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Discover the secret to becoming a top-tier sales expert by diversifying your reading list – it's not just about sales books.

Elevate Your Sales Game: The Power of Diverse Reading

If you are a salesperson, it is likely that you read books on selling, personal development, and success. While that is all good and well, you may improve your sales by reading other material, especially books that will provide you with a perspective that will elevate your status in the eyes of your clients and prospective clients. Reading certain books that allow you to see and understand the ever-evolving world and its implications will give you a sustainable advantage.

In B2B sales, especially with enterprise-level clients and prospects, you need to know things beyond your company's history, your solution, and how to solve your client's problems. If you have ever found yourself unable to escape from a person at a party who continually talks about the same subject, you have an idea of what your clients experience. When every sales representative your clients meet says a variation of the same thing, it gets tedious, even if the logo on the slide decks and business cards are different.

Readers tend to be better conversationalists. They are also more interesting, as they acquire stories, insights, information, and a more nuanced perspective. If one were to guess the percentage of B2B salespeople in this category, the number would likely be a few percentage points, as that would likely be true of the population in general.

Navigating the Modern Media Landscape: A Salesperson’s Guide

You and I live in a post-literate society. Most of our media is passive - images, graphics, video, and audio. The passive nature of these mediums isn't the same as reading, which is an active medium where you must do the work yourself.

The explosion of short-form content is leading us to a post-post-literature society. Let's call this the TikTok Generation. Between Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and TikTok, we are consuming bumper stickers instead of books.

Making Time for Quality Reading: Strategies for Busy Sales Professionals

A large book, let's say 500 pages, can be read in 31 days. You would need to read 16 pages a day. A book of that size would be a doorstopper, or if you are not tall, a book you could stand on to reach something on the top of your refrigerator. A book that large is uncommon. An average-sized book is around 250 pages. With half the number of pages, you would need to read 8 pages a day.

When I was in law school, I read a massive number of cases every week and still read a nonfiction book a week outside of law school. I have been able to do this by reading a relatively small number of pages each day.

Some people read faster than others, consuming books in a short time. Other people read slower, taking more time to read the book. Either way, the fast reader, and the slow reader both read the same book. Other people prefer to listen to audiobooks. No matter how long it takes to listen to the book, the listener "reads" the work.

It may be better for you to read the book first and listen to it after you have read it. While there is nothing wrong with listening, it is passive, while reading the book is active, making you do the work to make sense of what you are reading. Think of it this way, you can’t really multitask when you are reading, but you can when you listen to an audiobook. When you’re listening, your attention is divided between the book and whatever else you’re doing (like driving, exercising, or cleaning).

Maximizing the Value from Your Reading Investments: A Salesperson’s Perspective

Hardcover books are not cheap. But the value isn't the book itself; the value is what you take away from the book. You know how you see people post the number of books they read in a year? It's impressive to see the numbers, but that isn't what is important. What is important is what they take away from the book.

The hardcover book has the same content as the softcover, the Kindle version, and the audio recording. If you want to build a private library, you may want to buy hardcover books. But others build a library of softcover books, allowing them to buy more books, as the price is lower than the other options.

It doesn't matter the format of the book. What matters is that you read it and extract the insights you believe to be the most helpful for your clients and prospective clients. Doing this work will do more to position yourself above your competitors.

Gaining Insights to Enhance Your Sales Perspective: Beyond Sales Literature

To improve your perspective, you need to capture the insights that you believe are important for your clients. Here is a single insight that you may not be aware of: The replacement rate is 2.21 babies per couple to keep our population going in the right direction in the United States. We are a little behind the 2.21 rate, closer to 1.61. The rate in China is only 1.3, which means their population will plummet in the coming years, along with several other countries shrinking.

This is why I keep trying to convince you to work on your business acumen and be the best-read salesperson your client will ever meet. You need to read and know things, things that are incredibly helpful for your clients. You cannot be a trusted advisor without doing your homework, reading and researching on behalf of your clients.

Leaving this article, you may want to join me and 60 other members of the One-Up Book Club. We are deep into the first book, but you can still join, as different people will complete the book on different timelines.


Books 2024
Post by Anthony Iannarino on January 9, 2024

Written and edited by human brains and human hands.

Anthony Iannarino

Anthony Iannarino is an American writer. He has published daily at thesalesblog.com for more than 14 years, amassing over 5,300 articles and making this platform a destination for salespeople and sales leaders. Anthony is also the author of four best-selling books documenting modern sales methodologies and a fifth book for sales leaders seeking revenue growth. His latest book for an even wider audience is titled, The Negativity Fast: Proven Techniques to Increase Positivity, Reduce Fear, and Boost Success.

Anthony speaks to sales organizations worldwide, delivering cutting-edge sales strategies and tactics that work in this ever-evolving B2B landscape. He also provides workshops and seminars. You can reach Anthony at thesalesblog.com or email Beth@b2bsalescoach.com.

Connect with Anthony on LinkedIn, X or Youtube. You can email Anthony at iannarino@gmail.com

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