We are well and truly underway with series 11 now, with episode four aired this week, and something has very much impressed me about these candidates, particularly this episode – but I won’t reveal exactly what that is until the end of this post.
This episode was one of those that looks fun to be a part of; choosing pet products and selling them on during a pet exhibition. To be fair, I think both teams did quite well and both project managers excelled at keeping the morale of their teams up, which is important in a sales task.
David’s team picked the balloons, a bit of a no-brainer given the fun factor and previous sales history, but they secured selling that item over the other team for their enthusiasm. Although a bit of a false business scenario, a real lesson to be learned I felt. Sales is all about passion for a given product and energy on delivery. It would be a concern of the product owner to think you could go from disinterested to super salesman overnight with no track record. They also had luxury dog beds which I thought looked pretty swish in comparison to the interest shown in them, and some t-shirts that they seemed to love a disproportionate amount.
Scott’s team had an electronic cat toy, warming matts and their high ticket item, the bespoke cat beds. They only shifted 4 of these items but to be fair to them the price point was quite eye watering. On reflection perhaps a more mass market product would have served them.
One thing that frustrated me enormously when they were deciding which products to choose, some of them asked the vendors how many they expected (or hoped) to sell at the show with no additional information on what that was based upon. Well that’s a nonsense. I hope The Link App is used by millions of law firms next month but as fabulous as my product is… I am exaggerating of course, but you see where I am going with this. We only saw a couple of them, Gary and Charleine I believe, asking the right question: how many have you previously sold at such an event?
One thing that we saw more of this episode is Claude’s famous brutally honest streak. He came into his own this episode I thought. He was considered in his criticism but left nowhere to hide, and Selina and Ruth felt the full force of that.
At the end of the day it was only ever going to come down to one thing – the numbers. Which team made the most from sales over the day? The answer was David’s team. Good for him, he was a PM with positivity and not one of his team had a bad word to say about him. A great victory for him, but unfortunately even at this early stage I just cannot see him as Lord Sugar’s business partner. This is no slight on him at all but he doesn’t yet appear to have the salesman-style ruthless edge characteristic of The Apprentice series.
Meanwhile, on the losing team, it was Ruth that went. This was sad to see as I feel the nation warmed to her and she put 100% into everything she did. It was hard to escape the fact she sold nothing though. In the real world, she had an off day and would go out the next day and I’m sure sell well, but this isn’t the real world, it’s a television show with an agenda. I think Ruth will do just fine after this though and good luck to her.
Now for what has really impressed me about the series 11 candidates: their ability to shine in their own right. Although we mostly all got along, series 10 was riddled with backstabbing when you watched it back. It made for high drama TV wise, but the sort of working environment that was counterproductive. Now I’m sure I will eat my words in the weeks to come as the pressure ramps up but these lot seem to have done a good job at giving praise where it’s due and let the negatives speak for themselves. It’s a competition yes, but I really hate the connotation the show is famous for, namely candidates that would sell anyone or anything down the river to get ahead. That’s not real business so I hope we see more of that teamwork in the coming weeks!
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