There is no such thing as "sales", and you aren't a "salesman". You provide a solution to a problem. Listen, understand, and then offer a solution.
I forgot who told me that but it's fantastic advice. As far as understanding people, the de facto book to read is "How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie. I'd highly recommend that.
This becomes clear in the classic "sell me this pen" exercise. First find out about the client, what they do, how they would use the pen. Once you know where their focus is, discussing your solution becomes easy and natural.
Carnegie is a useful book for life in general, don't get me wrong - it's just that it's only the 'foundation' of sales and there is a big distance between that foundation and the actual practice of doing sales. Much like algebra is a 'foundation' of programming, yet nobody gets hired to program based on their ability to multiple two numbers.
There is a lot of stuff in Carnegie that makes sense, but I have seen people advocate Dale Carnegie and get "upvoted" (or the equivalent) but I think the people who would benefit from Dale Carnegie aren't in a position to really benefit from it.
This is basically Sales 101. Lecture by Steli Efti, YC founder of the close.io CRM. Insanely valuable.
Y Combinator "How To Start A Startup" Sales: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHAh6WKBgiE
This is held by one of the founder of YC startup Clever, with an emphasis on the earliest stages of sales in a startup.
Tons of specific sales advice on http://blog.close.io , you can find the best by googling "site:blog.close.io" and follow through the links. There is a ton of things I learned from Steli Efti (the guy behind www.close.io CRM and the Sales Summer School), be sure to attend their webinars as well if you're curious.
What I'd love is if close.io took another direction and dove deeper instead of the cliche 'hustle hard'.
Thinking Fast and Slow
Best insight: The biggest misconception is that extraverts are better salesmen cause they're slick talkers. Actually, it's the exact opposite. It's better to let your prospect to most the talking while you listen. Ask them open-ended questions. The more you learn about your prospect, the more effectively you can explain your product solves their specific problems.
Neurolinguistic programming techniques - can be manipulative if used the wrong way but in sales, they really help you gain an advantage or maintain control. Includes how to build rapport quickly, how to maintain your frame regardless of how the other person acts, etc.
Money is the follow-up - creative ways to keep the convo alive without annoying your prospects
The best book I've read in ages on prospecting and business development, New Sales, Simplified by Mike Weinberg. If you read nothing else, Chapter 14: Planning & Executing the Attack is pure protein! http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15863998-new-sales-simpli...
Here's a video presentation by Matt Dixon on The Challenger Sale. It's a bit long, just over an hour. But give it 15 minutes-- you'll see it's solid material. Good insights on how marketing supports & equips sales. Read the book!
Daniel Pink - To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others http://www.amazon.com/Sell-Human-Surprising-Moving-Others/dp...
Dale Carnegie - How to Win Friends & Influence People http://www.amazon.com/How-Win-Friends-Influence-People/dp/06...
As you understand the macro details of sales, the more micro things (tactics, strategies, best practices) are probably best served by specific industry or specific aspects of sales. For example:
I also really like Jason Lemkin and his SaaStr blog: http://www.saastr.com/ Loads of SaaS sales practices on there.
My favorite book about the act of selling (i.e. pitching) is "Pitch Anything" - http://www.amazon.com/Pitch-Anything-Innovative-Presenting-P...
If you're looking for an overall sales primer/bible, your best bet is probably The Sales Acceleration Formula http://www.amazon.com/Sales-Acceleration-Formula-Technology-...
I'm not going to recommend a book. Pick any book recommended here.(They all give similar advice). And go a step further.
Learn how to use Anki.
Use Anki while reading the book and I guarantee you this - you'll master sales at least 10x faster because..
Because you'll remember to use them instead of jumping from book to book and from course to course.
Hope you heed this advice - you'll be glad you did.
People miss that sales is not just technique or what you say but state of mind, belief and confidence.
Stay away from sales only focus books.
If you really want to learn something check "Mastery" by Robert Greene.
If you are responsible for getting new business, it is probably the best sales book I have read. Walks through defining your target customers, creating appropriate messaging to reach out to those customers and how to structure discovery and presentation calls.
Yes, there is such a thing as sales. But do yourself a favor and don't sell shitty products. There's a wide range of incomes among people selling the best products, and the difference is stuff you can at least read about in those books.
I agree with "thinkdevcode" a few messages up. The better solution is find the best solution to the underlying problem. View yourself as a problem solver, rather than a salesman.
Read the books and tell me that what they teach is pure trickery. But if you take some of the lessons to heart, magically people might start buying more (maybe a lot more) of what you're selling. It's not because you're being unethical though, you just "know how to sell" aka "know how to structure the delivery of information in a way that increases the odds of an interaction resulting in a monetary transaction".
Sure, think of yourself as a "problem solver" vs a "salesperson" if you prefer ("sales" does have a negative old-timey connotation at this point, which is why it's now often called business development). But that's semantics and it doesn't help the OP get any better at his job if it is indeed in sales (or biz dev, or problem solving, or whatever they're calling trying to generate revenue for a company these days).
His basic premise is that the outcome of any negotiation(especially sales) is inversely proportionate to how intimidated you are by the other person.
His solution is to invest in creating a strong image before selling and using takeaway selling, which is basically taking away the opportunity to do business with you so that they stop thinking about whether they want to buy and start thinking about how to get you to sell to them.
On a side note, Dan Kennedy says,"if you lose a sale because of price, you lose that sale long beforehand." your job is to differentiate yourself and craft a powerful image so they can never even start to compare you to others.
Be My Guest by Conrad Hilton
The Success System That Never Fails by W. clement stone
The Ultimate Sales Letter by Dan Kennedy
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
Watch all of Brene Browns TED talks about vulnerability.
Sales requires trust and trust is built on connection and connection is built by being vulnerable.
As you will note from his material, that there are 3 types of people, those that don't want the product, those that are unsure if they want it, and those that want the product. Sales is about converting those "unsures'" to sure wants.
I would recommend giving the book "The Wolf of Wall Street" a read.
His course "Straight Line System" is pretty pricey, but if you have the money or the means, I would recommend this course over any other:
I also like a lot of what I've read from Jeffrey Gittomer and Grant Cardone.
Oh, and The Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes as well. He (Chet H.) did a series of videos with Anthony Robbins that is really good. I really recommend watching those.
There's things like used cars. Single, moderate sized transactions, one-time. You want to extract the last dollar, force the close, and generally be like...a used car dealer. I know nothing about this.
2) There's consumer products -- worry about the "funnel", advertising, etc.
3) There's the stuff I like -- high dollar, high-complexity, repeated/ongoing transaction. The best books, hands down, are Neal Rackham's SPIN Selling series: http://www.amazon.com/Neil-Rackham/e/B000APLFJK
-Selling The Invisible by Harry Beckwith (great look at selling services)
-Secrets of Closing The Sale by Zig Ziglar (gets you prepared for objections)
-How to Become A Rainmaker by Jeffrey Fox (shortcuts to better sales techniques)
-The Little Red Book of Selling by Jeffrey Gitomer (best first book for first time salespeople)
As mentioned in other posts, I would also add SPIN Selling, Mastering the Complex Sale and The Referral Engine.
"Smart" books in the sales space include Influence, Made To Stick, To Sell Is Human.
For motivation, read more Zig, Tony Robbins, and Dale Carnegie.
At one point in his career, my ex was a military recruiter. They get world class sales training. He borrowed my textbook from the social psych class I had taken and I didn't see it again until his tour of duty as a recruiter was over.
I will also recommend "Getting to yes" which is research based and a quick read and "The mind and heart of the negotiator", which is also research based but meatier. I believe there is a free version of the latter available online. These were both required texts for my class on conflict management and negotiation.
His book - http://www.startupsalesguide.com/
“The Predictable Revenue Guide To Tripling Your Sales” by Aaron Ross and Jason M. Lemkin - http://www.saastr.com/the-predictable-revenue-guide-to-tripl...
"How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling"(1952) by Frank Bettger
2. Everything at Heavybit is excellent,
their sales videos are very nice:
And an must see video for me was:
Make your contacts count
The science of influence
Get it on Audible:
I've read a ton of sales books and this is by far the best one. Actionable stuff - no fluff. Great for founders who have trouble getting the deal closed and the cash in the bank.
Start listening the archives from the beginning or pick your episodes, either way it's one killer virtual coaching program on B2B complex sales, applying many of the mentioned books to practice on strategic and operational level.
Book homepage is http://pitchanything.com
After reading lots of sales books this is the technique that works best for me. Companies should do themselves a favor and pay for their teams to level up with better sales skills.
Great book that helped me learn the psychology behind sales.
Also I can't emphasize this enough
INSIDE SECRETS OF SELLING (FIND A NEED AND FILL IT)
on the mindset of sales.
SPIN is much easier to read, know and understand while I found Challenger Sales a lot difficult to follow and put into practice.
Challenger Sale's major premise is the assumption that SPIN selling doesn't work anymore for some reason because of the 2008 recession. I'm not sure how true this assumption is but I'll leave this up for the real sales people.
I'm interested in hacking enterprise sales. ANother HN user's blog on the subject here is excellent as well: http://doanhdo.blogspot.ca/
Louis Rossmann knows his shit