggling to get into big companies, you probably have a weak value proposition. Pure and simple.”

A reader’s review:

An in-depth analysis of how to gain passage through the labyrinth and make a case with big companies. Based on hard experience, perceptiveness and persistence, and a worthwhile offering. 

Al Czarnecki (via Goodreads)

3. “The Psychology of Selling” by Brian Tracy

Goodreads rating: 4.11/5 

This is another New York Times best-selling book. The author, Brian Tracy, is a speaker and sales trainer who has worked with more than 500 companies. “The Psychology of Selling” talks about the 80-20 rule: top 20% salespeople make 80% of the money and the bottom 80% only make 20% of the money.

Tracy discusses how you can boost your self-esteem and perfect your sales techniques to be in the top 20%. He analyses why people buy and how you can use this to your advantage. A definite must-read for sales folks! 

Why is it a must-read: The book also discusses practical strategies and techniques that apply to every aspect of the sales cycle. It teaches you how to make your way to the top 20% of salespeople.  

A thought that stuck: “Fear and self-doubt have always been the greatest enemies of human potential.” 

A reader’s review:

The interesting part of this book it’s that it will not bring out the bestselling concept but how to become the best of yourself in every life aspect. For me it’s not just a selling book but a game changer in every angle of my life.

Roman Steven (via Goodreads)

Secrets of closing the sale

4. “Secrets of Closing the Sale” by Zig Ziglar 

Goodreads rating: 4.16/5 

One of THE most important names in sales, Zig Ziglar, was a famous salesperson. This book summarises everything that he learned over his lifetime of 86 years and how he became successful in sales. He talks about how you can get everything you want in life if you are willing to help just enough people. 

Secrets of Closing the Sale” is on the premise that everyone is a salesperson, and everything is selling. So even if you are not a professional salesperson, this is one book that you should add to your list. 

Why is it a must-read: The book teaches you how to use storytelling as a tool to persuade people to agree with your ideas. The learnings can be extended to many spheres of life and are not limited to sales.  

A thought that stuck: “It’s far better to use an effective procedure or close if that’s all you know than it is to know all the techniques in this book and not use any of them” 

A reader’s review:

Super entertaining and fun book to read plus Zig is a genius at sales. The biggest idea I took from this book is having the belief and being proud of your product, there’s also tons of other cool stuff but when Zig Ziglar talked about belief it felt really powerful. Really cool book if you’re into sales or marketing, definitely check it out!

Mario Tomic (via Goodreads)

Little red book of selling

5. “Little Red Book of Selling” by Jeffery Gitomer 

Goodreads rating: 3.93/5 

This lovely book contains 12.5 (yeah, that’s right) principles of selling to your clients. It is an intriguing take on selling by Gitomer which is all about finding out why people buy. This, he says, is the most important step in selling. He also discredits the fact that sales are all about the price and relies on factors such as value-proposition and reducing the risk which in turn increase the buyer’s motive.  

Little Red Book of Selling” will help you build value and relationships with your customers. It also stresses the importance of networking and how personal branding can help you win more sales. What are you waiting for? Go get your copy. 

Why is it a must-read: It lists out everything that you shouldn’t do as someone who is new to sales. The nuggets of knowledge and the way that they are presented, make it a quick and motivating read.  

A thought that stuck: “The biggest reason people don’t succeed is that they don’t expose themselves to existing information.” 

A reader’s review:

 Awesome, even for someone not in selling. If you haven’t realized yet, you are probably in sales, whether your job title says it or not. If you are a doctor you sell a certain prescription, if you are a teacher you sell a subject, if you meet someone new you sell yourself. That is why you should read this book.

Shannon Kempenich (via Goodreads)

To sell is human

6. “To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others” by Daniel H. Pink

Goodreads rating: 3.89/5 

Another New York Times bestseller, this popular book by Pink, offers an exciting take on sales. “To Sell is Human” busts popular myths like how only extroverts are believed to be good salespeople. It talks about improvisation as the key to selling and how you can redefine sales by moving people.

Get this book if you think selling is not just about pitching an idea to your audience. You can learn six other ways in which you can turn a pitch into a sale. 

Why is it a must-read: Pink uses three concepts–attunement, buoyancy, and clarity—which will help you convince anyone. He also explains the three skills which help you apply these concepts in your life, which are pitch, improvisation and service. 

A thought that stuck: “In the new world of sales, being able to ask the right questions is more valuable than producing the right answers. Unfortunately, our schools often have the opposite emphasis. They teach us how to answer, but not how to ask.” 

A reader’s review:

In to Sell is human, the author takes apart the stereotypical myths about sales and shows how all of us are actually involved in sales. He shares 6 strategies on how we can get comfortable with sales and use sales in our life in a way that actually gets everyone what they want. I particularly liked his emphasis on service and the various exercises he included to help the reader apply these ideas. If you want to be a better salesperson or if you want to understand how sales shows up in your life, this is an excellent book to read.

Taylor Ellwood (via Goodreads)

Selling the dream

7. “Selling the Dream” by Guy Kawasaki

Goodreads rating: 3.95/5

This book is written by the guy famous for marketing Apple’s Macintosh back in 1984. He has written several books, and this one for entrepreneurs is something that you should get your hands on. “Selling the Dream” focuses mainly on evangelists and how to succeed as one. It also comes with a short course on how to create an evangelist business plan. What’s better it takes the example of the original Macintosh product introduction plan.

Kawasaki also states how evangelists can change the world, citing Google as an example.

Why is it a must-read: The book is great for leaders and entrepreneurs because it helps you make everyone else believe in your vision. As a salesperson, you will find many takeaways that’ll make your prospect believe that your product is the best solution to their problems.

A thought that stuck: “Evangelism is selling the dream.”

A reader’s review:

Guy Kawasaki is a really interesting author with a lot to offer about both business and faith. The book is a little dated in some areas, but very well written. Although it is probably primarily meant to be a business book, I think as a crossover it is one of the best books on evangelism ever written. Great book, with many applications. 

Ryan Fisher (via Goodreads)

Ziglar on selling

8. “Ziglar on Selling: The Ultimate Handbook for the Complete Sales Professional” by Zig Ziglar

Goodreads rating: 4.12/5

Another gem by the sales expert, Ziglar, draws parallels with his more than 40 years of experience in sales and how aspiring salespeople can mimic his techniques. He also talks about how identifying the right salespeople can boost your sales team’s productivity.

Additionally, he discusses the science and methods behind selling, such as avoiding rude customers and finding prospects. This book is rightly titled, “The handbook for the complete sales professional.” Add it to your list as well.

Why is it a must-read: After reading this book, you will know all the skills that you must work on to become a great salesperson. It takes a deep dive into prospecting, and what a no in sales really means. The book also talks about improving your personal life and relationships to perform better in sales.

A thought that stuck: “Selling is essentially a transfer of feelings.”

A reader’s review:

Ziglar is a sales expert. In this book, he provides us with practical advice on how to be successful in the sales profession. He is a great story-teller, and often incorporates humor in his work. As such, this is a very entertaining book for professional sales people. In addition Ziglar advises us on how to provide excellent customer service.

John (via Goodreads)

Selling the wheel

9. “Selling the Wheel: Choosing The Best Way To Sell For You Your Company Your Customers” by Jeff Cox and Howard Stevens

Goodreads rating: 4.21/5

Is sales a new concept? “Selling the wheel” takes an everyday item into an archaic setting to explain how sales for new innovative products work. The book is structured as a fable about a man trying to sell the first wheel.

It’s also interesting to note how the product needs to be a good fit for the user because even the wheel, which is so useful, doesn’t have a long line of immediate buyers.

Why is it a must-read: Along with selling strategies, one can learn tips on marketing, product cycles, market maturity, and constantly adding value for businesses.

A thought that stuck: “Sell? Me? Minnie, the Wheel is a brilliant invention! One does not have to sell brilliant inventions; brilliant inventions sell themselves!”

A reader’s review:

It is one of the best books to understand how marketing should be done for a product. the author has a unique and a funny way of explaining concepts . This book is definitely for MBA’s and non MBA’s as well. An amazing read!

Reikan (via Goodreads)

Secrets of question based selling

10. “Secrets of question-based selling: How the Most Powerful Tool in Business Can Double Your Sales Results” by Thomas Freese

Goodreads rating: 4.1/5

A bit of standard advice that salespeople hear is to listen to the user and understand their problems. But no one tells you how you can get them talking. “Secrets of question-based selling” helps you channel the power of How? What? Why? When? And who? Asking the right questions at the right time in the sales cycle takes you a long way.

Why is it a must-read: The book is a great go-to guide for objection handling, crack a more significant number of deals, and motivate buyers. It has many scripts and parts of email templates that you can use to improve your sales process.

A thought that stuck: “Questions are much harder to mismatch than statements because they ask people to contribute to the conversation.”

A reader’s review:

A fresh approach that revisions the sales process that is respectful to all parties and common sense. The three major moves are not overly complex and reflect the reality of what actually happens in the sales cycle.

Stephen (via Goodreads)

SPIN Selling

11. “SPIN selling” by Rackham Neil

Goodreads rating: 3.99/5

Spin around the way you think about sales by adopting the SPIN (Situation, Problem, Implication, Need-payoff) strategy. The book is not just advice; it’s a compilation of learnings over thousands of cold calls and the years of experience that Neil Rackham has had as an advisor for prominent companies.

The book helps you understand how to tweak your strategy for minor and significant sales. It also challenges the popular notion, ‘Always be closing’ and explains how that doesn’t work for high-value services. Grab a copy of “SPIN selling” and see how it changes the way you strategize.

Why is it a must-read: The SPIN technique is really useful to salespeople who have shifted from low to high-value services. It makes the strategizing process simple and helps them remove the roadblocks in completing the sale.

A thought that stuck: “Skilled people receive fewer objections because they have learned objection prevention, not objection handling.”

A reader’s review:

Whether you like it or not, all business involves sales in some capacity. Written in 1988, Rackham describes his findings from observing 35,000 sales calls over a period of 12 years. He outlines the sales format that most often led to long-term success (Situation –> Problem –> Implication –> Need-Payoff). The recommendations are authentic, powerful and helpful; this book is a must-read for anyone in business!

Jenny (via Goodreads)

The extremely successful salesman club

12. “The extremely successful Salesman’s club” by Chris Murray

Goodreads rating: 4.13/5

To enter this club, all you need to do is start reading. A refreshing book in this list, it teaches you sales in a fictitious set-up. It’s a diary of sorts that a novice salesman writes about the seven core concepts of sales that he must learn to enter the salesman’s club.

Set in Victorian London, this book is a journey you take with this salesman who goes from being an amateur to success in sales. Beginners relate to the protagonist as they join him in his journey through the ups and downs to learn how to sell the right way.

Why is it a must-read:The extremely successful Salesman’s club” feels like a partner for someone who’s starting out in sales. From the challenges to victories, you’ll find yourself relating and also learning in the process.

A thought that stuck: “Listen to people from your heart, as if your life depended on it, and you will find that in turn, people will listen to you with all of theirs.”

A reader’s review:

On the surface this is a manual to teach you how to sell effectively and improve your life. But it is presented in a humorous and very clever fictionalised “Victorian” series of diary entries. Neither of these descriptions do it justice. Very easy to read but makes you think. 

Nicola James (via Goodreads)

Sales bible

13. “The sales bible: The ultimate sales resource” by Jeffrey Gitomer

Goodreads rating: 3.98/5

Another great book on sales by the author who has been through it all. The best part about “The sales bible” is that it is concise and to the point, with every topic divided into lists. All his lists follow the X.5 format where his lists have 10.5 or 12.5 points, and that last 0.5th advice is always a gem.

On days when your job feels too tough, reading this book can offer some motivation to get up and going.

Why is it a must-read: Cold calling, adding value for the prospect, objection handling, or any other sales confusion can be tackled with this book that stands true to its name.

A thought that stuck: “Failure is an event not a person.”

A reader’s review:

This truly is “The Ultimate Sales Resource.” I have read this book through many times and have pulled it off my shelf even more times to reference points that led to earning a lot of business. In addition to all of that, Jeffrey Gitomer is up to date. The information in this book works: these are not your grandpa’s (or grandmas!) selling techniques. A must have! 

Troy Conant (via Goodreads)

Selling the invisible

14. “Selling the Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing” by Harry Beckwith

Goodreads rating: 3.96/5

Selling the Invisible” skips whatever’s not necessary and gets to the point. A short read, full of great advice, which can be finished and use fast. Traditional sales focus on the product, its features, and specifications.

But selling the invisible talks about marketing and pitching services instead. It takes an interesting take on competitors because it mentions that since it’s a service, the prospect has a choice to carry it out himself. This means the three options that he has are you, your competitor, and himself.

Why is it a must-read: The book focuses on selling services instead of products and how handling objections and dealing with competitors works in such a set-up.

A thought that stuck: “There’s little point in killing an idea by saying it might fail. Any idea might fail. If you’re doing anything worthwhile at all, you’ll suffer a dozen failures. Start failing so you can start succeeding.”

A reader’s review:

As is often the case though you need to re-read these things from time to time. It’s one of the first marketing books I read that specifically addresses the challenges of a ‘service’ business. Marketing a service is a unique challenge given the intangible nature of what you’re dealing with. This is a quick read, and while not as entertaining as other authors it Beckwith does impart some important tips and ideas.

James Christensen (via Goodreads) 

How to master the art of selling

15. How to master the art of selling by Tom Hopkins

Goodreads rating: 4.11/5

Sometimes it’s hard to be excited about every cold call you make or every task on your to-do list. “How to master the art of selling” brings back the excitement by helping you add joy to the process.

From prospecting to pitching to closing the deal, this book is comprehensive and covers each step. The most exciting bit is that the sales tactics that Tom Hopkins talks about can be applied to almost every aspect of life, from pitching yourself for a job to date.

Why is it a must-read: While helping you excel in every process in the sales journey, the book also puts an emphasis on sales ethics. This helps you perform as a good salesman in the long run.

A thought that stuck: “How many ‘no’s am I willing to accept on my way to success?”

A reader’s review:

This is a powerful but unsubtle book. Its great virtue is that it really starts at the beginning and is full of details. It’s a rabbit stew cookbook that begins, as one should, by telling you how to catch a rabbit.

Bob (via Goodreads) 
 

New sales simplified

16. “New Sales. Simplified: The Essential Handbook for Prospecting and New Business Development” by Mike Weinberg

Goodreads rating: 4.35/5

For a beginner, sales can be overwhelming, but “New Sales. Simplified” provides a great overview of all you need to learn about sales. It’s full of examples and personal experiences, which many it a humorous a funny read.

The title is quite apt because it simplifies sales by focusing on the details, tiny facts, or insights you might miss. These include focussing on pain points and building trust. It’s also a great book to gift to new members of your sales team.

Why is it a must-read: Mike has put the research to use himself and straight-up tell you what works. It’s a good primer for novice salespeople to get going.

A thought that stuck: “Stop talking about yourself and your company and begin leading with the issues, pains, problems, opportunities, and results that are important to your prospect.”

A reader’s review:

FANTASTIC reminder of what sales people should be doing but tend to get away from or make secondary. Mike walks through the entire process from selecting target prospects, writing your sales story to the meeting with the prospect. If you are a salesperson and want to increase your sales today, READ this book.

Chan Pagel (via Goodreads)

How I raised myself from failure to success in selling

17. “How I raised myself from failure to success in selling” by Frank Bettger

Goodreads rating: 4.26/5

We always hope to learn from our mistakes, but there’s a quicker way to go about it. You can learn from the one’s others have made and picking up a book that explains what to do and what not to do is the best way to go about it.

In 11 years, the author changed his life around by making use of the best sales strategies. From being broke to having enough to retire at 40, his personal experiences teach us to become winning salesman. Grab a copy to learn the seven golden rules for closing a sale.

Why is it a must-read:How I raised myself from failure to success in selling” helps you harness the power of enthusiasm and conquer the fear of selling. It’s a great read if you’re feeling stuck and looking for a change in pace.

A thought that stuck: “Selling is the easiest job in the world if you work it hard—but the hardest job in the world if you try to work it easy.”

A reader’s review:

This is a very useful book! I love how he lays everything out so practically and uses many stories to illustrate the principles he teaches. He’s very simplistic and straightforward, just as if he were sitting there speaking with you directly. There’s no effort to impress anyone with his knowledge, intelligence, or success.  I would recommend this book to anyone, even if they’re not in sales, simply because it aids in acquiring people skills, which one can never go wrong to improve.

Tara Beck (via Goodreads)

18. “First, break all the rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently” by Marcus Buckingham

Goodreads rating: 3.93/5

For a well-oiled sales machine, the manager must understand each team member’s talents and how to harness them. “First, break all the rules” is perfect for managers to improve their sales team’s productivity.

The book covers everything from honing your teams’ talents, finding the right fit for a position, and understanding which training can benefit your team members. It is an easy read and challenges most of the supposed rules and norms of management to offer a fresher perspective on management.

Why is it a must-read: This book is a guide for managers to build efficient teams. It helps you encourage your employees and identify their talents.

A thought that stuck: “Any recurring patterns of behaviour that can be productively applied are talents.”

A reader’s review:

The findings in this book would surprise many of us, who do self-development or others-development everyday. It would give you an effective framework in recruiting the right ones, setting the right goals, focusing on the strengths, and assigning the right roles to the subordinates. What would surprise you is that you’ll find many myths that you used to think it is right, but it is not from the findings of Gallup.

Viet Hung (via Goodreads)

19. “Take the cold out of cold calling: Web Search Secrets for the Inside Info on Companies, Industries, and People” by Sam Richter

Goodreads rating: 3.7/5

Once you master the art of cold calling, sales become much easier. This book is a tool that every salesperson can benefit from. The book offers good insight into research before the call, understanding the client’s needs, and making the right offer.

The tips mentioned will help you build long term relationships with your clients and improve margins in the process.

Why is it a must-read: Take the cold out on cold calling” guides salespeople to understand industry trends and what they should look for to make the call relevant for prospects.

A thought that stuck: “In today’s value-oriented business marketplace, the “Fourth R”—research—is the tool that truly differentiates one business from the next and one salesperson from the next.”

A reader’s review:

If you are in college, or in the job market, or trying to land a new client, 
this book is for you! Plain and simple it’s not who you know it’s what you know about who! Sam Richter is the man. Don’t just read this book but carry it around in your car.

Stephen Costello (via Goodreads)

20. “Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It” by Chris Voss

Goodreads rating: 4.37/5

As a salesman negotiating is a skill you need to excel at. Do you know who else needs to? The book’s author, a hostage negotiator in the FBI.

Never split the difference” is written by a man who has a lot of experience in high-stakes situations. While your negotiating as a salesman will hopefully never get as intense as a life and death situation, the psychology behind negotiations remains the same. So, get ready to make and close the best deals.

Why is it a must-read: The book makes you a great negotiator and its learnings can be applied in various situations. These range from buying a call or closing a deal at the right price.

A thought that stuck: “The beauty of empathy is that it doesn’t demand that you agree with the other person’s ideas.”

A reader’s review:

Excellent!! The content. The writing style. The summary at the end of each chapter. I make no illusion that I’m going to become a better negotiator just by reading it. It requires re-reading (which I’m planning to do) and practice and experience.

Robert (via Goodreads)

Pitch Anything: An Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading, and Winning the Deal

21. “Pitch Anything: An Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading, and Winning the Deal” by Oren Klaff

Goodreads rating: 4.1/5

The prospect will never know what they need if you can’t tell them what you provide. With the pitching theory, learn how to make the correct pitches for yourself, your ideas, and your product.

Klaff doesn’t believe in scripts; instead, he applies knowledge from neuroscience to teach you how to capture and hold the client’s attention while making a pitch. His “STRONG” principle helps you build the proper framework for any angle that you have to make in your life.

Why is it a must-read: Many blogs and articles claim to give you the best script for a pitch. But Oren Klaff, through his book “Pitch Anything,” helps you understand the neuroscience and psychology behind pitching. Using these learnings, you can build the foundations for your pitch that’ll work every time.

A thought that stuck: “As I’ve said before, the brain is a cognitive miser. Unless it can get value for itself, it stops paying attention.”

A reader’s review:

A must book for anyone looking to raise capital or wanting to learn more on how to pitch their products/service. The concepts and techniques he talks about are not the salesy tricky techniques, he talks about macro and micro concepts that MATTER before and during the pitch. Highly recommend!

Romeu Lorenco (via Goodreads) 

22. “Sell or be sold: How to Get Your Way in Business and in Life.” by Grant Cardone

Goodreads rating: 4.15/5

The art of selling must be perfected, not by just salespeople but by everyone. To be seen as trustworthy and capable, you need to be to sell all your ideas.

Sell or be Sold” helps you to work on your sales pipelines and build confidence in yourself and the product. It also serves as a great guide on follow-ups and referrals. Pitching and completing the sale is the most ethical thing to do for a salesperson, and it can be achieved with persistence and great time management. Reach out for a copy to know-how.

Why is it a must-read: This book changes your mindset about sales whether you’re a salesperson or someone in non-sales. It helps you realise that the principles of sales are involved even when you’re just sharing a thought or an idea with someone.

A thought that stuck: “Become so sold, so convinced, so committed to your company, product, and service that you believe it would be a terrible thing for the buyer to do business anywhere else with any other product.”

A reader’s review:

I knew nothing about selling and this book was more than the perfect book to get me started. From techniques, to mindsets, I feel like a different person. I am more assertive in my business, I feel more confident about everything. It’s like Grant Cardone gave me his mind.

Anthony (via Goodreads) 

I hope you find this helpful. 
Do let me know what’s on your reading list next!  

Happy reading. 

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