The 7 Best Sales Books Of All Time – 2022
If you’re looking for the top sales books to increase your selling ability, then you’re in the right place!
Warren Buffet is the richest investor of all time. He spends all day reading and thinking. And he reportedly said, “It’s good to learn from your mistakes. It’s better to learn from other people’s mistakes.”
How do we learn from other people’s mistakes and experiences?
By reading! According to Business Insider, 85% of rich people read at least two books per month for professional or personal development, compared to just 15% of poor people. And one of the most valuable skills for any career or business is selling.
The problem is, thousands of sales books have been published! How do we know which ones are the best and worth reading?
Good news—We did the research for you! Over here at Growth.me, we carefully studied hundreds of book reviews and dozens of reading guides to find the true all-time winners. (Yes, really! Check a few of our sources at the bottom. We’ve also summarized all the books on this list.)
We discovered there is not ONE sales book that is best for everyone, so we chose the best book in seven different categories.
1. Best Overall: SPIN Selling by Neil Rackham
What’s it about? SPIN Selling is a framework for sales conversations, it is especially useful for selling higher-priced products and services. Neil Rackham conducted research that found the most effective salespeople ask four specific types of questions. SPIN is an acronym for these questions: Situation, Problem, Implication and Need-payoff.
Best Quote: “The building of perceived value is probably the single most important selling skill in larger sales.“
If you search for the best sales book ever, then you’ll find SPIN Selling. It’s recommended on list after list, by expert after expert. And it’s not because of some short-term business fad—this book was first published over 35 years ago!
What makes SPIN Selling so special?
- It was based on data. Previous sales books were mostly based on the author’s feelings and opinions, which are vulnerable to human bias.
- It emphasized questions. Previous sales training emphasized telling the customer all about our great product and closing (i.e. pressuring) them to buy now, buy now, BUY NOW!
- It had a clear 4-step process. SPIN is an acronym for Situation, Problem, Implication, and Need-Payoff. You begin with asking about the person’s Situation, then you ask about their main Problems, then you explore the Implications of the big problems, then you lead to how their Needs can be met with your solution. Once you understand the process, it’s straightforward.
So if you want to learn the gold standard of sales methods, read this book. If you sell high-ticket products in person, then you definitely need to read this book.
2. Best for Beginners: The Psychology of Selling by Brian Tracy
What’s it about? The Psychology of Selling is a classic business book that is a must-read for sales professionals. Brian Tracy shares many practical tips for how to get more appointments, what to say during sales presentations, and the best ways to close the sale.
Best Quote: “Small differences in ability can lead to enormous differences in results.“
When you read this book, it’s hard not to feel that Brian Tracy really, sincerely, wants you to succeed. He just seems like a positive, encouraging, yet gentle coach. From the beginning, he builds the reader’s confidence in selling as a noble profession. He also talks a lot about how we can overcome those invisible inner obstacles to success: procrastination and fear of rejection.
The Psychology of Selling also provides advice to help guide your sales conversations, even if you’re a total beginner. There are plenty of examples of exactly what to say:
- From how to start the conversation,
- To what questions you should ask,
- To how to close the sale at the end.
So if you’re a beginner and looking for motivation or concrete sales tips, then read this book.
3. Best Modern Book: To Sell Is Human by Dan Pink
What’s it about? To Sell Is Human is about "non-sales selling" or, how to persuade others. Daniel Pink argues that sales skills are more essential than ever because "moving others" has become a part of most careers and businesses. His advice centers on the new ABCs: Attunement, Buoyancy and Clarity.
Best Quote: “To sell well is to convince someone else to part with resources—not to deprive that person, but to leave him better off in the end.“
If you’re turned off by the old-school idea that sales is about “always closing” and pressuring people to buy, then you’ll love To Sell Is Human. It explains why selling can really be about serving others, with empathy and enthusiasm. It also explores how recent social changes like the internet have forced sales to evolve.
If you’re in a non-sales job, but want to learn some science-based tips for improving your ability to communicate and influence others, then read this book.
4. Best for Entrepreneurs: Influence by Robert Cialdini
What’s it about? Influence is about six principles of persuasion useful for sales, marketing and negotiation. Professor Robert Cialdini says certain triggers can influence human decisions almost automatically. The six principles are: reciprocity, consistency, social proof, liking, authority and scarcity.
Best Quote: “Our best evidence of what people truly feel and believe comes less from their words than from their deeds.“
If you’re a business owner, or you want to be one, then this book is the best for you. It explains techniques for influencing people’s decision to buy, that go beyond a one-to-one conversation. With some luck, you’ll find examples in the book that you can adapt to your own business.
Beyond that, it’s just fascinating to understand real-world human psychology. This book Influence explains the “programming” that controls how humans make decisions. It’s almost like being able to see the source code underneath our society, sort of like that movie “The Matrix.”
Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but the ideas in this book are really good. Go read it. Trust me. 🙂
5. Best for Closing: Secrets of Closing the Sale by Zig Ziglar
What’s it about? Secrets of Closing the Sale is a considered a must-read by many sales professionals. Zig Ziglar shares a lifetime of time-tested selling techniques that are based on honesty, enthusiasm, and empathy.
Best Quote: “There are five basic reasons people will not buy from you. These are: no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, and no trust.“
Okay, what if you want to learn the old-school sales techniques, the ones that really worked for salespeople in the past? Then here’s the book for you.
To give you a taste, one of the sales techniques Ziglar teaches is called “The Assumptive Close.” That means, you don’t ask IF they want to buy, but ask HOW they want to buy. For example, a car salesperson could ask:
- “Would you like it delivered this Friday or next week?” or
- “Would you prefer the red or blue one?” or
- “Will you be financing with us or your bank?”
The professional salesperson assumes they have already decided to buy the car. It sounds subtle, but The Assumptive Close can make a big difference in closing a sale smoothly and efficiently.
6. Best for B2B Sales: The Challenger Sale by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson
What’s it about? The Challenger Sale explains how to sell more effectively, especially if you're involved in large, complex, B2B sales. The authors backwards-engineered what exceptionally high-performing sales people called "Challengers" do. Their advice focuses on teaching the customer valuable insights about their business, and being assertive pushing the sale forward.
Best Quote: “The thing that really sets Challenger reps apart is their ability to teach customers something new and valuable about how to compete in their market.“
If you’re working in a large company as an “account executive,” selling complex solutions to other businesses, then here’s a great book for you. Sure, it’s kind of a dry read, but you want to make more sales, don’t you? 🙂
The Challenger Sale begins with a glowing recommendation from Neil Rackham, the author of our #1 pick SPIN Selling. He says this book represents the next evolution of the sales world, going from asking questions to teaching insights.
If you read this book and follow along with the instructions, by the end you’ll have a powerful new sales presentation.
7. Best from Reddit: How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
What’s it about? How to Win Friends and Influence People is a guide to getting along with others. Dale Carnegie says people are "creatures of emotion" that desperately desire a feeling of importance. We can provide that feeling with our sincere enthusiasm, consideration, interest and appreciation.
Best Quote: “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.“
Okay, the top sales book on Reddit is actually SPIN Selling, but their #2 pick is How to Win Friends and Influence People—the classic self-help book from Dale Carnegie. Why? Because before you can sell anything, you need to be able to get along with people. If people like you, then they’ll want to talk more with you, and you’ll have time to present your sales argument. Makes sense?
For decades, this book has been the top recommendation for young people wanting develop themselves personally and professionally. In fact, Warren Buffett has credited a $100 Dale Carnegie course on public speaking for much of his success. In an interview with CNBC, Buffet said, “I don’t have my diploma from the University of Nebraska hanging on my office wall, and I don’t have my diploma from Columbia up there either — but I do have my Dale Carnegie graduation certificate proudly displayed. That $100 course gave me the most important degree I have. It’s certainly had the biggest impact in terms of my subsequent success.”
What a testimonial! And I hope you have great success too, from this book and the other sales books on our list.
- Amazon – Best Sellers in “Sales & Selling”
- Goodreads – Sales Shelf
- Goodreads – Sales Book Lists
- Audible – “Sales & Selling” Audiobooks
- Reddit – The most recommended sales books of all time from r/Sales
- Reddit – r/Sales wiki recommended books
- Hubspot – The 44 Most Highly-Rated Sales Books of All Time
- Inc – Top 10 “How to Sell” Books of All Time
- Soundview – The 25 Best Sales Books of All Time
- Salesflare – The 20 Best Sales Books Elon Musk Is Probably Reading
- Close – 31 best sales books for leveling up your sales game in 2022
- SalesBlink – 12 Best Sales Books To Level Up Your Skills
- Brian Tracy – 10 Of The Best Sales Books For Sales Training & Learning
- Sales Hacker – The 108 Best Sales Books for Boosting Your Skills & Performance in 2022
- The Art of Living – Best Sales Books: 25 Best Books On Selling Of All Time