Praise For The Last Up
“This well written, page turner is action and in-action, rich and poor, life and death, about sales and selling. The story is woven around the fact in order to keep up with the times, sometimes you have to go back in time. It’s history, it’s philosophy, it’s adventure, but most important it’s answers. And keep in mind that it’s a novel, it’s fiction. Or, is it?”
“A time-travel fantasy novel about the philosophical core of an auto dealership.
“In their involving, terrifically readable debut, Vee and Miller present the story of Mark Dunham, a struggling young car salesman who’s in an extremely protracted slump at Langford Auto Sales. Lately, he’s even had to wear a promotional gorilla suit to bring in business. The costume was the idea of his raspy old colleague, Earl Cochrane, who’s “been here since the Stone Age” and thinks he’s “God’s gift to car sales.” Disoriented by the boiling-hot get-up, Mark stumbles down a hatch into the dealership’s dark storm cellar, where, bruised and confused, he discovers a film canister labeled “The Last Up,” apparently left down there by Henry “Hank” Langford, the business’s long-dead founder. Mark is on thin ice with his wife, Charlotte, while his boss, Alan Langford, Hank’s son, has spoken to him about his nonexistent sales record, so he figures that he has nothing to lose by playing the old film. But in the process of doing so, he finds himself transported back in time to the heyday of Langford Auto, back in the 1950s, when the business was under the control of Hank himself. The old master quickly takes Mark under his wing and initiates him into the finer arts of salesmanship. The resulting narrative, by rights, ought to be a hokey, niche-market parable. But instead, it’s utterly captivating from start to finish, easily and smartly broadening its scope far beyond the specifics of selling to the nature of human interaction itself: “There’s only one way to show people that you really care, kid—and it’s not to kiss their behinds,” Hank instructs him in one conversation. “It’s not to give them prizes or cut your prices either. It’s to be interested in them—to ask questions and be genuinely interested in the answers.” The relationship that develops between Mark and the Falstaffian Hank is thoroughly charming, and the insights that Mark gains allow Vee and Miller to subtly coach any prospective salespeople who might be reading. However, the novel will also appeal beyond those ranks to a more general readership.
An engaging, funny tale about salesmanship and much more.”
“Mark Dunham knew his career as a car salesman was in trouble when he was forced to wear a gorilla suit and parade around the lot trying to draw in customers. Dizzy with the heat and ashamed of himself, he falls down into the dealership’s storm cellar – and into a time portal. He finds himself in 1957 being interviewed by Henry “Hank” Langford, his dealership’s late founder, who gives him five steps to “shift his gears,” change his perspective, and make him a better problem-solver and customer coach. But can he put Langford’s principles into action in the twenty-first century?
The Last Up is a clever little book that makes good use of its own strategies. Instead of trying to sell its salesmanship technique to the reader, it leads the reader into a collaborative perspective by connecting us with its sympathetic protagonist, and offers to teach us how to solve our problems. Mark is a hapless everyman – haven’t most of us found ourselves forced to do something humiliating and/or physically uncomfortable in order to please an employer or keep a job? – and it’s not hard to start rooting for him. Henry, in turn, is the wise old mentor we all need, the one offering just the right sort of guidance at just the right time to really solve our problems and turn our lives around.
The advice seems sound for both improving sales and improving the moral of salespeople – a sales approach focused on collaboration, problem-solving and coaching would appear to be far more pleasant and mutually beneficial for both customer and salesperson than the traditional strategy of the stereotypical pushy, slimy, anything-for-a-sale car salesman. The book is simple, clear, straightforward and concise, getting its point across without using too much of the reader’s time and energy. It may be a bit oversimplified, but it’s a sound basic introduction to a workable sales technique.
The Last Up is a charming, readable fable about collaborative, solution-focused marketing that gets its point across both by explanation and example.”
“The Last Up is extremely entertaining, easy to read and delivers a powerful message that packs a potent punch. If you have salespeople, then this book should be required reading.”
“When you put The Last Up down, you are a better salesperson and a better communicator.”
“If you have to persuade (and who doesn’t?) as part of your work, this wonderfully enjoyable and important book will help you to open doors that would otherwise have remained closed.”
“The Last Up is a compelling combination of a ‘Back to the Future’ style with masters-level marketing know-how. This page-turner should be required reading for all salespeople.”
“Selling is difficult, until it becomes easy. Most salespeople never last long enough to get to ‘the easy.’ The Last Up is a shortcut for the most enlightened sales professionals looking for a better way.”
“Need your salespeople to start selling more cars fast? Buy a copy of this book for every single one of them and insist they read it today and start using it tomorrow.”
“The Last Up shows dealers and salespeople a way they can be proud to be in the car business again. […] It reminds us that people really do prefer to do business with people. Read this book if you want to enjoy selling cars again.”
“You can walk blindly into the light with confidence because Vee and Miller have proven that adding value to people’s lives is the way to sell more cars and be more successful in the car business.”
“The Last Up will get your wheels turning and make you rethink how you currently look at the business and how your salespeople sell cars.”
“The Last Up should be mandatory reading for anyone in the business of selling cars.”
“I knew there had to be a better way. The ideas in this book changed the way we approach and interact with our customers, and our results have never been better.”