27 Books Every Salesperson Should Read in 2020

Best Sales Books

The right sales book can help you unlock your hidden potential. However, there are hundreds of books on sales, business and management available, so how do you find the best books on sales, business or on being successful? We selected 27 that could provide the basis of your reading and research in 2020. Here, in no particular order, are 27 of the best sales books by our industry’s tastemakers, titans and trailblazers.

Sales books

1. “Jeffrey Gitomer’s Sales Manifesto”

Originally published January 2019.

Author Jeffrey Gitomer turns years of selling, speaking and training into New York Times bestselling sales books like “Little Red Book of Selling” (also featured in this list).

Read this book if you’re looking for a modern master class on the art of selling. 

Gitomer wants to help every salesperson reach the top and stay there. His straight-shooting guide reveals outdated sales tactics, then teaches you how to replace them with a start-to-finish sales strategy for winning more deals today and tomorrow.

Best quote: “You become proficient by taking action. You master by repetition of process.”

Buy the book here.

2. “Let's Get Real or Let's Not Play”

Originally published October 2008.

Coauthor Mahan Khalsa is a B2B sales expert and founder of the Sales Performance Practice at FranklinCovey.

Coauthor Randy Illig is a sales consultant and Global Practice Leader for the Sales Performance Practice at FranklinCovey.

Read this book if you want to gain and hold onto more customers.

The new sales culture has moved beyond just getting customers to buy and that demands a new kind of sales book. Cue Khalsa and Illig. Together, they show you how focusing 100% of your efforts on helping clients succeed is the key to closing more deals and generating repeat business.

Best quote: “A tremendous opportunity exists to radically increase the success and satisfaction of both buyers and sellers. With a good fit, both parties win.”

Buy the book here.

3. “Selling to the C-Suite”

Originally published February 2018.

Coauthor Stephen Bistritz has 40+ years of sales and management experience and runs training workshops based on this book. 

Coauthor Nicholas Read transformed a top sales career into training workshops and software for businesses and business schools worldwide. 

Read this book if you want the inside scoop on selling to C-level executives

By interviewing executives in more than 500 organizations, Bistritz and Read discovered that corporate leaders aren’t averse to sales pitches so long as the salesperson approaches them in the right way. They reveal that “right way” to you in this cutting-edge sales book. 

Best quote: “It’s our observation that most traditional wisdom about selling to executives is actually at odds with what executives themselves tell us works.”

Buy the book here.

4. “Smart Calling”

Originally published April 2013.

Author Art Sobczak is an international sales speaker and trainer who helps phone sellers maximize results. 

Read this book if you want an intelligent method for engaging phone prospects

“Smart Calling” remains one of the best books on selling and prospecting by phone. With all-new examples from the field, the updated 2020 edition has even more sage advice for helping you turn the dreaded act of cold calling into a lucrative, rejection-free sales system.

Best quote: “Prospecting by phone works. And when done the right way it is wildly profitable.”

Buy the book here.

Best Sales Books

5. “The Challenger Sale”

Originally published November 2011.

Coauthor Matt Dixon is a leading expert on sales, customer service and the customer experience.

Coauthor Brent Adamson has 20+ years’ experience as a professional researcher, trainer and teacher. 

Read this book if your goal is consistently high sales performance.

In one of the best sales books around for learning to increase performance by reframing client expectations, Dixon and Adamson show you how becoming a Challenger sales rep lets you deliver value to customers while taking control of the sale.  

Best quote: “What customers want more than anything else is for their suppliers to deliver insight to them – new ideas that they’d not previously considered.”

Buy the book here.

6. “Coaching Salespeople into Sales Champions”

Originally published March 2008.

Author Keith Rosen delivers sales, sales management and coaching programs to hundreds of thousands of professionals worldwide. 

Read this book if you want to ramp up your team’s B2B sales.

Rosen is a founding member of the International Coach Federation, so you know you’re in good hands with his sales books. Consider this one your sales training secret weapon for everything from motivating a team through the art of enrollment, to avoiding fatal coaching mistakes.

Best quote: “Managers lose talented salespeople and maintain an atmosphere of mediocrity not because of a lack of effort but because they lack a coaching system they can trust to leverage the talents of their salespeople in order to generate consistent, worthwhile results.”

Buy the book here.

7. “The Introvert’s Edge”

Originally published January 2018.

Author Matthew Pollard has launched five multi-million-dollar ventures from scratch and helped thousands of struggling companies succeed. 

Read this book if you find it hard to ask for the sale. 

You don’t have to be pushy or gifted in communication to succeed in sales. In fact, as an introvert himself, Pollard shows you why the shy often make the best salespeople. He’ll teach you how to outsell any extrovert by embracing your natural strengths.  

Best quote: “We [introverts] don’t have the same natural abilities as extroverts. We have to make up for it in other ways … but that extra effort actually gives us an edge over others.”

Buy the book here.

8. “SPIN Selling”

Originally published 1988.

Author Neil Rackham’s background in research psychology led to the breakthrough “SPIN Selling” and several other timeless sales books.

Read this book if you want to conquer one of the classic selling systems. 

Based on 12 years of research and more than 35,000 sales calls, the SPIN strategy for outselling your competitors is founded on four stages of sales questions: Situation, Problem, Implication and Need-payoff. Not sure SPIN Selling’s still relevant? Watch this recent interview with Rackham.

Best quote: “Many of the models and methods that help you in smaller sales will hurt your success as the sales grow larger.”

Buy the book here.

Sales Books

9. “SNAP Selling”

Originally published May 2010.

Author Jill Konrath is a sales strategist (with clients like IBM and Microsoft) and author of bestselling sales books like “More Sales, Less Time” (also featured in this list).

Read this book if you want a better grasp of your prospect’s decision-making process.

While SPIN selling focuses on questions, SNAP selling is about principles: making things Simple for clients, becoming iNvaluable to them, Aligning yourself with what they want to achieve, and Prioritizing their needs. For more insight, have a look at these sales tips from Konrath’s SlideShare.

Best quote: “Sales is an outcome, not a goal. It’s a function of doing numerous things right, starting from the moment you target a potential prospect until you finalize the deal.”

Buy the book here.

10. “Eat Their Lunch”

Originally published November 2018.

Author Anthony Iannarino speaks nationwide and pens bestselling sales books like “The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need”.

Read this book if you want to solidify your firm’s competitive advantage through sales. 

In this step-by-step playbook, Iannarino solves the riddles behind enabling growth and increasing your company’s market share by methodically winning over your competitors’ B2B clients.

Best quote: “If you are going to replace your competitor (i.e., eat their lunch), you’ll have to make it worth your dream client’s time, energy, and money to change.”

Buy the book here.

11. “Secrets of Closing the Sale”

Originally published 1982.

Author Zig Ziglar was a globally recognized speaker whose legacy includes more than two dozen bestselling books on leadership, sales and success.

Read this book if you want to sell more through the art of persuasion.

This giant among sellers teaches you how to get everything you want by helping others get what they want. Ziglar’s practical steps and techniques will help you win more sales by positioning yourself as the consummate problem-solver for your clients. 

Best quote: “The objective of every sale is to make certain the customer gets fair value, and if he gets more than fair value, not only do you have the sale, but you’ve built a customer who will, in turn, help you build other customers.”

Buy the book here.

12. “Go for No!”

Originally published March 2019.

Coauthors Richard Fenton and Andrea Waltz (aka the “Failure Philosophers” and “Courage Crafters”) specialize in achieving breakthrough performance by unconventional means. 

Read this book if you want to learn how to use failure to find success.

Unlike most sales books, “Go for No!” features a fictional character who jumps 10 years ahead to meet a more successful version of himself. The hook is that the “future self” will only come to be if the “past self” overcomes his fear of failure and self-limiting beliefs. Intrigued? Watch this video of Waltz and Fenton discussing their book.

Best quote: “This book is for anyone who wants to break through self-imposed barriers and achieve everything life has to offer.”

Buy the book here.

Sales Books

13. “Objections”

Originally published June 2018.

Author Jeb Blount advises many of the world’s leading executives and has a reputation for helping sales organizations achieve peak performance, fast.

Read this book if you want to transform sales objections into client commitments. 

This is one of the best sales books to date for helping you reach your income goals. Blount explains the psychology behind moving past “no” to get to “yes”, and then gives you proven techniques for working with today’s more informed (and more skeptical) buyer. 

Best quote: “You must ask for what you want, directly, assumptively, assertively, and repeatedly. When you fail to ask, you fail.”

Buy the book here.

14. “How to Win Friends and Influence People”

Originally published 1936.

Author Dale Carnegie was a pioneer in the self-improvement field and millions of readers continue to benefit from his books.

Read this book if you want to become a more successful salesperson, networker or leader.

15 million copies sold and counting! Carnegie’s classic remains one of the very best books on selling yourself to anyone you meet. It’s chock-full of insightful, actionable tips for working effectively with others, making people like you and winning them over to your way of thinking. 

Best quote: “The person who has technical knowledge plus the ability to express ideas, to assume leadership, and to arouse enthusiasm among people – that person is headed for higher earning power.”

Buy the book here.

15. “Little Red Book of Selling”

Originally published September 2004.

Author Jeffrey Gitomer (aka King of Sales) is a speaker and consultant whose many books include “Sales Manifesto” (also featured in this list).

Read this book if you want to learn how to convert selling skills into buying motives.

Gitomer’s selling principles include “Kick your own ass” and “If you can make them laugh, you can make them buy”. Often featured on lists of the best sales books of all time, this read will clarify exactly what your customers want and how to give it to them.

Best quote: “People don’t like to be sold, but they love to buy. Your job as a master salesman is to create an atmosphere where people want to buy.”

Buy the book here

16. “Sell It Like Serhant”

Originally published September 2019.

Author Ryan Serhant (once a shy and jobless hand model) leads a team of 60 real estate brokers to an average billion dollars in sales every year.

Read this book if you’re new to the concept of selling anything to anyone. 

Top realtor Serhant’s guide is one of the best books on selling for the less experienced salesperson. His tips on negotiating, finding your hook and selling in stages will guide you through the juggling and closing of multiple deals as you ramp up your income.

Best quote: “No one will hand you a secret formula for success. You will realize what the secret is only after you’ve created it.”

Buy the book here.

sales books

17. “The Most Important Question”

Originally published July 2013.

Author Peep Vain is a founding investor at Pipedrive and a motivational speaker on personal development and leadership training.

Read this book if you have trouble defining your goals. 

Infinite possibilities, outside influences and the expectations of others can make it difficult to get what you want and enjoy it. Vain gives you a simple, linear method for maintaining balance so you don’t have to sacrifice your big wants for smaller, more urgent demands. 

Best quote: “A big reason why people do not get what they want is that they often do not know what they want.”

Buy the book here.

18. “The Go-Giver”

Originally published December 2007.

Coauthor Bob Burg is a top sales professional who teaches the “Go-Giver” principles to conference-goers worldwide.

Coauthor John David Mann is an entrepreneur and award-winning coauthor of multiple New York Times bestsellers.

Read this book if you want an alternative to the “dog-eat-dog” world of sales.

This book joins a short but distinguished list of business fables like Ken Blanchard’s “The One Minute Manager”. Bringing new relevance to the adage “give and you shall receive”, you’ll discover valuable sales (and life) lessons behind the tale of a go-getter executive who meets a legendary sales consultant and learns the “laws of stratospheric success”.

Best quote: “While the world may at times appear to be a dog-eat-dog place, there is actually a set of much kinder and vastly more powerful principles operating beneath the surface of casual appearances.”

Buy the book here.

19. “More Sales, Less Time”

Originally published December 2016.

Author Jill Konrath’s fresh sales strategies make a regular impact at conferences, online and in must-read sales books like “SNAP Selling” (also featured in this list).  

Read this book if you’re consistently short on time or behind on your sales quota.

Konrath learned the hard way that overwhelmed salespeople need a unique set of guidelines. With the help of front-line behavioral research, she created these time savers and productivity hacks specifically for crazy busy sellers like you.   

Best quote: “If we want to not just survive but thrive in our always-on world, we need to take a serious look at how we’re actually working today.”

Buy the book here.

20. “Solution Selling”

Originally published September 1994.

Author Mike Bosworth is a sales trainer and speaker who grew Solution Selling® to a royalty income exceeding $2.8M annually. 

Read this book if you’re tired of relying on blind luck or high-pressure selling.

Still one of the books on the market, especially for complex or hard-to-sell products, “Solution Selling” is a proven sales methodology that will lead both you and your customers to more profitable outcomes.

Best quote: “The number one selling problem I encounter is an alignment problem – alignment between seller and buyer with respect to their needs.”

Buy the book here.

21. “Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive”

Originally published 1988.

Author Harvey Mackay is a nationally syndicated columnist, world-renowned speaker and New York Times bestselling author.

Read this book if you’re a “type A” personality looking to crush the competition.

Divided into three sections (salesmanship, negotiation and management), Mackay’s dynamic sales book includes chapters with titles like “Make Your Decisions with Your Heart, and What You’ll End Up with Is Heart Disease”. Read it to nail important lessons like: it doesn’t matter how much something’s worth; it only matters how much people think it’s worth.

Best quote: “Sharks change. It’s one of the laws of evolution. If you don’t keep pace with that change, you are suddenly shark bait, not sharkproof.”

Buy the book here.

22. “Cracking the Sales Management Code”

Originally published October 2011.

Coauthor Jason Jordan teaches sales management at the Darden School of Business and runs a training and development firm. 

Coauthor Michelle Vazzana speaks about sales transformation and has coached hundreds of sales managers.

Read this book if you’re looking for a proven and practical sales management system.

Drawing on extensive research into how world-class companies succeed, this is the definitive operations manual for closing the gap between processes and results. Don’t be surprised if it becomes your go-to reference for measuring and managing a sales force using metrics and other real-world tactics.

Best quote: “We have developed a management system that will predictably link the activities in the war room to the battle on the field.”

Buy the book here.

23. “The Science of Selling”

Originally published November 2016.

Author David Hoffeld is CEO and chief sales trainer at one of the nation’s leading research-backed sales and consulting firms.

Read this book if you need an edge in today’s cutthroat selling environment.

Successful salespeople align their approach with the way our brains make buying decisions. This research-backed sales book shows you how to use “human” science to promote customer receptiveness, neutralize objections and master the incremental commitments that lead to a sale.

Best quote: “Talent is not enough to become a top performing salesperson. Those who have a growth mindset are far more likely to be successful.”

Buy the book here.

24. “Sales Management. Simplified.”

Originally published October 2015.

Author Mike Weinberg is a sales coach and best-selling author on a mission to create more high-performing sales teams. 

Read this book if you can’t figure out why your sales department keeps falling short.

Expert sales consultant Weinberg calls out common, costly mistakes made by well-intentioned sales managers. His practical tools and advice, punctuated by funny stories from the field, make this one of the best books on selling ever for learning how to manage your sales team for success. Get a sneak peek at Weinberg’s HBR webinar.

Best quote: “To truly transform the results and health of an entire sales team, the leader and the culture must be transformed.”

Buy the book here.

Best sales books

25. “The Psychology of Selling”

Originally published 1985.

Author Brian Tracy is a legendary sales professional and consultant with more than 70 business and sales books under his belt.

Read this book if you want to increase your sales, regardless of vertical. 

Still one of the best books money can buy! Tune in to Brian Tracy’s Success Channel, then read up on his methods, strategies and techniques for breaking into the top 20% of sales reps in any business.

Best quote: “If you do what other successful people do, over and over again, nothing in the world can stop you from eventually getting the same results that they do.”

Buy the book here.

26. “Mindset”

Originally published December 2006.

Author Dr. Carol Dweck has earned nine lifetime achievement awards as a leading researcher in social and developmental psychology.

Read this book if you’re serious about achieving more of your goals. 

More than just a sales book, “Mindset” explores one simple, groundbreaking concept: people who believe their abilities can develop are far more likely to succeed than those who believe their abilities are fixed. Find out how the right mindset can improve your life and career. 

Best quote: “My research has shown that the view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life and whether you accomplish the things you value.”

Buy the book here.

27. “To Sell Is Human”

Originally published December 2012.

Author Daniel Pink has written multiple New York Times bestsellers, with more than a million copies sold in the US alone.

Read this book if you want an organic approach to moving more customers to buy.

The surprising truth about moving others (which just happens to be the subtitle of this book) is that selling is something we all do every day. Pink shows you how serving customers first (and selling to them second) is a natural extension of our ability to move the people we care about to do the things that we want.

Best quote: “The ability to move others to exchange what they have for what we have is crucial to our survival and our happiness.”

Buy the book here.

Sales guru Zig Ziglar is quoted as saying, “The first step in solving a problem is to recognize that it does exist.” 

Maybe the second step should be adding as many of these latest and greatest sales/selling books as possible to your shelf or device.

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