23 books every sales rep should read

As a sales rep, your time is limited. You have to find new sales leads, interact with possible customers, and close sales, which leaves time for little else. But, to advance in any career, you need to find time to hone your craft.

One easy way to do this is by reading. After all, building on the knowledge of top salespeople can save time in the long run as you learn from their experience and incorporate their advice into your own sales journey.

Below are 23 books which focus on everything from mastering sales techniques to learning essential skills like understanding the customer mindset, organized in the following categories:

  • Excellent overall sales books
  • Books on qualifying
  • Books on prospecting
  • Books on presenting
  • Books on negotiating
  • Books on closing
  • Books on nurturing

Excellent overall sales books

From sales strategies to actionable techniques, the following books are helpful resources for both beginners and seasoned professionals looking to master the whole sales funnel.

1. How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling

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“Selling is the easiest job in the world if you work it hard — but the hardest job in the world if you try to work it easy.” —Frank Bettger

In this bestselling book, Frank Bettger offers his perspective on selling through personal experiences and anecdotes. Bettger also shares his selling secrets, including how to gain confidence and the seven golden rules for closing a sale. Another cool fact about this book? It was endorsed by Dale Carnegie.

2. The Science of Selling: Proven Strategies to Make Your Pitch, Influence Decisions, and Close the Deal

“The goal of every sales process should be to guide buyers to commit to the salesperson’s message (the central route) while using heuristics (the peripheral route) to effectively convey that message.” —David Hoffeld

This book connects science with sales through neuroscience, social psychology, behavioral economics, and real-world sales examples. The author, David Hoffeld, offers tactical, practical advice on things like handling objections and structuring selling options. It’s a good book for understanding how the buyer thinks and how emotions come into play.

3. Little Red Book of Selling: 12.5 Principles of Sales Greatness

“Attitude allows you to see the possibilities when opportunity strikes—because it often shows up in the form of adversity. How well do you spot opportunity?” —Jeffrey Gitomer

If you are looking for a quick read packed with information, this sales book is aimed at demystifying buying principles for salespeople in a fun, simple way. The advice and tips given by Jeffrey Gitomer are laid out in quotes, takeaways, and relevant cartoons. This read helps you overcome traditional sales obstacles.

4. The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need

“Most people fail because they aren’t willing to do what it takes to succeed.” —Anthony Iannarino

This guide has an interesting back story: the author, Anthony Iannarino, was once on track to become a rock star. He started working in sales as a day job and ended up becoming an expert. Iannarino outlines that the right mindset is foundational for success in selling. Over 25 years of sales experiences are included in this book along with tried-and true advice on developing self-discipline, accountability, and your story telling skills..

5. The Sales Bible, New Edition: The Ultimate Sales Resource

“Sales solutions are easy once you identify the prospect’s problems, concerns, and needs…with questions.” —Jeffrey Gitomer

Another read by Jeffrey Gitomer, The Sales Bible covers everything from the 10.5 Commandments of Selling to 25 proven ways to set hard-to-get appointments. Gitomer offers sales methods and strategies drawn from actual selling examples. The book is packed full of sales techniques and Gitomer suggests using the ones that match your particular sales situation.

Books on qualifying

Qualifying leads can be a lengthy process. There are a lot of questions to answer before you can determine if someone is likely to buy your product or not. Does a lead match your buyer persona? Can your business meet a potential buyer’s needs? Read these books to master the qualification and increase the likelihood of a sale.

6. Amp Up Your Sales: Powerful Strategies That Move Customers to Make Fast, Favorable Decisions

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“Align the customer’s expectations with your commitments.” —Andy Paul

Amp Up Your Sales by Andy Paul covers the entire sales process including highly tactical information on simplifying your sales and amping up your prospecting. In this 8-part book, Paul includes an entire section on “Qualification: doing more with less” which is filled with actionable insights such as the factors that drive a poor qualification or the dangers of “mostly qualified sales opportunities.” Become more disciplined with proper customer qualification with this book.

7. The Conversion Code: Capture Internet Leads, Create Quality Appointments, Close More Sales

“Today’s customers are savvy, and they have more options than ever before. Capturing their attention and turning it into revenue requires a whole new approach.” —Chris Smith

Chris Smith gives advice specifically for capturing internet leads, but also for creating quality appointments (which can save time later on). In addition to being a good book for generating more traffic, leads, and sales, The Conversion Code offers excellent advice for engaging with prospective customers online (social media, chat, blogs) and how to qualify these customers. This is a good book for selling in the digital age.

8. Questions that Sell: The Powerful Process for Discovering What Your Customer Really Wants

“Customers do not want to ‘make friends’; they want to see results and substantive relationships provide those.” —Paul Cherry

Asking the right questions is key to qualifying a lead. Discover your customer’s actual needs with this book by Paul Cherry to determine if you can solve their problems. This read includes various situations and different types of sample questions you can use for each, so you learn how to effectively become a customer-focused sales rep.

Books on prospecting

Prospecting for new customers is vital to building your business. There are many ineffective prospecting methods out there, so it’s important to implement a sustainable prospecting strategy which is what these books can help you do.

9. New Sales. Simplified.: The Essential Handbook for Prospecting and New Business Development

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“The best intentions, target account lists, and powerful sales weapons are useless if we never launch the attack.” —Mike Weinberg

Mike Weinberg delves into the topic of acquiring new clients. He provides a formula for strategies such as identifying a strategic, finite, workable list of genuine prospects, using email, voicemail, and social media to your advantage, and preparing for and structuring a winning sales call.

10. Fanatical Prospecting: The Ultimate Guide to Opening Sales Conversations and Filling the Pipeline by Leveraging Social Selling, Telephone, Email, Text, and Cold Calling

“There is no easy button in sales. Prospecting is hard, emotionally draining work, and it is the price you have to pay to earn a high income.” —Jeb Blount

Based on Jeb Blount’s own prospecting approach, the book gives a step-by-step guide to filling your pipeline with high-quality opportunities. Tips include the 5 C’s of Social Selling, the 5 Step Telephone Framework, and the 7 Step Text Message Prospecting Framework. This read is excellent for a comprehensive, real-world method for effective prospecting.

11. The Sales Development Playbook: Build Repeatable Pipeline and Accelerate Growth with Inside Sales

“The value of a sales development effort is measured by increased won business per account executive and/or accelerated new customer acquisition.” —Trish Bertuzzi

As you might have guessed from the title, The Sales Development Playbook is a tactical book focused on high-quality growth. Trish Bertuzzi outlines 6 elements for better sales development including strategy, specialization, recruiting, retention, execution, and leadership. This book is an excellent resource for business development with immediately actionable steps.

Books on presenting

A sales presentation can make or break a deal in your pipeline. Your language, mannerisms, and slides all work together to build a connection with potential customers. Too often, sales reps talk at the client rather than with the client. Fortunately, there are strategies for effective sales presentations.

12. Strategic Sales Presentations