February 17, 2015
Editor's Note: We've updated! Go ahead and check out our new list of 10 best business books for real estate agents and business professionals.
"If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others; read a lot and write a lot." - Stephen King
This quote from King can be applied to just about everything, but always keeping the reading part in there. Reading is one of the vital components in understanding a subject, task, or something. The reading may vary in amounts, but becoming good a something and having the ability to learn it through completely -- reading (a lot) is always present.
Also, when you are reading your brain can't tell the difference if you are reading about the experience versus actually experiencing it. This only helps make reading one of the most powerful tools for learning.
Since it's still the beginning of 2015 and you're hopefully keeping your resolutions (We won't tell, if you haven't been back to that spinning class in a few weeks), you should add on another resolution to read more. Specifically, books to better develop your sales relationships.
We now live in a world where buyers have many choices, not just one, and want to evaluate every option. These aren't necessarily bad things; however, they do make it harder for a salesperson to close these people as customers. Over 6,000 sales reps were surveyed for this book to pinpoint what are the best sales strategies and these sales reps fell into 6 different categories. The one category that trumped them all? The Challenger.
This book has come highly recommended by many people and even if you aren't in sales it's good to keep your finger on the pulse to see what tactics customers are influenced by the most.
I've mentioned this book a couple of times and will probably continue writing about some of these principles that Carnegie teaches in this book because they are so applicable to this digital age. How to Win Friends an Influence People is over 80 years old, but deserves to be a staple on every business shelf. Throughout this entire book it shows that Dale Carnegie really understands people and their needs; ultimately, helping the reader to understand as well.
Maybe you already read this book, but it's worth rereading every year.
Understanding human psychology is a tricky subject and it's probably even more difficult to understand how a person thinks. In this Kahneman, pulls off an explanation with research that lead him to win a Nobel Prize. He dives into our heads showing conclusions through many examples.
"Thinking, Fast and Slow gives deep--and sometimes frightening--insight about what goes on inside our heads: the psychological basis for reactions, judgments, recognition, choices, conclusions, and much more." Getting inside of a prospects head is impossible, but understanding how they make choices will do you wonders when you are trying to develop a better relationship with them.
Between The Power of Habit and Hooked, I often cite both of these books because of the amazing insights they offer into how people continuously use things. For this year and for sales person, I would recommend reading Hooked first. Eyal talks about why people, almost, unconsciously check Facebook and Twitter every day, or what makes us use products/services just out of habit.
Most of the principle that are in this book would affect the product and development; however, understanding how your product works and how someone would use it is extremely important on the business side. You'll be able to soak up knowledge into the underlying principles in why someone would login to your service everyday.
So, I haven't read this book yet, but it has moved to the very top of my laundry list of books to read. I've heard rave reviews about The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz. He goes through how to run and build a successful startup; however, he doesn't just touch on the glorious parts he goes through the difficult parts like firing a friend or poaching from competitors.
Even if you aren't running or planning on building a startup, this books gives great entrepreneurial insight and ideas that every person can takeaway to use.
People are flooded with content every day and at the same time are consuming this content faster than ever. It's your job as a business to present the best content, whether you write it or not. And not to overwhelm you (But you probably already know this), to catch a potential buyer's attention, you now have a significantly smaller amount of time to do that.
That's why it's important to get your pitch down right, the first time and every time. In Pitch Perfect: How to Say it Right the First Time, Every Time, Bill McGowan tackles and helps show you have to solve the difficulty of pitching the right way at the right time. "Bill McGowan...teaches you how to get your message across and get what you want with pitch perfect communication."
Ariely studied human behavior and psychology at MIT for over 20 years and found that it is common for all humans to behave irrationally -- in almost a very predictable way. In his book, Ariely tells us that other factors, like emotions, relativity, and social norms, all come into play for economic issues and understanding these things will have a great effect in the outcome of the decision you would like to see.
I've had the opportunity to meet Shane Snow a couple of times and work with a couple members on the Contently team. They are doing amazing things over there and it comes as no surprise that Shane Snow's book is pretty great too (It's on my list of things to read as well).
Smartcuts discusses how successful people have gained the fast track to success that would take many of us years to achieve even a smidgeon of their wins. From Jimmy Fallon to Michelle Phan, Shane Snow discusses the commonalities between these titans that helped them climb to the top.
Giving a presentation isn't easy and we've all been there at some point. Sometimes some of us have succeeded and some of us, maybe even all of us, have failed at some point. According the Presenting to Win, over over 30 million presentations will be given today and millions of those presentations will fail. And a rarity that some will find a connection with those presentations.
In Presenting to Win: The Art of Telling Your Story, Weissman lays out what it takes to present and establish a connection with the toughest audiences. As a sales person, or anyone developing a business, you have to be on your A game to present to a potential buyer and this book gives you an outline on a winning strategy.
Speaking of winning strategies, in Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why it Matters, Remelt shows us why creating a good strategy can lead to good things. We may know this to be true, yet many times we create more of a "strategy." Remelt also outlines that at the heart of a strategy are valuable insights that point a company in a successful direction. This book is for everyone not just people leading a business.
Many of us are pressed for time and have little to spare to read all of these books; however, reading a few or one can help you obtain actionable tactics to catapult your business needs forwards in order to better develop your sales relationships in 2015.