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  • Writer's pictureMike Hanna

5 Books to Improve Your Sales Game in 2021

We’re already one month into 2021. How are you coming along with your New Year’s resolutions? Whether you want to improve in your software sales game or personal life or both, the following books are great reads that will help you get there, this year. They’ll help you learn how to be a better team player, how to use a question-driven approach in your selling process, how to build good habits, how to leverage the power of connection, and even how to read minds (sort of). Take a look at these great reads for 2021:

Negotiate Better by Being Yourself

Bring Yourself: How to Harness the Power of Connection to Negotiate Fearlessly will help you examine how relationship building can make negotiating easier. Author Mori Taheripour graduated from the Wharton School of Business, and over the course of her 15 years teaching negotiation, she has found that empathy, curiosity, and being present are the tools for success. Bring Yourself will teach you how to leverage conversation and human connection as part of your sales process, through eye-opening stories and anecdotes. Many sales reps make the mistake of assuming that the essence of a sale is about the transaction, and that aggression and emotional detachment are key for sealing the deal. But Taheripour will help you shift this paradigm and learn the skill of negotiating from a place of authenticity, which is helpful not just in sales but in interpersonal relationships as well.

Use Questions to Drive a Sale

Doesn't Hurt to Ask: Using the Power of Questions to Communicate, Connect, and Persuade will help you learn how to present a convincing case for whatever you care about—whether those are personal beliefs or a software product you are selling. Author Trey Gowdy has some experience with effective and persuasive communication, as a former federal prosecutor and congressman. Gowdy shares with readers the techniques he learned in politics and law, namely illustrating how to identify what you want, understand your audience, and use a question-driven approach so that you will be understood and convincing. Many sales reps have found that using a question-based approach is key for building a positive interaction with a new client and presenting a solution that fits their needs—which of course helps close more deals.

Develop Better Habits

The Power of Habit will help you understand (as its subtitle states) Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. Author Charles Duhigg is a business reporter for the New York Times, and in this study about personal habits, he takes readers through a relatable and readable but also thorough scientific study of people and the things they routinely do (or don’t do). Duhigg analyzes a number of different contexts to help readers reach an understanding of how habits can make or break success, from the boardrooms of Fortune500 companies to the NFL to political advocacy groups. Through it all Duhigg brings us to the conclusion that the key to success in sales (or any area of life) is an understanding of how habits and habit-forming works.

Learn How to Be a Team Player

The 17 Essential Qualities of a Team Player: Becoming the Kind of Person Every Team Wants will give you 16 + 1 different qualities that make working on a team easier. Author John C. Maxwell is a well known name in the world of business, sales, and personal development and has sold over 19 million books. Team players are intentional, rational, selfless, and tenacious, and Maxwell illustrates through concrete, actionable tips how these four qualities can make (or break) a team. Considering that software sales often requires teamwork between the sales rep, the sales engineer, management, and of course, the client, Maxwell’s book is a must read for anyone in the sales cycle who wants their sales process to function more seamlessly with more cooperation.

Learn How to Pick up on Important Cues

The Art of Reading Minds will not make you telepathic, but it will teach you (as the subtitle says) How to Understand and Influence Others Without Them Noticing. Author Henrik Fexeus has created an international bestseller with his work, and it’s easy to see why—even outside the sales process, most people wish they knew what other people were thinking and that they could convince other people to see the way they see something. Using skills grounded in psychology such as body language and other non-verbal cues, Fexeus teaches readers how to interpret and act on subtle hints dropped into interactions. Whether you’re looking to become better at selling or to bring a crystal ball into your personal life, the concise and impactful chapters of this book will take you there.

How is your 2021 shaping up?

Reading books on the sales process can certainly help you become better at selling. If you’re committed to improvement and give yourself the knowledge and resources to take your software sales game to the next level, you can get there. But sometimes it’s hard to do that if you’re not happy with where you’re at, or if you don’t have the team you want. If either one of those concerns speaks to you, contact me via email and check out our page of current opportunities. Whether you’re a software sales manager or software sales rep, I’ve got you covered with 35+ years of experience as a software sales recruiter in the Bay Area and around the US.

So what are you reading this weekend?

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