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10 books that will teach you to sell

If you’re already working in sales or only considering it, it’s time to update your library. Here at Lectera, we’ve put together a list of the ‘Top 10 best books on sales and negotiations’ that’ll improve your skills and boost personal efficiency. Most of these books are written by practical experts from whom you can learn a lot from.

Matthew Dixon, Brent Adamson. The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation. 

This book offers a new approach to building a sales department and to working in sales in general.  The authors separate sellers into 5 profiles: Hard Workers, Relationship Builders, Lone Wolves, Problem Solvers and Champions.  They explain the characteristics of each sales profile and help you identify where you stand in terms of your approach to sales.  The book can aid you in developing your own unique selling style if you’re a beginner, while also offering alternative approaches for experienced sellers. 

Gavin Kennedy. Everything is Negotiable. 

The book offers a step-by-step explanation of the negotiations process. Kennedy compares negotiators to various animals, reflecting their personalities in various ways that aren’t always flattering.  You’ll be taught to identify the motivations of each party during negotiations, learn some powerful moves you can make and analyse your own steps - you can take a test at the beginning of each chapter, and as you read through the chapter you can check your answers and determine which animal type best  corresponds to your behaviour.  This book will teach you the correct negotiation and pricing methods to use, which tricks can be used against you and how to avoid them, how to behave in a conflict, and how to get the most benefits out of a negotiation. 

Mark Goulston. Just Listen.

This book is radically different from Gavin Kennedy’s famous book and other literature on the subject of negotiations.  Goulston is a professional consultant in the field of negotiations and is also a psychologist . In his book he describes basic psychological techniques that can be used both in sales and in everyday situations.  ‘Just Listen’ doesn’t feature any ‘shock offers,’ price manipulation techniques, or special tricks for making negotiations more efficient - instead, it focuses on building the foundation for open relationships.  Even when multimillion-dollar deals are involved, people tend to act impulsively, basing their behaviour on sudden emotions and acting like ‘children.’  Goulston believes that it’s important to take the position of an ‘adult’ in any type of negotiations (regardless of what you’re actually feeling), and that after bringing your opponent to the ‘adult’ state you can finally come to a satisfactory agreement. 

R. Fisher, W. Ury and B. Patton. Getting to Yes: Negotiating an Agreement Without Giving In.

This is an excellent guide to conflict resolution for anyone working in sales and communications.  The book explains how you can interact with clients in various situations, how to work with objections, resolve conflicts, and what you should do when clients are behaving irrationally or trying to confuse you.  The authors also share their experience in protecting themselves against manipulations.  They use a method called ‘fundamental negotiations’ which offers benefits without putting you into a confrontational position: you gain a sincere and deep understanding of other people’s opinions and the reasons behind decisions made by clients or potential partners. 

Alexander Derevitsky. Sales personalisation: finding the way to every client’s heart. 

This book is for people who want to shift away from one-size-fits-all sales using scripts, modules and templates.  It’s an excellent choice for people who understand that in our world of over-consumption, a lot depends on the people selling the products rather than the features of the products themselves.  Here you’ll find everything you need: sales essentials, basic techniques, insight into how managers and sales agents operate.  You’ll learn to communicate with people, acquiring essential negotiations skills and an understanding of how you can find time for yourself outside of work to improve.  The key to success in sales lies in crafting a personalised approach to each client.  This book explains why a singly USP doesn’t always work and how you can convince even the most stubborn clients to buy from you. 

Alexei Kapterev. Presentation secrets.

We often struggle because we don’t have a designer vision, or even a basic knowledge of how to use fonts, colours and special effects.  This knowledge is essential for improving the quality of your presentations.  This book clearly explains what you should do with your slides to keep partners and clients interested during presentations, ensuring they completely understand you and leave the event feeling inspired.  In addition to straightforward instructions on improving your presentation, you ‘ll also find many links to useful websites, video lessons, and recommended reading resources.

Robert Cialdini. Psychology of Influence. 

This book has become a must-read for anyone interested in business.  It is a perfect choice for beginners who want to learn how sales work and what motivates people to buy things.  The book will make you think about the driving forces that move people whenever they make any actions or decisions, as well as the specific actions that can help you achieve success in negotiations, during direct in-store sales and in other situations.  Cialdini explains that most of our actions are done under external influences, often going against our own interests.  The book explains which impulses can affect us and how we can protect ourselves against them. 

Alexei Slobodyanyuk. Deal navigator. Practical strategic sales from A to...A. 

This book offers an easy way of dealing with difficult corporate clients in the B2B sector.  A.Slobodyanyuk argues that deals are as different from each other as people.  However, there are still some general rules that govern them, and knowing them can help you develop a systematic approach to successful deals instead of relying on happy accidents.  The author is a business coach who conducts seminars and training sessions, instructing participants in the art of effective sales, with an emphasis on long cycles. 

The book covers the entire sales method, with step-by-step instructions.  The process needs to be manageable, which is only possible after carefully analysing everything, hiring the right people and getting rid of any unnecessary employees.  The book is written for team leaders and sales managers.

Chet Holmes. The Ultimate Sales Machine: Turbocharge Your Business with Relentless Focus on 12 Key Strategies 

Chet Holmes is an expert in improving business efficiency.  He believes that any business can double their sales in just a year.  In his book ‘The Ultimate Sales Machine’ he urges readers to act decisively, while also explaining which aspects of the sales process you can optimise to increase profits.  He states that after looking at your work from a new perspective, it will be easier to adjust your strategy and achieve flawless operations within your sales system.  The book inspires readers to focus on several key areas instead of trying to cover everything.  Consequently, by following the method proposed by the author, you can outperform competitors and gain increased control over your business.

Maxim Batyrev. 45 tattoos of a salesman 

This book, written by renowned manager and business coach Maxim Batyrev, is focused on B2B sales.  You won’t find any phenomenal techniques or magic pills here, but unlike other books that focus solely on foreign business practices, this one features a solid foundation of commercial activity with an emphasis on the Russian market.  The 45 stories featured in this book are personally validated and verified by the author and have the potential to significantly transform you and your business.

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