15 best cold calling books to take your sales team to new levels

by Steli Efti
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Most successful sales reps have a wealth of experience with cold calling. They are used to consistent action: qualifying prospects, sending cold emails, booking meetings, maybe following up a couple of times, and finally closing the deal. Occasionally though, you need to go back to the drawing board and find out the gaps in your selling process.

You can revisit the fundamentals of selling, acquire a new soft skill that will enable you to close more deals, or simply leisurely read some sales and business literature. Reading books is one of the cheapest ways to acquire knowledge, improve your thinking skills, and as a result, sell more.

We’ve already introduced you to amazing sales books. If you specifically want to add more cold calling books to your reading list, then I've got you covered. This article covers fifteen top cold calling books, divided into four categories. Let’s get started.

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Best cold calling books with sales tactics

Whether you’re a seasoned professional or completely new to sales, the following books will provide techniques and tips for improving the conversion rate of your cold calling efforts.

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1. Gap Selling

Author: Keenan
Published: December 3, 2018

Who should read this: Experienced and new sales professionals that are ready to unlearn detrimental sales axioms that they have formed over the course of their careers.

Why salespeople need this book: The author shatters many limiting beliefs around selling like “people buy from people they like” (customers buy from anyone that can bring them value). And “customers don’t change” (they will embrace change if you prove that their future state is better than the present). The book shreds such beliefs and outdated sales tactics in a no-nonsense and engaging style.

Gap Selling talks about genuinely helping customers, acting as a consultant, and becoming an expert that people can rely on for solving their problems. It shows you how to engage in the buying process with your customers instead of selling to them. Instead of taking orders, you turn into sales influencers.

Whether you’re a sales professional that likes reading or doesn’t, you’ll find fresh frameworks and tons of insights in the book.

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2. Smart Calling: Eliminate the Fear, Failure, and Rejection from Cold Calling

Author: Art Sobczak
Published: April 8, 2013

Who should read this: Inside sales reps will find a lot of high-value advice for smarter cold calling and actionable techniques for tackling specific sales challenges.

Why salespeople need this book: It’s one of the best cold calling books on B2B sales prospecting—for both inspiration and insights. You can use it as a guide for creating a systematic process and a welcoming environment to conduct business over the phone.

The material is divided into four sections. In the first one, you’re introduced to the concept of smart calling. The second one is about prepping for your call by creating your value proposition, using social engineering to gather intelligence, setting smart call objectives, and the like.

The third section features examples of opening statements you can use at the beginning of the call to create interest, handling early resistance, listening intently, and getting a commitment, etc. The final section sums up how to sound smart, stay motivated, and concludes with a case study on smart calls.

To get the most value from the book, it’s best if you read it in chunks. Apply the tips and strategies discussed in one chapter before you move on to the next one.

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3. Take the Cold Out of Cold Calling

Author: Sam Richter
Published: July 9, 2009

Who should read this: For inside sales professionals that do a lot outbound prospecting.

Why salespeople need this book: The author shares search techniques and websites that you can use to find hidden information about your prospects, customers, and competition (including the “invisible web” that’s not accessible to search engines). You can use the info to foray into the world of warm sales to make a great first impression, deepen your relationships with your clients, and close more business.

The book is a great resource for researching your prospects, deriving sales insights from social networks, accessing premium information and highly qualified lead lists at low to zero cost, “warm call scripts”, and more. The last update of the book came out in 2015, yet many of its research techniques remain relevant for finding information about your prospects on the web.

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4. Hyper-Connected Selling: Win More Business by Building Personal Influence & Creating Human Connection

Author: David J.P. Fisher
Published: May 12, 2017

Who should read this: All kinds of sales professionals.

Why salespeople need this book: The world is now hyper-connected, and the way customers buy has changed drastically. However, you can still leverage social selling technology in your daily sales activities and integrate yourself into the customer’s buying journey. The author introduces you to tools and tactics that you can use alongside old school sales techniques.

The book covers the modern evolution of selling, how to build relationships so that closing opportunities are always available for you, and still rely on selling the way it’s always been: human-to-human (by becoming a sales sherpa). It’s a great read for any sales professional who wants to leverage technology to sell more.

Best cold calling books for beginners

If you’re just getting started with prospecting cold leads and want to increase your chances of converting them into business, then the books below will serve as invaluable resources.

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1. Fanatical Prospecting

Author: Jeb Blount
Published: October 5, 2015

Who should read this: Most useful for new sales reps, but also has practical takeaways for experienced sales development representatives (SDR).

Why salespeople need this book: The material begins with an emphasis on relentless prospecting and goes on to detail the mindsets of successful prospectors. In the following chapters, though, it moves beyond standard sales motivation. There are specific examples and practical frameworks that experienced SDRs (as well as beginner sales reps) can leverage in their selling process.

The author is a sales acceleration specialist and has laid down a detailed prospecting methodology in the book. For instance, he shares the 30-Day rule to keep the pipeline full, the law of familiarity for reducing prospect friction, scripts and frameworks for cold calling, cold emails, text messages, social selling, and more. Overall it’s a great resource to learn successful prospecting across multiple channels.

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2. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Cold Calling

Author: Keith Rosen
Published: August 3, 2004

Who should read this: Good for newbies in the world of sales.

Why salespeople need this book: It provides a comprehensive selling framework for new sales reps in five sections. You can use the material to develop your own process of prospecting and follow up that runs on autopilot and aligns with your selling philosophy, strengths, and natural talents.

The book starts with sections on taking care of your inner game and delves into developing robust systems for generating new business. In the following sections, the author covers converting your cold calls into warm calls through better conversations and getting past the gatekeeper to close more sales. It concludes with a section on how to secure your position at the top.

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3. How To Crush It, Kill It & Master Cold Calling Now!

Author: Anthony Iannarino
Published: April 8, 2013

Who should read this: Salespeople that are getting started with cold calling.

Why salespeople need this book: Anthony Iannarino is a seasoned B2B sales coach. And this 13-page Ebook is a boot camp to dip your toes into cold calling. The material is succinct, insightful, and the questions after every chapter aid you in absorbing the concepts.

The book is a compilation of blog posts by the author. The subjects include: why sales gurus detest cold calling, why salespeople don’t like cold calling, prospecting to C-level executives, offering value to your prospects during sales calls, and six principles of effective cold calling.

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4. The Psychology of Selling: Increase Your Sales Faster and Easier Than You Ever Thought Possible

Author: Brian Tracy
Published: July 18, 2006

Who should read this: Salespeople that are beginning their careers will derive the most value from the book.

Why salespeople need this book: The author has delivered a healthy dose of motivation along with psychological principles that play a key role during sales. Professionals getting started with sales will find the fundamental concepts and strategies in the book valuable.

The material is divided into eight easy to consume chapters. It starts with the inner game of selling, setting and achieving sales goals, why people buy, creative ways to sell, getting more appointments, the power of suggestions, making the sale, and ends with the ten keys to success in selling.

Best cold calling books for startups

I've had a wealth of experience with startup sales, and it’s a subject close to my heart. If you’re a B2B startup venturing into sales, then I recommend you to take a bite at the books below (a couple of them are written by yours truly)!

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1. Your Growth Hacks Aren’t Working

Author: Steli Efti
Published: 2017

Who should read this: Startup founders looking to evaluate and set up cold calling for their business.

Why salespeople need this book: As a co-founder of a successful startup, I can tell you that cold calling is incredibly effective for customer acquisition. Most founders are fascinated by the idea of AI-powered chatbots and online sales funnels. But they rarely work. As the majority of your competitors are zigging, you can leverage good old tactic of “cold calling” to zag, and enable rapid growth for your company.

The book comprehensively covers how to create a sales process that’s based on cold calling, from starting with validating your idea, to finding your ideal customer. There are also a couple of sections on the psychology of sales success and the five most common sales mistakes, and how the most successful sales teams are using technology—like predictive dialers—to improve their sales productivity. 

Even if you’ve zero sales experience, the examples and tactics in the book will set you on the right path to set up cold calling for reaching your customers.

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2. The Founder's Guide To Sales Negotiation

Author: Steli Efti

Who should read this: Startup founders (especially those that sell SaaS products).

Why salespeople need this book: Startups often deal with negotiations in which fear of rejection looms over. However giving out discounts is not the way out. You can charge what your product’s worth by becoming a better sales negotiator. Selling more does not require adopting clever tricks and complex strategies. Rather it’s about changing your mindset and following a set of simple principles that are laid out in this book. 

The first chapter covers the negotiation mindset. For the rest of the book, we deep dive into negotiation tactics including the importance of silence, showing vulnerability, postponing, how to approach the customer's demand for discount, handling questions when you don’t know the right answer, and the other tactics to get past most of your negotiation roadblocks. The book ends with a proven LOI template and how to renegotiate a deal.

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3. Outbound Sales, No Fluff: Written by two millennials who have actually sold something this decade

Author: Rex Biberston and Ryan Reisert
Published: December 7, 2017

Who should read this: Great for newly recruited SDRs straight out of college.

Why salespeople need this book: It contains a fairly quick overview of the world of outbound selling, which you can finish reading in about 30 minutes. There isn’t any immediately actionable advice in the book. On the other hand, it's also free of self-promotional jargon and fluff.

Beginners can read and learn how to build their sales cadence in crisp eight chapters. The first half covers fundamentals about creating prospecting lists, defining your “swimming sales”, targeting companies, and lead scraping tools. 

The second half covers specifics of a cold call, cold email, social selling, creating bucket leads, using technology tools, and funnel math for improving your conversions.

Best cold calling related skill development books

To become more effective at cold calling, you need to work on a set of sales skills. Here are a couple of books that will set you on the right track. 

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1. Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most

Author: Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen
Published: November 2, 2010

Who should read this: All sales professionals who want to apply emotional intelligence and learn the art of great communication during formal negotiations.

Why salespeople need this book: The book provides you a practical framework for having difficult conversations with your clients, employees, and people in general. Whether you’re a sales organization leader, a sales development representative, or any other sales professional, the authors teach you the art of fruitful and effective conversations.

The book covers the underlying structure of difficult conversations, why people avoid having them (or worse manage them poorly), how to listen for the meaning of what’s not said, staying balanced when attacked, and moving from emotions to problem-solving.

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2. How to Get a Meeting with Anyone: The Untapped Selling Power of Contact Marketing Kindle Edition

Author: Stu Heinecke
Published: February 16, 2016

Who should read this: All kinds of sales professionals.

Why salespeople need this book: Bypassing the gatekeepers and reaching high-level decision-makers is tricky. The author (a cartoonist) relied on a personalized approach of “contact campaigns” to get attention and book meetings with CEOs and VIPs. His unorthodox techniques, tips, and tactics are laid out in the book for anyone to execute.

The material begins with an introduction of contact marketing and covers twenty such categories of contact campaigns. After a couple of sections, it might become a tad repetitive. But you can walk away, adding a rather unconventional “contact marketing” toolset in your arsenal.

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Bonus: The Introvert's Edge: How the Quiet and Shy Can Outsell Anyone

Selling is supposed to be about aggressive pitches, in-your-face conversations, and dealing with strangers. It’s a nightmare for introverts who lack these “natural talents.” However in the book below, the introverted author describes a proven sales process that works for all kinds of personalities.

Author: Matthew Pollard with Derek Lewis as a contributor
Published: January 4, 2018

Who should read this: Introvert sales professionals (although other personalities will also find it useful).

Why salespeople need this book: While introverts might not make small talk easily or strike conversations with prospects, they can rely on their strengths for selling. The author discusses sales as a skill that can be acquired, and all kinds of personalities can follow it.

The book lays down the process of selling sincerely in seven steps by acting as a consultant. As the author puts in the first chapter, “...in the long-run, process beats personality. Every time.” All kinds of sales professionals can emulate the process laid out by the author and master selling.

Conclusion

Whether you’re getting started with cold calling or have extensive experience, it isn’t just about dialing numbers continuously. You need to take breaks and analyze the gaps in your selling process. Reading books is a guaranteed way that makes you introspect, learn new techniques, and help you do better in your career. 

So please pick up a book from the fifteen that I shared in this article. If you’re confused about which one to read first, then start with our free cold calling guide for startups.

Are there any other cold calling books that you would like to recommend? Let me know on LinkedIn!

Want to dive into the deep end with cold calling? Grab our free B2B Cold Calling Course! It'll teach you to build rapport and trust, display authority, and increase the desire for your product or service.

GRAB THE B2B COLD CALLING COURSE FREE →