Psychology and sales go hand in hand because psychology allows for sellers to pick up on subtle ques and position their products in a favorable light. The psychological aspect takes mediocre sellers and allows them to take that next step in their growth. Read along for the best sales psychology books that 2022 has to offer.
The human mind retains the most information through stories. A better way to engage prospects is not through word vomit (take a look at other participants on Zoom when this happens) but storytelling, Ala Steve Jobs. Storytelling with Data takes this approach to the next level by teaching how to communicate effectively with data. Most struggle with storytelling unless it is worked on like a muscle at the gym.
Key takeaway: A handful of people make graphs for exploratory purposes (i.e. data overload) when they should be focusing on explanation (i.e. story)so that the data can be used to tell a narrative story. This will allow the information to stick with the audience better as well as be easier to understand.
The author has six main lessons:
1. Understand the context.
2. Choose an appropriate visual display.
3. Eliminate clutter.
4. Focus attention where you want it.
5. Think like a designer.
6. Tell a story.
Quote of the book: “Having all the information in the world at our fingertips doesn’t make it easier to communicate: it makes it harder.”
Written by Richard Thaler and with more than 2 millions copies sold there is a reason this book is a must read. Thaler brings behavioral economics into the forefront of mainstream fodder. Thaler proposes that we are able to modify the environment that choices are made in, often slightly influencing the ultimate decisions of others. The goal is to nudge people in the direction of choosing the options that make their lives “longer, healthier, and better” (i.e apple instead of candy). In this engaging, easy read Thaler demonstrates that we all live with biases that are able to be nudged for the betterment of society.
Key Takeaway: When a prospect is buying groceries their decision are driven by logic. However, when faced with a new decision that does not come around as often like buying a new SaaS solution there are areas for a seller to nudge prospects. One way to nudge is to lead with value. For example, restate the prospects pain points, recommend an action and tie it all together with value that displays the benefit of moving forward with a new solution.
Quote of the book: “Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. There the authorities have etched the image of a black housefly into each urinal. It seems that men usually do not pay much attention to where they aim, which can create a bit of a mess, but if they see a target, attention and therefore accuracy are much increased.”
One of Gladwell’s first breakthrough books explores why certain trends whether socially or professionally reach a critical mass while most don’t. Gladwell explaines the research that led to mainstream ideas as “six degrees of separation” and relates social science experimentation to his overall theme of how change happens. He goes deep into the discoveries around the “broken windows” theory of policing as well as how Madison Ave. gets consumers to spend their hard earned cash a little easier.
Key takeaway: This tipping point arises because of three distinct sets of individuals: mavens, connectors and salespeople.
- Connectors: super connectors (eg Paul Revere). William Dawes had the same mission as Paul Revere that same famous night however, we haven't heard of him because Paul Revere was a super-connector and knew who to arouse the people
- Mavens: A Maven is a person who has information on a lot of different products, prices or places. This person likes to initiate discussions with consumers and respond to requests. They like to be helpers in the marketplace.
- Salesmen: people with the skills of persuasion. Good at reading people entering into "conversational harmony" with them. Facial gestures (nods, smiles, frowns) are key indicators. For example, studies showed Peter Jennings viewers voted Republican because he smiled more while covering Reagan.
Quote of the book: “Economists often talk about the 80/20 Principle, which is the idea that in any situation roughly 80 percent of the “work” will be done by 20 percent of the participants. In most societies, 20 percent of criminals commit 80 percent of crimes. Twenty percent of motorists cause 80 percent of all accidents… When it comes to epidemics, though, this disproportionality becomes even more extreme: a tiny percentage of people do the majority of the work.”
Either you are a natural born slick sales man that can close million dollar deals or you’re not. Ever hear that one before?
Brian Tracy, in his popular book The Psychology of Selling teaches that the are of selling is just a matter of learning. Methods like consultative sales approach that is heavy on open ended questions and a growth mindset are staples of Tracy. Nothing revolutionary in this book but simple lesson that when applied will have a long term effect.
Key takeaway: Always learn from others. The day you become complacent is the day you die. Tracy tells the story of a salesperson who nearly doubled his results by listening to an audio program each day on his commute. After tinkering with the various lessons he learned when he got to work, he was a brand new sales rep with the numbers to back it up. Never stop learning from those around you.
Quote of the book: “Approach Each Customer With The Idea Of Helping Him Or Her To Solve A Problem Or Achieve A Goal, Not Of Selling A Product Or Service.”
Dan Ariely, MIT professor, was nearly killed in a graduation ceremony as a teenager because of a flare that exploded right next to him. This accident has shaped his view on life, enabling him to see things that others miss. In Predictably Irrational, he proves that humans do not behave in the rational manner we assume we do. Ariely displays our irrationality through interesting examples such as the reason that shops will often display an expensive option they don’t expect to sell, why we are happy to do things for free that we wouldn’t do for money or how dishonesty varies when cash is involved.
Key takeaway: In the chapter on procrastination, Ariely divided his class into three sections, one where they got to pick their own firm deadlines one where the deadlines were decided on by the instructor, and one where there were no deadlines (submitted by the end of the quarter). Out of the three options, the forced deadlines condition did best, followed by the students who chose their own deadlines, and the no deadlines condition performed the worst. This study suggest that more external controls that we can select to prevent us from having to face temptation (to procrastinate etc.) is the best bet. How can you apply this to your day to day?
Quote of the book: “Tom had discovered a great law of human action, namely, that in order to make a man covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to attain.”
Want to pick the brains of top sellers who have done your job at the highest level? See these great reads below (for new reps to seasoned vets):
Whether it’s buying a new car or fixing up your kitchen, everything in life can be treated as a sale. Cardone preaches specific techniques and principles in selling across different industries. Find out how to shorten sales cycles, handle objections and most importantly the right attitude to succeed.
Key takeaway: To sell at your peak potential you must have the utmost belief in the product. For example, if the initial implementation wasn’t great, you should double down on your service as opposed to walking away with your tail between your legs. You will either sell your ideas or others will sell theirs.
Quote of the book: “Your ability to do well in life depends on your ability to sell others on the things in which you believe!”
Traditional selling is antiquated. Hit the phones. “Smile and Dial”. Larry Kendall, preaches his science based selling system that takes the focus off of chasing clients to attracting new ones. Focus your energy and skills on providing value, being of service, and paying attention to your client wants and needs. Do not focus on sales numbers or closing the deal but create a strong strategy to build life-long relationships.
Key takeaway: Kendall covers both the internal states of mind as well as the actions to produce results. There is no magic pill. Creating strategies that work and sticking with them is the answer. There is consistent effort involved. If you have felt pulled by too many strategies, this book will help you simplify and take action.
Quote of the book: “People do not decide their futures. They decide their habits and their habits decide their futures.
Gary V breaks down his main principles such as gratitude, empathy, accountability, humility, ambition, and turns the focus on emotional intelligence in his sixth best selling book. Each chapter teaches and reminds you how to persevere through the difficult times while also being compassionate towards others. Emotional intelligence is no longer a nice to have but a need to have to succeed in business in 2022.
- For most of us, negativity is seen greater (magnified) than positivity
- Feel the pulse of the culture of the workplace
- Winning at all costs has its consequences. It's not about winning always, but showing empathy to those who work under you
- Ambition is like a healthy carrot
- The real luxury in life is happiness
- Dig deep into the why's. Why did the employee choose to say that behind my back? Be upfront and know their motives. "I want to learn and understand why"
Quote of the book: “Technical skills are a distant second to mastering soft skills.”
The age old question of what are the top reps doing that average rep is not drove Matthew Dixon on a mission that culminated in The Challenger Sale. Contrary to popular belief, the classic relationship building method does not result in more sales in a business to business sale. Sales rep fall into five categories (the hard worker, lone wolf etc..) however, only the one challenger will truly drive results. The 6 Characteristics of a Challenger Rep range from offering customers a unique perspective to having great 2-way communication skills.
Key takeaway: Only 38% of customer loyalty is a result of brand/product/service because your competition is great too (not much differentiation). Only 9% of customer loyalty Is a result of price to value. Loyalty is found in the sales call. 53% of customer loyalty is attributed to the sales experience. Over half of customer loyalty is not WHAT you sell but HOW you sell it.
Quote of the book: “what sets the best suppliers apart is not the quality of their products, but the value of their insight—new ideas to help customers either make money or save money in ways they didn’t even know were possible.”
Lifelong sales vet, Brandon Bornancin, offers his unique tough love approach that will help you overcome any perceived “disadvantage”. Bornancin shares his transformative habits that lead him to close over $100 million in sales for top tech companies before turning 30. Surprise, surprise the answer is long tough grueling work where there is no easy answer.
Key takeaway: Always be curious as the person who always exudes curiosity, and experiments the most wins. It is also imperative to go above and beyond. The fastest way to make more money and get promoted is to give more than what is expected of your “job descriptions”.
Quote of the book: Be authentic, transparent, and ‘imperfect’ These traits will be highly valued by your customers, employees, and others in your network. Everyone has successes and failures. Everyone has good days and bad days. Everyone has things they know and things they don’t. Be real about life, because everyone knows nothing is perfect.
Whether in sales or not, skillfully handling people will allow you to open doors that no technical skills would. A must read for any sales rep that will have ripple effects across your daily interactions. Leil Lowndes in her engaging tone brings this book to life with quick snippets that are fun and insightful.
Key takeaway: One takeaway that is applicable to sales is when you are working with a prospect it is incredibly important to get away from “business” talk and let them see you as a human. One of the best ways to do that is to actively ask questions and become interested in their hobby’s.
Quote of the book: “I always try to turn the spotlight on the other person." The longer you keep it shining away from you, the more interesting he or she finds you.”
Although not a pure ‘sales’ book, an overall inspiring read that will teach you to think beyond the mundane, every day, status quo. The enemy we call "average" threatens to take away the hopes, dreams, and meaning in our lives. Strive for excellence in everything you do. Trust us, If you want something you've never had, you'll have to do something you've never done.
Key takeaway: Think big and never lose sight of those ambitious goals that you had set. There is more competition for jobs on Second Class Street as for jobs on First Class Avenue. First Class Avenue, U.S.A., is a short, uncrowded street.
Quote of the book: “a man big enough to be humble appears more confident than the insecure man who feels compelled to call attention to his accomplishments. A little modesty goes a long way.”
Failing to attract new customers in a world that is constantly filled with constant, on demand distractions? Miller shows how to use storytelling to make your messaging and branding simpler and more effective in a straightforward, common sense approach.
The basic story framework you can customize to write your "brand script": A character who wants something encounters a problem before they can get it. At the peak of despair, a guide steps into their lives, gives them a plan, and calls them to action. That action helps them avoid failure and end in success. Each rep should be actively thinking about how this weaves into their sales process.
Key takeaway: Many business owners and marketing managers invest heavily in tactics (websites, social media marketing, email marketing, etc.), but rarely have they developed a clear and compelling message that actually worked
Quote of the book: ”Almost all companies try to sell solutions to external problems, but customers are much more motivated to resolve their inner frustrations.”
9. $100M Offers
One book that s all the rage this year came from Alex Hormozi in $100M offers. This book will display how to sidestep the virtuous cycle of price, how to charge more for your current service and ways to increase your response rate. The 4.9/5 stars on Amazon do more talking than a review ever could, pick up your copy here.
Key takeaway: Hormozi’s strategy is to give away a lot of his content for free so that he makes tons of entrepreneurs successful. In turn, many of those entrepreneurs decide to work with him. He then takes the most successful of those people, invests in their companies, and makes more money than he otherwise would by charging for his content upfront. How can you implement this into your business?
Quote of the book: “Making shit loads of money breaks people’s minds. It literally stretches their minds so far past what they believe is possible they assume you are doing something wrong or illegal. They literally “can’t even.”
In this day and age financial literacy is a must to gain long term freedom. Whether that means leaving a corporate job to make your own path or an earlier retirement date these books will help you get there.
Robert Kyosaki grew up with a poor biological father and a rich “father” who was really the father of his best friend. The fundamental difference in attitudes towards money that the rich focus on is the idea of financial literacy. Giving invaluable real life implications on how to invest, run a business and achieve the proper mindset, Kyosaki gives the raw advice on how to achieve financial freedom.
Key takeaway: Upper class citizens make their money work for them while middle and lower class folks do not. There will be inherent risks to make money and the upper class take those opportunities and makes money off of them.
Quote of the book: “The single most powerful asset we all have is our mind. If it is trained well, it can create enormous wealth in what seems to be an instant.”
In economics 101, students are taught that humans are rational, optimizing beings. However, that is not the case and we often need the help of psychology to truly tap into better financial decision making. Morgan Housel has a fresh take on the age old finance books that flood local libraries by taking the focus away from “how to pick the best stocks” to a focus on relationships between people and money. With her minimalist style, Housel explores chapters on why we do silly things with our money to advice for novice investors.
Key takeaway: Financial wealth requires discipline, patience, and constructive behavior. You don’t have to be a genius to make money.
Quote of the book: “Napoleon’s definition of a military genius was, “The man who can do the average thing when all those around him are going crazy.”
We all have once pondered why we work so hard while having little time to spend that money. Bill Perkins, famed hedge fund manager, unique philosophy is that once you’ve saved enough to fund your retirement the focus should shift to creating memorable life experiences (not material objects). Through his rules he explains the optimal way to live and save,
#1. Maximize positive experiences – don’t wait to retirement to start checking off your “bucket list” items
#9. Take big risks early, not later – the younger you are the more risks and bolder you should be with opportunities that come your way
An overall interesting read that provides an opportunity to reflect on your values and life to make sure they are trending in the right direction.
Key takeaway: If you die with out spending all of your money then you have wasted hours in your life. Make sure that you have a clear goal and timeline on when you will stop working. There are no prizes for being the richest person in the cemetery.
Quote of the book: “You might think that as people get older, they spend money more freely out of the sheer desire to make the most of it before it’s truly too late. But the opposite tends to happen. In general, spending among American households declines as people age.“
New York times best selling author, Charles Duhigg writes another slam dunk hit in his new book on becoming more productive. Duhigg succinctly explains why some get so much done in 24 hours while others toil away in mediocrity. Through his eight key concepts – goal setting, decision making etc... – drawing on science, psychology and behavioral economics Duhigg gives readers an insightful and pragmatic look into how to live a faster, better, smarter life.
Key takeaway: Motivation is not something you are born with but rather a skill that can be worked on. One easy way to improve that skill is finding a choice that allows you to exert control. This choice regardless of size allows you to turn motivation into a self-directed habit.
Quote of the book: “The choices that are most powerful in generating motivation, in other words, are decisions that do two things: They convince us we’re in control and they endow our actions with larger meaning.”
Increasing mental strength is the root to improve your career, financial wellbeing and most importantly your mental health. Amy Morin a clinical social worker, college psychology instructor, and psychotherapist has observed hundreds of people succeed and decided to write this best selling novel based off of her experiences. As is often the case, this book was initially posted as a web post that went viral, got picked up by Forbes and turned into a full length book.
Key takeaway: There are always two different ways to react to a situation.
Example – Best friend aces his exam
Quote of the book: “If you want to avoid repeating a mistake, spend some time studying it. Set any negative feelings you might have aside, acknowledge the factors that led up to your misstep, and learn from it.”
Down to earth no nonsense basic finance tips to put your personal finances on auto pilot. In another blog turned book, Ramit Sethi gives advice on taking ownership of your own finances and getting the ball rolling even if it’s only $1. Automate where the money in your paycheck goes (10% 401k, 20% for vacations etc…) and use the power of the market to make your money work for you.
Key takeaway: Finances are a taboo topic that some get scared away from. Start now. Don’t just take our word for it, “If you invest $5,000 every year (which is $417/month) for 10 years, from age 25 to age 35 and then never invest again, you’d still have more money at retirement, than someone who starts at age 35 and invests $5,000 every year UNTIL they retire.”
Quote of the book: “The 85 Percent Solution: Getting started is more important than becoming an expert.”
Ray Dalio, famed American billionaire investor and hedge fund manager, shares his unique approach to life and management. His unconventional approach has led him to believe that life and business can be synthesized into rules and understood like machines. Dalio lays out his book through practical lessons that help organizations make decisions, approach challenges, and build solid teams. Gain an inside scoop from an all time business tycoon in his best selling book.
Key takeaway: One core principle that Dalio preaches is being open minded. Those who are open minded are able to explore possibilities that others came up with. Change your mindset from being “right” to finding out what is “true”.
Quote of the book: “Look for people who have lots of great questions. Smart people are the ones who ask the most thoughtful questions, as opposed to thinking they have all the answers. Great questions are a much better indicator of future success than great answers.”
Ever thought about what the emotions and experiences that define us as humans mean? Well, Brene Brown in her NY Times best selling book Atlas of the Heart explores the necessary skills and framework to have meaningful connections. Brown draws on her research to allow readers to accurately understand their emotions and experiences by easily breaking down them down into four elements: biology, biography, behavior, and backstory.
Key takeaway: One topic that Brown discusses related to success is the idea of “intellectual humility”. Intellectual humility allows us to ultimately settle on the right answer and ignore our ego by considering that someone else’s opinion may indeed be correct even if it differs with our initial viewpoint. Think about how many times you have stuck with your ego over admitting to the true answer.
Quote of the book: When we don’t understand how our emotions shape our thoughts and decisions, we become disembodied from our own experiences and disconnected from each other.
Every Sunday millions of people cheer for their favorite football team. Every Monday millions cheer for their favorite reality star. You know who is sorely lacking a well deserved, crisp high five? Yourself.
Coming from best selling author Mel Robbins The High 5 Habit teaches the important habit of loving oneself. If you could use a kick in the butt and some confidence in your day to day life (and who couldn’t) then this book is for you.
Key takeaway: Stand in the mirror every morning and take a moment to appreciate all that you have in your life before all the distractions fill your day. Be introspective and gracious and it will pay dividends.
Quote of the book: “How you see yourself is how you see the world.”
Robert Greene takes 3,000 years of history and boils it down into 48 laws around how to acquire power and avoid being manipulated. Power is key to success and at its core allows us to dictate the situations we may find ourselves in. A few key laws are:
Key takeaway: One key thought that resonates is that we should not judge others by their intentions but rather by their actions. How many times has a prospect told you they would sign the documents if this or that? Judge a book by its cover (actions).
Quote of the book: “When you are trying to impress people with words, the more you say, the more common you appear, and the less in control. Even if you are saying something banal, it will seem original if you make it vague, open-ended, and sphinxlike. Powerful people impress and intimidate by saying less. The more you say, the more likely you are to say something foolish.”
Famed Hollywood actor, Matthew McConaughey, has led a interesting life since his breakout role in Dazed and Confused (1993). Greenlights is a collection of McConaughey’s journals dating back to his early days. Relive his core values that led to his iconic life in this best seller.
Key takeaway: McConaughey was known as the rom com guy for the early part of his career and he was type casted. He no longer wanted to be so one dimensional and in a tough period of his life rejected numerous offers staying on the sidelines for almost a year to stay true to his belief in winning an Oscar in another genre.
Quote of the book: “The problems we face today eventually turn into blessings in the rearview mirror of life. In time, yesterday’s red light leads us to a greenlight. All destruction eventually leads to construction, all death eventually leads to birth, all pain eventually leads to pleasure. In this life or the next, what goes down will come up. It’s a matter of how we see the challenge in front of us and how we engage with it. Persist, pivot, or concede. It’s up to us, our choice every time.”
Why in the most prosperous age human civilization do so many feel lost, ill and full of despair? Suicide an mental illness are at all time highs yet wealth and comfort have never been higher as well. Heying and Weinstein accredit the human brain as unable to cope and adapt to all the change. Read more for an inspiring look into how to live a more fulfilling, successful life.
Key Takeaway: As a way to clear your mind, unplug for an hour, day, week and leave electronics behind. Get back to basic human skills like interacting with your neighbors and exercising to regain some strength and solace.
Quote of the book: “novel levels of novelty, such as we are experiencing now, are a special danger. This means that what’s needed today—and urgently—is a call to consciousness on a scale that we have not seen before.”
One of the best parables for living a good life is sports. From teamwork and comradery to work ethic and competitiveness sports teaches all. Brundage Jr. takes lessons from basketball legend like Michael and Kobe to teach the key lessons fo what it takes to accomplish your goals and live a successful life.
Key Takeaway: Never make excuses. Work hard. Fail. Get better.
Quote of the book: ““Excuses are tools of incompetence used to build bridges to nowhere and monuments of nothingness, and those who use them seldom specialize in anything else.”
Stephen Covey in his 25 plus year working with successful individuals spanning various industries from finance to education realized that most were often left feeling a void of emptiness. After reading the days books on self help he realized there were two stark contrasts between “success”. One was your true character such as humility and honesty while the other was the “personality ethic” that attributed success to superficial qualities that were a function of personality like public image. Covey believes that long term success is cutlvated by focusing on internally on your core character and behavior.
Key Takeaway: Similar to any job in life whether it is professional basketball or sales, what you put in you get out. Your inputs over the long term will almost always balance out to your output. Covey proves the point that you need to proactive and taking responsibility and success will come.
Quote of the book: “But until a person can say deeply and honestly, "I am what I am today because of the choices I made yesterday," that person cannot say, "I choose otherwise.”
After 70 million copies sold it is safe to say that Napoleon Hill has captured the attention of the public by educating them on what it takes to be successful. Hill spent the vast majority of his life studying successful businessmen and derived his finding into Think and Grow Rich.
Key Takeaway: One core belief that is present in all successful people is that you must have an unshakable belief in yourself. Everyone who’s anyone has faced adversity at some point in their life and went against the grain (or else they wouldn’t be successful). Believe in yourself at all costs.
Quote of the book: “A quitter never wins-and-a winner never quits.”
What is a stoic? One who endures pain without complaining. Ryan Holiday in The Daily Stoic explains that The Stoics framed their work around 3 core disciplines:
Key Takeaway: When was the last time you actually said no to something. We all have those nagging meetings and activities we regrettably accept. The more you say no to things, the more you can say yes to other activities that truly matter.
Quote of the Book: “Be tolerant with others and strict with yourself.”
Whether you are a ballerina or a Navy SEAL one area that encompasses all walks of life is how one carries themselves. This stems from their confidence. Humans believe in others that are confident. When is the last time you saw a leader who was unsure of themselves? Rarely happens. Dr. Zinsser, after working on training the top minds in the business and sports world, proves that confidence is a skill that can be taught similar to a muscle being worked.
Key Takeaway: When someone is confident, confusion, ambivalence, and fear slows to a bare minimum. Fake it until you make it as you are rising to the top as people perceive confidence with knowledge, experience and other positive attributes.
2021 was a touch year that led most to do a bit of soul searching. Life will inevitably have some downs and it is necessary to have those lows to enjoy the highs. Hopefully, throughout the year you were able to grow more resilient and the following will help with your own self improvement. The below books are dedicated to getting a bit stronger, smarter and getting your life back on track!
Gladwell, the pioneer of narrative non fiction, helps explain why some people are successful. The rule states that to become world-class at anything, you must put in 10,000 hours of practice which often equates to 10 years.
Key takeaway: Once you have reached a certain skill level, other factors start to take over and influence your career, like social skills, networking and more.
Quote of the book: “Practice isn't the thing you do once you're good. It's the thing you do that makes you good.”
Well known personality, Grand Cardone explains how to achieve massive success. Based on his success in the marketing space Cardone states that most of us set goals that are too low and underestimate what it will take to achieve those goals.
Key takeaway: There are four different levels of action with level 3 being “normal action. Do what’s acceptable, not what’s required.” To really achieve success we need to do whatever it takes. Be relentless and that will leapfrog you to level 4 of action according to Cardone.
Quote of the book: “As long as you are alive, you will either live to accomplish your own goals and dreams or be used as a resource to accomplish someone else's.”
Simon Sinek rose to fame in his TED talk back in 2009 sitting now at over 15 million views. Simple answers are usually the right ones and Sinek's mantra follows in its simplicity. People gravitated towards great leaders because they always communicate their why first. People buy from emotions over reasons so the why should always be the focal point of the pitch.
Key takeaway: New companies should not focus on quick sales with flash sales and red discount signs. Buyers prefer the product of their favorite creator over a cheaper solutions (think Elon Musk) because they believe in the why.
Quote of the book: “When you compete against everyone else, no one wants to help you. But when you compete against yourself, everyone wants to help you.”
World famous psychologist, Jordan Peterson has risen to fame in the self help space inspiring many to live better lives. Peterson believes in 12 simple rules of life that will reduce suffering help live your best life. The rules range from proper posture to higher purpose, not instant gratification.
Key takeaway: Structure in our lives is good and provides humans to live a free and full life. Whether these rules govern social or professional rules they are a must to find meaning.
Quote of the book: “So, attend carefully to your posture. Quit drooping and hunching around. Speak your mind. Put your desires forward, as if you had a right to them—at least the same right as others. Walk tall and gaze forthrightly ahead. Dare to be dangerous. Encourage the serotonin to flow plentifully through the neural pathways desperate for its calming influence.”
Over the past 10 years there has been an emphatic shift to over bearing positivity to live an inspiring life. Manson puts a halt to that line of thinking by pushing back on that narrative with his no BS advice.
Key takeaway: Choose values you can control to guide and dictate your life i.e honesty, disciplined etc.. This is similar to a sales role where there are so many aspects outside of your control i.e the prospect getting sick, CFO getting fired etc.. that you can only focus on your controllables.
Quote of the book: “Being wrong opens us up to the possibility of change. Being wrong brings the opportunity for growth.”
The Dreaded words, Self-Sabotage ring true in so many of our lives. How many of us feel that we sometimes can’t even trust ourselves? How much more would we be able to do if we were free from the detriments of self sabotage? Brianna Wiest explores the problems that cause self-sabotage and how to overcome them.
Key takeaway: Humans inherently resistant change. To buck this trend you need a plan to being to take action. Plans fix problems.
Quote of the book: “Your life is defined not only by what you think about it, but also what you think of yourself.”
In all walks of life the only real thing separating you and your dreams is action. Gary John Bishop aims to help readers accept their current situation as is to wake them up to their true potential. The power of doing is real.
Key takeaway: Obstacles will always come into your life. Practice positive self-talk and focus on what you can do to remedy the situation and make it work.
Quote of the book: ''The language you use to describe your circumstances determines how you see, experience and participate in them and dramatically affect how you deal with your life and confront problems both big and small.''
Sales can be a jungle. From mastering your knowledge of the different products you sell to going through sales processes with wildly different prospects there is a lot to learn. These books make the complex seem simple as they break down the requisite steps for all ‘beginner’ sellers. The more simple you can make sales the easier you’ll be able to master your craft.
#1 SPIN Selling
Closing business is tough. There will always be competitors bad mouthing and low balling you on top of prospects buying criteria not lining up with your own timeline. Oftentimes, prospects don’t even know there is a problem because they have been operating a certain way for so long. As any tenured seller will let you know, the questions you ask are key in separating the novices from the vets. SPIN selling takes a customer centric approach by asking four questions that build rapport, credibility and eventually close business. After observing 35,000 sales calls (who’s got the time for that) Rackham identified four crucial questions. These questions are:
Key Takeaway: Before each call in your sales process take 10 minutes and write down questions that you need to ask to probe and nudge the buyer in the right direction. Even write them down word for word and practice those lines until you become comfortable with the talk track.
Quote of the book: “Success in the larger sale depends, more than anything else, on how the Investigating stage of the call is handled.”
Closing business will only happen when certain criteria are hit and for any beginner Ziglar’s list of key ways to persuade other should be your harpoon as your proceed through your sales career. Whether you're a seasoned sales veteran or just beginning in sales, Secrets of Closing the Sale provides you with practical advice (100 specific closes) and effective questioning techniques (700 questions) to turn your prospects into clients.
Key Takeaway: The most successful seller I’ve worked with always viewed the sales process from the perspective of the prospect. Thinking to themselves “how would the client view this”, “would this really help the prospect based on a quicker timeline, risking a poor implementation” etc… Ziglar echoes those sentiments that you can close all the business you want if you will help other people get what they want first. Learn as much as you can about the prospect and their ultimate goals. Find out what they need to solve their problems and show them how your product can get get them there. Provide case studies and best practices from clients along the way (take stories from other colleagues and use them as your own if you are new to the space).
Quote of the book: “If you do not believe in your product or service enough to offer it to your own family and friends, then you should question the value of what you are selling.”
Jeffrey Gitomer’s The Little Red Book of Selling (2004) preaches the 12.5 principles that any solid sales person should have. Gitomer is a genius at peeling back the onion to show why people buy. He teaches the small details are where the battle is won and where you can infer a whole heck of a lot about what the client is really thinking. With Gitomer’s straightforward no B.S style and over 500,000 books sold, do yourself a favor and go grab a copy.
Key Takeaway: Prospects buy because they “have confidence in their sales representative”. The best sellers sell themselves as part of the process from professionalism to building rapport, you are a big piece of the puzzle.
Quote of the book: “sell to help the other person”
In the modern age of selling it is largely taking place on Zoom. Zoom is your new battlefield and it is increasingly difficult to keep the prospects attention when they’re in the midst of a busy day, putting out their own fires, personal issues and on and on it goes. Have you ever been on an 1 ½ hour zoom? You’ll get what we’re referring too. Reynold’s teaches the effective communication skills to concisely share your thoughts and paint a compelling picture of how your services can fill the prospects need. Learn how to present to any audience whether its C-suite on down to your champion to convey and more importantly sell your services.
Key takeaway: Three important takeaways are,
#1. Limit text on slides
#2. Make it visual
#3. Tell a story
Quote of the book: “If you need to put eight-point or ten-point fonts up there, it’s because you do not know your material. If you start reading your material because you do not know your material, the audience is very quickly going to think that you are a bozo. They are going to say to themselves ‘This bozo is reading his slides. I can read faster than this bozo can speak. I will just read ahead.”
How do you know a book is an all time classic? Maybe just maybe when it is was written back in 1936 and is still being mentioned as an “all time classic”. Whether you are looking to kickstart your sales career or improve your social skills, this is the book for you. Lessons backed up by interesting stories for applicable lessons for all to learn. The book deals with communicating with other people mainly through avoiding conflicts and proactively working to make a good impression. Sales or no sales, anyone who deals with people for a living should read the wise teachings of Dale Carnegie.
Key Takeaway: Carnegie believes that you should never argue and try to contradict others as little as possible because not only will you not convince them you’ll only make them more angry. Check it out in your own personal life. The next time you get an argument see if the person agrees with you more or less after the fight. Another key note is that a leader should always lead with praise as opposed to criticism as it will allow their subordinates to flourish.
Quote of the book: “Personally I am very fond of strawberries and cream, but I have found that for some strange reason, fish prefer worms. So when I went fishing, I didn’t think about what I wanted. I thought about what they wanted. I didn't bait the hook with strawberries and cream. Rather, I dangled a worm or grasshopper in front of the fish and said: "Wouldn't you like to have that?"
Why not use the same common sense when fishing for people?”
#6. Hacking Sales
Ever heard of the online learning platform that has raised over $300 million dollars in funding called, Udemy? If you haven’t welcome to the company that has revolutionized learning. How did a small start up grow this large? Look no further than Max Altschuler the company’s first sales hire. Altschuler explains how exciting of a time it is to be in the tech space as it has been revolutionized through data, automation and technology. Gone are the days of stiff regimented hard charging sales man and in is the new breed of revolutionaries like Altschuler. This book is not a sales 101 book, it is for sellers and closers.
Key Takeaway: Every Monday morning, Max makes a list of what happened the previous week, what’s stressing him out, amongst other activities. I have had similar success planning my week on Sunday and getting ahead of the week to ease the Sunday scaries.
Sales and motivation go hand in hand. Any day that you are not progressing your business forward is a day that your competitor is and will hit you 30, 60, 90 days later. For every sales man or woman, these books are a great guide to pull inspiration from other top performers in their space whether they are entrepreneurs or Navy SEALs. Don't look to do all at once, rather take actionable small steps and do them consistently. Keep referring back to these books as well. Anything you read once with out consistent reference back to will unfortunately do little good. Without further ado, the top motivational books:
Successful entrepreneur Jesse Itzler of Marquis Jets and ZICO coconut water lives with the famous Navy Seal David Goggins. The story is not only funny and entertaining but goes to show how much more one can accomplish by having a force (David Goggins) pushing you to do just a little bit more. Whether it’s a 2am run in Central Park or a freezing cold outdoor workout Goggins proves that one can always do more. This book motivates readers to take a good look internally to see how you can ratchet it up one or two levels.
Key takeaway: Push yourself everyday to grow and gain a new skill that was previously out of your comfort zone. Comfort kills.
Quote of the book: “Every day do something that makes you uncomfortable”
Ever wonder how professional athletes or actors make their performance seem so easy compared to novices? The answer lies in that they have perfected the little things. Admiral William H. McRaven gave the commencement speech at The University of Texas Austin that went viral on YouTube. As a Navy SEAL he learned that success in life is ultimately decided by having discipline and focusing on the details. Each morning in seal boot camp McRaven had to make his bed which seems relatively trivial when you are being constantly harassed and lacking sleep during the toughest military training in the world. However, making your bed enforces the belief that starting your day with a win makes you feel proud and ready to deal with the rest of the challenges for the day. An inspiring read with quick digestible chapters.
Key takeaway: One takeaway from this book that I practice in my day to day is McRaven’s attitude towards failure. When a SEAL fails training for the day they were forced to do extra calisthenics after hours which was dubbed the Circus. The funny takeaway was that those who did not give up and completed the extra Circus workouts came back stronger due to the extra training. When the going gets tough, dig in a little bit more.
Quote of the book: “Life is a struggle and the potential for failure is ever present, but those who live in fear of failure, or hardship, or embarrassment will never achieve their potential. Without pushing your limits, without occasionally sliding down the rope headfirst, without daring greatly, you will never know what is truly possible in your life.”
An all time best selling novel by Paulo Coehlo tells the tale of a Spanish boy named Santiago as he embarks on a journey from Spain after having a recurring dream around traveling to the Egyption pyramids to seek a treasure. After numerous challenges and roadblocks, Santiago ends up making the trek to the pyramids to chase his personal legend. A man tells Santiago that he had a dream of a treasure in an abandoned church, prompting Santiago find his true treasure back in Spain.
Key takeaway: Similar to the “constraints” that are holding you back in your life, Santiago makes it abundantly clear that ones purpose in life is to chase after your dream and the universe will come together to make that happen.
Quote of the book: “There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”
Is Kobe Bryant great because of natural talent or deliberate hard work? Duckworth argues in her best selling motivational book that outstanding achievements are not only based on talent but also passion and perseverance. Most say they believe that hard work is more powerful than talent but most don’t actually believe it when the going gets tough. To really become a high achiever one must have skill which she believes is created from talent and effort. That skill when coupled with effort really makes the magic happen to achieve great results. Similar to admiral McRaven small consistent, low level daily goals are what makes the dream work.
Key takeaway: Talent plays a role in achievement but a much smaller one than effort.
Quote of the book: “as much as talent counts, effort counts twice.”
An unusual choice for a motivational book? Yes, but the 4-hour Workweek fits the mold. Tim Ferriss broke the internet when he released this book. Know anyone slaving away in a corporate job (maybe even you)? Ferriss teaches you the tools of how to break those shackles by effective life principles as well as business tips. From preaching the 80/20 principle to effectively spend your time to charging a premium for your products because making a sale is a bigger ask of shoppers than charging a little bit more for that same product.
Key takeaway: Two key takeaways from this book. 1. Measure productivity by progress not time spent working. 2. Validate your business ideas before diving in headfirst. For example, if you are selling a pillow to solve for back pain while sitting at a desk don’t order your first 100 orders because you believe in the idea. Go and ask your circle of friends if that’s an issue they face and is something they would even consider buying. Same goes for local business owners in the space.
Quote of the book: “For all of the most important things, the timing always sucks. Waiting for a good time to quit your job? The stars will never align and the traffic lights of life will never all be green at the same time. The universe doesn't conspire against you, but it doesn't go out of its way to line up the pins either. Conditions are never perfect. "Someday" is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you. Pro and con lists are just as bad. If it's important to you and you want to do it "eventually," just do it and correct course along the way.”
Legendary Laker, Kobe Bryant needs no introduction. For those sports lovers this book is a wonderful read on the late great Kobe. Kobe walks readers through how he mastered the art of basketball physically but more importantly mentally. Kobe adopted the ‘Black Mamba’ moniker as part of his image as a win at all costs, attention to detail, fierce competitive athlete. From stories to Shaq and Pau take a peak inside a true competitor.
Key takeaway: To become great, Kobe’s daily routine was legendary. Kobe sacrificed sleep to be successful. From early morning workouts to late evenings after a late flight home strength sessions, the Black Mamba was all in.
Quote of the book: “Whether I hear an elite college or NBA player or a Fortune 500 CEO reference the #MambaMentality, I find it very meaningful. When I see people talk about finding inspiration in it, it makes all of my hard work, all of the sweat, all of the 3 AM wakeups feel worth it. That’s why I put together this book. All these pages incorporate lessons—not just lessons on basketball, but also on the Mamba Mentality.”
Did you know all it takes to become more confident is 5 seconds? Seriously, Mel Robins teaches that 5 seconds is all it takes to action and change your life for the better. How does it work? Count backwards from five to one and than take action. This avoids the dreaded procrastination by engaging the prefrontal cortex of the brain. The human brain uses various methods that are hardwired into our brain over thousands of years to stop you from making a change because it is uncomfortable and frightening. A fascinating read that has transformed Mel into a national figure.
Key takeaway: When making a sale people have an urge to hesitate and begin thinking about all the other options out there at the final stages. It is tough to make a good decision that one is content with when there are so many alternative options. KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) when closing a deal, the fewer options the better. From promotions to products.
Quote of the book: "The 5 Second Rule: The moment you have an instinct to act on a goal you must 5-4-3-2-1 and physically move or your brain will stop you."
David Goggins, one of the most badass people on Planet Earth who has Air Force, Navy SEAL, best selling author, ultra-endurance athlete and a world record for most pull ups in 24 hours (record has since been broken) to his name, takes us on a journey of his life. One might think that he was born out of the womb with impressive discipline however Goggins had a very tough life growing up in an abusive household riddled with racism and sub par parenting. He was working menial day jobs until he finally had enough after ballooning to 300 lbs. A Navy SEAL documentary finally motivated him to rewrite his life’s script and the rest as they say is history.
Key takeaway: This book is an inspiring read that shows that no matter how low you might be you can always reverse course and turn your life around. Use your “challenges” as motivation and turn them into a source of growth. The more challenges you’ve overcome the tougher you will be.
Quote of the book: “Our culture has become hooked on the quick-fix, the life hack, efficiency. Everyone is on the hunt for that simple action algorithm that nets maximum profit with the least amount of effort. There’s no denying this attitude may get you some of the trappings of success, if you’re lucky, but it will not lead to a calloused mind or self-mastery. If you want to master the mind and remove your governor, you’ll have to become addicted to hard work. Because passion and obsession, even talent, are only useful tools if you have the work ethic to back them up.”
Practical advice to improve day to day relationships. All time best selling book in handling other people, win people over and become a better leader. The book takes a great approach that is very relatable and easy to grasp, oftentimes taking advice from instances that made you feel good when treated a certain way.
Key takeaway: You can only change people when they want to change. Whether business or personal, you must help other people see the other side and come to the realization on their own terms. Another key point is that there is no winner from an argument. Both sides become embittered and double down on their original beliefs. Avoid arguments at all costs.
Quote of the book: “I have come to the conclusion that there is only one way under high heaven to get the best of an argument— and that is to avoid it. Avoid it as you would avoid rattlesnakes and earthquakes.”
Released in 1991 Tony Robbins, the GOAT of the self help world, teaches a blueprint of how to take control of your life through your mind helping you with your relationships as well as work and finances. One tip that Robbins advises is to view bad habits with pain and good ones with pleasure. If you want to stop eating French fries, every time you eat a French fry you should play a song that you hate to associate that action with something negative.
Key takeaway: There are thousands of words in the English language. Make sure your are deliberate and thoughtful on the words you use. Use words that reinforce good feelings.
Quote of the book: “Know that it’s your decisions, and not your conditions, that determine your destiny.”
One of the most crucial sales books written in the last fifty plus years. This book is a great illustration on not just sales best practices but also getting the most of your everyday life interactions with other people. In this all time best seller, Carnegie demonstrates the universal techniques you can use to help you make small talk a bit easier and get along better with more people.
Key takeaway: Focus on other peoples interests and positive thins will start to occur in your life.
Quote of the book: “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.”
Chris Voss, a former international FBI hostage negotiator, teaches how to gain the edge in any conversation. Voss goes on to explain that ones sole focus should be on the other party and what they have to say whether it’s a hostage negotiation or a sales call.
Key takeaway: Mirroring is magic on calls. Repeat the last three words (or the critical word from the last statement) of what someone said because it encourages the other party to keep people talking, empathize with you, and elaborate to further understand their position.
Quote of the book: “If you want to increase your neural resonance skills, take a moment right now and practice. Turn your attention to someone who’s talking near you, or watch a person being interviewed on TV. As they talk, imagine that you are that person. Visualize yourself in the position they describe and put in as much detail as you can, as if you were actually there.”
3. The Ultimate Sales Machine: Turbocharge Your Business with Relentless Focus on 12 Key Strategies
Chet Holmes, a rock star in the sales space is well known for his success on working for a Charlie Munger company, lays out the 12 step strategy for every company to be a well oiled sales, marketing and service based organization. Most strategies taught in this book are sound and straightforward, ideas you may have even heard of. The difference? Most are not applying these principles.
Key takeaway: Create a list of the six most important things you need to accomplish that day. Then do them. Go about your day with unbridled determination to finish those six goals which will mark a successful day.
Quote of the book: “About half of the salespeople I’ve worked with over the years gave up after a single rejection. They would call a client, the client would say no, and the salesperson would never call that person back. Very few, perhaps only 4 percent to 5 percent, keep trying after four rejections. Yet, as you learned in the previous chapter, I’ve found that it takes about 8.4 rejections to get a meeting. And what makes the difference between people who will face that rejection one time and quit or 40 times and never quit is determined purely by the strength of their ego.”
Although this is technically not a ‘sales’ book, every seller knows that the difference between an average rep and a top one is their discipline and grit. This book teaches you the core skills Jocko learned as a seal and in the business world that apply fantastically into sales.
Key takeaway: When something goes wrong take a good look at yourself first. Don’t find excuses or blame others, put aside your ego and look inward to find out what he must do differently as a leader to create success.
Quote of the book: “Implementing Extreme Ownership requires checking your ego and operating with a high degree of humility. Admitting mistakes, taking ownership, and developing a plan to overcome challenges are integral to any successful team.”
Jordan Belfort, well known from Leo’s portrayal in Wolf of Wall Street, started the firm Stratton Oakmont and enabled his sellers to bring in wild revenue. Belfort accredits this to teaching persuasiveness. He teaches that every sale must have 3 different tenets: 1. Sellers confidence in the product they are selling 2. Degree to which the prospect trusts the salesperson 3. Client’s confidence in a salesperson’s company
Key takeaway: People don’t buy on logic rather they buy on emotion. Then justify their decision with logic.
Quote fo the book: “Act as if you have unmatched confidence, and people will have confidence in you. Act as if you have all the answers, and the answers will come to you.”
Daniel Pink believes that in all walks of life we are spending a majority of our time in “non-sales selling” aka moving others somehow. High tech startups may not have as many dedicated “sales reps” as legacy companies however, all employees must now add a sales mindset to their role. Whether you are in sales or not this book will help you see the world clearer and navigate a better way to get what you need done.
Key takeaway: To keep the audience / prospects in a good mood, agree with their ideas and add to them to see how you can further move the conversation along.
Quote of the book: “To sell well is to convince someone else to part with resources—not to deprive that person, but to leave him better off in the end.”
When working through a sales process Ziglar teaches the age old lesson of the importance to learn as much as you can about your prospect and take action on that information. Ask questions to identify the problem and guide the prospect to a decision. Even if you know the answer, get them to admit it! It sounds less salesey once they say it. Find out their pain, and show them how your product can solve it. Simple as that.
Key takeaway: if you feel the sales process is something you are doing for the prospect, then you will reap the rewards because you are truly investing in benefiting the prospect.
Quote of the book: “Expect the best. Prepare for the worst. Capitalize on what comes.”
8. Fanatical Prospecting: The Ultimate Guide to Opening Sales Conversations and Filling the Pipeline by Leveraging Social Selling, Telephone, Email, Text, and Cold Calling (Jeb Blount)
In Fanatical Prospecting Blount tells the tale of the sales guru who markets their e-book with an easy promotion, “sales is easy if you follow my methods”. Great marketing, not usually true. If a sales shortcut was real it would become standard in the marketplace. Focus on the tried and true techniques that work and fine tune those (think, bench press and barbell rows). One technique that should be perfected is the phone call. Although not fun, it is the best way to book a meeting and 80% of a newer reps days should be spent doing so.
Key takeaway: Numbers are the be all and end all in sales. 2 more calls per day can be the difference between a good year and a bad year. Keep your focus on the numbers.
Quote of the book: “There is no easy button in sales. Prospecting is hard, emotionally draining work, and it is the price you have to pay to earn a high income.”
Ariely calls out the human irrationality stemming from his unusual upbringing. Humans think they’re rational but act in the contrary especially when making purchasing decisions. This irrationality is predictable and therefore can be used to your advantage.
Key takeaway: When you to sell to a prospect don’t close down their options, rather position your brand as opening doors and opening up new opportunities.
Quote of the book: “Tom had discovered a great law of human action, namely, that in order to make a man covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to attain.”
Persuasion is one thing we can all use a little bit more of. There are 6 key principles, according to Richard Cialdini, of persuasion which can lead people to say “yes” ranging from reciprocity to scarcity.
Key takeaway: Humans perceive something to be more valuable when it’s limited in quantity. We value something more if we see its quantity reduced especially if there is competition around it (think broker making up a story around another family also “looking” at the home)
Quote of the book: “A well-known principle of human behavior says that when we ask someone to do us a favor we will be more successful if we provide a reason. People simply like to have reasons for what they do.”