Inspiring Belief in Sales.

Read the following inspirational books. If just a fraction gets through, it will have been worthwhile:

Spin Selling

Neil Rackham

‘Sales is about the gift of the gab.isn’t it?’ It always makes me chuckle inside when I hear such a statement made. For those of you that are interested in venturing into sales this is a great beginners book or refresher for more experienced people. The SPIN selling theory provides a clear structure in defining a sales process for you to follow, which defines some clear disciplines and some outstanding questioning techniques with different closing techniques and methods.

The first thing that struck me about this book is that it’s based on extensive research. Rackham, and his team studied more than 35,000 sales calls made by 10,000 sales people in 23 countries over 12 years, and the results are truly inspiring. He introduces the SPIN model (Situation, Problem, Implication, and Need-payoff) and provides the power tools for making the most of a sales call.

If you consider yourself to be a true corporate sales professional, you have no business ignoring this book.

Spin Selling Field Book

Neil Rackham

This field guide is a spectacular resource. It gives you concepts and asks you to put them into practice straight away, and in specific sales situations you are currently facing.

I was dubious in the beginning but since reading the book I noticed a huge difference in the conversations I had with prospects and customers. I would leave calls and meetings having secured a commitment from them to take a buying action – leading me closer to that big win!

I strongly recommend this book.

Customer Centered Selling

Robert L Jolles

Robert Jolles presents a step-by-step methodology that promotes customer loyalty and trust, and teaches you how to use selling principles in every area of life, from managing employees to bringing up children. I thought that Jolles’ examples and situations were excellent and really drove home the points he was making. It is an easy read and really enjoyable.

Don’t Fire Them, Fire Them Up

Frank Pacetta, Roger Gittines

When I was given my first sales team to run my boss at the time – who ended up being the greatest sales leader I have ever worked for – gave me this book to take on holiday. I remember asking if I was going to get any training, he just gave me this book and said ‘read it and then keep it by your side and read it again.’

The writing style of the book makes it feel as though you are listening to the author tell his story. It’s refreshing, uplifting and definitely inspiring. It takes you from being one of the team to crossing that divide to being their boss. His strategies, tips and techniques to motivate your staff are spot on. This book will add a lot of value to your career, and you WILL revisit time and time again.

The New Solution Selling

Keith M Eades

Eades offers some stimulating and unconventional points of view in this book, He presents a methodical, step-by-step guide to implementing a conversational approach to selling which will help any sales person in their career.

How Not To Come Second

David Kean

Written with humour, and offering a lot of very practical advice, this entertaining book is ideal reading for entrepreneurs. The lessons from Kean’s wealth of knowledge and experience are applicable to any situation where you are selling yourself: whether it be to potential employers, investors or commercial partners, the lessons are extremely relevant.

The Sales Bible

Jeffrey Gitomer

Gitomer offers plenty of sensible tips and some good lessons in this book, filled with optimism, boosterism and vibrancy. He tells it how it is, but with an upbeat attitude.

The main lessons you’ll learn from this book are how to cold-call, how to get an appointment, how to use voice mail to your advantage and most importantly, how to make selling fun!


Stephen Lundin, Harry Paul, John Christensen

Fish! A strange name, but a perfect must for any working soul.

Donald Mitchell reviewed Fish and mentioned structure and asked, ‘How can it make sense for business people in suits to go to a market and catch fish being thrown at them?’ Well, I think maybe Donald missed the point, I felt that the point was ‘don’t let wearing a suit let you miss out on some fun, dare to throw the fish, dare to catch it, the chances are whatever the outcome, fish caught, fish dropped, you will have enjoyed the experience. Also, Donald mentioned that if you don’t know Seattle or the Market it may not make much sense, I live in Hampshire, England and it worked.

Fish is a MUST READ, whether you employ, are employed, or even unemployed this little gem is worth every penny. Enjoy your life by choosing your attitude and seeing the fun in everyday life. Fish! is at the core of my company, everything we do is done to make someones day, and we love it!

It is not surprising that this book is a lot like Gung Ho! One of the co-authors is from the Ken Blanchard organization, and Blanchard uses a film created by the other co-authors in his talks. The story is a fable built on a real fish business in Seattle, Pike Fish Place (usually referred to as “the world famous Pike Fish Place” in the book).

One of the great strengths of the book is that it aspires to enhance humanity in places where humanity is often partially shut out – back offices, fish stores, and other places where most people would not want to work. The authors’ persuasively point out that life is what you make of it.

The book is clearly aimed at the supervisory and managerial level person, although it will be appreciated by those below and above those levels.

Now, go Fish! and have a ball!

I was given the book by work as a way of boosting morale in our team. I can’t believe the change in my colleagues in such a short space of time. We are all putting the principles in place, both in our professional lives and our personal lives, and we do appear to be more cheerful and customer focused. Must get fish tales next!

Power Base Selling

Jim Holden

When you move into the world of strategic selling this book is a must have. Its clear, and like a game of Chess clearly outlines the players involved and their traits when trying to win a major deal.

Almost all sales books have two major flaws:

1) They give you high level advise, such as ‘have a strategy’ without giving you the ‘rubber-meets-the-road’ actions to take.

2) They expect you to operate within a vacuum, where their selling system or methodology will work every time.

Power Base Selling does not contain the first flaw and does an admirable job of trying to avoid the second. It is the first and best book I have read attacking the problem of organizational politics and the human dynamics in a corporate or complex selling environment. It gives very practical ideas on what to do in most political/selling situations to tilt the decision in your favor.

What this book does not do, nor attempt to do, is discuss the importance of a value proposition and the solution you are trying to sell. This is a great book to complement other famous sales books such as ‘Solution Selling’.

I recommend this book highly to anyone that sells in a complex sales world. Forget all the Zig Ziglar-type sales technique books! This is the real deal; It’s about methodology, not how to glad hand or do an end run around the CFO or purchasing manager. If you want to understand the nature of truly competitive selling read this book, then watch the movie ‘Glegarry Glen Ross’ for contrast. We trained the worldwide sales force of a F500 company on the Holden methodology. Results speak for themselves:

I’ve been selling computer services for 9 years and applied many techniques in selling solutions and commodity type products to customers. From all of the techniques out there, Power Base Selling tops them all especially on how to engage and defeat the competition. This book is the most incredible selling book on the market!

The first time I read Power Base Selling, I thought it was great. Now that I have just re-read it, I am blown away by points that I missed the first time around. I recommend that everyone read it, apply it and then read it again – it not only sharpens your political skills in selling, but in life.

Power Base Selling is incisive, unconventional and a hell of a good read. The book started with a clean slate as to how sales (and for that matter, all business relationships) should be conducted, and it comes up with some completely counterintuitive positions. Each section of the book draws something from the warrior/philosopher Sun Tzu, often condensing the section’s poignant examples and real-world techniques into a memorable sound-bite that I find myself muttering under my breath as I ponder strategies. Stylistically, the book is crisp and accessible. Since I first encountered Power Base a few years ago, I have given away probably a dozen copies, many to friends who aren’t even in sales. Like Carnegie’s ‘How to Win Friends.’ the insight on the workings of business politics are useful for almost everything. Highly recommended!

The Selling Fox

Jim Holden

Jim Holden uses the metaphor of the Selling Fox to present ideas that will sharpen the skills of any competitive sales professional. Unlike many sales books, which have a ‘supervisory’ voice, written from the perspective of someone who isn’t actually battling away on the front lines, Holden writes about the reality of winning and keeping business.

Foxes survive and thrive in an environment where another player is always scheming to steal their cheese, not move it. In fact, one unique aspect of this helpful guide is its practical advice on how to set traps for your competitors and take their clients away. That may not fit the rest of Holden’s emphasis on integrity, but the law of the jungle is often what makes a sales professional a valued property. Maybe the fox analogy is overdone, but the phrase ‘super sales person’ is even more careworn. We strongly recommend this book to those engaged in the noble business of selling, and to those who train them.

This is how to sell in any and all competitive markets. If you are not aware or using this stuff, you are at a big time loss or will lose sales to me.

  • Measure your personal performance and professional development.
  • Establish and maintain executive relationships.
  • Destabilize the competition to win market share (THE BEST, BEST, BEST STUFF).
  • Build personal credibility.
  • Utilize advanced blocking and trapping techniques (GREAT IDEAS).
  • Objectively evaluate sales opportunities and pursue the right lead every time.
  • Anticipate and defend against competitors’ attacks (ONLY WAY TOO GO!)

All, and I mean ALL selling is competitive (or you are not in sales) in the new age of selling – info moves faster, decisions are made with different spins and he or she who discerns the buying process and measures every step wins.

Jim shows you how this info is not new, yet an expansion of material first introduced years ago on Power Base Selling (the best book on Sage selling ever) and World Class. This book targets the individual skills and intuition of the Selling Fox. Great work. I have read ‘SPIN-SPUN’ selling and feel that executing that process can be a bigger negative vs. positive to getting the job done: read ‘High Prob Selling’ and this will greatly compliment Holdens concepts to some extent.

Holden’s books will always house my shelf with ONLY a few others: ‘Toa of Sales,’ Behr, ‘Major Account Selling,’ Rackham, ‘Solution Selling and High Prob Selling’ and of course the BOMB of them all ‘The Selling Fox,’ Holden. MUST READ! Honest and real! No hype and bla-bla about this, that, and the other.

The New Conceptual Selling

Robert Miller, Stephen Heiman

Throw the old rules of traditional sales out the window. Stephen E. Heiman and his co-authors, Diane Sanchez and Tad Tuleja, state in no uncertain terms that to remain a successful sales professional you need to change the way you view the selling process. They advocate a customer-driven model of sales as the only approach for long-term success. The book includes ‘personal workshops’ to allow you to apply these concepts directly to your sales situation.

I recommend this book to anyone frustrated by the limitations of product-pitch selling. Note: this book is a revision of Conceptual Selling (by Robert Bruce Miller with Heiman and Tuleja, Warner Books, 1987), which has been updated to reflect the economy of today and tomorrow.

While today the book’s content seems pretty basic, at its publication the idea of thoroughly understanding the concept of the customer wasn’t exactly widespread. Presenting without prior analyzing the goals and theories of the client, or misunderstanding them, is a prescription for objections. Don’t make assumptions, is what we learn from this book, and we should be thankful for being reminded by the authors about this fundamental sales rule.

I read this book to prepare myself for a sales course at the company where I work. As it turns out I am no salesman, but the trainer did note that I had a very good insight into the sales process. So good, in fact, that he advised me to become a selling consultant for my company instead of a salesman. All that, thanks to having read this book in combination with ‘The New Strategic Selling’ (also by Heiman). If you really want to start selling, you must read this book!

The New Strategic Selling

Robert Miller, Stephen Heiman

I’ve been using ‘Strategic Selling’ in my engineering sales practice since the original edition of this book hit the bookshelves. This is a great method for people who don’t want to consider themselves ‘salespeople’, but who indeed sell. Engineers, architects, high-tech products sales consultants, and other professionals will find this to be a low pressure, ethics-based approach to selling. I call it ‘the engineers approach’ to sales because it provides such a methodological approach. For the professional salesperson, it puts into a repeatable process what they have been doing instinctively. But why leave it to chance?

The list of major companies who use the Strategic Selling process to drive their sales is extremely impressive.

A book about how to get what you want out of life, whether that is in your business or personal life. It is filled with specific advice to keep you focused on the outcome you’re shooting for, and equipped to manage the pressure that can either help you or hurt you along the way. It gives excellent suggestions on bargaining – everything from the greet to closing the deal. It helps you create win/win situations with your customers.

This book is great and has helped me tremendously in being more confident in prospecting new business for my line of work. It gives excellent advise on deal making – everything from the initial sales call to closing the deal. It hits on points critical to strategic planning and developing a strong sales action plan. An A+++ book!!

Who Moved My Cheese?

Dr Spencer Johnson

At first I was more than skeptical about this book, a story about a couple of mice and some ‘Little people’ running around a maze looking for cheese? How could this book possibly be of any interest to me? Well when I finally swallowed my pride and sat down with a copy of ‘Who Moved My Cheese?’ I was stunned to say the least.

This book has completely turned around my opinions of change, happiness and so many aspects of my life – all of which it can relate to in one way or another. I would strongly recommend that anyone and everyone read this book, whether it’s for personal or professional reasons. An inspiring and embarrassingly realistic story. Change comes to us all. Be the change before it’s too late.