The surest way to keep from growing stagnant in sales is to stock your business bedside table with literature that that exposes you to both the tried and true, as well as the latest research based ideas and techniques from those who’ve proven themselves to be at the top of the game. The list of titles of books on leadership can be overwhelming to say the least, so here are some suggestions of the best of the best to get you started:
5. Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek
From Congress to corporations like Microsoft and 3M, Simon Sinek uses the power of positivity to inspire the next generation of personal, professional sales. He champions the “messiness” (in the very best way) of human interactions as applied to sales, highlighting the importance of being able to connect with clients for maximum reward on both sides. He supports the practice of storytelling (as referenced in the earlier post, “Storytelling in Your Presentations: It's Not Just for Bedtime Anymore”), as a tool to build a working relationship that is grounded in personal connection. Sinek also encourages a reversal of the often adopted belief that executives must look out for themselves before anyone else by arguing that, until your team is taken care of, the potential for true success simply isn’t achievable, and that leaders who are willing to give all that they have to others before taking care of themselves are leaders who see highest levels of loyalty and greatest moments of victory.
4. Turn the Ship Around by David Marquet
Touted as one of the 12 best business books of all time, this book encourages positive, successful motivation that energizes all involved. Much as he did as a Naval commander, Marquet prompts team members to operate in a way that sees everyone truly engaged and confident in their individual abilities to maneuver any rough waters that they may encounter in the business world. This book isn’t so much about growing the individual as it is about the individual leader’s ability to unlock the potential in those around him or her.
3. The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation by Mathew Dixon
This book takes the idea of relationships being the most important element of sales success to the next level, asking team members to go beyond building relationships, and actually challenge them. After exhaustive research of the top sales executives, Dixon and Adamson found that the best of the best, or “Challengers”, are those who are not content to simply build relationships controlled by client desire and potential outcome, but are, instead, able to build relationships that are strong enough to allow them to challenge what a client thinks or believes in regard to ultimate success. The strategies put forth in this book can strengthen top team members, as well as be used to equip new team members with the tools needed to bolster an existing champion crew.
2. Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman
Most of the books on this list give you applicable “how to’s” that can be taken immediately to the sales table. Not so much with this one. Emotional Intelligence focuses on the reasons behind the behaviors. Coleman links science with sales in this piece to provide incredible insight into how logic is tied to emotions, and the best practices for utilizing these simultaneously in scenarios spanning from personal to professional. To be clear, this isn’t a study in sales, but more of human possibility that can be applied to every area of our lives, including the professional realm and the relationships that make up that space.
1. Rule of 24: The Future of B2B Client Engagement by Daniel Conway and Bob Riefstahl
2Win! founder Bob Riefstahl and 2Win! CEO Daniel Conway focus on the rapidly changing world of sales, as well as the new challenges of working in a business world that often moves at a dizzying pace. In a sales environment that continually offers less time for discovery and preparation, Conway and Riefstahl offer innovative ways to successfully adapt to the “immediate gratification in all things” climate that permeates both our personal and professional realms. From client preferences regarding acquisition of information and solutions, to driving engagement using virtual presentation, this book promises to be the new go to handbook for all professionals and executives who are looking to be on the cutting edge in the world of sales.