SPIN Selling by Neil Rackham.
This is my first choice for every B2B Sales Rep’s nightstand. First of all, much is made of closing sales. But as sales grow larger and more complex, closing strategies are not effective in and of themselves. Rackham lays out a model for questioning that is, after 20 years, still the best available. The fact that this book is still being printed in hardcover, and the fact that it is McGraw Hill’s biggest selling book ever, is a testament to the staying power of the ideas contained within.
Hidden inside is a secret that gets way too little attention, but you’d have to hear me speak to discover it.
Major Account Sales Strategy by Neil Rackham
Yes, too Rackham books in a row. This is the follow up to SPIN Selling, and it has never received the attention it deserves. My favorite sections of this book are the sections on differentiation and on the buying process.
Achieve Sales Excellence by Howard Stevens
This book is perhaps the most important book written on business-to-business sales since Rackham’s two books. Stevens outlines seven rules (which are actually customer demands), starting with the most important rule: You must be personally accountable for your results. Order-taking on the complex sale is dead.
What the Customer Wants You To Know by Ram Charan
Ram Charan is one of the most highly sought after consultants on the planet. I was surprised he wrote a book on sales, and even more surprised by its relevance. Here is the challenge: business acumen. Professional sales people are no longer just in sales; they are well-rounded business people (they have to be to succeed).
Mastering the Complex Sale by Jeff Thull
Thull outlines his sales process and methodology, called the Prime Process. I recommend this book for two reasons. First, the book really lays out how to differentiate yourself from your competitors as a strong business advantage. Second, Thull has a diagnostic methodology that really helps uncover critical business issues.
These are my five choices. I have read and re-read each of these, as I believe they contain some of the timeless principles for business-to-business sales. But maybe you disagree with my choices. What are your top five and why?
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