Closing Time! The 10 Best Sales Books of All Time

When sales coaching legend Zig Ziglar said: “You can get everything you want in life if you just help other people get what they want,” he was speaking to the heart of the salesperson.

Sales is about communication, persuasion and the building of interpersonal connection – the ultimate goal of which is to help someone figure out what they want. This curated list of the best sales books out there is here to help you get what you want – becoming the best salesperson you can be:

1) How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Originally published a whopping 84 years ago, what makes Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People so timeless? Simply that Carnegie deals with the fundamentals of human relationships, and they aren’t changing any time soon. Carnegie’s book is the bible of interpersonal skills, which will set you up for building the relationships that are key to sales and sales coaching.

2) Little Red Book of Selling by Jeffrey Gitomer

Certified sales coach Jeffrey Gitomer’s punchy little book is all about the simple premise that understanding why people buy is the most important aspect in sales. Brimming with wisdom squeezed into bite-size quotes, this book is a quick, easy and informative read.

3) The Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes

Holme’s sales training techniques are world renowned. In Ultimate Sales Machine he steadfastly refuses to jump on the bandwagon of trendy sales techniques and instead offers timeless advice to salespeople everywhere. Holmes is a practically minded certified sales trainer and his advice to master a few essential skills will turn you into a sales machine!

4) Sell or Be Sold by Grant Cardone

Cardone expands the philosophy of sales into everyday life with his principle of sell or be sold. A must-read for any certified sales coach, Cardone will guide you to the understanding that every relationship in life can be viewed as an ideological battle to sell your ideas, or have ideas sold to you. Understood in this way, sales takes on an entirely new dimension!

5) Never Be Closing by Tim Hurson And Tim Dunne

The two Tims are keen to stress that better sales training should provide a long-term framework for success. To that end Never Be Closing is a practical and well-structured guide to selling strategy, astutely placing interpersonal communication at the heart of good sales.

6) The Challenger Sale by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson

Dixon and Adamson’s radical book rejects the classical model of sales as relationship-building, arguing persuasively that as the sales landscape has become increasingly complex, sales tend to be business to business rather than interpersonal. Their model, replicated by certified sales trainers everywhere, is based on a new archetype salesperson, the Challenger. The Challenger’s assertive qualities allow them to dominate the new sales landscape.

7) To Sell is Human by Daniel H. Pink

Pink’s social science pedigree grounds his book in a knowledgeable and scientific context. Better known for his New York Times bestseller Drive, about the motivations behind human action, Pink is a master in the analysis of human nature and his application of this understanding to sales is well structured, accessible and ultimately highly relevant, even featuring six successors to the elevator pitch!

8) How to Master the Art of Selling by Tom Hopkins

Any certified sales trainer recognises the value of Hopkins’s best-selling sales manifesto. Treating sales as an art, Hopkins introduces the reader to a multitude of subtle sales techniques focussing on both face-to-face and telephone sales and tips for the first meeting.

9) Solution Selling by Michael T. Bosworth

Bosworth’s book, subtitled “Creating Buyers in Difficult Selling Markets” is a must-read for anyone interested in sales with an eye to selling tricky or intangible products and services. Bosworth’s deep insights into buyer psychology will be valuable for any salesperson, but especially those in difficult markets.

10) Secrets of Closing the Sale by Zig Ziglar

A classic in the sales training world, Ziglar packs his book with humour and engaging anecdotal tales. It’s an encyclopaedic book of sales techniques and features closing tips for every possible scenario. Ziglar was an archetypal salesman whose focus on communication and persuasion has something to offer any certified sales trainer out there.

This list of the best sales books money can buy features the classics of sales, sales coaching and sales training, as well as a few new ideas. You can find a steep learning curve when you set out on a sales journey, but once you’ve delved into the ideas contained in these books, you’ll be the hero of the sales team in no time.

About the Author: Beatrix Potter is a regular writer at Custom Essay and OXEssays. She writes about all things sales and loves the thrill of closing a deal. She also is a manager at the Custom Paper Writing Service website.

The Theory and Practice of Sales Funnels

For over 100 years, the term “sales funnel” has been used to describe the traditional process of making a sale. At the beginning you attract a wide base of prospects and as you continue the process, you narrow all the way down to individual customers.

The reason the sales funnel model has stood the test of time is its ability to be applied to any seller, business model or product base. Without a sales funnel, the sales process can become unnecessarily complex leading to confused customers and lost sales. With a sales funnel, you’ve got a roadmap to success.

How Does It Work?

The central idea is so simple you’re probably already fulfilling the basic functions without being aware of it. At its core, the sales funnel is based on four progressive stages:

  1. Awareness

This is the moment a potential customer becomes aware of your product or service. This is where your marketing kicks in i.e. getting your message out there.

  1. Interest

Stage 2 begins as soon as a customer expresses an active interest in your product having already been made aware of it in Stage 1. An example of this from the good old days would have been a customer walking into your brick and mortar store.

  1. Desire

Now the customer is aware of your product or service and has shown interest in it, you need to help them understand why they really want it. Staying with the example from Stage 2, this is where you or your top salesperson goes over all the unique features and benefits of the product.

  1. Action

The final stage. You take the customer to whatever version of a checkout you’re using, and they purchase the product or service.

Of course, this is an oversimplified version of a sales funnel as there are several other stages that come into play depending if you have a complicated product or service. Often, there is another stage called Evaluation where a customer likes your product but wants to check out the competition before they buy from you.

Hiring the right sales coach to come in and help you establish a targeted sales funnel for your business can be hugely beneficial as they will have the advantage of seeing your product or service as a consumer.

The Sales Funnel in Practice

Here are a few elements that trigger the sales funnel and act as a guide to the consumer on their journey to making a purchase.

  • A sales page is an essential part of any sales funnel. Sophie Turnbull, a sales manager at Writinity and LastMinuteWriting, said: “A sales page is the link between Awareness, Interest and Desire all wrapped into one. It’s marketing and it’s function, and it’s indispensable.” This should be one of the first pages a potential customer visits on your website. The sales page should lead quickly and easily to the order form, presenting the customer with an easy hop from Desire to Action. Finally, a confirmation page is important to leave the customer with a warm feeling of attention and care.

  • But, what about Evaluation? That is the stage between Interest and Desire that is where you could lose your customer. Luckily, there are elements you can include in your sales funnel that can prevent them from jumping ship. Felix Lightfoot, a business writer at Draft Beyond and Researchpapersuk, suggests: “Reminders are the perfect non-intrusive way to keep customers on track to a sale. They can happen at the point of cart abandonment — a great opportunity to offer discounts and sales incentives — or they can be sent to a customer’s email later, perhaps when they’re in an easier spending mood.”

Conclusion: This is only a short introduction to the sales funnel and how a certified sales coach can help you establish and maintain your own successful process. The bottom line is your sales process should flow easily from stage to stage so any customer who expresses an interest in your product or service does not run into any “sale killing” impediments.

Try being an “undercover customer” or get a friend or a colleague to do it for you. Put yourself in a customer’s shoes and see how easily you’re able to be moved through the sales funnel by your store, website or sales staff. If you find the purchasing process overly complicated or frustrating, it might just be time to call in an expert sales trainer to help you streamline your process.

About the Author: Ashley Halsey is a professional writer at Luckyassignments.com and Gumessays.com. Alongside her writing career, she has also been involved in business projects across the country. She enjoys traveling, reading and mixed martial arts.

Meet Sales Goals by Managing Stress More Effectively

Feeling stressed is a physical and emotional response to a specific situation. Too often it can creep up without the victim understanding why. Understanding the factors that can trigger a stress response in an individual is often the first step in being able to manage it.

Typical stress triggers in sales can include a toxic workplace environment, work overload, poor management and unattainable targets. Salespeople must learn how to identify their biggest stress trigger and work on keeping them under control.

Break Psychological Barriers To Meet Sales Goals

Sales is a high-pressure environment fraught with constant deadlines, rejection and uncertainty. The right sales coach can help your reps and managers identify and combat common psychological barriers such as fear of failure and lack of control.

Both these examples stem from deep-seated concerns about under-achieving and underperforming. While some managers believe such fears can motivate employees to work harder, the opposite is more often true as the harsh environment leads to vulnerability and self-doubt that subsequently causes psychological barriers to high performance. Members of your sales team – particularly managers – should re-focus their priorities onto short-term goals and emphasize the process required to achieve results over the results themselves.

Tips from an Engineer to Eliminate Stress and Meet Your Sales Goals

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Engineering requires logical and structured thinking to navigate processes and obstacles. Sales, on the other hand, requires traits such as the ability to build relationships, establish a network of contacts and work in a competitive setting. However, these skills and attributes don’t necessarily lend themselves to effective stress management. Applying the systemic way engineers think to sales can help eliminate stress, allowing sales professionals to achieve their goals with a clear head.

Learn to Prioritise to Meet Your Sales Goals

Stress often comes from feeling overwhelmed. For those in sales, this may be due to having too much to do, a messy pipeline and a limited amount of time to complete their work. An essential skill for reps is to learn is how to prioritize their workload with the most important and time-consuming work always being tackled first. Having an evolving plan that incorporates necessary activities along with goals and time estimates will help your team take back control over their time and focus on what matters.

Additionally, sales reps need to feel empowered to say ‘no’ when necessary. There is no point pushing people to take on more work than they can handle because it will be completed at a lower standard, if it gets done at all. Opening a line of communication where your reps can tell you how full their schedules are – without any fear attached – will lead to reduced stress, higher quality of work and higher productivity.

Have a Back-Up Plan

If all the prevention techniques fail and sales professionals find themselves stressed or panicky and unable to do their work, it’s important to have a plan of action to deal with the situation.

A simple yet effective method encouraged by many leading sales coaches and sales trainers is to focus on breathing. When beginning to feel anxious or stressed, a simple breathing exercise can counteract symptoms. Alternatively, employees can remove themselves from the situation and take a break. A short break of 15 minutes can stop stress in its tracks and allow people to approach their work and the situation more effectively.

Set Weekly Targets

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Short-term goals are the easiest way to regain control and the feeling of achievement. Weekly targets will keep your sales team on track while ensuring the right tasks and activities are being prioritized. At the end of each week, these goals can be reviewed, and the next week’s goals selected with a greater understanding of time constraints and productivity thresholds.

Remain Aware and Mindful

To manage stress effectively, it is important to have a well-developed sense of situational awareness. By having foresight into when triggers are likely to be present, employees can be prepared and stay in control. Detailed and effective plans that focus on the process will enable reps to approach potential triggers with confidence. In a sales environment, there are inevitable disappointments and failures. It is important that your employees learn to alter their perspective and see their supposed ‘failures’ as learning opportunities.

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Conclusion

It is a widely accepted fact that productivity improves as the general wellbeing of employees improves. In sales, reps are subject to high-pressure environments and numerous stress triggers. Providing sales training to those team members to better manage their emotions will combat stress and help them flourish in the workplace.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mildred Delgado is a marketing strategist who works with marketing teams at Academic Brits and PhD Kingdom.

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KEEP CALM AND SELL ON! PART TWO: SELLING FROM A DISTANCE – HOW TO UTILIZE VIRTUAL TOOLS TO ENGAGE CLIENTS

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Even before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, an increasing amount of selling was taking place in the virtual world through online tools like email, chat and remote conferencing services such as Zoom.

Now, in our new world of lockdowns and self-isolating, companies unable to move into the virtual realm are going to struggle to survive. There’s no way around it. This is the reality that we all now must face. And, that being the case, the question becomes how to adapt and deliver a sales strategy that will allow sales professionals to continue to engage with customers and prospects in an effective way.

In this article, I am going to focus on how to effectively use remote conferencing tools to continue to thrive during this difficult time in our history. Under normal circumstances, a lot of these tips and tricks would be considered common sense but these are anything but ordinary times and moving online is an adjustment that should not be taken lightly. I trust you will find them useful as we enter what can only be described as the new normal. Good selling!

State objectives and set the tone

If you are the host of an online meeting or sales call, take control as if you were running a meeting in the conference room at the office. Include an objective for the meeting and a rough agenda in your invitation and then keep everyone to that schedule during the call. It’s going to be tough to stop people from getting sidetracked (e.g. talking about the pandemic) but it is important you don’t allow side conversations to derail your meeting.

Make introductions and keep it light

There’s a very good chance you’ll have new people on these calls a high percentage of the time. Have everyone share their name and their title at the start of the meeting. It’s also a good idea to have everyone share a “fun fact” about themselves as research has shown workers who share an amusing story about themselves produce more ideas in meetings than workers who don’t.

Speaking of lights…

Make sure everyone is in a well-lit room, ideally with the source of the light being on their faces (i.e. not from behind them or the side). Also make sure everyone has their Video turned on as this helps keep people engaged because they know everyone can see what they’re doing.

Use polls

Many online platforms allow users to do multiple choice polls and quickly show results. This is another great way to make sure everyone is paying attention and staying engaged.

Make sure everyone touches the ball

Another great way to keep everyone on task is to ask them to perform a portion of the presentation – even if all they do is read one slide to the group. As with hosting a face-to-face meeting, it’s important to give everyone a role in the meeting but as online technology eliminates some of those roles (e.g. recording the meeting), you might need to get creative. Other roles you can assign include facilitator, presenter and timekeeper.

Wear a headset

It is highly recommended that you use a headset that you plug into your device. A good headset eliminates background noise and makes you sound better. Additionally, headset will reduce the amount of noise others hear if you need to do any typing during the meeting.

Wear pants

This has become my catch-all expression for remembering to pay attention to my surroundings during online meetings. It’s important you still treat your workspace as an office even though you’re in the comfort of your own home. Ensure your background is neat and professional or use the alternative background tools available on most remote conferencing platforms. Remember to shave, comb your hair and dress professionally.

Speaking of wearing pants

You will often be called upon to share your screen during these meetings and it’s important you don’t have sensitive documents on screen when it’s your time to share. It’s also important your desktop is tidy and well organized. As they say, you never get a second chance to make a first impression and a mess is a mess.

Improve your presenting skills

Find a way to weave your content into a story as people tend to lose focus when presenters talk in bullets. Keep it brief by limiting your presentation to only what your audience needs to know. Be more interesting to listen to by varying your tone and volume. And, above all, don’t forget they can see you so be animated with your body language.

Use other features to drive discussion

For example, many online meeting platforms have a Chat function that you can use to “queue” people who want to talk. As they’re not able to raise their hands, have attendees type, “I have a question” into the Chat so everyone – including the host – can see the order of people who have comments.

Close the loop

Leave time for at least a two-minute “wrap up” to the online meeting. Remind everyone what the objectives were and double-check that everything was covered. Then, take a moment to go over objectives, tasks and responsibilities that have arisen as a result of the meeting. Thank everyone and give everyone a big hand for participating so enthusiastically.

Prevent video hijacking

The Better Business Bureau recently published an excellent article about how to prevent “Zoom Bombing.” This is when hijackers acquire the correct URL or meeting ID for a public video conference giving them access to the feed. This is a growing issue and the article highlights two examples where the FBI was called in to investigate. The article expands on the following tips to keep your e-meetings secure:

Use a unique ID for large or public Zoom calls

Require a meeting password

Don’t share the unique ID publicly

Allow only hosts to share their screen

Create a waiting room

Create an invite-only meeting

Lock a meeting once it starts

Remove attendees or put them on hold

Disable the participant’s camera

Keep Disable File Transfer settings active

Do not share your Zoom meetings on a public calendar

SUMMARY: The more I speak with industry leaders about the current situation and how they’re leveraging online tools to stay relevant, the more I’m beginning to understand the increased role these tools will play in our professional lives after the pandemic. I believe this new approach to selling is here to stay and this mass re-adjustment period we’re in is the perfect time to hone existing skills and learn new ones. I don’t think there’s any doubt that this is an opportunity for early adopters to separate themselves from the herd and come out ahead in the business world of the future.

About the Author: Doug Dvorak – CEO at The Sales Coaching Institute: Under Doug’s expert leadership, the Sales Coaching Institute provides sales productivity training and motivational sales excellence management workshops to everyone from small to medium-sized businesses all the way up to Fortune 1000 corporations. Doug is a certified management consultant, sales trainer and executive coach who holds a BA in Business Administration, an MBA in Marketing Management and a Doctor of Laws, H.C. Named one of the Top 10 Sales Professionals in America by Personal Selling Power Magazine, Doug’s business ideals have garnered national and international attention from the likes of The Wall Street Journal, CNN and CBS.

Keep Calm and Sell On! Part One: The 10 Commandments of Working From Home

Whatever your opinion on employees working from home, the COVID-19 pandemic has made it the new normal for most American companies.

The good news is there is a slew of research out there that shows at-home workers are actually more productive than their prairie-dogging contemporaries.

However, working from home requires a different motivational skillset than simply getting up every day and heading into the office where managers and peer pressure play a key role in maintaining and improving performance.

Most companies with successful work-from-home programs carefully wean their employees off coming into the office to give them a chance to develop new work habits while still receiving regular doses of supervision.

In the face of COVID-19, the potential for gradually migrating your employees to their new reality has been eliminated. It’s not an ideal situation but neither are the circumstances we now find ourselves in as a nation.

In this article, I’d like to offer you the next best thing: The tried and true 10 Commandments of Working from Home I’ve developed during my decades-long career in sales and sales leadership.

I’m sure following these important steps will help you and your employees adjust to your new world more quickly than going through all the trial and error I had to over the years. I’m also certain that by following these steps, you’ll come to love your new “workplace” and the high levels of productivity it inspires. Here are my commandments:

1. It’s time for a family meeting

Talk to your family about what the boundaries are while you are working from home. Make sure they understand that you are at work. While it may be cute to have your son or daughter interrupt your meeting internally, it’s important you can stay focused on the task at hand. Be as far away as possible from where they play. You can’t expect small children to be quiet all day. The same logic applies to pets and you might want to think about covering up the doorbell.

2. A home you call an office

Create a dedicated workspace that has a door, if possible. When the door is closed during the day, you are at work. No disruptions! Treat this area as you would your workspace in an office setting. Keep it clear of clutter and other distractions. Make sure you have plenty of internet bandwidth and good cell phone service

3. Set a schedule and stick to it

We are creatures of habit so set an alarm and do something every morning to get yourself in the right frame of mind for the day ahead. Make your bed. Ever wondered why the military does this? Leaders recognize the importance of starting every day with a consistent accomplishment. It also helps creates normalcy.

4. Act as if you were going into the office

When you feel more professional, you will act more professionally. Get up, take a shower, shave and put on what you would wear if you were going into the office (e.g. no baseball caps). Eat a nutritious breakfast and then go to work. Clean out your email before you start the day.

5. Video proof your room

Buy a good video camera with a mic. Use a video tool like Webex or Zoom to conduct online meetings and calls. Don’t forget you’re on camera and everyone can see you. Wear pants! Clean up the clutter behind you or better yet, use one of the program’s available digital backdrops. Use a headset or earbuds; they reduce outside noise. Make sure you look as professional as you would for a team meeting at the office. Even if it’s just audio, act as if you were on camera and stay out of the bathroom.

6. Prepare for Online Meetings

Just because it’s not happening in person doesn’t mean it requires any less preparation. As the salesperson, you are responsible for creating an agenda. Have a goal and take notes so you don’t miss any key takeaways. Keep attendees engaged by asking questions and sharing screens. Encourage your customers and prospects to interact with each other (remember, they aren’t together). Make yourself relevant. Eliminate distractions by turning off your phone and keeping your email Inbox closed or minimized. After the meeting, send out an email summarizing next steps for everyone who attended and suggest shorter (less than an hour), follow-up meetings to see everything through to resolution.

7. Invest in yourself

In an online work environment, it’s important you stay on top of your own professional and personal development. Fortunately, there are a plethora of personal and professional self-help and training platforms. Join Audio Books. Set aside some time daily to listen to or read a chapter or two.

8. Give to others

Just because you’re all not in the same building doesn’t mean you should forego teambuilding and camaraderie. Have a virtual happy hour. Select a self-help book that you can discuss with each other. Think of those people on your team that might be struggling more than others because of isolation or family issues. Make the effort to stay in regular contact with your team to maintain as much normalcy as possible.

9. Reach out to your prospects and customers NOW

People don’t care what you know until they know you care. Reach out to prospects and customers to see how you can help. Listen to them. Help them prepare to get back to business. Educate them on how the supply chain could have tremendous bottlenecks once this crisis has passed. Work through what they may need. Work on having orders ready to place to be first in line. Taking the time to find out what they’re going through personally and professionally will show them you care and help develop a lasting relationship that may be beneficial for both sides over the long haul.

10. Get energized

Take regular mental health breaks. Maybe dust off the exercise equipment in the garage or go for a walk. Take a YouTube yoga class. Watch something funny or inspiring. Help a friend or a neighbor with a quick chore. The possibilities are endless!

SUMMARY: Within reason, working from home lets you be the master of your own schedule so you can plan how to use your time to achieve peak professional performance. Following these commandments will help provide you with a whole new set of skills that will stand you in good stead when the COVID-19 crisis is over.

About the Author: David Sanders – Vice President of Strategy & Talent Acquisition at The Sales Coaching Institute: From small VC-backed firms to some of the world’s most successful technology companies, David has a stellar history of sales leadership success. He is passionate about leading sales teams and has a well-earned reputation in IT as a catalyst for growth. In environments characterized by constant change and organizational restructuring, he consistently raises the bar by optimizing salesforce productivity leading to double-digit year-over-year growth in newly created and integrated sales organizations.