You’ve heard it and read it hundreds of times: a team is only as strong as its weakest player. As a property manager, it’s your job to ensure that every member of your reservations team is equipped with the skills, knowledge, and confidence needed to close the deal.

If you hire inexperienced salespeople and neglect to take the time to train them, challenge them, and praise them on an ongoing basis, you’ll never be able to build an effective team.

So, as a manager, what can you do?

There are many ways to train and nurture a sales team, but one of the best things you can do from day one is to encourage every individual on your team to spend more time reading on their own.

If you’re like most property managers, you’re spinning a lot of plates at once—you might not always be able to spend as much time as you’d like working 1-on-1 to teach each of your team members how to be better communicators and better salespeople.

For times like these, regular team reading assignments can do wonders for boosting confidence, happiness, motivation, even and success among your team.

In this article, I’m sharing 8 great sales and customer service books that you can use to build a stronger reservations team at your property.

The Case for Gifting Books to Your Team

Before diving into the book recommendations, I want to make a case for why I believe you should be paying for the books you want your team members to read.

First and foremost, there’s a big difference between telling your employees that they need to read a book, and personally gifting them a book that you’d like them to read. Can you already feel the difference when you read that sentence? The way you position this exercise to your employees matters.

When you gift books to your team instead of hand out book assignments, you’re able to achieve the following:

  • Your employees will actually read the book. When you gift a book instead of assign homework, it becomes much more personal. Your employees will also hold themselves much more accountable to the task at hand when they know it’s your money that’s being invested, as opposed to their own.
  • You’ll be able to convince your employees that you appreciate them. It’s important to remind your employees that you’re thankful to have them as team members. Buying books is a relatively inexpensive way to show them that you actually care about their success and well-being.
  • You’ll develop a stronger relationship with your employees, which can improve communication, productivity, and loyalty. When your employees know that you care, they’re much more likely to open up to you, to raise their hands when they need help, and to stick around, even when times get tough.
  • Your employees will actually want to get better at their jobs. The tips and best practices your employees read will actually help motivate them to improve and perform better in their roles.

Remember it’s all about positioning. Help your team members get excited about the idea of reading books to advance their knowledge and become more effective in their roles.

The Recommendations:

There are countless sales and customer service books you could buy for your reservation agents, but to help you kick things off, I’ve narrowed it down to just eight recommendations. Here they are:

1. How to Win Friends & Influence People

The first book on the list is How to Win Friends & Influence People, authored by Dale Carnegie. Originally published in 1936, it has become one of the staple reads for any person operating in business today, and has sold over 30 million copies worldwide. In 2011, Time Magazine included the book in their list of 100 best and most influential books written in English since 1923.

Carnegie breaks his book down into four parts:

  • Part I: Fundamental Techniques in Handling People
  • Part II: Six Ways to Make People Like You
  • Part III: How to Win People to Your Way of Thinking
  • Part IV: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment

In his book, Carnegie focuses on presenting readers with helpful information on human behavior, and actionable tips on how to influence people and ultimately get what you want.

One Great Quote from the Book:

“Personally I am very fond of strawberries and cream, but I have found that for some strange reason, fish prefer worms. So when I went fishing, I didn’t think about what I wanted. I thought about what they wanted. I didn’t bait the hook with strawberries and cream. Rather, I dangled a worm or grasshopper in front of the fish and said: “Wouldn’t you like to have that?” Why not use the same common sense when fishing for people?” — Dale Carnegie

2. To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others

The next book is To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others, written by New York Times Bestselling author Daniel H. Pink. This book was originally published in 2012. In it, Pink makes the argument that everyone is essentially a salesperson, whether they realize it or not. It’s a practical and actionable book that gives readers the rules, perspectives, and frameworks they need to become successful as salespeople.

This book references stories, social science, and survey research to help readers understand that selling is just as much an art as it is a science.

The book is broken down into three parts:

  • Part I: Rebirth of a Salesman – Pink explains why we’re all in sales, what people think about sales, and how lean entrepreneurs and startup founders are changing the game for salespeople in organizations of all sized.
  • Part II: How to Be – Pink explains how to understand and respond to other perspectives when trying to make the sale.
  • Part II: What to Do – Pink gives actionable tips and information on how to pitch people, serve prospects, and win the deal.

One Great Quote from the Book:

“Anytime you’re tempted to upsell someone else, stop what you’re doing and upserve instead.” — Daniel H. Pink

3. Secrets of Closing the Sale

Another great book that you can share with your team is Secrets of Closing the Sale. The book is written by Zig Ziglar, one of the more famous sales authors and speakers in recent history. Secrets of Closing the Sale was originally published in 1982, and was one of more than a dozen books that Zigler wrote throughout his lifetime.

It’s another actionable book that offers timeless tips for salespeople operating in any role and any stage of their career.

The book is broken down into 6 main parts:

  • Part I: The Psychology of Closing
  • Part II: The Heart of Your Sales Career
  • Part III: The Sales Professional
  • Part IV: Imagination and Word Pictures
  • Part V: The Nuts and Bolts of Selling
  • Part VI: The Keys in Closing

As you can see from the outline above, the book takes readers through the entire sales process from start to finish.

One Great Quote from the Book:

“If you do not believe in your product or service enough to offer it to your own family and friends, then you should question the value of what you are selling.” ― Zig Ziglar

4. How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling

If your team is in a bit of a rut, try having them read How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling, written by Frank Bettger.

In his book, Bettger shares his personal experiences, insight, and the lessons that allowed him to overcome initial failure and ultimately build an incredibly successful career as a salesman.

The book is broken down into 6 parts:

  • Part I: These Ideas Lifted Me out of the Ranks of Failure
  • Part II: Formula for Success in Selling
  • Part III: Six Ways to Win and Hold The Confidence of Others
  • Part IV: How to Make People Want to do Business With You
  • Part V: Steps in Sale
  • Part VI: Don’t Be Afraid to Fail

It’s a useful book to give to any team members who may be struggling and in need of a little inspiration.

One Great Quote from the Book:

“Selling is the easiest job in the world if you work it hard—but the hardest job in the world if you try to work it easy.” ― Frank Bettger

5. The Thank You Economy

If you’re looking for a book that focuses more on the customer service side of things, consider having your team members read The Thank You Economy, written by Gary Vaynerchuk. The Thank You Economy is a younger book when compared to others on this list, but still incredibly valuable for any professional that has 1-to-1 interactions with customers, guests, or clients.

In the book, Vaynerchuk helps readers understand how to provide meaningful, delightful, personal experiences to all customers, all the time. The book has a focus on how to communicate and engage with customers online and on social media, which can be particularly helpful to your reservation agents, who likely spend a fair amount of time interacting with prospects through live chat, social media, email, and other digital channels.

One Great Quote from the Book:

“If your organization’s intentions transcend the mere act of selling a product or service, and it is brave enough to expose its heart and soul, people will respond. They will connect. They will like you. They will talk. They will buy.” — Gary Vaynerchuk

6. Customer Satisfaction Is Worthless, Customer Loyalty Is Priceless

Another customer service-focused book that you could have your team read is titled, Customer Satisfaction Is Worthless, Customer Loyalty Is Priceless, and authored by Jeffrey Gitomer.

Gitomer is another well-known sales author and speaker of recent history. He’s known for his no-nonsense, straight-to-the-point, in-your-face, and sometimes brutal advice. But his content is highly valuable and actionable no matter where you are in your sales career.

In the book, Gitomer focuses on providing tips and best practices on how to win at customer service and loyalty. It’s a faster read than some of the other recommendations on this list, so hand it out on a Friday and meet back with your team in a week or two to discuss.

7. The 25 Sales Habits of Highly Successful Salespeople

If you’re still looking for the right sales book to hand out to your agents, consider The 25 Sales Habits of Highly Successful Salespeople by author Stephan Schiffman. It’s an incredibly easy-to-follow book that illustrates specific habits that your agents can learn to adopt and follow in order to become more effective salespeople.

Examples of habits mentioned include:

  • Habit #19: Sell yourself on yourself
  • Habit #5: Listen, learn, and lead
  • Habit #3: Ask the right questions

It’s unlikely that every habit written about in the book will be applicable to the reservation agent role at your property, but it’s still worth going through. Remember that you want to show your employees that you care about advancing their knowledge and helping them create a profitable and enjoyable career for themselves.

8. New Sales. Simplified.: The Essential Handbook for Prospecting and New Business Development

The final book worth mentioning in this post is New Sales. Simplified.: The Essential Handbook for Prospecting and New Business Development by author Mike Weinberg.

In this book, Weinberg offers a proven formula for prospecting, developing, and closing deals. He shares stories, experiences, and writes on a variety of topics that can help salespeople be more effective in their roles, including focusing on things like:

  • How to craft customer-focused sales stories
  • How to build rapport with prospects
  • How to overcome every buyer’s anti-salesperson reflex
  • How to communicate authentically with people

One Great Quote from the Book:

“Stop talking about yourself and your company and begin leading with the issues, pains, problems, opportunities, and results that are important to your prospect.” — Mike Weinberg

Over to You

What other books are you having your team members read, or what other books should be on this list? Tell me in the comments below.