Welcome to another Front Line Friday with my very special guest, Bridget Gleason. On this week’s episode, Bridget and I discuss the eight great sales books most frequently recommended by my guests, how your team or organization can participate in Andy’s 12-month reading program, and what books Andy and Bridget are reading right now.
Andy Paul (0:35)
It’s time to Accelerate. I’m your host, Andy Paul. Join me as I host conversations with the leading experts in sales, marketing sales, automation, sales process, leadership, management, training, coaching, any resource that I believe will help you accelerate the growth of your sales, your business and most importantly, you.
(0:56) Hello and welcome to Accelerate. This is another edition of Frontline Friday with my very special and regular guest Bridget Gleason. Bridget, how are you today?
Bridget Gleason (1:08)
Andy, today is another great day.
Andy Paul (1:11)
Another opportunity to succeed.
Bridget Gleason (1:15)
Another opportunity to succeed. Yes.
Andy Paul (1:18)
A friend that is about 10 years older than me and I used to swim with him in San Diego, is in the same master swim program and every morning I saw him, and he was a very successful business person and investor, and I’d say, “Don, how you doing today” He goes, “now it’s another opportunity to succeed.” I thought what a great attitude.
Bridget Gleason (1:42)
Attitude is everything.
Andy Paul (1:44)
Yeah. Well, he certainly was very successful, but he worked hard, hard, hard, hard. So Alright, today we’re going to talk about books again. That’s one of my favorite topics.
Bridget Gleason (1:58)
One of my favorites, as you know.
Andy Paul (2:00)
Yeah. So, at the end of every episode, except Fridays when I talk with you, so five days a week, I’m asking guests what book they’d recommend that every sales professional should read. We’re up about 400 episodes now. So, I’ve had answers from 400 plus people actually, way more than that, because I interviewed quite a ways in advance, except with you. And so, I tabulated the results to see which were the books, sort of the top five books that these world class world leading experts in sales, marketing and recommended. I thought we’d talk about it. I published a blog post about this, but in case people didn’t see that I thought we talked about on the show today, so you ready?
Bridget Gleason (2:45)
I am ready. I can hardly wait.
Andy Paul (2:47)
So, you probably didn’t see the blog post then. So, this will come as a surprise to you then.
Bridget Gleason (2:54)
This is good, but I’m now going to look at the blog post.
Andy Paul (3:00)
Which one did you think was number one?
Bridget Gleason (3:01)
I don’t know.
Andy Paul (3:03)
Take a guess.
Bridget Gleason (3:05)
Sales Acceleration Formula.
Andy Paul (3:07)
No, not even on the list. Great thought, but not even on the list.
Bridget Gleason (3:11)
It is a great book, um, Challenger Sale.
Andy Paul (3:15)
No, it’s on there, but it’s not number one.
Bridget Gleason (3:18)
In the Sales Management, I can just rattle them off.
Andy Paul (3:22)
Now the number one book by far, 400 people recommended it. Number one, How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.
Bridget Gleason (3:34)
Okay, wow, that’s good to hear.
Andy Paul (3:37)
I mean, so here’s for people that may have heard of this book but want to hear the background. This book was published in 1936. In the heart and height of the depression, the Great Depression. Carnegie had worked for, I think it was the Armour Corporation, A-R-M-O-U-R, which was a large meat processor at the time, and other products as well. But he was I think he sold lard, that was one of the primary products he sold. And also, was a successful teacher at public speaking. He published this book, this really simple book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, that I think has been sold over 100 million times, translated into virtually every language on the face of the earth. And the book clearly in the minds of these experts, but also in my mind, is as relevant today as it was when I was first published. We talk about people buy from people they know like and trust. Well, this is really the guide to tell you how to make that happen.
Bridget Gleason (4:43)
Andy, what I love about this book being the number one book, and I’ve read this book numerous times, I will probably read it again, given that it was bubbled to the top, and all this all the things we talked about, tools, and Twitter, and LinkedIn, and strategies, and tactics, and we’re doing it on the phone, and how do you get through and you need seven touches, and this is still the most important thing, on how you sort of established that and what are the basics. I couldn’t agree with it more. I’m delighted that this just is right there.
Andy Paul (5:19)
Well, you read all the time about– it’s all about the science of selling now, it’s not about the art of selling, business to business sales, in particular and B2C maybe a more so in some categories and less than others. Yeah, ultimately boils down to about a person talking to a person, that’s sort of the most influential thing that happens oftentimes in the minds of the prospect, and Carnegie tells you how to make these authentic connections with the people that become your customers are just people in your lives. And it’s straightforward. It just reminds you that as people, even though that everything around us has changed, we haven’t changed much at all. We might be influenced by technology and distracted by things, but when it comes to how we interact and relate to people, we’re still people, still pretty much the same.
Bridget Gleason (6:18)
That’s right. I love that. That’s great. That has just now gone back to the top. I will reread that.
Andy Paul (6:27)
So, number two on the list, Spin Selling by Neil Rackham. Now, that’s not a surprise, this is a frequently cited book by the guest on the show and about just a basic, good, basic book about business of business sales, his whole spin model, the situation problem implication need payoff, is still very relevant. For the same reason Carnegie gives. I mean, it’s not like people change, it’s a great methodology for salespeople, especially if you’re just starting to embrace.
Bridget Gleason (7:07)
I’m actually surprised by that one. And not because I don’t believe it’s a great book. I started at Xerox, and Xerox for those of people who don’t know, we’re the creators of Spin Selling. I’ve taught Spin Selling. I have every Neil Rackham book. I’ve done training. I don’t have any classes. I couldn’t be a bigger advocate. I guess I’m pleasantly surprised that, with all the new things that are coming out, that people still go back to this. I mean, how old is that, Andy?
Andy Paul (7:44)
Bridget Gleason (7:48)
Okay, so yeah
Andy Paul (7:51)
Just by the time you were born.
Bridget Gleason (7:54)
Just about the time I was born. I was a child prodigy, so, that was what my mother read to me in the morning instead of Good Night Moon or whatever .
Andy Paul (8:04)
“So, Bridget, tonight would you like Good Night Moon or Spin Selling?”
Bridget Gleason (8:08)
“I want Spin Selling!” God, that is such a great fundamental. I don’t think people always know. I recommended a book to somebody who was actually sales manager, Cracking the Sales Management Code.
Andy Paul (8:30)
Jason Jordan, very good book.
Bridget Gleason (8:32)
And she finished it and said, “oh, it’s great book, I read it in a day.” And I said, “well, it’s easy to read the book. It’s hard to do what’s in it.” And I think about Spin Selling, and I feel the same way about Spin Selling. I think it’s a great book to read. The key is actually to implement what you read and to practice. And it takes a lot of practice to get good at it. It’s a good fundamental, but the real work is in what you do after you read the book.
Andy Paul (9:13)
Yeah. And I think it’s one of those things was spin selling– the other similar systems, perhaps Miller Heiman, Sandler, where– my experience, it’s hard for an individual to read it and say, “yeah, this is what I’m going to do.” If the whole organization isn’t really thinking on the same way. But I think that’s one of the value of spin selling, you’ve seen an organization’s like Xerox and others that have embraced it, and still continue to embrace it is, they’re creating a common terminology, a common methodology, rightly or wrongly, whether you think it’s the best thing or not, everybody at least is aligned with how they’re trying to make things happen, how they talk to customers, how they understand, categorize things throughout their process. And I think there’s value in that, sometimes it is hard for the individual to sort of embrace it and use it the same way.
Bridget Gleason (10:10)
You know, I completely agree with that. I know you and I have talked about this before. But I think one of the many reasons that the spin selling model was so successful at Xerox was because of the ongoing training reinforcement that you knew. I could listen to any conversation around me. I could be in any sales meeting, I could talk to any sales engineer or colleague, and we’re all on the same page. That methodology was continually being reinforced, and that’s what made it so powerful. If it had been a one off, and we did it and some people did it, some people didn’t. The method wouldn’t have been the same. You’re absolutely right, that reinforcement and ongoing practice and sort of how you think about it within a company is so critical.
Andy Paul (11:02)
Okay, so third on the list. The Challenger Sale.
Bridget Gleason (11:06)
Okay, at least I got one a new one. At least a new one got on there so far. That’s the most modern went on there. I can’t wait to hear what the others are. Maybe they’re written in stones, in tablets, in Arabic.
Andy Paul (11:18)
There’s actually eight altogether, because we had a four-way tie for fifth.
Bridget Gleason (11:24)
Andy Paul (11:26)
So, Challenger Sale third. I don’t know if we need to spend much time talking about the Challenger Sale, people are familiar with it. Certainly, another book that embraced primarily by large enterprise selling more complex products. They’ve had some detractors with the book who don’t think there was anything new in it, but it was true or not I think that the central message of the book in terms of, the whole idea of being a challenger, still very relevant. My question was, how scalable was it? Because to me, I’m not sure that’s– we were talking before about the pew having a certain aptitude for system sales and so on, I think, same thing so much with Challenger is that not everybody has the aptitude to be able to do it. And so, that’s why I think sort of the shortcoming of trying to say we’re going to scale this because quite honestly, it’s in my experience, it’s been a relatively small fraction of sales reps that can really embrace it and do it effectively.
Bridget Gleason (12:31)
So, you think that it’s, you look at the spin selling model, and that can be more easily and widely adopted than more people?
Andy Paul (12:45)
I think so, yeah.
Bridget Gleason (12:31)
Why? I’m just curious. I don’t know that I agree or disagree, I’m just curious.
Andy Paul (12:56)
Based on my experience, we are talking about very large enterprise deals, complex deals, is to effectively challenge sort of the customer’s paradigm of what it is that they think they’re buying, and why, and then be able to justify why they should change that paradigm, which is a hugely effective competitive strategy. And one that I’ve used to great effect throughout my career. It’s not easy. It takes this personal system thinking, it takes a personal deeper acumen. I mean, anybody can be scripted with a question to say, “at this time ask this question”, but unless you can really follow up with the knowledge, and acumen, and the insights, it’s not going to be effective.
Bridget Gleason (13:43)
Yeah, it definitely. I think that’s probably true. I would agree with you that the spin selling model is maybe little bit more foundational, fundamental. I don’t know that it’s simpler. It’s just a different way of thinking about it than the Challenger Sale.
Andy Paul (14:09)
I think it’s also more broadly applicable. I think that’s another part of it.
Bridget Gleason (14:14)
Yeah, that’s true. Yeah, it’s more broadly applicable. I would agree with that.
Andy Paul (14:20)
I got two agreements from you. Excellent. For number four. Any guesses?
Bridget Gleason (14:29)
I’ve been wrong on all the others.
Andy Paul (14:33)
Bridget Gleason (14:34)
I’m going to make up To Sell is Human, Dan Pink. I like that one.
Andy Paul (14:41)
Yeah, that’s one of the ones that’s tied for fifth. Okay, number four, Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.
Bridget Gleason (14:50)
I was wondering if we were going to get another oldie, but goodie,
Andy Paul (14:55)
Bridget Gleason (14:58)
And that’s and that’s an interesting one that’s on there. Because I guess I have the same– I’m pleasantly surprised that– it’s almost like we’re going full circle. It’s like bell bottoms are coming back, and I just love that.
Andy Paul (15:16)
Huggers and bell bottoms.
Bridget Gleason (15:18)
Huggers and bell bottoms, who knows what’s next? I just I like that. Because some of these just timeless classics are really that, and they are proving to be that because they keep coming up.
Andy Paul (15:29)
Yeah, well, there’s another one later on the list. We’ll talk about that, some sort of similar vein.
Bridget Gleason (15:34)
Andy, do you think people know that book? Like people in sales, I hear them talk about Dale Carnegie’s book, and Spin Selling and Challenger Sale. Do you think that Thinking Grow Rich is on a typical new salesperson’s bookshelf, virtual or otherwise? Do you think that one’s on there?
Andy Paul (15:58)
Probably not. Even though I think is almost probably as widely sold as Thinking or as the Carnegie book, How to Win Friends, Influence People, I think that it’s different, it’s more of a motivational inspirational type book as opposed to your handbook that the Carnegie’s book is. It’s interesting that the people recommended it. If I look back through my memory about it, it was people from a fairly broad age range. But, you don’t hear it talked about as much as you do Carnegie, I agree.
Bridget Gleason (16:40)
Yeah, but it’s a classic, it’s a great one.
Andy Paul (16:43)
Yeah. For inspiration. How to achieve your goals in life. Which refers to sales, your personal life and so on. We’ve got 13-Step Formula. It’s well worth people reading. It’s relatively a quick read. It’s a good sighs book, but it’s well worth going through.
Bridget Gleason (17:03)
Yeah, I would agree, that’s great. Okay, now are tied for fifth and you said there’s several on the list. I already got one of them, which I feel really happy and proud.
Andy Paul (17:14)
So yeah, I got that one. So, for books that tied for fifth. One is To Sell is Human, the surprising truth about moving others by Daniel Pink. So, this is New York Times bestseller, starts with the premise that increasingly most of us in the workforce whether in sales or not, our job entails influencing others. I think he in the book gives statistics. I think it was close to three quarters of white-collar employees surveyed say there’s some aspect of their job that involves influencing others.
Bridget Gleason (17:55)
Well, you look at Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People. There is definitely a part of it.
Andy Paul (18:01)
So, in some sense, what Pink was saying is, “yeah, we’re all in sales.” To me this is not a book of practical sales advice or simply conveyed.
Bridget Gleason (18:15)
Andy Paul (18:16)
And I thought, quite frankly, he missed an opportunity to provide some of that. But yeah, it’s well worth reading.
Bridget Gleason (18:31)
Yeah, I’m a fan of that book. And again, it’s not a tactical, I’m going to sell better. I just think if you’re interested in the profession of sales, if that’s who you are in what you do, tt’s a great read.
Andy Paul (18:46)
One other way to sort of consider the profession you’re in, in sales, you’re it. This is not a phrase that I came up with. I think it’s Robert Cialdini in one of his books, Influence or his new one, Pre-suasion, this term “influence professional”, that’s a good term for salespeople. So yeah, if you’re an influence professional then yeah, reading a book like To Sale is Human, any of Cialdini’s books, numerous others about how people make decisions and how they’re influenced. You want to read those, you want to get intoit, you understand the psychology of decision making.
Bridget Gleason (19:30)
Yeah, that’s a good one.
Andy Paul (19:32)
Okay, unfortunately none of those made the list but. Another of those that tied for fifth place. Is this is…
Bridget Gleason (19:47)
No, I’ve given up guessing. I keep guessing wrong.
Andy Paul (19:50)
Okay. Is New Sales Simplified. The essential handbook for prospecting a new business development by Mike Weinberg, good friend of mine. And that’s a good book. If you haven’t read it, I think it’s sort of a modern classic, actually. Mike has a very blunt and direct way of conveying a message, and the book talks about what you’re doing wrong and what you can do to do better. IT provides a really sort of simple framework for new business development for prospecting.
Bridget Gleason (20:27)
Okay, good. I love the new classics.
Andy Paul (20:29)
So, you read Mike’s book?
Bridget Gleason (20:31)
I have read it, but I think I need to reread it, because I don’t have it top of mind. You put that back on my list, especially since it hit the top five. The top-five topic.
Andy Paul (20:51)
Okay, so, two more on the four-way tie for fifth. The next one is The Greatest Salesman in the World, by Og Mendino
Bridget Gleason (21:03)
Okay, here we go, we’ve got another of the greatest hits. Short book.
Andy Paul (21:07)
Yeah, short book. I hadn’t read it until relatively recently. Yeah, when people started suggesting it. So, within the last six months or so I’d picked up and read it for the first time. Yeah, short book, it’s written as a parable really, about developing the essential sales behaviors, or behaviors in general, not only sales behaviors, that will help ensure his or her lifetime success and fulfillment, not just your monetary success. And, I thought it was okay, I didn’t think it was as good as a number of the other ones. And sort of a caveat for people to read it. It’s fairly religious based.
Bridget Gleason (21:59)
Yeah, I read that one. I’ve read that one more than once. I read it a number of years ago and I liked it. I wouldn’t be on my hit parade, but I can understand why it’s on there, it’s a decent book.
Andy Paul (22:14)
It’s definitely well written.
Bridget Gleason (22:17)
Definitely well written.
Andy Paul (22:18)
The guy’s flare– he wrote a number of books—yeah, very well written, but I think there are other places to get the same information that perhaps more effective for you. I know a lot of people that enjoy reading parables, business books that are basically parables, and if you’re one of those people then yeah, pick this one up. It’s easy to read and certainly, there’s value in it.
Bridget Gleason (22:43)
Right. Okay, good.
Andy Paul (22:47)
Okay, so the last one.
Bridget Gleason (22:51)
Andy Paul (22:55)
Called, Zero Time Selling.
Bridget Gleason (22:58)
Yay! One of my favorites. That fantastic author, and he knows the people to interview to. That’s one of the things I really like.
Andy Paul (23:11)
Yes. Very smart individual. Yes.
Bridget Gleason (23:16)
And I hope that one stays on the classic list, because your book is a quick read. It’s relevant. It’s widely applicable. Immediately actionable. Zero Time Selling, I give that one also a big plus one.
Andy Paul (23:38)
Well, thank you. Yeah, so Zero Time Selling. People don’t know, yours truly is the author. 10 essential steps to accelerate every company’s sales. And yeah, I was sort of surprised. I lost track. I know several people mentioned over the year, a quarter that we compiled the results from, but yes, gratifying to be included in that company.
Bridget Gleason (24:03)
It’s good, and what great company you’re in.
Andy Paul (24:06)
So, one thing that I’ve been doing with some clients is putting together a 12-month reading lists for them. And, if people are interested, I can certainly share that with you. And actually, it’s a service that we sell. We provide reading guides, and we provide either a monthly or quarterly, depending on what their choice is, virtual book discussion, or book club if you will, we’ll talk about it. But the key thing that for companies that are interested, if you want to contact me about this, the stipulation that I have is that if you’re going to do this program, it’s got a twist, and the twist is that you’re required to, as a manager, provide time during the business day for people to read.
Bridget Gleason (25:01)
Yeah, you and I have talked about that, yeah.
Andy Paul (25:03)
So, you have to allocate 15 to 20 minutes per day for your people to read. It’s not a homework assignment, and you can’t send it home because that’s not going to happen. They’re going to sit in front of TV and not read it. So, we really have two parts. You either buy them a notebook, you’re going to buy these books every month, and they’re going to read for 15 minutes and then they’re going to journal for five minutes and reflect on what they read and talk about that every week in your sales meeting. And during the course of the year, we modify how the people reading the books, how they report on what they do. What we do at the end, in the last couple months, is actually they put together weekly video reports that they submit to the manager and actually to me as well, and so they get a chance to get some practice at formulating their thoughts and speaking in public. So, a great lever if people are interested.
Bridget Gleason (26:04)
It’s a great program. That’s lot of fun. I don’t know that I would do 12. To think that we have to integrate all of that, it’s great.
Andy Paul (26:14)
Well, it’s a variety of books. Some are easy reads like Carnegie, some are a little more challenging. So, some things are immediately applicable, some are really– we’re not here to test you, but to test your brain, expand your brain. We want you to think more broadly about things. Some are very practical, some are a little more challenging for perhaps some salespeople, some customer-facing people, but the exposure is really valuable.
Bridget Gleason (26:50)
Fantastic, I love it. I could talk about books every single time, but I would bore the rest of the people. I’m not a big TV watcher. So, you put the printed word in front of me and I’m all over it.
Andy Paul (27:07)
Yeah. Over Thanksgiving, when we’re together with the family and– I watch some TV, I love sports on TV. Big soccer fan. I’ve got certain shows I watch. There’s so many things on TV these days, that I just don’t have time to watch at all. And my kids are sitting there talking about, “did you watch this? Did you watch this? Did you watch that? If you watch this, if you stream this”, it’s like, I’d like to. And so, what my wife and I do on our big travel vacations is we binge-watch.
Bridget Gleason (27:45)
Andy Paul (27:46)
If we go from like New York to Hawaii, it’s a six-hour time difference, and so we’re waking up at two or three in the morning. Yeah, we’ll binge-watch for a few hours before we need to start the day. It’s a good catch up. That way we can story. So, do you have a recommendation? One book every salesperson should read once.
Bridget Gleason (28:12)
God, I read so many sales books. I mean some of them you’ve hit, and we’ve talked about. I just love the philosophy; I love To Sell is Human. I think it’s a great book, I can’t argue with How to Win Friends and Influence People.
Andy Paul (28:32)
Okay, well, for people who are listening to Accelerate now, as I start changing up that question, and so now the question is more about, okay recommend a book that you think salespeople should read that has nothing to do with business or sales. We got some interesting answers. And we’ll compile that. A year from now we’ll talk about those.
Bridget Gleason (29:00)
We’ll talk about those, what the top five are.
Andy Paul (29:02)
Yeah, because I want people to– I think salespeople should read Shakespeare, or read poetry, it’s al about communication or use words to great effect.
Bridget Gleason (29:19)
Yeah, I agree with that. I like to read a lot around sales and business, but then I also read a lot of things that don’t seem tangential, but to me they end up being you know, poetry and Shakespeare and some of the classics. So, I like the well-rounded sort of interdisciplinary study.
Andy Paul (29:44)
Yeah, but I also think we’re in the business of speaking. Right now, communication, we salespeople, we use our words, this is what we do. And if you can get into books like– I just use Shakespeare for an example, because I am a Shakespeare fan, I will read it in my spare time. Seeing how people use words to communicate more effectively, and the imagery, and the metaphors. And I’ve had a guest on my show talking about, how to communicate more effectively through metaphors. That’s really important. And a skill that people should look at picking up, and it’s purposed through reading, poetry is all about metaphor.
Bridget Gleason (30:33)
Yeah, wonderful. I have to fly; I have to go.
Andy Paul (30:37)
You literally have to fly. A pleasure as always.
Bridget Gleason (30:45)
As always Andy, and we’ll look forward to the next time.
Andy Paul (30:48)
Yeah, friends, thank you for taking time out of your day to join us here, and make sure if you’re at least come back next Friday. I’m sure you’re all listening throughout the week to Accelerate, but be sure you come back next Friday with my neck conversation with my friend Bridget Gleason.
Bridget Gleason (31:03)
Great to talk to you have a good one. Bye.
Andy Paul (31:05)
Thanks for listening to the show. If you like what you heard and want to make sure you don’t miss any upcoming episodes, please subscribe to this podcast on iTunes or stitcher.com. For more information about today’s guests, visit my website at andypaul.com.