Three sales tips I learnt from books

Three Sales Tips I Learnt from Books

So I’m promoting the idea this week that it is worth skimming through books written by specialists in your industry and learning from them.

For example I deliver a lot of sales training and whilst I’ve been in sales for something like 15 years I still read a lot of sales books. I take the simple view that I plan to be better and more knowledgeable about sales next year than I am this year. One of the ways I can ensure that happens is by reading, and rereading, both new sales books and some of the timeless classics.

To illustrate the results of my reading let me share with you three of the tips that I have directly learnt from books.


Let me preface this first tip with the fact that I learnt this tip about 11 years ago. And whilst I have development my own sales methodology since then which takes things to a higher level I would have never got to those heights without this advice

The basic sales process is

Now that’s very simplistic model of sales but it’s the first step to understanding consultative selling. That is; selling through asking questions about the prospective client’s situation and then creating a solution to match.

It’s a very powerful method of selling and personally changed my sales approach from ‘here’s what I have’ to ‘what do you need’.

And for that I am ever grateful to Brian Tracy and his book Advanced Selling Strategies where that, and much more advice, can be found.



This was a piece of advice that I didn’t need having become a hardened business professional by the time I came across it but I really wish that someone had told me about it when I started my career! 

Whilst I knew the principle the initials EBS summed it up in a brilliant way that I had never thought of. EBS addresses the fear that new sales people and perhaps all new business professionals feel (whether in sales or not). 

EBS is the fact that every one of us has Equal Business Stature with every other business professional in the world.

There is no reason to be afraid or put on the back foot because someone has a bigger title, office or company than you!

I’ve presented EBS to countless new sales professionals and I can see the relief this principle gives them. The fear of ‘titles’ is a real occurrence in business and EBS is your short hand way to remember that everyone is equal. As a colleague of mine used to say in relation to EBS

‘Everyone has a sock drawer.’

There is also an interesting story relating to the principles of EBS and how it relates to the theme of this blog i.e. learning from sales books. I learnt the principle from a sales book called Selling to VITO by Anthony Parinello.

Now personally at the time I read it this was the only tip that I took from the book. Indeed I passed the book on to someone else and I no longer have a copy.

I just didn’t click with the other information in the book although I know other people have and it is a popular book. Possibly if I read the book again nowadays I might take more from it but I didn’t about six years ago when I read it.

But, and this is the key point, that one principle has been so useful it was worth reading a whole book for.


Let me confess up front that my favourite sales author is Zig Ziglar. (He’s also my favourite living personal development author). Frankly if I look up to anyone in the sales and speaking world then it’s Zig.

I don’t tend to read his books but rather listen to his audio productions. He’s an absolute treat and no one tells sales stories quite like Zig! 

I’d struggle to count the number of separate pieces of sales advice that I have learnt from him so I had to think long and hard about which piece to pass on. I finally settled on a quote which I still remember and helps guide me when I am making my own sales calls.

(As an aside I listen to his CD’s in the car and I can’t remember which one the following quote came from, sorry – Ziglar on Selling is a good as is See You At The Top.)

Here is the quote

“Some you win, some you lose, some get rained out.”

A brilliant quote that states the truth about sales.

Let me break it down as I see it – “Some you win…”

You will win some sales. Absolutely and definitively. This can be a really positive thought first thing in the morning with a cold list stretching ahead of you. If you work hard you will win sales. The more talented and practised you are the more you will win but virtually anyone, with any talent, will win some – have faith!

…some you lose…

You will, as a sales professional, drop the ball or otherwise lose some deals. It’s healthy to accept that, do everything in your power for it not to happen and then be okay with it when it does. Treat every lost sale, where your influence could have won the business but didn’t, as a learning event. Take what you can from the experience and move on. As long as you learn then you have gained something.

…some get rained out

Sometimes for no rhyme or reason the sales process doesn’t work – the client gets sick, decides not to purchase from you or anyone or any number of a million oddball matters outside of your control. What the quote says to me is that’s okay, it happens, be cool and move on to the next one. No stress, no fuss.


The power of books is that one line can change your life. The above three authors have transformed my professional abilities and helped me influence thousands of delegates in turn. Whatever business you are in the benefits of learning from those in your field is enormous.

Until next time; happy reading and good selling!