Must-Read Books Sales and Persuasion

In a world where so many skills are valued that you can never have too many, persuasion is often seen as one of the top traits to embody. Luckily, even if you think you don’t have a persuasive bone in your body, persuasion is a learned trait that comes with understanding and practice.

If you work in sales, you probably understand the importance of persuasion and how it affects your selling rate. Even if you think you’re a master, don’t forget: There is always room to grow. Here are some of the best books with superb information on persuasion and selling.


The Art of the Pitch by Peter Coughter: Nervous sweating while you stand in front of a boardroom full of potential clients as you try to remember your pitch doesn’t make for a great day at the office. Clarity, concision and personality are all important elements to bring to the table when pitching a product or service, or when trying to sell yourself in an interview. In Coughter’s book, you’ll find plenty of tips and tricks to help you master pitching.


Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation by Sally Hogshead: Ever wonder why you’re drawn to a certain book out of a slew of them on the shelf? Sally Hogshead dives into the topic of fascination and why this element can sway a person to purchase one thing or another. Appearances play a large part in our choices, but there are many other factors that persuade us to buy or not buy. This award-winning book will teach you how and make you more successful in just one read!

7-How to Win Friends

How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie: If you don’t know psychology, your business will struggle. Dale Carnegie’s advice is time-tested and approved and will help you to reach your greatest potential in the business world.

2 - Influence

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini, PhD.: Alongside many other factors in business, psychology plays a huge part in how you are perceived at your job. Cialdini dives into the six universal principles of persuasion, which can be used in all walks of life. This book is a necessary read for anyone who works in sales!

8- YES

YES!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive by Noah J. Goldstein, Steve J. Martin and Robert B. Cialdini: Sometimes the scientific method reveals hidden truths you might have otherwise missed. In this book, you’ll find a wealth of information concerning the way people think about choices. For any marketing or management person, this book is a must-read!


SPIN Selling by Neil Rackham: Situation, Problem, Implication and Need-Payoff — welcome to the SPIN strategy of selling, created by Neil Rackham. Rackham’s career path is impressive, and includes advising companies like IBM. Rackham has a knack for breaking down traditional sales methods in his book and explaining how the SPIN method is better suited for larger sales.

4 - Secrets of Closing the Sale

The Secrets of Closing the Sale by Zig Ziglar: Regardless of whether you’re just starting out in sales or are a top performer at your company, Zig Ziglar’s book is a valuable tool to take your selling to the next level. You’ll learn exactly what to ask and say in order to land a new client! (Side note: If you listen to the audio version, he sounds a lot like Matthew McConaughey.)

5- Little Red Book

Little Red Book of Selling by Jeffrey Gitomer: Don’t feel like you have the time to take on a full-blown sales work book? Jeffrey Gitomer understands time is money, which is why his handy-dandy book is laid out in easily digestible sections.

6- Failure to Success

How I Raised Myself From Failure to Success In Selling by Frank Bettger: If you’re a struggling business person unsure of where your career is headed, Bettger’s book is for you. Frank Bettger went from a failed insurance salesman to a successful real estate agent in only ten years. Within these pages are his secrets, so get to reading!

10- Getting to Yes

Getting to Yes by Roger Fisher and William Ury: For a fast read with a step-by-step strategy on how to approach negotiation and conflicts, you can’t go wrong with “Getting to Yes.” It’s one of the highest ranked books on negotiation tactics, and the knowledge you’ll take from this read can be used in both your personal and professional life.

11- Getting Past No

Getting Past No by William Ury: Negotiation is a tricky business, and William Ury is truly the master. Ury is a professor for Harvard Law School’s Program on Negotiation, so you’ll be learning from the best of the best.

12 - Words that Work

Words That Work by Dr. Frank Luntz: From learning how to write the best grants to negotiating that raise you’ve been after for over a year, Luntz’s book covers how word choice and the way you say things can make all the difference. Luntz is a political powerhouse and has some of the top focus groups in the country on a variety of issues and ideas, including gun control, global warming and the healthcare industry.

13- The Tipping Point

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell: We’ve all seen viral content on social media, but how do you make this phenomenon happen in your everyday life with your ideas? Gladwell’s widely acclaimed book serves as a guide to changing the way you think about selling products and services or even how you present yourself.

14- Pitch Anything

Pitch Anything by Oren Klaff: Klaff created a one-of-a-kind method for sales, which in turn has earned him over $400 million. Not too shabby, if you ask us. Klaff’s perfectly qualified to write the book on winning people (and deals) over.

15 - Closer's Guide

The Closer’s Survival Guide by Grant Cardone: Bring on the pressure because after this read, you’ll be calm enough to handle any hot sales closing situation. Cardone lays out the exact rules of how to close a deal in this handy resource for sales associates.

16 - Contagious

Contagious by Jonah Berger: Wharton School of Business marketing professor Jonah Berger sheds some light on why some things become popular even if they aren’t the top product or service available. We love how research and findings are interwoven into this book. It’s an engrossing read!

18- Science of Influence

The Science of Influence by Kevin Hogan: Maximize your time by investing some of it into this read! Hogan is a motivational speaker and expert on body language and how it influences us. You’ll learn dozens of techniques, including how to communicate non-verbally to win over that sale.

22- The Buying Brain

The Buying Brain by A.K. Pradeep: The brain is a powerful thing, especially when it comes to our decisions. Our buying decisions are no exception. Pradeep explores how understanding neuroscience even on a basic level can help companies and salespeople perform better.

20 - Numbers Rule Your World

Numbers Rule Your World by Kaiser Fung: Whether you believe in free will or not, you have to take into account that there is some method behind the madness of what we select or don’t select in life. Fung researches statistics and how persuasion is affected by the numbers that surround us everywhere.

28 - 25 Habits

The 25 Sales Habits of Highly Successful Salespeople by Stephan Schiffman: If you’re struggling to convert leads to sales or can’t find the motivation to grow as a salesperson, Schiffman’s book may be a cure-all for you. Habits can make or break you, so learn today how you can change your ways to start making your path to success.

21- Compass of Pleasure

The Compass of Pleasure by David J. Linden: Desire is a funny thing, as it varies from person to person. Linden is a renowned neuroscientist, and in this book, he sheds some light on how we are persuaded and form habits on a daily basis.

23 - Be Bold

Be Bold and Win The Sale by Jeff Shore: Knowing what inhibits you is 95 percent of the battle in life. When selling, you’ll definitely have some uncomfortable and maybe even awkward moments. Shore’s book shows you how to power through and leverage these moments to land a top client.

17- Sell or Be Sold

Sell or Be Sold by Grant Cardone: Being rejected is never easy, but after reading this book, the blow will be softened a little. Cardone goes into why rejection isn’t always bad for a salesperson and how it will teach you how to avoid the pitfalls blocking you from your ultimate sales success.

26 - Best Damn Sales Book Ever

The Best Damn Sales Book Ever by Warren Greshes: Greshes’ book is applicable to the greenest of salespeople or the most red-hot seller at the company. If you want to take your career up a few notches, this book is a must-read.

27- Psych of Selling

The Psychology of Selling by Brian Tracy: Stop blaming the economy or market for your sales woes and get to learning! Brian Tracy spells out his secrets on how to bring prosperity to you even in the toughest of times.

19- Secrets of Power Persuasion

Secrets of Power Persuasion by Roger Dawson: In order to sell, you have to be likable. Dawson’s book will teach you the art of having credibility while also forging relationships with the people who will buy and invest in you.

29 - Enchantment

Enchantment by Guy Kawasaki: When you’re an solopreneur, the road can be tough going. But resorting to poor tactics like manipulation and deceit will just put you farther in the hole. Kawasaki’s book talks about how to bring about change in a delightful and enduring way that will leave clients feeling better about themselves and your business.

25 - How You Make the Sale

How You Make the Sale by Frank McNair: If you’re new to the big bad world of sales, this book will help you take those training wheels off and be successful. With eight steps, McNair’s book is easy to follow and is an honest approach to selling.

24 - Sales School

What They Don’t Teach You in Sales School by Scott J. Dunkel: Take your career in professional sales up the elevator to the top floor with Dunkel’s book. This enjoyable read is jam-packed with knowledge on universal sales truths and other invaluable tidbits.

To Sell is Human

To Sell Is Human by Daniel H. Pink: This book isn’t really here to teach you all about the art of the sale or closing the deal. Pink’s book dives into how selling can actually be beneficial (salespeople get such a bad rap!) and how we’re all in sales now. Kiss selling stereotypes goodbye with this book!

Which books are your favorites? Share your must-reads in the comments and on social media tagging me @SarahLandrum!

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Sarah Landrum is the founder of Punched Clocks.

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