Sometimes people stretch these lists to 10 to make that nice “sacred” list number.
Not this list.
I was going to make it 10 books, but I kept looking at the list and everything after the 9th book really didn’t belong in the same class.
After you read these 9 books, you could go read a Good Housekeeping magazine for all I care. Because the books on this list are absolute must-reads if you want to become a better salesperson.
1) Made to Stick
This book will be on any list I ever make from now until the end of time. You could ask me where the best restaurants are in Minneapolis and I’d slip this book into the suggestions. It’s that good. The book is all about making messages that stick in a person’s mind, and they break it down in a ridiculously easy (and, not surprisingly, sticky) way with their acronym SUCCESS. Need that sales pitch to captivate and resonate? This book will help you do that. If you could only read one book on this list, then make it Made to Stick.
2) Ultimate Sales Letter
Dan. Effing. Kennedy. This guy is so smooth that I couldn’t believe he wasn’t butter. While Made to Stick gives you advice for how to write in general, Dan Kennedy focuses your sales acumen into the all-important pitch letter/email. We all know how important that first impression is, and Ultimate Sales Letter makes sure your message hits the big three needs: opened, read and acted on. Plus, you know success just radiates from a man who can pull of this kind of Yosemite Sam-esque mustachery.
3) Web Copy that Sells
Here’s a nice little stat for you to chew on: 89% of consumers use the internet for purchases. The fact is, if you can’t write for the web, then even the kids that sell lemonade for $.05 will put you in the red with their social media and web dominance. Web Copy that Sells is one of the most comprehensive books on the market that literally gives you a step-by-step guide on how to crush it on the web. It’s everything you could possibly want when learning to write effectively for digital mediums. Heck, I’m a pro copywriter and I STILL refer back to this book every now and then to make sure my fundamentals are solid. It’s that good.
The first three books on this list deal with writing style (and if you want more books on how to write better, just hit this link). The rest of these books start going into that second level of selling, which is peering inside the mind. Buyology is a great book in this regard because it’s a collection of fantastic studies that show why people buy through fMRI studies. He debunks certain industry-old myths about why people buy, and shows the new ways in which people respond to sales stimuli. You’ll find out that what people say and what they act on are usually two totally different things.
5) Predictably Irrational
Predictably Irrational goes hand-in-hand with Buyology, but focuses more on real-world experimentation rather than laboratory simulations. One of the experiments in the book deals with why some people’s headaches persist after they take a one-cent aspirin but disappear when they take a fifty-cent aspirin. It’s all about how you sell the product and how the customer perceives that product, and there are countless other valuable examples in this book that will help you better position your product in the minds of consumers.
6) Persuasion and Social Compliance
Let me don my hipster glasses and stupid skinny jeans and say that you probably haven’t heard of this book. It was a textbook in a college class I had, and it proved to be so valuable that I’ve kept it to this day. The market is cluttered with so-called persuasion experts peddling their advice, but this is hands-down the best book I’ve ever read on the subject. It spans persuasion via written and verbal/non-verbal communication, and covers topics like credibility, attitude, consistency, compliancy gaining, motivational appeals and a whole lot more. Plus, they’ve got a whole section dedicated to the ethics of persuasion, and I’ve routinely shared that section with colleagues as it is one of the most poignant and accurate pieces of writing on the subject.
7) The Power of Habit
Do you know how important habit is in the buying process? The product giant Proctor and Gamble had a hard time selling a certain odor neutralizing product, and it was losing the company millions of dollars. However, after they did some research and noticed a habit people had when they cleaned, they shifted their advertising and that very same product that was losing money went on to make a billion dollars per year. That product was Febreeze. Read this book and you’ll understand why finding the habits of your consumers will make your sales efforts ridiculously easier.
If you’re like me, sometimes you’re left scratching your head and muttering loathingly to yourself, “That was a good pitch, so why in the WORLD did the customer do X?” The truth is, it just didn’t motivate that person to do anything. Drive takes a look at what motivates a person, and it’s up to you to fill in the blanks on how to make that work in your sales pitches. If you can figure it out, though, the payoff is tremendous.
9) The Invisible Gorilla
Where the rest of these books are about the minds of consumers, this book is about YOUR mind. The Invisible Gorilla focuses on six “illusions” of our minds and how we essentially think we’re more capable in everyday life than we really are. This book is more important than you think because it makes you really stop and think about how you go about your day-to-day life. Read this book, realize you have deficiencies, accept them, then go out and work to overcome those deficiencies. And I promise if you do this then you will find yourself in a better frame of mind to sell.
There you have it. If you read these 9 books within a year of seeing this list, I guarantee you that you’ll see unprecedented success in whatever your profession may be.
I love talking about books, so if you want to discuss a book then head up to the Contact Me page and drop me a message. You’ll definitely get a response.
Comment below if you think a book should get added to the list or, if for some unexplainable and probably incorrect reason, you disagree with a book on this list.