Selling is both an art and a science. And just like any subject, learning from others is the quickest way to leapfrog the competition. Fortunately, many books can teach a salesperson how to improve their mindset and get better results. While you might not have the time to read them all, you should definitely check out a few on the list below.
We rounded up and reviewed a few of the top sales mindset books such as Pre-suasion, Influence, Be Obsessed or Be Average, Never Split the Difference, Sell or be Sold, To Sell is Human, The Way of the Wolf, Relentless, The One Thing, and Atomic Habits.
In this article, you will learn more about these books, including their key takeaways and the type of salespeople who should read them. But before we get into that, here's a bite-sized look into what each one has to offer.
||Who is it For?
||Salespeople who have problems closing sales
||Establish trust early on
Direct your prospect's attention
Use associations to build value
||Salespeople who are either stuck in the old-school way of selling or…
||Commitment and consistency are important
People tend to reciprocate good deeds and intentions
Social proof and authority can improve your conversion rate You can use scarcity to your advantage
Likability always wins
|Be Obsessed or Be Average
||For a salesperson who wants to build a dream life out of their sales work
||Take complete responsibility for your success
Balance is overrated
You have to keep feeding your vision
|Sell or be Sold
||Salespeople who need and extra boost to close deals faster.
||You must be sold on your own stuff
Sales is all about people
Offset every limit with massive action
|Never Split the Difference
||Any salesperson who has trouble negotiating and closing deals.
||Emotions run negotiations and reason takes a backseat
Understanding the other party is crucial
Summarize and contextualize their position
Fire salespeople who don’t fit the company’s emerging needs
Motivate by challenging your sales team
|To Sell is Human
||Seasoned saleswomen who are starting to see a decline in their conversion rates
||Attunement is essential
Buoyancy will keep you afloat
Clarity is important
|The Way of the Wolf
||Whether you should be trusted is determined in the first few seconds
The prospect must love you, your product, and your company
Lower their action threshold while emphasizing the pain points
||Salespeople that are stuck in a rut
||There are coolers, closers, and cleaners
You can be a cleaner if you stick to your goals beyond reason
Cleaners cannot afford to coddle themselves
|The One Thing
||Salespeople trying to improve their productivity
||Multitasking is a myth
Ask the focusing question
Prioritize your to-do list by order of effect
||Salespeople who have trouble with executive dysfunction
||Focus on getting 1% better every day
The way you see yourself affects your habits
Use cue, craving, response, and reward to form habits
||Apple co-founder, chairman, & CEO
||Connect the dots
1. Pre-suasion by Robert Cialdini
You read that right. It is 'pre-suasion,' not 'persuasion.' In this book, Cialdini explains that the sale's context and setup can determine its success.
Many salespeople spout off the features of a product believing that the sale will follow a logical pattern. Cialdini's work exposes how little logic has to do with a sale.
- Establish trust early on - People decide to trust you based on how much you are interested in genuinely helping them.
- Direct your prospect's attention - Whatever people pay attention to becomes more valuable to them. If you're showcasing a few options, direct their attention specifically to one over than the rest.
- Use associations to build value - From celebrities who have adopted specific products to countries known for their engineering or product-related excellence, you can use multiple associations to create value.
Who this book is for: Sales reps who have problems closing sales. If you find it hard to close the deal, this book will help you adjust portions of your script and the context of your sales dialogue to improve your success rate in the close.
2. Influence by Robert Cialdini
Influence was written before Pre-suasion and became a global bestseller because of the novel information it uncovered regarding marketing and purchasing.
Sales reps can discover the principles of persuasion to improve their booking and closing rates. It can help sales professionals adjust their mindset to these principles.
- Commitment and consistency are important - Salespeople with an old-school mindset try to talk people into buying things. But ethical selling is vital in a world where refunds are expected, and businesses rely on repeat sales. This book shows salespeople that commitment and consistency are also good for sales.
- People tend to reciprocate good deeds and intentions - If salespeople develop a service-oriented mindset, they can get more sales.
- Social proof and authority can improve your conversion rate - This principle ties marketing with sales and ensures that salespeople use marketing material to build authority and leverage social proof to close deals.
- You can use scarcity to your advantage - Sales reps can use the scarcity bias to shorten the decision-making window before a close. However, the salesperson can only gain trust if the scarce positioning holds up.
- Likability always wins - If all else fails, your likability closes the deal. Salespeople can start leaning into their likability to improve their conversion rates instead of relying solely on the features alone.
Who this book is for: Salespeople who are either stuck in the old-school way of selling or are too scared to get into selling because they have a certain mental image of "Sales" people can seriously benefit from reading this book.
3. Be Obsessed Or Be Average By Grant Cardone
Grant Cardone is an authority figure and motivational speaker for most salespeople who dream of making it big. He used his sales commissions to invest in Real Estate and then flipped his way to a multi-millionaire status.
Be Obsessed or Be Average is a motivational book (and a mindset shifter). It teaches salespeople to view their craft in a different light.
- Take complete responsibility for your success - Salespeople can start blaming the lead quality, the day they are having, or the product for low sales scores. This book teaches you to take responsibility for your part of the deal.
- Balance is overrated - Grant's philosophy is to aim for excellence in every area of life instead of trying to make everything equally mediocre. This can help salespeople understand why working long hours can be helpful to their long-term success.
- You must keep feeding your vision - Grant is a big believer in writing down goals. Salespeople receive more rejections than the average person. They need to remind themselves of what they want more than most.
Who this book is for: Any salesperson who wants to build a dream life outside of his sales work must learn from Grant Cardone. This book can be inspirational and educational for salespeople just starting out or those in a rut.
4. Sell or be Sold by Grant Cardone
Another book by Grant Cardone that can be incredibly valuable for salespeople is "Sell or be Sold," which recontextualizes a sale as something that happens whenever two people interact.
It shows that one person is always selling an idea to another. By viewing sales as normal, salespeople can start being more relaxed when they are working.
- You must be sold on your own stuff - One of the most important lessons this book teaches is that a good salesperson is thoroughly sold on their product or service.
- Sales are all about people - Getting out of "sales" and into "people" is how Cardone positions this.
- Offset every limit with massive action - There will be limitations, but Grant Cardone wants you to make them irrelevant with massive action instead of settling with them.
Who this book is for: This book can help salespeople who find it hard to close sales. By picking a product they believe in or selling themselves into believing what they sell, they can become better at closing sales. More importantly, they can have better self-esteem as salespeople.
5. Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss
Chris Voss was the lead negotiator for the FBI and was even the go-to person for international hostage negotiations at one point.
So what can he teach a salesperson? Well Voss definitely dealt with some high stakes situations in his time so he knows how to handle a negotiation under extreme pressure.
Never Split the Difference can help salespeople incorporate negotiation into the sales mindset, and it can teach you that everything is negotiable.
- Emotions run negotiations, and reason takes a backseat - Sales trainers have known this for a while. People buy with emotion and justify their choices with reason.
- Understanding the other party is crucial - AKA do your research. Knowing what the other party wants, regardless of what they say, can save your life as a salesperson.
- Summarize and contextualize their position - By using your own words to tell your prospect what they have said, you can demonstrate that you understood them and get them to agree with you.
Who this book is for: Any sales rep who has trouble closing and has to resort to heavy discounting to get the sale can learn to avoid sacrificing their commission.
6. Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility by Patty McCord
Patty McCord is best known for the culture she built as the Chief Talent Officer at Netflix. You can even view the culture decks they created. Isn’t it a great time to be alive?
Her book Powerful will challenge you to re-examine the status quo and be an adult about your job.
- Radical honesty helps build trust in your sales team. They need to know you care, while also being held accountable for their results.
- Fire salespeople who don’t fit the company’s emerging needs. If your needs change, you need a team to support the new vision.
- Motivate by challenging your sales team to be the best they can be.
Who this book is for: McCord’s no-nonsense approach is best suited for sales managers looking to build a sales dream team. But all salespeople should strive for more freedom by accepting more responsibility. You’re an adult, after all!
7. To Sell is Human by Daniel Pink
In some professions, sales reps aren't even called that because of how notorious selling has become.
And it is not because people don't want to buy things. It is because they don't want to be forced to buy them.
To Sell is Human takes a holistic view of sales. According to Pink, sales can be conducted in a "non-sales way" by focusing on the human aspect of the sales process.
- Attunement is essential - If you are not attuned to your prospect's needs, even a sale is not a victory because it will lead to buyer's remorse.
- Buoyancy will keep you afloat - In what Daniel calls the ocean of rejection, buoyancy produces results.
- Clarity - Being clear is how you can shorten your sales process while selling more.
Who this book is for: Since the ABCs of selling introduced by Daniel Pink aim to replace the old sales mindset, this book will work best for seasoned salespeople who are starting to see a decline in their conversion rates.
8. The Way of the Wolf by Jordan Belfort
Jordan Belfort became a household name after Leonardo Dicaprio played him in The Wolf of Wall Street, a biopic that addresses his rise and fall.
Belfort re-emerged as a sales trainer, teaching people the system he had previously used to push penny stocks at high price points. Now, he is committed to teaching the same selling techniques for ethical sales.
- Your trustworthiness is determined in the first few seconds - You have to appear sharp and be likable within the first four seconds of a sale.
- The prospect must love you, your product, and your company - If you, your product, or your company turn off the client, there will be no sale.
- Lower their action threshold while emphasizing the pain points - You can use story and descriptive language to get them to want to act quickly.
Who is this book for: Since Jordan Belfort takes pride in turning beginners into master salespeople, this book is best for fresh sales reps and those willing to unlearn traditional sales "wisdom."
9. Relentless by Tim Grover
Tim Grover was one of Michael Jordan's coaches and handled the mindset aspect of Jordan's journey.
Salespeople have to face rejection constantly, and because they have to pick themselves up repeatedly, resilience helps. Relentless is Tim Grover's book on the determined mindset that documents the specifics of the philosophy that can turn you into the Michael Jordan of selling.
- There are coolers, closers, and cleaners - Most people fall into the first two categories. However, it is the cleaners who are irreplaceable.
- You can be a cleaner if you stick to your goals beyond reason - Do you want to be successful, or do you want to be reasonable?
- Cleaners cannot afford to coddle themselves - Agents can feel sorry for themselves, but if they adopt the cleaner mentality, they can look at reality from a slightly different point of view.
Who this book is for: Relentless is best for salespeople in a rut as it helps one rebuild momentum despite negative self-talk and failure.
10. The One Thing by Gary Keller
Gary Keller is the founder of one of the largest Real Estate franchises in the world.
The One Thing talks about how success comes from focusing on one thing that can make everything else irrelevant. For salespeople, that's the sale. The other metrics don't matter as much if you get the deal. It can help make salespeople more productive.
- Multitasking is a myth - Your brain has to switch between tasks and loses energy in the process.
- Ask the focusing question - What is the one thing you can do so that other things become irrelevant or unimportant? This could be dialing more numbers or closing more deals for a salesperson.
- Prioritize your to-do list by order of effect - This can reduce the amount of time lost to irrelevant activities in a salesperson's workday.
Who this book is for: The One Thing is a book that can help junior as well as senior sales reps. It can even help sales managers and directors because of its pan-productivity focus.
11. Atomic Habits by James Clear
This book is one of the all-time bestsellers in the self-help category.
Atomic Habits addresses the importance of habits in automating success. So much of what humans do is by the force of habit. If a salesperson can optimize their patterns for better sales figures, they can attain them.
- Focus on getting 1% better every day - If a salesperson starts improving just one aspect of their work by 1% each day, they can benefit from the compounding effect of good habits.
- How you see yourself affects your habits - salespeople can start associating more self-esteem and prestige with their projects to develop positive feedback loops.
- Use cue, craving, response, and reward to form habits - This four-step cycle that builds habits can be consciously controlled. A salesperson can fall in love with the most effort in some aspects of selling by simply controlling the response and reward to specific cues.
Who this book is for: Salespeople who have trouble with executive dysfunction can benefit from automating their success with intentionally cultivated habits.
Recap: Best Sales Mindset Books
Top sales mindset books can help salespeople gain momentum after a bad day, educate them on how to improve and optimize their respective processes and get more sales at the end of the day.
Above all, they can recontextualize sales as conversations that aim to help prospects instead of taking advantage of them.
Now that you’ve got the right sales mindset, it’s time to hit the phones! Schedule a demo of AutoReach so you can increase your productivity and connect with more decision makers.