I love giving and getting books. While you’re working through your gift list this holiday season, treat yourself to something special—more knowledge and inspiration. I’ve compiled the best book list for sales professionals. As you scroll through this list, you’ll probably note that my favorite titles aren’t books about selling. They are books FOR selling better.
Extreme Ownership (How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win), by Jocko Willink and Leaf Babin
There are a lot of books out there by former Navy SEALs and Army Special Ops members. You can always learn valuable leadership skills from the people who have led others under the most challenging, life-threatening conditions.
These 2 authors are the real-deal. and this book is one of the first/only leadership books where you actually learn to lead from their examples. The 2 heroes led teams in Iraq. Together, this writing duo shares their stories and teaches you the power of leadership at all levels.
Remember, selling is a battle. You battle your competition, you battle objections, and you battle your own self-doubt and bad habits. Use the knowledge and inspiration in “Extreme Ownership” to learn how to win.
Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography, by Walter Isaacson
The name “Steve Jobs” is synonymous with “successful entrepreneur”. The Harvard drop-out spent his life—which was cut all too short by cancer—with a relentless pursuit of excellence. Even when he drove the creation of some of the most life-changing technology, Jobs didn’t stop pushing for the next great achievement.
I was fascinated through every bit of the 600 pages in this compelling story. Isaacson presents a thorough account of Steve Jobs’s life and the birth and growth of the company he co-founded, Apple, Inc. Even though you know the outcome of his work and life, you owe it to yourself to dive deeper and learn how he overcame a steady onslaught of challenges—many of them coming from his own inability to accept “what is”.
In typical renegade spirit, Jobs stood back and let this biography be written without his intervention. The end result is an unedited version, compiled from thousands of hours of interviews. The book was published just after Jobs’s death on October 5, 2011. For both the book and the man, I didn’t want it to come to an end.
Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, by Michael Lewis
Moneyball will ambush you. It breaks all preconceived notions of how the game of baseball is to be played. Whether or not you saw the movie, you should read the book. There are plenty of lessons in there that didn’t make the cut for the screenplay. And most of us know that that book is frequently better than the movie.
What will this book teach you about sales? Aren’t you always looking for the win? Maybe you need to change your approach. Billy Beane was managing the Oakland Athletics and trying to figure out how to win without superstars, which wasn’t in the team’s budget. His Assistant GM Paul Podesta—who graduated from Harvard with a degree in Economics—reviewed a set of metrics that showed a major flaw in how the entire major league scouted players. Rather than fill your roster with heavy hitters, you need players who can simply get on base. They need to know how to read pitches and take advantage of walks, Podesta claimed.
Sparked by more sabermetrics, Beane followed the numbers and built a roster that took the team to the playoffs. They showed that you can win with the right players.
Death by Meeting: A Leadership Fable About Solving the Most Painful Problem in Business, by Patrick M. Lencioni
Half of all meetings are a waste of time and emotional energy. Which half should you eliminate?
Meetings are, in general, not without value. But you need to be aware of why, when, and how to have a meeting. After nearly a year of Zoom meetings, we’ve already learned some of the problems associated with in-person meetings, as well as those that come with video conferencing.
If you’re not familiar with Patrick Lencioni, he is the master of telling a story to illustrate a solution, which he calls a “leadership fable”. He writes his books in the style of a novel, making them an easy read.
In “Death by Meeting”, Lencioni tells the tale of an entrepreneur and CEO who is feeling the pain of long meetings that don’t deliver results. Participants find the gatherings dull and often demoralizing. The protagonist, Casey McDaniel, finds enlightenment, not from his leadership team, but from his administrative assistant.
McDaniel discovers how to filter through the apparent need for meetings and categorize them in terms of subject and frequency. At the end of the fictional narrative, Lencioni shifts to the self-help mode and provides a valuable guide to creating the right meeting model for your business.
Read “Death by Meeting” so you can better understand how to plan and execute meetings that matter.
The Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance. by W. Timothy Gallwey
Yes, the book centers on tennis, but the title could easily be flipped to “The Inner Game of Life”. In any activity, your mental state drives your performance. Top athletes work with sports psychologists to shape a winning mindset.
This same mental strengthening will benefit new home sales professionals. Shake off the negative self-talk. Build the confidence you need to perform at your best. Prepare yourself for the rigors of competition in the sales field.
I found it interesting that the foreword to “The inner Game of Tennis” was not written by a tennis pro or sports psychologist, but by Pete Carroll, college and professional football coach. Carroll coached the Seattle Seahawks to the playoffs 8 times, reaching the Super Bowl twice and bringing home the title in 2014. So, the guy knows about a winning mindset.
This book will teach you how to conquer your inner battles. You’ll discover proven methods to overcome nervousness, doubt, and distraction. Gallwey gives you exercises to train your brain to successfully play the mental game.
We’re heading into a new year. Start with new knowledge. Fuel your success with the enlightenment that is yours for the taking. Leaders are readers, and if you want to lead your way to success, hit the books.
If you’re looking for specific books for new home sales, check out my library.