Best Sales Books for Wholesale Reps

Sarah Leung
October 17, 2014

If you’re looking to brush up on your sales technique or gain new perspectives on how to be a more effective rep, books are a great tool. A quick search for “best sales books” yielding tens of thousands of titles, however, can admittedly be a bit of a deterrent. We’ve done all the work so you don’t have to. After wading through a seemingly endless sea of books on the topic, here are our recommendations.

Best Sales Books for: The Fundamentals

To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others

by Daniel H. Pink Daniel H. Pink’s bestseller offers a bracing, grounded look at sales for a wide audience ranging from sales reps to parents. In this breezy, insightful read, Pink argues that selling (and the art of persuasion) is a basic human pursuit. In To Sell is Human, he presents ideas that you can apply successfully not just at a trade show or store visit, but in every aspect of life, from cajoling the kids into eating their vegetables to pitching an idea to your colleagues. With social science, anecdotal evidence, and concrete advice, Pink might just make you broaden your conception of what it is to “sell,” until it becomes second nature.

The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation

by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson In another game-changing look at the pursuit of the deal, Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson challenge you to challenge your customers. By examining the differences in the real-life sales practices of top reps and those who always seem to come in second place, they discovered that the biggest differentiator is a willingness to push customers and potential buyers out of their comfort zones—to show them something new about how they can become more effective competitors. This book will demonstrate how the old “build relationships” adage is no longer enough. According to The Challenger Sale,

taking charge and providing compelling insights is what drives action and profits.

Best Sales Books for: Getting in the Door

SNAP Selling: Speed Up Sales and Win More Business with Today’s Frazzled Customers

by Jill Konrath We’re busier than ever, and our distraction-filled environment isn’t exactly helping matters. Busy people, unfortunately, don’t usually enjoy being sold to. With an emphasis on priorities, alignment with customer goals, and above all, simplicity, sales strategist Jill Konrath’s SNAP Selling is all about how to cut through the commotion to open up new leads and win sales. This is a great read for anyone looking for clear, tactical advice on how to shorten the sales cycle, stand out at trade shows, and become your buyers’ favorite rep.

Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success

by Adam M. Grant Written and researched by Adam Grant, The Wharton School’s youngest and highest-rated tenured professor, Give and Take isn’t a book about sales. But it’s a book that can have an enormous impact on your business and the way you interact with customers. While the competitive world of sales does emphasize making connections, Grant focuses on not just interactions, but interactions involving a genuine desire to help others. According to Grant, these “givers,” whether they’re businesses or individuals, are those who experience the most long-term success. A new, refreshing attitude toward your sales transactions may be the key to setting yourself apart among other wholesale sales reps.

Best Sales Books for: Understanding Your Customer

The New Rules of Retail: Competing in the World's Toughest Marketplace

by Robin Lewis and Michael Dart Many of the books on this list place heavy emphasis on leveraging your buyers’ goals and expectations. So it’s obvious that being in the wholesale game requires not just a broad understanding of your market, but also that of your buyers. The world of retail is rapidly transforming, and The New Rules of Retail provides detailed insight as to how and why. Described as a “tour de force” by Fortune magazine, the book outlines retail’s evolution across time, as well as new guidelines for success. With glowing reviews from top retailers across industries, this book will help you proactively address your buyers’ biggest priorities.

Power Questions: Build Relationships, Win New Business, and Influence Others

by Andrew Sobel and Jerold Panas Nothing inherently engages a listener more than a question. Power Questions takes this basic truth to the next level, demonstrating that “knowing the right question to ask is actually far more important than having a ready answer.” This book is full of real-life conversations with executives, clients, and others that help define the characteristics of a “power question,” while also providing readers with a list of strategic questions that can be implemented right away. With provocative questions that lead to insights, you have the potential to gain more of an understanding of what products aren’t moving off their shelves, how they feel about their competitors, and their thoughts on consumer trends. You can use questions to lead them to your own insights on the industry as well, and explain how your products meet their needs. With this technique, you will be much better positioned to open up conversations and make more sales.   Next time you need a good read for a plane ride or downtime between meetings, fire up your tablet or e-reader and grab a few of these titles. If you have other recommendations, let us know in the comments below!