4 Best Sales Books Every Entrepreneur Needs to Read

It took me three years as a full-time entrepreneur before I started to realize the importance of sales. My original thinking was that if I built a great product, customers would find me and I’d be successful. The reason I was even able to get to three years was that we found a company to license our first product and earn pre-paid royalties that provided more runway. When that money ran out, I really had to figure something out, and that’s when I dove into sales (if I would have done a better job pursuing mentors, I would have figured it out sooner).

As a solution, I decided to read every sales book I could find. Over time, I read more and more sales books and now recommend these four:

Entrepreneurs would do well to educate themselves on sales and the importance of selling when building a company. These four books provide a strong sales foundation.

What else? What are the best sales books for entrepreneurs?

11 thoughts on “4 Best Sales Books Every Entrepreneur Needs to Read

  1. Strategic Selling (Miller/Heiman).. beguiling, almost easy-to-dismiss title, but very fundamental account review, planning process. discipline for enterprise/complex sales. Great at predicting whether competitive sales processes in enterprise situations are going to close or not. Game is to get every “win-result” aligned for every major peronsa — economic buyer, technical buyer, end user, influencers/coaches touched and aligned in a complex sale

  2. Hi David – I’d recommend reading “Dirty Little Secrets: Why buyers can’t buy and sellers can’t sell and what you can do about it” (http://goo.gl/0EQsl8), where Sharon Drew Morgen explains the importance of facilitating buying decisions and that sellers often pitch solutions before understanding the off-line issues buyers must manage before making a buying decision.

  3. I recommend the Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion – it is not a sales book, but rather a deep dive into the six core types of influence: Reciprocity, Commitment and Consistency, Social Proof, Liking, Authority and Scarcity.

  4. Back when I was in the field “The Book of Excellence: 236 Habits of Effective Salespeople” was a nice little book to keep on my desk.

  5. Lot of pearls of wisdom here. To focus simply on the book titles would be missing the most important messages. As a tech start-up mentor, growth consultant, and regular “judge” in Next Top Entrepreneur competitions, here are the most important takeaways in this fine blog: (1) Proficient selling talent (strategy and execution) is a requirements for any business. The “if you build it they will come” start-up mindset is a slippery slope to failure. So if you, the founder, have no experience selling then either teach yourself (hard to do from a book), get a sales mentor or adviser, or bring someone onto your team to fill this vital role. (2) Mentors can short cut the learning process. Assuming you can accept the fact that you did not emerge from the womb with the full spectrum of business skills, experience and acumen necessary to create a growing, thriving company.

    1. Also thought Dan Pink’s book “To Sell Is Human” is excellent. Not only is he a deep thinker who’s able to package his thoughts in words masterfully, but there are also some very practical strategies and tactics in that book.

  6. How to Win Friends and Influence People is a great read and can be applied to many aspects of life. I have just recently decided to pursue a career in sales and take on entrepreneurial endeavors as I can. I just ordered SPIN selling and The Challenger Sale as I see someone listed in the comments, great to see other people recommending them. Great post!

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