I am frequently asked to recommend a book for beginning salespeople. My answer never changes. The first and most important book that any salesperson should read if they truly want to succeed in their career is Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends & Influence People. This 1936 classic is the first of its kind and makes Carnegie the father of the modern motivational/sales training industry.
Carnegie broke down his rules for influencing people into four categories that include 1) Fundamental Techniques in Handling People 2) Six Ways to Make People Like You 3) Win People to Your Way of Thinking and 4) Be a Leader. Carnegie’s enlightened words remain as true in the 21st century as they were in the middle of the Great Depression.
For example, the common expectation for handling “objections” in modern sales training is to have clever ideas and manipulative statements to get the sales prospect over to your way of thinking. Carnegie instead offers one simple piece of advice when he says “The best way to win an argument is to avoid one.” This advice, like many other wise concepts offered by Carnegie, we should all heed.
It is the simplicity of his principles that make this an important and inspirational book. A nuclear physicist begins her education on the foundation of learning simple math. A master baker first learns the basic science of flour and eggs before making artistic deserts. And a high performance Sales Leader builds the foundation of a career by embracing Carnegie’s timeless ideas for managing relationships with people.
How to Win Friends is not merely about sales leadership, but provides provocative lessons in ways to deal better with everyone in your life. Not only is this is a must read for any person serious about growing in his or her sales career, it is also an important book for anyone who wants to succeed in business or life. This is the book for business leaders who wish to capture the hearts of people who will enthusiastically follow them into battle. It is a book you want everyone in your organization to read.
People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.