I’m pretty active on LinkedIn, following many sales trainers/authors/speakers/consultants and the like, and I see a lot of posts from them, their followers and others who post under hashtags like #sales.

From all of that, I see a lot of posts about sales books – a subject near and dear to my own heart since I’ve written three and have at least two more I’d like to write in the next year or two.

 

So what are the common sales book topics that come up?

The topics about books that usually come up are:

  1. What’s your favorite sales book
  • These are sometimes about someone being curious – wanting to know what books others have found useful. I’ve discovered some real hidden gems this way, like my current read, Soft Tales and Hard Asses: One Salesman’s Discovery of the Art of Storytelling. I would have never found that on my own, and I love it – great book – give it a read or sample it on Kindle if you are interested.
  • Other times, it is a post from someone who is or wants to be more popular on LinkedIn, and they make a list of their favorite books, tag-in the authors – who usually have big followings – in hopes that the author will like or comment and extend the reach of the post.

 

2. Are sales books useful?

The other common topic about sales books is whether or not they are useful. Now, this is where the sparks start to fly because opinions are pretty divided here – one way or the other. On the surface, this seems like a genuine question – from someone wondering “aloud” what the best way to learn about sales might be. However, this question is usually nothing more than controversial, unintelligent and binary question that tries to over-simplify something and in the process doesn’t do justice to anyone who is seriously thinking about how to improve at sales.

 

What’s the problem?

Someone I followed for a while wrote about the number of views for various types of posts: Educational (lowest); controversial (much higher); overcoming some grand personal tragedy (highest of all).

So this “Are Sales Books Useful” question poses as an educational question, but because of it’s binary nature it is actually controversial. Just like the much abused and overused “is cold calling dead” meme, but let’s not go there today.

Here is the thing to remember:

Smart people don’t think in binary terms.

The vast majority of questions are not answered, and shouldn’t be asked, in the form “X vs. Y,” or “what is the best…”.

If you want to understand something, the wrong place to start is to wonder if something is simply bad or good.

Think about food, as an example. Once you get away from the extremes, is any category of food 100% good or 100% bad? In spite of our search for “the perfect food,” what can you say about pizza, or fruit juice, or sandwiches?

Without making this a food blog, the only intelligent answer is “it depends.” How much are you consuming? What exactly are the ingredients? Are there many artificial ingredients or pesticides? Are there whole grains? How much saturated fat?

The answers can vary widely among different varieties of pizza, etc.

 

Where does that leave us with sales books?

OK, it’s true – this post has been all over the place – LinkedIn; food; click bait…

So where does this leave us with sales books?

Asking if reading sales books is useful or not is an unintelligent and at best marginally useful question. It’s not a “yes or no” question. If you don’t like to read, then don’t. But that’s not the same thing at all.

If you do want to learn, then the best approach is to try lots of things – not just books, and books are not required.

That said, there are a lot of great sales books – but they are not all about the same thing. “Sales” is a pretty broad category.

So, if you do want to read some sales books, don’t ask the unintelligent question “what is someone’s opinion about which is the best sales book,” instead, think about what it is that you want to learn more about and start there. For example, are you interested in creating a selling system? Becoming a better storyteller? Upping your game on social? Mastering presentations?

As the Cheshire cat said to Alice if you don’t know where you are going any road will do.

If you don’t know what you want to improve in sales, how will you pick the right training resource?

Take responsibility for your sales education, and be intelligent about it if you want to improve. Start by figuring out what you need.

Not sure what that is? Then troll LinkedIn (put #sales or #salestraining or #salesbooks in the search box) or Amazon and see what exists and what resonates.

Then dive in.

Read.

Experiment.

Talk to people.

Rinse and repeat.

Over time, you’ll know more.

Keep going.

That’s the way you improve.

It’s iterative.

Go for it!

Oh, and along the way, try to avoid unintelligent questions and debates that are binary. You’re already too smart for that controversial, self-promoting, click-bait garbage – right?

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Authors note (AKA shameless plugs)

So, this 7-step sales process and associated topics…. Yup, I write about that a lot. I’ve been working with it since I developed it about 25 years ago – in my own diverse work experiences, with my teams when I had them, and with clients ever since.

If you would like to develop your own personalized and customized, highly effective and efficient B2B selling system, here are some further steps you can take:

The Salesman’s Guide to Dating is a free or very cheap (depending on Amazon) Kindle book that walks you through the sales process using the familiar analogy of dating. It’s a good, fun and quick way to get your mind around the whole process and how the pieces fit together.

Building Your Sales Process (BYSP) is a free and very thorough exploration of the same 7-step process that will walk you through the development of your own customized, personal B2B selling system. When you are done, you will know exactly what to do to get new business.

The Momentum Selling System® is an inexpensive but very robust online sales training course that is similar to BYSP, but goes deeper into the concepts behind each of the steps, and also helps you develop a plan not only for the 7-step process but also addresses mindset, repeat business and client base management.

If none of that sounds right, I do personal coaching and offer a free 30-minute intake session so that we can both learn if it makes sense to work together 1-on-1. If this sounds interesting, click over to the coaching page on this site and sign up for the free session.

Here’s to your success!

-David