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Becoming great at selling


Ryan Brown Melbourne, FL

Greetings everyone,

Hope you all are doing well. What resources (books, websites, in person/ online courses, etc) would you recommend for anyone that wants to become great at “selling?”

Thank you in advance!

Ryan Brown
Air Force Veteran

29 October 2018 13 replies General



Kristin McGinnis Chicago, IL

Hi Ryan,

I am currently an MBA student at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management and am taking a fantastic course right now titled "Selling Yourself and Your Ideas."

My professor maintains blog on which he recommends a number of selling-related books here:

As our first book of the course, I am currently reading "A more beautiful question" and am finding it incredibly insightful and high impact. Highly recommend checking out these resources.

Best of luck!

16 January 2019 Helpful answer


Landon Carl Lewisville, TX

Connect and learn from those who are successful at it! Ask if they’ll let you spend some time with them prospecting or on sales calls.

Regarding books, The Challenger Sale, To Sell is Human, SPIN Selling, and Strategic Selling.

15 January 2019 Helpful answer


Charlie Covert Johns Island, SC

Hi Ryan, there are a lot of good suggestions already posted. As for book recommendations, I would add "Value Merchants" by Anderson, Kumar, Narus.

best regards, Charlie


kirk songy Hammond, LA

Hi Ryan,

Well, my approach is somewhat different. Trust and being genuine are 2 integral selling traits I think that people have to have to offer before influence which are the first 2 things people look for when approached. Influence is knowing and believing in your product which is based on confidence, whether selling yourself or anything else.

You sell your own brand with each and every sale. People buy you... Anyone can sell a small item such as a pack of gum and there are hundreds, if not thousands of businesses that sell the very same item everyday. Customers like to feel special, it is a basic human trait. Once you get that just, then the rest fall into place. Product knowledge is a huge plus, but not always even a necessity in all aspects. If you sell a car, helping that person find the right color or special fit, features, is what will help make that sale. Price is only a partial consideration. They can buy a car anywhere, what makes you so special? Why should they buy from you? More inportantly, why would they ever want to come back and buy from you and you only? What did you do to help them arrive at that decision?
Understanding these dynamics goes a long way. Anyone can make a sale, but real selling is repeat customers/ clients. The repeat customer may not even be the customer themselves, rather than a referral. Also, it depends on your type of sale and customer. Client based sales are much more about selling yourself rather than merchandise/ inventory. People naturally don't want to be taken advantage of, and price will always be a consideration but, retail value is there for a reason too. If you never ask for it, you'll never get it. Easing the client goes a long way. Selling is mostly about selling yourself whether it be a small inexpensive item, TV, computer, car, house, consultive service, or business account. Trust is why they come back first and foremost, necessity of the item or service, then knowledge and confidence set you apart, and finally personal experience (Wow factor).

Not going to be long winded but, Dale Carnegie is an awesome mentor. "How to Win Friends and Influence People" is my favorite book from him. Confidence and character are your greatest personal attributes, and your greatest product will always be you. Good luck in your ventures.


Ryan Brown Melbourne, FL

Thank you all so much for the great feedback. I really appreciate it!


Sam Hoffman Roslyn Heights, NY

Hi Ryan!
Thanks for your service. Your passion should be for the industry you are in and the products you are working with, not with just "selling."
Also Dale Carnegie sales course is the best.


Bob Molluro Wilmington, DE

Ryan here are a few keys to successful selling:
1) No one buys anything from you unless you can build a trusting relationship -the first part of the sales process is to sell yourself
2) Most people are trying to sell a product or services rather than understanding what the prospects business is. You must become a great questioner and learn to listen to what the prospect is willing to tell you.
3) Consultative selling has been around for many years and is still in vogue-master the basics
4) I always focus on learning their businesses strategies and try to determine how I can help. When there is a fit your sales will be five times what they will be when you have a transaction oriented approach to sell product.
5) Learn to qualify your prospect quickly. Your sales process must include this step. When you meet with a prospect you must determine whether they are a real prospect or not. There are no maybes as they will waste your time.
6) Since you like to read here is a link to Jay Abraham's library. Jay is the number one marketeer / business developer in the world and has been my mentor for thirty years. It is all free. Go to: Check out this website for a more comprehensive list of resources. Everything is free.
7) My first mentor in IBM said when you get your sales quota most people will make a plan to achieve 120%. When he made a plan it was to achieve 300% of quota. He said you never achieve it, but you will be the only one who knows. I followed his advice and became one on the Top 12 Producers in IBM out of 8,000.


Jim Schreier Milwaukee, WI

Lots of recommendations. I'd add "Spin Selling," a very popular, somewhat different approach. Plus I'd also recommend "Strengths-Based Selling," because the assessment of your strengths to the selling process.


Emanuel Carpenter Alpharetta, GA

Ryan - The best way to become great at selling is by practice and on-the-job training. There are hundreds of books on selling published every year (I wrote a few myself), yet almost half of sales reps still don't make quota. Before you spend your hard-earned money on books, try finding a good mentor who has achieved what you want to achieve.

Before you buy books, check out the free sales courses on Hubspot at Some offer certifications. Very good content here.

Also, go to and listen to free webinars on selling. Axiom Sales Force Development has some great ones, like this one on handling objections:

If you still want to get your hands on some great books, these are on the top of my list:

"Getting More: How to Negotiate to Achieve Your Goals in the Real World" by Stuart Diamond

"The Lost Art of Closing: Winning the Ten Commitments That Drive Sales" by Anthony Iannarino

"Think and Grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill

"Getting the 2nd Appointment: How to CLOSE Any Sale in Two Calls" by Anthony Parinello

"The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation" by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson

Best of luck!


Rob Pianka Lancaster, PA

Hello Ryan,

Some say Jeffrey Gitomer comes on too strong but at least he is clear...and you can always tone down how you put his advice into practice.

Here's all his stuff:

I've used his Little Red Book of Selling then graduated for more relationship-based sales to his Little Black Book of Connections...and I've used his contact management app:

You can test his courses at or watch his YouTube videos for free.




Adam Cutler Philadelphia, PA

Hi Ryan, thanks for your service!
Fanatical Prospecting By Jeb Blount is very good.
It is worth noting that the most important thing you can do to get better at selling is to go out and sell. Good luck! Adam


Drew Schildwächter Wilmington, NC

Ryan: check out "The Challenger Sale." (on Amazon)


ACP AdvisorNet Staff New York, NY

Hi Ryan,

Thank you for your service and for submitting your question. Happy to help! I would recommend checking out the article "Why A Single Phone Call Is More Valuable Than A Dozen Emails" from Social Media Week, and "Sales In 2015: Why Yesterday's Sales Strategies Are Obsolete" from Forbes (which is still applicable in 2018!).

I also suggest checking out our community page to connect with Advisors who have experience in sales. You can search for connections based on your zip code and by area of expertise. I think this tool would be particularly useful for reaching out to individuals with varying levels of experience in your desired field.

I hope this information is useful! Please do let us know if there are any other ways we can support you.

All the best,

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