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We constantly promote active reading to our sales training clients in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary and Toronto. There is no doubt that leaders are readers. Huge reading advocates include Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Mark Cuban, Elon Musk, and Tony Robbins – many of whom spend many hours a day reading. However, you don’t need to devote that kind of time to leverage the power of this habit. Read 15 minutes per weekday and you’ll have easily read a great book per quarter. How tough is that? We’ll even make it even easier and suggest 4 great sales books that will dramatically increase your skill set and sales results.
Professional Salespeople and Sales Managers that understand the power of continual learning make it a priority. Do not feed yourself the line that you’re too busy. The average person spends anywhere from 24 to 32 minutes per day on Facebook.
Now add in time watching television, and you will find that you’ve literally wasted 5 hours plus per week easily on activities that may be fun, but let’s be real – Do you think you could squeeze in 15 minutes per day for something that would dramatically increase your skills, relationships with buyers and sales results? How about listening to podcasts and audio books on your morning commute in your car or public transit? It’s easy to think of ways of devoting time to reading and learning if you just get a little creative.
It’s no surprise that some of the world’s richest people make a big commitment to reading. Do you think you could learn anything from these respected leaders?
Ok, let’s hope we managed to convince you to invest at least 15 minutes per day to reading. Here are the best books to start with.
Spin Selling by Neil Rackham. Don’t be fooled into thinking that a book published in 1988 is outdated. In many ways, this book is considered to be one of the pioneer works in consultative selling. SPIN stands for Situation, Problem, Implication and Need-Payoff. Those words alone will tell you the focus of this book. Rackham details the four stages of a typical sales call and the importance of having an agenda to your first meeting with a new potential client. He also goes into detail on the type of questions to ask decision makers. Appendix B has a self assessment on your attitude toward closing buyers. While we all want to make a sale, he suggests that building strong relationships is the basis of all decision making and using closing techniques can backfire with the wrong client.
New Sales. Simplified by Mike Weinberg. This is an essential handbook for prospecting and new business development. Weinberg is a no nonsense and blunt sales trainer and writer. His Chapter, “The Not So Sweet 16 Reasons Salespeople Fail at New Business Development” is bang-on. It will give you the opportunity to evaluate yourself on some the reasons why you aren’t developing new business as much as you’d like. Weinberg also provides great information on creating power statements for sales and marketing purposes. Power statements tell the sales story from your champion customers who love you. Weinberg gives you the tools to create an action plan to attract more clients that meet this ideal customer profile.
The Challenger Sale by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson. At first, I virtually wanted to throw this book against the wall when I started it. Am I glad I didn’t! The Challenger Sale defines and tackles 5 personality types of Salespeople. The authors claim that after doing extensive research, they found that there is one style of Salesperson who rises above the rest in all types of economy – including a recession. It’s not the Hard Worker, Relationship Builder, Problem Solver or Lone Wolf, but the Challenger Salesperson that controls the client conversation to fight the status quo, ask tough questions and create a solution cooperatively with the client. This book will defy what you think about the Relationship Seller, so be prepared!
SHUT UP! Stop Talking and Start Making Money by Dave Warawa. Yes, while I’m biased, how can I fail to recognize my own book after reading well over 350 sales, business, motivation and organizational books in my lifetime? I was one of the least likely people to be in sales and wanted to quit after 2 years because I so was bad. I then realized that the greatest power of influence with buyers was to SHUT UP and start asking questions – great questions that other Salespeople would never think to ask. Suddenly, decision makers were engaging with me in finding solutions to their challenges and the sales came naturally. This book is 100% based on the practicality of 30 years of experience as a fully commissioned Salesperson with no base salary. The mistakes I made, their solutions and how I learned to pursue the right clients who had a sense of urgency to take action is inside this book.
Many great Salespeople are promoted into management and quickly realize that the skill set for success is totally different. No longer is it your job to prospect, evaluate needs and create solutions for your clients. It’s your job as Sales Manager to teach, coach, support and inspire Salespeople to greatness. You need to read excellent books to work on the skills of leadership, teamwork and coaching. Here’s what you need to be reading.
Pick any 2 books from above. If you’re going to be a great Sales Manager, you best lead by example and show your team that you’re reading what you’re suggesting to them.
The Accidental Sales Manager by Chris Lytle. “Accidental” is the key word here. This is a follow up to Lytle’s first book The Accidental Salesperson which is also worthy of consideration. Many of us never picked sales as a career, it picked us. The same goes with management. Lytle talks about the differences from walking the sales floor from Salesperson to Sales Manager and tells you what you need to do to lead your team to success. This book is your GPS in knowing how to control and lead your sales team to record profits. Every Sales Manager who has read this book says to me “Why didn’t I read this when I started in management?”
Sales Management. Simplified by Mike Weinberg. I’m a big fan of Mike Weinberg because he doesn’t sugar coat things and dance around issues. You can tell the direction of the book from the names of these chapters “You Can’t Effectively Run a Sales Team When You’re Buried in Crap,” “Playing CRM Desk Jockey Does Not Equate to Sales Leadership,” and “You can Manage, You Can Sell, but You Can’t Do Both at Once.” Mike makes no apology for his candor and cites nameless examples of companies who hired him to solve the mess they had created. Be prepared to laugh out loud at some of his examples of the stupid mistakes companies make. Buy two highlighters for this book, because you’ll need them.
So, here’s my challenge to you. Are you ready to buy some great books and make a commitment to self-improvement and driving more sales? 15 minutes per day. That’s all it takes for a wealth of knowledge and practicality to become a top-producer and leader.
Or are you going to be the guy around the office that says it’s the company’s job to provide training for its people? I always love to tell Salespeople and Sales Managers that you have the career choice of selecting one of two words that start with the letter “V” – Victim or Victor? You decide.
If you’re more interested an learning via on online sales training program, check out The Sales Skills Incubator on our website. Feel free to take the free trial and start 2019 with the right attitude, skill set and action plan.
Dave Warawa – PROSALESGUY