Here are my top 5 books that will change your business for the better.

#5 –The Millionaire Next Door.  The moment you walk into the door as a junior commercial real estate agent there’s an immediate and tremendous pressure to spend money like an idiot.  Brokers, colleagues and co-workers think pressuring you into purchases you cannot afford will encourage you to actively pursue deals.  They believe desperation is a great motivator.  They’re right.  Your desperation to pay that $800 month car payment is a definite motivator to pick-up the phone.  But is this really the way you want to live?  In the end, desperately clawing at deals to pay unnecessary status-symbols won’t make you happy.

The Millionaire Next Door does a great job of showing what’s really important in life and how millionaires have learned to balance their work, home, and money without giving into the desperate cycle of “earn – consume”.

#4 – To Sell is Human.  Even for someone experienced in sales, this book is a good read. To Sell is Human explores how much the sales industry has changed and how little we changed our perception of “sales”.

When we think of “sales agents” we still picture old Gill selling vacuums door-to-door or sleazy Used-Car-Carl asking, “What can I do to get you into this car today?” However, sales has changed drastically in the last 10 years! Better educated consumers with outlets to inform others of their experiences have greatly changed what companies want in a sales agent and how sales people are trained.

This book doesn’t have a lot of “Ah Ha!” moments, but it’s helpful to have these perceptions articulated so well. This book defines exact steps on how to move people effectively.

#3 – Rework.  This book is easily my personal favorite.  It’s not just about doing business; it’s about doing business in today’s world.  Read it and you’ll know why plans are harmful, why you don’t need outside investors, and why you’re better off ignoring your competition.  The truth is, you need less than you think.  You don’t need to work 24/7, have a staff, hold meetings, or even an office.  You’ll learn to be productive and successful without any excess stuff or people.

#2 – The Wealthy Freelancer.  After you’ve read books about removing yourself from the “earn-consume” cycle, let’s learn about making your business successful and wealthy.  The Wealthy Freelancer is an excellent guide on how to target your market, generate leads, market to those leads, and turn those leads into paying customers.  If there is a single book that’s a road-map to success for an independent agent, I believe it’s this one.

#1 – Built to Sell: Creating a Business That Can Thrive Without You.  Only read this book if you’ve been in business for at least two to three years.  Once your business is established, you’ll look around and wonder what happened.  You built a business to ensure steady income and to give yourself more free-time…something went wrong.  The business stalls without you.  The staff needs your input, clients are calling for you, and you’re stuck counting pennies and praying for incoming checks.

Built to Sell will provide a light at the end of the tunnel.  It offers steps to creating processes so other can be trained to follow your specific guidelines.  A clear process is easier to sell to potential clients.

Example: “You will receive the following services for 3% commission…”  “At 2.5% commission, you will receive the following services…”  Packing services as if they were products makes it easy for even new sales people to become successful.  Although Built to Sell’s advice on fees may not pertain to commercial real estate, the processes and procedures can easily translate.