Book Review

The Top-10 Books for Sales Professionals

Reproduced below is Andy Paul’s list of the top-10 books to accelerate learning of Sales Professional in a high-growth teams.

Fantastic to see Seven Stories in this list.

Article by Andy Paul, internationally renowned b2b sales consultant and CEO of the SalesHouse and author of:

  • Amp Up Your Sales: Powerful Strategies That Move Customers To Make Fast, Favorable Decisions

  • Zero-Time Selling: 10 Essential Steps To Accelerate Every Company's Sales

Reproduced from Andy Paul’s LinkedIn post and letter to his The Sales House group on the 15th Feb 2019.

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There are literally hundreds of books that every sales professional should read. I’ve read a good many of them.

So, what’s special about these 10 titles I'm going to share with you today?

Well, this list was created with a singular purpose: to accelerate the learning curve of sales professionals. To enable them to become specialists in B2B selling.

The books were chosen in consultation with a client to address the specific learning needs of their rapidly expanding sales team in a high-growth start-up.

This is not a "Top 10" or "Best Of" list. It’s just a list that fits a particular need.

(Before I list the books let me apologize in advance to all my author colleagues that have written wonderful books about sales. Many of you have been guests on my podcast and I still love your books. There will be other lists.)

Recommended to be read in this order:

1. How to Win Friends and Influence People - Dale Carnegie

This book is as relevant today as it was when it was first published more than 80 years ago.

2. The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need - Anthony Iannarino

Anthony lied. He’s written two other excellent books on sales. Start with this one.

3. 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management - Kevin Kruse

My favorite book on personal time management. With its emphasis on managing your time from your calendar I believe this method is the best fit for sellers to use.

4. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion - Robert Cialdini

The classic. You can’t be in sales and not read this book.

5. Amp Up Your Sales: Powerful Strategies That Move Customers to Make Fast, Favorable Decisions - Andy Paul

I know the author.

6. The Science of Selling - David Hoffeld

An engaging summary of the actual science and research that’s been conducted into how we connect and influence other people.

7. The Go-Giver - Bob Burg

A wonderful allegory about how to serve more customers by expanding your impact and influence.

8. Seven Stories Every Salesperson Must Tell - Mike Adams

A practical guide to telling the stories that influence decisions.

9. The Speed of Trust - Stephen Covey Jr

Learn why trust is a quantifiable asset and how it accelerates economic relationships (like buying and selling.)

10. The Perfect Close - James Muir

Traditional closing techniques are obsolete. James provides a very practical guide to helping your buyers across the finish line.

Andy Paul’s  The Sales House

Misguided approach hampering business sales

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Many businesses are using the wrong approach when marketing to prospective customers, a sales consultant has claimed, and it could be losing them all-important revenue opportunities.


Adviser and author Mike Adams (pictured), who ran global corporate sales teams for 20 years before launching his own consultancy, told My Business that many sales teams and businesses use a push method of communication, which more often than not falls on deaf ears.

He said that most business communications combine facts, opinions and assertions about them and their product or service. But these have considerable limitations.

“Unfortunately, communication of disconnected facts is neither memorable, understandable nor persuasive,” Mr Adams said.

Instead, he is a big advocate of the “storytelling” approach, which he explores in his book Seven Stories Every Salesperson Must Tell.

Storytelling in business is not a new concept. It has been touted as a key to generating cut-though in digital marketing, while Instagram launched a dedicated Stories tool on its platform for businesses.

But Mr Adams admitted that its meaning is commonly misunderstood.

“A story (by definition) is a sequence of related events. Stories are the easiest way for humans to communicate ideas and experiences because of how our human neocortex [part of the brain] works,” he said.

“Business storytelling means putting your facts, ideas and experiences into a story format so they can be understood and accepted.”

According to Mr Adams, a storytelling approach generally solves three core challenges: how to connect with prospective customers, and be accepted as a subject matter expert; how to motivate those prospects to change their behaviour in a mutually beneficial way; and how to help customers overcome any risks in order to close the sale.

It is this approach that he uses with his sales team clients, who may be underperforming, needing to expand the business or struggling with prospecting for new customers.

How to use ‘stories’ to win new customers

There are several key points business leaders should know when embarking on the storytelling approach to marketing and customer communications, Mr Adams suggests. They are:

  • Keep it succinct: “Conversational business stories are typically short (two-minute) anecdotes that make a business point.”

  • Stories are two-way: The point of stories is to share knowledge, rather than push a particular point. “We tell stories in order to prompt for the buyer’s stories. Listening (tending) to buyers’ stories is how rapport and situational understanding are built.”

  • Know your business’ key stories, and share them proudly.

  • Re-use a winning approach: “I’ve learnt that it’s possible to change industries, companies and countries and still succeed by using few basic principles, because people are fundamentally the same everywhere.”


Loic Simon reviews Seven Stories on LinkedIn

By Loic Simon, founder of the Social Selling Forum

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See the original review here

I just finished "Seven Stories Every Salesperson Must Tell" by Mike Adams.

For me, it's currently THE most useful Storytelling book for Business Developers (and their leaders) ... ... who sell in complex purchasing contexts ... where their ability to guide their customers is paramount to their success and, above all, to that of their customers.

If you liked "The Challenger Customer" (which Mike refers to several times) and "The Future of the Sales Profession" by fellow countryman "Aussie" Graham Hawkins ... ... that I also strongly recommend, "Seven Stories ..." is really the book you need in addition: strategic, practical, stuffed with "Stories" very relevant.

And for a complex sales practitioner like me, what is featured in hashtag # StoryTelling is 100% in tune with the Sales and hashtag #SocialSelling approach that I defend at hashtag # SocialSellingForum! I make my reference book for the next few weeks ... PS. Less than 5 € in Kindle format (for launch), it's a bargain ... if you can read English.

And in French ….

Je viens de finir "Seven Stories Every Salesperson Must Tell" de Mike Adams.

Pour moi, c'est actuellement LE livre sur le StoryTelling le plus utile pour les Business Developers (et leurs dirigeants)... ... qui vendent dans des contextes d'achats complexes ... où leur capacité à guider leurs clients est primordiale pour leur réussite et, surtout, pour celle de leurs clients.

Si vous avez aimé "The Challenger Customer" (auquel Mike fait plusieurs fois référence) et "The Future of the Sales Profession" de son compatriote "Aussie" Graham Hawkins... ... que je vous recommande également vivement, "Seven Stories..." est vraiment LE livre qu'il vous faut en complément : stratégique, pratique, bourré de "Stories" très pertinentes.

Et pour un praticien de la vente complexe comme moi, ce qui y est présenté en matière de hashtag#StoryTelling est 100% en phase avec l'approche de la Vente et du hashtag#SocialSelling que je défends à longueur de hashtag#SocialSellingForum ! J'en fais mon livre de référence pour les prochaines semaines... PS. A moins de 5€ au format Kindle (pour le lancement), c'est une aubaine... si on sait lire l'anglais.

Seven Stories Review by James Muir

Link to original article here

Sales Book Review – Seven Stories Every Salesperson Must Tell by Mike Adams

Early on in my sales career I noticed that clients remembered the stories I shared far better than the compelling statistics I would offer. A compelling stat? Good for a week or sometimes even a month. Compelling story illustrating the same point? Good for years. This is why I was so excited to read Mike Adams‘ book Seven Stories Every Salesperson Must Tell. Mike Adams has delivered a work that not only explains the science behind why storytelling is so effective but also provides an efficient framework for how and when to create and deliver these stories for maximum effect in sales.

Seven Stories Review by Bob Apollo

I’ve long believed that top sellers are storytellers. They are able to call upon a rich fund of relevant anecdotes that they use to communicate and persuade far more convincingly than a conventional sales pitch could ever do. And in sharing their stories they encourage their customers to tell their own stories.

As humans, we are wired for story, and have been since long before the days of Homer. Some of us are naturally gifted storytellers, and others have to work on developing this critical skill. But we can all learn to do it well if we have the right framework and are prepared to put in the effort.

But unlike product knowledge or presentation and questioning skills, storytelling skills have rarely been part of the sales training agenda. It’s a subject that has been woefully neglected. The sales profession has been crying out for a guide, and I believe we have finally found one in an outstanding new book from Mike Adams...

It’s never been more important for sales people to be able to rise above the clutter of cookie-cutter communications and really engage with their customers at both an emotional and a rational level. And it’s never been more important that we cut out all the buzz-word and jargon-ridden nonsense and adopt a more empathetic approach to customer conversations.

All we’ve been waiting for is a guide. And Mike’s new book “Seven Stories Every Sales Person Must Tell” is the most comprehensive handbook I’ve ever come across to enable sales people to both tell more effective stories and to stimulate our customers to share their own stories in return.

According to Mike’s analysis, successful stories incorporate a sequence of events that fit a known framework, are interesting and unpredictable, turn on one main character and make or illustrate a relevant business point. If any of these are missing, the story is unlikely to engage, persuade or convince.

Perhaps most important, the listener needs to be able to relate to the protagonist and see some important aspects of their own situation in the journey undertaken by the hero of the story. And if the story is to be realistic, it must include some believable complications along the way.

If there is no struggle, there is no story. I believe this is why so many overly-sanitised case studies that follow a simple problem-solution pattern without acknowledging any difficulties along the way simply lack credibility - and why you’ve got to question whether there was any value in publishing them.

As Mike points out, myths, movies and novels can have complex narrative structures of the sort described by Joseph Campbell in “The Hero with a Thousand Faces”, but at minimum the narrative arc of any good sales story must include four key elements:

  1. Setting: First off, our story needs a setting to establish context - typically including time and place markers that allow our audience to start painting a mental picture

  2. Complications: If we are to establish our credibility and engage our audience’s attention, our story needs to incorporate complications and some element of unpredictability

  3. Turning point: Although complications are necessary to establish interest and credibility when telling sales stories, we (mostly) want to end on a positive note, so the turning point provides the crucial pivot for the story

  4. Resolution: The journey ends with the complications being resolved, tension and suspense being lifted, and a valuable lesson conveyed to the listener

We can embellish or extend these elements. But if any of these four key elements is missing, our story is unlikely to engage or persuade, or be in any way memorable to the listener.

By the way, I also recommend that where possible you add a fifth and final element to Mike's formula: the unexpected benefit. Once you have revealed the resolution, the story can become even more emotionally engaging if you add something like "but in addition to resolving their initial problem, they found that an unexpected benefit was [insert surprising additional benefit]".

Who are the most effective story tellers in your own organisation? I’d expect many of your best-performing sales people and business consultants to be members of this group, but it would be unusual if the company founders weren’t also highly effective story tellers.

How can we learn from their experiences and establish a company-wide story telling competence - one that not only makes existing staff more effective, but also inducts every new employee into a culture of storytelling and shared experience?

Well, it requires that we establish an ever-growing pool of sharable stories and encourage and equip our customer-facing people to practice and continually develop their story telling skills.

Mike’s book provides an essential foundation for this endeavour, and I commend it to you. For a very limited promotional period, you can download the Kindle version from Amazon for only £0.99.

The offer closes on Monday 13th August - so I strongly suggest that you download your copy today.

Well, you're probably asking, what are the 7 Stories every sales person must tell? Well, for the full details I suggest you read the book, but here’s a taster:

  • Your personal story

  • Key staff stories

  • Company creation story

  • Insight stories

  • Success stories

  • Values stories

  • Teaching stories

These story types differ in their choice of central character and their purpose. But Mike makes a compelling case for mastering every one of these story types - and provides detailed guidance on how to best develop and articulate each of them.

So - what’s your story? And how has story telling helped you succeed? Be sure to drop me a line or set up a call and tell me about your experiences - and I’d be happy to share my stories in return...



Bob Apollo is a Fellow of the Association of Professional Salesa regular contributor to the International Journal of Sales Transformation and the founder of UK-based Inflexion-Point Strategy Partners. Following a successful career spanning start-ups, scale-ups and corporates, Bob now works with high-potential tech-based B2B-focused scale-up businesses, equipping them to Sell in the Breakthrough Zone® by systematically creating, capturing and confirming their distinctive value in every customer interaction.

TopicsSelling the Difference