17 best sales prospecting books every SDR or AE needs to read ASAP

Find 17 highly-recommended sales prospecting books in this guide to improve your prospecting tactics and close more deals today.
Table of Contents

There are a ton of sales prospecting books out there. Trying to figure out which ones offer the most value to you and your sales goals is a daunting task. 

To save you time and help you to grow your sales skills faster, we asked the experts for their recommendations on the best books for sdrs and divided their suggestions into the following categories:

  • Best sales books for beginners
  • Best sales books of all time
  • Best sales books for entrepreneurs and founders
  • Best sales management books
  • Best sales leadership books
  • Best modern sales books
  • Best sales prospecting books for tips/hacks/tactics/strategies

Pro tip: Bookmark this page so you can come back to it whenever you’re looking for a new expert-recommended sales read!

Best sales books for beginners

To kick off this list of best sales prospecting books, let’s start with a recommendation for beginners.

1. You Can’t Teach a Kid to Ride a Bike at a Seminar by David H. Sandler

best selling book

You Can’t Teach a Kid to Ride a Bike at a Seminar teaches you how to wade through complex and highly competitive sales landscapes. With his 7-step framework, you’ll learn to break conventional sales rules to close more deals.

In fact, the book “… conveys the importance of a repeatable sales system, front-loading objections and creating mini contracts with a prospect designed to ensure the sale maintains momentum through a set of logical steps that remove the opportunity for last-minute objections,” comments Hugo Stride, the CEO of OpusGrowthPartners.

“Reading it and internalizing its lessons and acting on them consistently would be enough to take most salespeople into the top quartile of performance.”

Best sales books of all time

For timeless books for all sales folks, we’ve got the following recommendations for you:

2. Influence, New and Expanded: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini, Ph.D. 

highly recommended sales book

The New York Times bestseller, Influence, New and Expanded: The Psychology of Persuasion, dives into the psychology behind how to ethically convince people to say yes to your sales proposition.

You’ll learn the six universal principles of influence that’ll help you become a skilled persuader. 

AdQuick’s Vice President of Growth, Chris Gadek says, “It’s the science of persuasion that encourages people to say yes. And whether you’re getting leads to listen to your sales presentation, sign a contract, or provide referrals, powerful compliance triggers can generate a ‘yes’ in various selling situations.”

Gadek adds, “Succeeding in sales requires an intimate knowledge of your prospects and how best to communicate with them. And Cialdini’s ‘power tools’ of persuasion move you beyond making a quick sale and into a long-term partnership.”

3. How To Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Carnegie’s book How to Win Friends & Influence People shares his time-tested advice on influencing people. You’ll learn six ways to get people to like you and 12 tactics to win them over through your way of thinking.

most popular books of all time

“It is evergreen with insights on manners and people/human nature,” notes Mavens & Moguls Founder & CEO, Paige Arnof-Fenn.

“In my experience, you can learn a lot from books which offer practical advice whether you are someone just starting a career in sales as well as anyone managing and leading a sales team.  It was published almost 100 years ago, and the advice has held up so you cannot go wrong with this one.”

UserGems’s Senior Account Executive, Derek Wang, also recommends this book. “This is the holy grail of teaching you how people like to be treated and don’t like to be treated. Laying a good foundation and relaying that foundation every day will do more for you than any niche sales strategy can.” 

Best sales books for entrepreneurs and founders

Next, let’s talk about the best sales prospecting books for entrepreneurs next.

4. Start with Why by Simon Sinek

top sales book for entrepreneurs

Start with Why shares a powerful idea called The Golden Circle (a unique perspective for understanding how successful leaders and organizations inspire action) and a framework for leaders to build their businesses on. It also teaches you how to communicate well and motivate people.

Adelle Archer, Co-Founder & CEO of Eterneva says of the book, “Sinek details how you can communicate your own motivations as to why you are involved in your business, which immediately establishes trust with the customer that there is more than just money behind your motivations.

Essentially, Sinek’s book is not just about sales, but personal growth, and shows you how you can reinvigorate yourself with every customer interaction you have.”

Explaining how it helped their business, Archer writes, “Our business is extremely unique in that it deals with people who are going through very difficult and emotional times, thus I needed to find a book that explained our motivations to do what we do, and Simon Sinek’s Start with Why did just that.”

5. The Culture Map: Breaking Through the Invisible Boundaries of Global Business by Erin Meyer

book of business for sales

Next on the list of best sales books for entrepreneurs is The Culture Map which focuses on how to interact and engage with business people counterparts from around the globe.

International Sales and Marketing Consultant, Kathryn Read who recommends it says, “The Culture Map should be compulsory reading for anyone working in international teams or with international clients.”

“It teaches how to present successfully … to Americans vs. French, and how to ask questions of different nationalities and cultures so that you get a relevant answer without coming across as rude,” Read explains.

“It gets the reader thinking about their own culture and how they react to questions, authority or talking about problems, which in turn allows you to develop better prospecting and sales skills.”

6. To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others by Daniel Pink

book on selling by Daniel Pink

To Sell is Human looks at the science behind selling. Using this information, Pink gives you practical insights and tips for persuading people.

Paige Arnof-Fenn from Mavens & Moguls recommends this book because “Daniel Pink pulls from a number of social science insights to support his arguments. The truth is we are all in sales so if your goal is to influence people, consider this book is your scientific research-backed selling guide.” 

Best sales management book

Now for the best sales prospecting books read and recommended by sales managers:

7. New Sales. Simplified. by Mike Weinberg

books about selling simplified

New Sales. Simplified. highlights mistakes that most sales folks make and packs in proven strategies for prospecting and closing deals.

From creating customer-centered sales stories to using email to learning social media, and voicemail to your advantage, there’s a lot to learn from this highly-rated sales prospecting book.

In fact, Electrician Apprentice HQ’s Thomas Hawkins shares, “As a sales manager, I read a lot of books about sales. This particular book stood out to me because it was straightforward, it included a step-by-step approach, and it had a lot of personality and examples as well.

Most important of all is that if you follow its advice, the sales process does become more simplified,” Hawkins notes.  

“Granted, it’s strictly related to how to gain new sales customers, but what salesperson doesn’t want to get better at that? Even better, it also talks about mistakes to avoid in the process of obtaining new customers with relevant and real-world examples. It’s a great read and a must-have in my opinion.”

Best sales leadership books

Let’s talk about the top-recommended sales books on leading sales teams next.

8. The Accidental Sales Manager: How to Take Control and Lead Your Sales Team to Record Profits by Chris Lytle

good business books for sales managers

The Accidental Sales Manager is relevant to both sales managers and those who train them. 

It shares a step-by-step methodology that managers can leverage to lead teams and become better at their jobs.

The Accidental Sales Manager is one of the best books I read as a sales team manager,” Highlights Maria A. McDowell, the founder of EasySearchPeople

“This book outlines and discusses the causes, symptoms, and cure of the sales management trap. It also delves deep into how to manage unmotivated team members.

As a team manager, you will learn how to recruit and hire the best candidates, turn B-level team players into A players, run more productive meetings, and more. This book taught me how to build a sales team and manage team members effectively to produce the best results.”

9. The New Strategic Selling by Stephen Heiman and Diane Sanchez

strategic selling books for sales

Another favorite on the list of best sales leadership books is The New Strategic Selling which aims to help large companies close more complex sales deals.

To this end, it focuses on teaching you how to identify key decision-makers, what their motivations and buying styles are, and how to close deals.

Kiinetics’ Brendan McAdams recommends this book because “This is one of the standards for enterprise sales. Perhaps a little long in the tooth [in] some parts, it still is excellent in terms of understanding the process and the complexities of large accounts. Definitely worth reading.”

10. Rejection Proof: How I Beat Fear and Became Invincible Through 100 Days of Rejection by Jia Jiang

sales book for prospecting

Jiang’s Rejection Proof is a must-read for sales leaders looking to train their teams on handling rejection. In fact, it’s a great general resource for any sales team since it shares tactics for handling rejection alongside tips to turn a no into a yes.

Yuvi Alpert, the Founder, Creative Director, and CEO of Noémie recommends this book, saying, “When your business specializes in smaller ticket items, the commitment for the customer is not as great, but if you have big purchase products, rejection is something that happens often, and that is why I recommend Rejection Proof.

The customer that buys that $10 bowl or plate will feel little angst, however, when you get into items that cost hundreds and even thousands of dollars, with a misguided purchase, that pain will be felt, so they will reject many options before settling on an item,” adds Alpert.

“Therefore, your sales force must not only be mentally tough to handle that rejection, but also remain motivated, and Jiang shows how to do it. Through the author’s personal experience of rejection, they found what they refer to as ‘successful asking’ to identify the most fruitful targets, and how to lead them to conversion. If you sell big-ticket items, then Rejection Proof will prove to be a great resource for your team.”

11. The Sales Acceleration Formula: Using Data, Technology, and Inbound Selling to Go from $0 to $100 Million by Mark Roberge

sales acceleration book

In The Sales Acceleration Formula, Roberge shares his actionable formula for building a winning sales team, leveraging for creating faster sales processes, and growing revenue.

It’s a recommendation from David Reid, the Sales Director at VEM Tooling. “This book, published by former HubSpot CRO Mark Roberge, is a must-read for sales professionals looking to develop their sales force and build a multi-million-dollar business.

Roberge’s insights, his selling initiatives, the blend of selling and technology he explains, and even the business cases he mentions make the technique he outlines relevant to any sales organization, no matter how well-established.” 

Best modern sales books

Considering how the ‘salesy’ approach to sales no longer works, we’ve compiled this list of top sales prospecting books that teach you modern-day approaches to selling.

12. Selling Without Selling Out by Andy Paul

selling without selling book of business

Paul’s book Selling Without Selling Out arms its readers with a non-salesy framework to shorten decision cycles and increase win rate. It reveals the four key instruments to selling: connection, curiosity, understanding, and generosity.

Brendan McAdams from Kiinetics’ thinks you should add it to your list, saying, “This book emphasizes ethical approaches to sales. It’s very consistent with my own sales philosophy, which has allowed me to rise above being a cliché ‘salesy’ salesperson.”

13. Social Media Millions: Your Guide to Making Massive Amounts of Money from Social Media Selling by Ryan Stewman

highly rated sales prospecting book

In Social Media Millions, Stewman goes through his timeless strategies for winning sales on social media. “This book is literally the guide to making massive amounts of money from social media selling,” says Tomas Keenan, Author, and COO at Break Free Academy.

“It’s full of useful information on topics like how and what to post on social media to set yourself up as an attractive character which eventually leads to sales. As sales leaders, we need to understand how to leverage social media in order to be more effective in our roles.”

Best sales prospecting books for tips, hacks, tactics, and strategies

Now for the best sales prospecting books that share a variety of proven strategies in the form of sales tips, hacks, and tactics.

14. Solution Selling: Creating Buyers in Difficult Selling Markets by Michael Bosworth

secrets of closing the sale book for sales teams

Solution Selling teaches you how to sell expensive products and products with long selling cycles by sharing a step-by-step system for guiding prospects through the selling process.

Bounce’s Founder and CEO, Cody Candee says, “Offering a tangible physical product takes much of the guesswork out of selling it, however, if you are in a niche industry, it is not that simple, and is why I highly recommend Solution Selling

Bosworth’s book shows you how to position your business, and at the same time, identify the consumer market who will understand and benefit from it. Its step-by-step method explains the consumer psychology and demonstrates how to get a customer into the sales funnel and keep them there until conversion.”

In short, “If you are in a niche market, Solution Selling is a must-read for you and your sales force,” Candee advises.

15. Hope Is Not a Strategy: The 6 Keys to Winning the Complex Sale by Rick Page

best selling books on complex sales cycles

Rick Page’s bestselling book Hope is Not a Strategy teaches his six-step process for closing a sale — regardless of how complex the odds are or how many decision-makers are involved in the process.

It also walks readers through the world’s top salespeople’s tried and tested selling strategies. In short, there’s a lot to learn from this book including how to qualify prospects and understand how they make decisions.

In the words of Brendan McAdams of Kiinetics, “Rick does an excellent job of explaining all the dynamics, complexities, and challenges of large account sales. A lot of practical information and an excellent resource for anyone involved in corporate sales and account development.”

16. SPIN Selling by Neil Rackham

spin selling book for revenue teams

SPIN Selling is an international bestseller that helps its readers increase their sales volume. To do so, Rackham outlines his proven SPIN (Situation, Problem, Implication, Need payoff) strategy.

Sumit Bansal the Founder, and CEO of TrumpExcel commends the book. He says, “SPIN Selling is the best sales book to comprehend and produce record-breaking high-end sales performance because it is replete with real-world examples, illuminating graphics, and informative case studies, and is supported by hard research data.

It takes you on a journey from what is obvious and incorrect to what lies beneath the surface and is correct. A clear, straightforward writing style keeps your attention throughout the entire process of becoming the successful seller you desire to be.”

17. Gap Selling: Getting the Customer to Yes by Keenan

top selling book of all time

Gap Selling helps increase your sales IQ by breaking down old sales myths and teaching you new and powerful ways to connect with buyers.

Two of UserGems’ sales folks recommend it.

Our ADR Manager, Sara Angell says, “Even if Keenan isn’t "your style" (he’s not exactly mine) he brings really valuable mental strategy and thought process to selling. Customer and value-focused. Cuts through the BS and provides a clear framework.”

Angell adds, “Word to the wise, get the audio version and listen to it straight from Keenan. Extra points for his energy and entertainment value.”

Similarly, Leah Zissimopulos Fraser, Senior Account Development Rep, notes that the book is packed with “great tips and really, really breaks down the need to CLEARLY understand your buyer's problems in order to effectively help them.”

Wrapping up: Get the most of these sales prospecting books 

As you can see, there are a ton of great sales books out there for you to learn from. To make sure you’re getting the most value from them, follow these tips: 

  • Pick one book that’s relevant to your field at a time 
  • Highlight important takeaways, and make notes using post-its
  • Discuss what you learn with colleagues to help you retain the message 
  • Regularly visit your notes to apply what you’ve learned in your daily life

Want more learning resources? Dive into this list of 24 best podcasts that every SDR should check out.

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