The Best Sales Books to Read in 2018 - Part 1
Reading sales books is by far one of the most effective and easiest ways to develop your sales skills. Whether you’re a CEO/Founder, top sales representative or new to sales - reading the best sales books is essential to keeping your skills sharp at a time when consumer buying patterns are constantly changing.
A decent sales book will usually provide a reader with one or two key tips or tricks they can implement right away, however the best sales books will challenge you to rethink an entire part of your sales process and reshape it for the better.
Below you’ll find my recommendations for The Best Sales Books - Part 1, that you should read to ensure you’re successful in 2018.
The Challenger Customer - Brent Adamson, Matthew Dixon, Pat Spenner and Nick Toman
The sequel to The Challenger Sale, this book reviews the successful challenger selling techniques from the first book and then further explains why margins on most deals today are being driven down by buyers to a “price cautious”, “good enough” solution.
In 2018, sales representatives are no longer selling solutions or products - they are selling change. The Challenger Customer understands change is hard for people to buy, because within one company, buying groups are on average made up of 5.4 people (stakeholders) and requires everyone in the group to support the buying decision.
How do you get a group of stakeholders this large, to work together and buy the best solution for their company? Even if that solution is more expensive and more disruptive than others they’re evaluating or currently using?
The Challenger Customer is one of the best sales books to read today, because it explains in detail, how you identify key mobilizers within this 5.4 person buying group and work with them to teach the rest of the group that the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.
Teaching a buying group something new about their business and challenging their current mental model about how their business operates is a potent way to increase your sales conversions on product demos.
Pre-Suasion - Robert Cialdini
The first book by Robert Cialdini - Persuasion, is one of the best sales books ever written. It focuses on what to say to influence consumers, whereas his second book, Pre-Suasion (listed here) focuses on how to influence people before they notice they’re being influenced.
Though both are great reads, Pre-suasion revisits the key points from the first book in addition to providing modern day examples of how to execute them for maximum effectiveness.
So what is Pre-suasion?
It’s all about creating “Privileged Moments” with your consumers that can be utilized shortly there after. Some simple examples from the book are:
If you want people to feel warmly toward you, hand them a hot drink
If you want people to buy a box of expensive chocolates, first arrange for them to write down a number that’s much larger than the price of chocolates
If you want people to sample an untested product, first inquire if they’re adventurous
If you want people to choose the more expensive and comfy sofa option - first show them clouds on your website.
The book goes on to explain, why creating these types of privileged moments work and how brands, companies, the media and politicians are using pre-suasion every day to influence people and buyers without them knowing.
Influencer marketing for example, exploded primarily because initially consumers didn’t realize they were being influenced. Brands were subtly connecting their product to a well liked Instagrammer in a niche market, with a captive, targeted audience, to leave consumers with a positive attitude. Unlike celebrities, no one ever thought these people could influence consumers, but brands were creating privileged moments, without anyone knowing this random Instagram account they follow was subtly impacting their future purchasing decision.
Pre-suasion is a powerful tool and can be leveraged throughout your sales process and making it one of the best sales books for the modern selling world.
Don’t Make Me Think - by Steve Krug
This book is essential for any Founder, CEO or sales representative working at a software company or running a website. Though this book is not classified under the sales genre, it is definitely one of the best sales books, because of how dependent user experience is on driving sales conversions.
In today’s environment, buyers have completed approximately 57% of their buying criteria before they even begin speaking to a sales representative or supplier. This means buyers have most likely already explored your website, started a trial of your product, read your content, and more - even before you have a chance to speak with them.
In addition to this, the second most important buying criteria (#1 is Wide-Spread Support for the Supplier) is “The Organization is Easy to Buy From,” so you better make sure your website and software is easy for users to navigate so you can have the best possible chance to convert them into deals.
Don’t Make Me Think will give you a crash course in User Experience best practices that will help improve how users interact with your brand and lead to more sales, making it one of the best sales books to read in the digital age.
We’ll be writing Part 2 of the Best Sales Books in 2018 soon, however in the meantime - if you’re a CEO/Founder running a start-up we understand it can often be challenging to find the time to read a sales book and then spend the necessary time to implement change in your sales process.
The Sales Knowledge Institute team is here to help and currently working with small and medium sized businesses to make improvements to their sales process that will drive higher revenue.
Schedule a call for a One Hour Free Consultation and we can start working through some of your sales challenges.