27 must-read sales books to help you qualify prospects, give better presentations, and close more deals


Author: Brenna Lilly
Last updated: Published:

“It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it.” ― Oscar Wilde

Sales books come and sales books go.

Yet, some books are better than others.

Some are so good they'll transform the way we think about prospecting, selling, following up, and generally engage with the overall sales process.

What follows is a list of sales books -some classic, some new - that will deepen your knowledge on everything from how people think, to navigating ever-changing selling climates.

Reach the Top 1%

by Cynthia Barnes, 4.6 stars on Amazon

Cynthia Barnes is a powerhouse, bar none. As her personal bio states best, she is “Founder and CEO of the National Association of Women Sales Professionals (NAWSP.org), a LinkedIn Top Sales Influencer, creator of THRIVE™ Success Strategies for Women in Sales...and a highly sought-after keynote speaker and Champion for Women in Sales.” Cynthia’s 18-year experience in the sales industry solidifies her status as an expert.

“Reach the Top 1%” is an uplifting and engaging book for female sales people ready to shed stress - financial need, workplace stagnance, disempowerment - and helps them achieve their financial and lifestyle goals.

“Having lived a great life as a sales professional I concur with the points in the book and I believe that you need to invest in yourself and your career for it to really take off. If you are a woman in a sales career or know one, this is a great book to read to hone skills to make it to the top.” - Lori Richarson, Amazon review

The Sales Development Playbook

by Trish Bertuzzi, 4.6 stars on Amazon

Trish Bertuzzi’s “Sales Development Playbook” is a well-suited read for companies looking to advance their sales development programs, as well as people looking to step into SDR roles.

She divides her book into six sections (Strategy, Specialization, Recruiting, Retention, Execution, and Leadership), each one a step in the sales development process, forming a clear-cut path to revenue acceleration.

Sales leadership walks away with a repeatable plan-of-action for their team(s), while SDR’s gain insight into the “big picture” of their work.

“This is the best book about Sales Development in the market! It also has chapters on how to execute sales development, but the most important part for me was how to build a team and a great process to have SDRs in your company. A must read if you have a B2B company!” - Jose Papo, Goodreads

Agile Selling

by Jill Konrath, 4.4 stars on Amazon

Jill Konrath’s “Agile Selling” is an excellent read for both sales newbies, and current sales pros who feel overwhelmed by constant change in the industry.

Instead of telling readers how to be good sales people, Konrath instead gives her readers techniques on how to accelerate their integration into a new role or company, using gamification and creativity to spark success.

“If you are learning to sell something new (or moved to a new role), this is an excellent book. I appreciated that she shared stories of her sales career at Xerox and beyond.” - Bruce Harpham, Goodreads

Gap Selling

by Keenan, 4.6 stars on Amazon

With his signature bold voice and sense of humor, Keenan offers his readers and followers an opportunity to look at their sales career from a new perspective.

With his book “Gap Selling,” Keenan breaks down selling norms and builds them back up again with a modern perspective. Readers can expect to feel both taken-aback and empowered by this book - Keenan has no shame about ruffling feathers while offering wisdom.

“Simply put, this is the best, most important sales book I’ve ever read. I’ve already read it twice, and look forward to deconstructing specific chapters to dissect certain ideas even more. I have zero doubt this book has already improved my sales skills, and will take my sales career to the next level.” - Craig Andrews, Goodreads

Cracking the Sales Management Code

by Jason Jordan with Michelle Vazzana, 4.4 stars on Amazon

As its publisher’s description asserts, “Cracking the Sales Management Code” is not a book on organizational leadership or interpersonal coaching. It is a guide on how to manage a sales force.

This book outlines three specific levels of sales metrics to help sales managers divide their time and energy efficiently: “those you can directly manage, those you can influence, and those that you can only hope to change.”

The tone of ‘Cracking the Sales Management Code” is engaging and narrative, making it an easy read on a topic that’s often dense and cumbersome. Multiple reviewers rave about the writers’ voices and how they made reading the book that much more enjoyable.

“There's something remarkable about finding a management book that's actually about management, rather than leadership, time-management, self-actualization, or just being confident. It makes me realize just how vapid some of the other stuff I've subjected myself to has been.” - Mike Moore, Goodreads

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

by Robert Cialdini, 4.6 stars on Amazon

Robert Cialdini’s mega-hit “Influence” is a classic sales book that occupies shelfspace of thousands of successful salespeople. The author cites numerous studies about the efficacy of compliance tactics and the mindset of successful salespeople, while maintaining a narrative that keeps readers engaged.

Cialdini reviews seven different aspects of compliance: reciprocation, consistency, social proof, liking, authority, scarcity, and unity. By separating out these seven facets of compliance, he creates an easy-to-follow guide for salespeople looking to enhance their influencing skills.

“Cialdini’s friendly writing style establishes a sense of comradeship with readers. He confesses to being a sucker himself for the influence strategies he authoritatively dissects. Along the way, he shares collateral insights into wide swaths of human nature. His footnotes at the end are stuffed with added details that will please the most eager readers.” - Peter Clarke, Ph.D, Amazon review

Beat The Bots

by Anita Nielsen, 4.8 stars on Amazon

Anita Nielsen’s “Beat The Bots” is a sales guidebook for the new age. While many sales books tend to stray from discussing AI and machine learning, Nielsen’s book leans into that discussion, giving tech sellers a refreshing, helpful perspective on how to combat the increasing use of robots in the sales field.

"Beat The Bots” gives its readers a mirror for their concerns and challenges instead of a concrete map - instead of telling you exactly what you need to do to beat the bots, Nielsen offers thought-provoking stories and questions to get the cogs turning.

“Using the analogy of the elephant and the rider, Nielsen boils down the sale and looks at the logical and emotional. She provides great examples of appealing to both during the sales process. If you are in sales you must read this book! If you are a buyer you should read this book. If you are in leadership you need to read this book!” - Jeffrey Ton, Goodreads

A Mind for Sales

by Mark Hunter, 4.6 stars on Amazon

Mark Hunter’s “A Mind for Sales” hasn’t even been launched to the public yet, and has already received nearly 200 5-star reviews on Amazon from prelaunch reviewers. This brief book packs a powerful punch, breaking through the clutter to provide advice for burnt out sales people.

To help them achieve similar success to his own in a way that isn’t draining or exhausting, Hunter gives his readers a “success cycle” approach and practical strategies that they can easily adopt and replicate. He also focuses on daily habits that help salespeople reach the next level of success.

“Do you remember that coach or teacher that you had in high school? The one that made you do 5 extra pushups and that was constantly tossing out quotes at you while you did them? The one that made you go back and redo the paper they gave you a B on because you could earn an A? That teacher for every sales professional is Mark Hunter.” - Steve Bullington, Goodreads

Emotional Intelligence for Sales Success

by Colleen Stanley, 4.6 stars on Amazon

Colleen Stanley’s popular book “Emotional Intelligence for Sales Success” is a gloriously unusual sales guide, and one that offers a stark contrast to many of the aggressive, power-centered sales guides on the market.

Instead, emphasizes empathy, and believes that empathy is the strongest tool in a seller’s kit. She believes that the seller who has empathy, patience, and what she calls “emotional intelligence” is the seller who can diffuse pressure and seal deals most effectively.

“Love the book. It actually would be a good read for a wide range of people, not just sales people. It does discuss sales, but it focuses on the soft skills, the people skills of selling and not the hard skill, the sales tactics. I would recommend it for anyone looking to survive and thrive in a corporate environment.” - Jock Mcclees, Goodreads

Sales Enablement 3.0

by Roderick Jefferson, 5 stars on Amazon

Enablement pros - this one’s for you. Roderick Jefferson’s well-rated book “Sales Enablement 3.0” is a map for Sales Engineers struggling to succeed, or who want to bolster their success with better tactics. Jefferson’s personal success at Marketo, Oracle Marketing Cloud, Salesforce, PayPal, and multiple other organizations makes him a must-follow expert in the sales enablement sphere, and a must-read author.

From the official book description: “At its core ‘Sales Enablement 3.0’ is an innovative approach focused on increasing sales productivity through a systematic, personalized, and collaborative approach designed to support buyers that will fuel the conversation economy! This book will provide you with a blueprint that will help you to navigate the twists and turns that will ultimately lead you to designing, deploying, measuring and iterating a world class sales enablement organization."

“Roderick Jefferson does a masterful job laying out and communicating exactly what Sales Enablement is and how to craft the best approach for today’s seller that will help them connect and resonate with their customers! I highly recommend this book to everyone in enablement, sales training and sales leadership roles.” - Andrew, Amazon review

The Challenger Sale

by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson, 4.5 stars on Amazon

If you’re the type of salesperson who needs to see concrete statistics, you’ll appreciate “The Challenger Sale,” written by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson.

After compiling research from thousands of sales reps across the US, Dixon and Adamson identified five different styles of salespeople - Hard Workers, Challengers, Relationship Builders, Lone Wolves, and Reactive Problem Solvers. This book is based on the premise that Challengers are the ones that not only seal the most deals, but who also build relationships that last the longest.

“There's been so many books on selling and so many "systems" that it's hard to find something... anything... new and innovative. The Challenger Sale does, in fact, challenge some long held assumptions about selling success. Unlike your usual book of advice written by some self-proclaimed sales "guru," this book bases its guidance and conclusions on research... hard data research.” - Paul, Goodreads

The Transformational Consumer

by Tara-Nicholle Nelson, 4.6 stars on Amazon

Tara-Nicholle Nelson has created a masterpiece with her book “The Transformational Consumer.” This book is so unique because, instead of angling towards persuasion and negotiation tactics to hook potential customers, she emphasizes the need to build a “love affair” with transformational consumers - the ones who have a desire to change their lives for the better.

Backed by her incredible work at MyFitnessPal (which grew from 40 million to 100 million customers during her time), Nelson blends case studies with stories to craft a well-designed, immensely useful handbook for the salesperson or marketer looking to build relationships with their customers that are less transactional and more heart-centered.

“The book is about more than a product or a type of consumer - it gives you practical and actionable advice to rethink your business - she challenges the way you view your customers and company as a whole, in an incredibly thought-provoking way...You would do a great service to your customers, your team, and yourself by reading this book.” - Neha, Amazon review

Fanatical Prospecting

by Jeb Blount, 4.7 stars on Amazon

Jeb Blount’s hit book “Fanatical Prospecting” is currently one of the best-selling sales books on Amazon. According to the official book description, “‘Fanatical Prospecting’ gives salespeople, sales leaders, entrepreneurs, and executives a practical, eye-opening guide that clearly explains the why and how behind the most important activity in sales and business development—prospecting.”

Much of Blount’s success with this book stems from his voice - he is a clear, confident voice in the prospecting world, and offers no-nonsense advice for sellers trying to gather a steady stream of prospects. He encourages his readers to “break free from the fear and frustration” and use his guidelines to reach and exceed their sales goals.

“Some may conclude that the information is too simplistic or that there's nothing new--but Blount's breezy style, peppered with his personal examples and case studies, provide a quick overview of prospecting that can help the novice and experienced pro alike.” - Steve Susina, Goodreads

Secrets of Successful Sales

by Alison Edgar, MBE, 4.6 stars on Amazon

Alison Edgar, aka The Entrepreneur Godmother, is a powerful resource for sales professionals. She has been in the sales industry for over 25 years, and travels internationally to give talks on her greatest tips for sales professionals.

“Secrets of Successful Sales” is her book of best practices, tips, and tricks of the trade. From the official book description: “Centered around Alison’s Four Key Pillars of Sales methodology, this book enables you to understand customer behaviors, provides you with a foolproof process, explains how to create an effective strategy, and close with confidence.”

“The writing is tight and waffle free, and the jargon is banished, which I love. The tone is great - it reads more like a super-confident best friend, or successful elder sister giving you advice, and each point is well illustrated. All in all a very strong first book, and I would read more by this author.” - Daisy White, Goodreads

The Sales Enablement Playbook

by Cory Bray and Hilmon Sorey, 4.7 stars on Amazon

“The Sales Enablement Playbook” is a fantastic resource for people all across sales organizations looking to create cohesion and efficiency, providing a short-but-powerful way to revise and update your sales enablement operations. Buy this for yourself, your higher-ups, and the rest of your team.

According to the official description: “This book provides a series of stand-alone chapters with frameworks and tactics that you can immediately implement, regardless of company size or industry. Whether you are a sales executive, sales practitioner, or a non-sales executive looking for ways to impact growth, ‘The Sales Enablement Playbook’ will help you identify your role in a thriving enablement ecosystem.”

“I...[appreciate] that each chapter provided a summary of key metrics to use to assess success on the author's guidance. As other reviewers have commented, there is zero-fluff in this book - no hard sell for the author's services and no commercials designed as case studies (in fact, he wants your company to be so good at selling that you tell consultants to take a hike.) This is a very quick read - well worth your 1 to 2 hrs of investment.” - Jeremey Donovan, Amazon review

Blueprints for a SaaS Sales Organization

by Jacco Van Der Kooij and Fernando Pizarro, 4.4 stars on Amazon

Jacco Van Der Kooij (founder of Winning by Design) and Fernando Pizarro (VP of North American at Spoon) came together to create “Blueprints for a SaaS Sales Organization,” the guide for SaaS startups looking to form a competent, efficient sales team.

Both Van Der Kooij and Pizarro believe that one of the biggest mistakes a SaaS salesperson can make when organizing their team, is to fly by the seat of their pants. When not adequately prepared, sales teams are guaranteed to struggle and flounder. When provided with the correct guidelines and framework - based on the authors’ SaaS Sales Method - teams are overwhelmingly successful.

“This is really a must must read book for anyone involved in building a B2B SaaS company. The authors, with strong experience in SaaS, really give the secrets of building a sales organization directed toward recurring B2B SaaS businesses...The authors really went deep in sales processes, tools, organizational structure and more. Buy it and read it if you are a SaaS leader!” - Jose Papo, Goodreads

Direct Selling For Dummies

by Belinda Ellsworth, 4.5 stars on Amazon

Part of the classic “For Dummies” toolkit, Belinda Ellsworth’s guidebook equips direct sales beginners (and those interested in joining direct sales) with the basics of the industry to help them meet their potential.

Written for people with little expertise, Direct Selling for Dummies gives readers actionable steps they can take to become better salespeople in their own right. This book majorly focuses on four aspects of success in the direct sales world: choosing the right model of direct sales for your life, managing your schedule, drumming up interest, and social media marketing.

“A must-read for anyone in direct sales. No matter if you're brand new or a veteran it is a great reference guide if you need a refresher.” - Sam Gerrits, Goodreads

Energetic Selling and Marketing

by Lenka Lutonska, 4.8 stars on Amazon

International business and mindset coach Lenka Lutonska’s “Energetic Selling and Marketing” is NOT your traditional sales guidebook. You won’t find formulas for “persuasion” or scaling hacks here. Instead, Lutonska writes from a spiritual perspective on sales, with strong emphasis on mindset and intuition.

“Energetic Selling in Marketing” is geared towards female business owners, but anyone in sales can benefit from reading Lutonska’s work. She believes that a blend of strategy and intuition is the key to sales success. Her book description reads: “When the two are integrated, not only are mindset and communication techniques improved, but sales and marketing strategies become transformed, resulting in the greatest and fastest growth possible.

“This book integrates energy and sales in a powerful and energetic way - where you grow as a person while you grow your revenue. I recommend it to everyone I know who sells things. If you love authors like Mike Dooley or Joe Dispenza - you will love this book.” - Maggie Reyes, Amazon

Start with NO

by Jim Camp, 4.7 stars on Amazon

Originally published in 2002, Jim Camp’s “Start With NO” is one of the most popular books on sales negotiation techniques. The official description of the book describes Camp’s techniques as a “contrarian, counterintuitive system for negotiating any kind of deal in any kind of situation—the purchase of a new house, a multimillion-dollar business deal, or where to take the kids for dinner.”

Instead of looking for a “yes” from prospects, Camp suggests that sellers should anticipate and even aim for a “no,” which can serve as fuel for an impactful conversation with potential customers. Camp also emphasizes the importance of self-control in the sales process, and offers guidance on how to mitigate destructive emotions and reactions in meetings.

“Very insightful. The author's last name could easily be Contraire and not Camp. He throws conventional wisdom out the window and while that window is open allows a fresh perspective to enter. This book is more than a guide for [salesmen], it's for anyone who [has] had to have difficult conversations with others.” - Shawn, Goodreads

SPIN Selling

by Neil Rackham, 4.5 stars on Amazon

“SPIN Selling” is written by Neil Rackham, former president and founder of the Huthwaite Corporation. In this beloved sales tome, Rackham suggests that sellers be able to identify and work with four different types of questions: Situation, Problem, Implication, and Need (SPIN).

The SPIN technique has been used by a vast number of successful business people, and still remains relevant over 30 years after first publication. From the official book description: “By following the simple, practical, and easy to apply techniques of SPIN, readers will be able to dramatically increase their sales volume from major accounts.”

“One of the most intuitive books on the market for selling. SPIN Selling explains the science behind consultative selling, or rather, presenting an offer to a potential client, based systematically on the clients’ pain-points, using a powerful questioning process.” - Leonidas, Goodreads

What's in the C.A.R.D.S.?

by Cherilynn Castleman, 4.6 stars on Amazon

Cherilynn Castleman’s “What’s in the C.A.R.D.S.?” is a much-needed handbook for selling through a global pandemic. This new book has already garnered positive reviews, making it a must-read for salespeople confused and frustrated by current events.

From the book description: “In her forthcoming book...Global Sales Relationship Expert Cherilynn Castleman, MBA, draws on her 25 years of experience in enterprise sales to teach readers the five core competencies they need to leverage their lived experiences and everyday superpowers to create authentic connections, strengthen client relationships and drive exponential revenue growth.”

“​​As a sales leader, I am constantly reading sales books. ‘What’s in the C.A.R.D.S.’ is unlike any other sales book that I’ve read, not just because it helps guide me through our new post-pandemic world but also because of how well it’s written...I recommend it so much that I bought extra copies and gave them out as gifts.” - Victor Marshall, Amazon review

Sell It Like Serhant

by Ryan Serhant, 4.75 stars on Amazon

In his big-hit guidebook “Sell It Like Serhant,” Ryan Serhant, one of the stars of Bravo's hit show Million Dollar Listing New York and New York Times best-selling author, dishes up his best advice for salespeople looking to reach their A-game.

“Sell It” has nearly 1,500 reviews on Amazon, and is currently placed at the top of their best sellers list. It’s such a hit because it’s a combination of autobiography, anecdotes, advice, and inspiration that empowers salespeople to become the “ultimate sales machine.”

“This is one of the best books on sales I've read so far. Through the book, Ryan shares a lot of actionable tips, advice and secrets on how to succeed in sales…[he] also describes what it takes to become the "go-getter", what type of mindset and attitude one has to adopt and how to train it.” - Alex Devero, Goodreads

The Evolving Sales Engineer

by Edward S. Levine, 4.6 stars on Amazon

Edward S. Levine’s “The Evolving Sales Engineer” is one of the best books on the market (or in your local library) specifically written with SE’s in mind. It’s unique in the author’s desire to empower SE’s to be recognized for their hard work - work that often isn’t credited.

The book description reads: “‘The Evolving Sales Engineer’ was written to provide SEs with proven behaviors, techniques, skills and mindsets that will enable them to excel given these emerging expectations. Numerous success stories and examples are included to reinforce chapter highlights. Also included is a special section on SE management.”

“I wasn't happy with my career path and was considering changing [courses] and becoming an SE before I started my own business. This is a great book to gain knowledge and insight into the world of sales engineering. Even though I didn't take a job as a SE in my business I deal with industrial customers on a regular basis and use some of what I learned from reading this.” - Joel N. Stevens, Amazon

The Modern Seller

by Amy Franko, 5 stars on Amazon

Amy Franko’s “The Modern Seller” is a guidebook for sales people people stuck in the 20th century, and those who can’t quite grasp the rapidly-fluctuating world of sales as it changes around them.

Franko helps readers understand current marketing trends and the best practices of the 21st century. And, like most of the best sales books, Franko provides a combination of useful anecdotes and compelling research to keep readers engaged and thinking.

“I have been through some presentations that Amy Franko has given to my industry...I always enjoyed her presentation, and even as someone who doesn't like 'sales,' I felt that the dimensions she outline[s] are great practices - elements that humanize the process of being a seller. I would strongly encourage anyone in professional services to read this...” - Sarah Gray, Goodreads

The Sales Bible

by Jeffrey Gitomer, 4.6 stars on Amazon

Jeffrey Gitomer of SalesBlog.com has sold over 200,000 copies of “The Sales Bible,” and for good reason: it’s regarded as one of the most essential books in a salesperson’s library.

According to the book’s description, the latest edition of “The Sales Bible” offers the following:

  • ​​The 10.5 Commandments of Selling
  • Generate leads and close sales in any market environment
  • Find 25 proven ways to set hard-to-get appointments
  • Use top-down selling to fill your sales pipeline with prospects who are ready to buy now
  • Ask the right questions to make more sales in half the time
  • How to use the top social media platforms to create inbound leads and prove value

“This book was highly recommended by a few people I knew including a very successful salesman and entrepreneurs as "the" book to have if you want to sell anything. Very detailed. Informative. The pictures and formatting make it very easy to read and find the information needed. This book is a classic.” - K.E. Hawkins, Goodreads

Millennials Matter

by Danita Bye, 4.8 stars on Amazon

Danita Bye’s “Millennials Matter” is a fascinating look at how millennials are often regarded in the sales industry - too young, untrained. Bye is passionate about flipping these stereotypes and uplifting the next generation of professionals and leaders, not just in sales, but company-wide.

She writes this book for older generations, giving them ways to harness the strengths of younger generations. From the official book description: “‘Millennials Matter’ will provide you with coaching inspiration and practical action steps to harness the strengths of your millennial leaders so they become one of your biggest business assets and a testimony to your leadership legacy.”

“I applaud Danita for creating this most informative guide with real life experiences in her personal growth, together with insightful input from our future business leaders. This is truly a publication for all those charged with developing the next generation leaders. This, therefore, should include all those in any business leadership position, whether that is a small family or large corporation business.” - Bernice Wardleworth, Amazon review

The Psychology of Selling

by Brian Tracy, 4.7 stars on Amazon

Brian Tracy’s “The Psychology of Selling” is touted as one of the most important books for salespeople. While many authors of sales guide books such as this one offer step-by-step instructions for achieving their own “brand” of success, Tracy goes further than that, offering insight into what happens in people’s minds when they’re selling and being sold to.

Tracy uses his own story to inspire others to achieve greatness in the sales field, and to become millionaires by their own right. This book has thousands of positive reviews from people of all walks of life, sealing its status as one of the best sales books of all time.

“Amazing book! Tracy helped me embrace the fact that I am a salesman, and to not be ashamed of it. He gives great pointers on how we can be in the top 1%, which I have implemented and found great success in doing so. I think that every salesman should read this book!” - Jeff Hennore, Goodreads

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