Summer Reading List for the Sales Leader

Successful professionals should always have a good book at their fingertips. And who doesn’t love a good Summer Reading List?

By Vicky Willenberg, Social Media and Communications Manager, TurningPoint Executive Search

Most professionals agree that career development is essential for success and growth. Traditionally, professionals participate in networking, workshops or continued education to progress within their field. However, what many are forgetting is that in addition to these excellent avenues there is one more– reading a good book. Not only is this the most cost effective and schedule friendly type of professional development available, by reading books penned by businessmen and women who have been through many of the success and failures professionals face, we can learn from their experience. In addition, these stories of success can serve as mentors to whom we refer when looking for growth in our own careers.

Geoffrey James at Inc.com compiled an excellent list of classic books all Sales Leaders should have on their shelves. To round out your reading list, our own Founder and President, Ken Schmitt, has also suggested a few books he has found both inspiring and educational. Successful professionals should always have a good book at their fingertips. And who doesn’t love a good Summer Reading List?

Inc.com recommends these 10 classics for Sales Professionals (click on the book title to view INC’s description):

10. Selling to the Big Companies
9. Mastering the Complex Sale
8. The Psychology of Selling
7. Strategic Selling
6. Perfect Selling
5. How to Master the Art of Selling
4. The Greatest Salesman in the World
3. Secrets of Closing the Sale
2. The Little Red Book of Selling
1. Spin Selling

Our own Ken Schmitt, Founder and President of TurningPoint Executive Search, recommends the following books for professionals:

1. Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi: An outstanding primer on how, why and where to network, blending your professional personal networking into one efficient strategy.
2. Zero-Time Selling by Andy Paul: A fantastic, real world, practical description of how customers buy, and how you should prepare for the sale.
3. What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There in Sales by Marshall Goldsmith and Bill Hawkins and Don Brown: A unique, detailed description of the bad habits most salespeople make, and how you can increase sales by simply avoiding these sales-killers.

For Management and Culture Building, he recommends:

1. Small Giants by Bo Burlingham – This is a perfect complement to “Good to Great”. It chronicles how companies can choose to stay small, while still making a big impact on their customer base and industry.
2. All In by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton: A step by step process of developing an engaged, fully present and effective workforce.

Geoffrey James’ superb descriptions of his TOP10 “How to Sell” books are copied below.We encourage you to read his other Sales related articles on INC.com.

10.Selling to the Big Companies: One of the biggest mistakes in the business world is assuming that all companies are alike and therefore should be approaching in the same way. In this instant classic, Jill Konrath explains how to manage the often-Byzantine politics of large companies in order to help them make intelligent decisions.
9.Mastering the Complex Sale: Prior to this book, much of the business world believed that a good salesperson can “sell anything to anyone.” Author Jeff Thull, however, lays out the gradual process by which a salesperson can help customers clarify their needs, understand their alternatives, and make the internal changes required to buy a solution that will change their entire business.
8.The Psychology of Selling: Selling is more than just strategy and politics–it’s the practical application of psychology in a business context. In this seminal work, Brian Tracy lays out the inner motivations of both buyers and sellers, explaining how they interact to create opportunities for both parties. Insightful and essential.
7.Strategic Selling: This is the masterwork when it comes to understanding how a company’s sales strategy–and the execution of that strategy–can make or break a business model. Authors Robert Miller and Stephen Heiman (along with their amanuensis Tad Tuleja) detail the best practices of successful firms, showing how and why their strategies have worked.
6.Perfect Selling: In this quick read, author Linda Richardson encapsulates, in a very simple and straightforward fashion, the entire sales cycle. She simplifies where other sales books complexify, making it clear that there’s no reason that any reasonably intelligent person can’t move a sale forward. It’s perfect for entrepreneurs and professional salespeople alike.
5.How to Master the Art of Selling: It’s difficult to overestimate the enormous influence that Tom Hopkins has had on the world of sales. He was the first to recognize that what’s now considered commonplace: that selling is primarily a process of managing your own fears and focusing on what the customer needs.
4.The Greatest Salesman in the World: In addition to being a groundbreaking business book, Og Mandino’s classic helps the reader discover the positive “why” behind selling from something that’s manipulative to the act of helping other people achieve their dreams.
3.Secrets of Closing the Sale: There’s a reason why Zig Ziglar’s death last November generated an outpouring of tributes from nearly every corner of the business world. It’s been said that all successful people “stand on the shoulders of giant.” For the world of sales, Zig was the ultimate giant, the pioneer who laid out the basic principles on which all sales technique and training is based.
2.The Little Red Book of Selling: I like to think of Jeff Gitomer as the “Seth Godin” of the sales world. Jeff has a knack for distilling complex business issues down to their essence, and then explaining exactly how to use that essence to make yourself more successful. Note: this book was tied for second place with Gitomer’s other classic work, The Sales Bible.
1.Spin Selling: Finally, this is the book that turned selling from an art into a science. While other sales books are heavy with anecdotes and assumptions, Neil Rackham examined hard evidence of actual sales performance and codified what works–and what doesn’t–in real world sales situations. A must read for everyone who sells.

About the Author:

Vicky Willenberg is the Social Media & Communications Manager at TurningPoint Executive Search. She supports the senior team with its social media initiatives, research, database management and administration.  She is also a professional blogger, writing about her personal life experiences.  To learn more about TurningPoint visit- http://www.turningpointsearch.net/

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