Good books on sales for non-sales people?


I'm looking for a good intro book on Sales done the right way.

  • Focusing on the customer's needs and problems.
  • Low-pressure selling.
  • Being willing to disqualify a customer.

Basically, my sales process is to focus on the customers needs, determine what they need and then either send them on their way (possibly with a suggestion) (because they need something different) or communicate clearly what we have that can help them.

A lot of sales books focus on trickery and how to motivate yourself to use these ineffective approaches.

I'm looking for a good book that takes this approach. The book is for someone we've hired.

The book below was suggestion in another Answer and I've ordered it (looks promising):
Solution Selling.

Sales Books B2C

asked May 30 '11 at 01:47
Clay Nichols
737 points
Top digital marketing agency for SEO, content marketing, and PR: Demand Roll

5 Answers


My favorite book on sales wasn't written as a "sales book".

Over the years, I have been asked to recommend a “good book on sales.” As I made clear in Why Most Business Books Suck, I have a low opinion of business books. However, I recently discovered a highly effective book that was not written for the purpose of educating salespeople. Robert Cialdini’s Influence – Science and Practice, was written as a textbook to be used in undergraduate communications classes. It is a nice compliment to The Art of Woo, which also addresses methods of persuasion, as further discussed in To Woo Or To War.

Due to this focus, there are aspects of Influence that some business readers will likely find somewhat superfluous, such as the “Study Questions” at the end of each chapter. Cialdini also tends to support each of his suppositions with two or three more studies than seem necessary. However, given his intended academic audience, this approach is understandable. To address these issues, Cialdini’s Publishers repackaged Influence with a slightly different title, while excising the academic aspect of the original text (Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion).

Even with these minor faults, I found Influence to be a rewarding and enlightening read. Although I encourage everyone to read the entire book, I extracted a few of the key points below, annotating them with suggestions as to how they might be applied to your startup. I only cover the first five chapters of Influence in this article, as they are the most relevant to startups. If you care to read a summarized version of Influence in Cialdini’s own words, download the Harvard Business Review article, Harnessing The Science Of Persuasion.

answered May 31 '11 at 03:37
John Greathouse
119 points
  • I"ve read his book "Yes! 50 proven ways to be persuasive" and the non-textbook version of Influence (haven't read it but looking forward to it) – Clay Nichols 13 years ago


I really liked Gene Bedell's Three Steps to Yes.

It's definitely customer-focused and avoids high-pressure.

answered May 30 '11 at 08:57
251 points


I'm little worried about your bullet points and your statement about the right way to sell. It all seems a bit adversarial toward the selling profession. Any decent sales book will address bullet #1 because that is the only thing that works in the long term. The problem with bullet #2 is that pressure is felt when bullet #1 is not addressed, it doesn't matter what techniques you use. Bullet #3 should be addressed by your comp plan, not your sales training.

That being said, I enjoyed Spiritual Marketing and also Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.

answered May 30 '11 at 15:29
Kenneth Vogt
2,917 points


I have benefitted from "Crossing the chasm" and "solutions selling".

answered Jun 1 '11 at 07:54
Paroon Chadha
61 points

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