The candidates took on their biggest sells to date this week, turning their hands to property. Last year’s runner-up, entrepreneur Bianca Miller, and Neil Dagger, senior product marketing manager for domain name registry Nominet, provide their expert commentary and business lessons from the episode. Warning: contains spoilers.
Missed the last one? Catch up with our commentary on episode 8.
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Week 9 in The Apprentice land and the producers have really pulled it out of the bag this time! This week’s task was to act as an estate agent selling new developments – mid-range and luxury – and the team who makes the most commission wins.
Joseph put himself forward to be project manager due to his previous experience in the property trade. Unfortunately, Joseph and Selina seemed to have no concept of the importance of showing some passion and interest in the client’s property, which lost them the opportunity to sell the luxury option – the client didn’t trust them to represent the brand and proposition accurately.
Meanwhile, the other team thought it was appropriate and professional to use toilet humour in front of the client.
It was fairly obvious from the start of the show that Selina was going to be fired (if her team lost). Not only did she not sell anything in this episode, but she tends to blame anyone nearby for anything that goes wrong – every time.
Charleine, who somehow became Selina’s arch-nemesis (even though they were on the same team) was selling incredibly well.
Vana and Richard did an amazing job of selling an apartment for £1.5million without even having a floorplan for the apartment… only in The Apprentice. Needless to say, they win the task and after some stern comments from Lord Sugar to Scott, who was also on the winning team, Scott in a shock decision resigns himself from the process!
But it doesn’t end there, as Selina is still fired.
Business lessons from this week’s episode:
Passion and professionalism go a long way in business – If a business owner is going to trust you with their business, they need to feel you have a similar level of passion or enthusiasm for their product or service. And indeed that you are professional enough to represent them accurately!
As the saying goes, the devil is in the detail – When trying to make a customer part with their hard-earned cash – in this case £350,000 to £1.5m – the least you can do is provide them with the necessary information to make an informed decision. Floorplans definitely help to sell property rough fag packet sketches don’t usually work.
Trust is essential – A client needs to trust you to represent them, which comes back to what your personal brand says about you.
It was a very entertaining episode; I would have loved this task!
Nominet – The UK internet registry for .co.uk and the new shorter .uk
“Meet Lord Sugar at the Southbank Tower,” says one candidate. “What’s that?” says another. “It’s a tower, on the Southbank,” says a third. This is the kind of insightful wisdom that has set this series apart.
This week on The Apprentice, it’s selling property. Hmm… a bunch of estate agents; who would have thought. Or as Alan Sugar charitably referred to them, “a necessary evil”. Although these days with everything being found on the internet I’m not at all sure they are necessary. Anyway, that’s another story.
The teams were tasked with selling a range of luxury London flats. The different skills and strengths between the teams became ever clearer this week. Richard and Vana understood that you need to demonstrate product understanding, and passion for the product. They worked well together, engaged well, and complemented one another which was a pleasure to watch – you can just feel the success coming.
Joseph and Selina barged in aggressively, talking about price and profit, rather than building a relationship with the client. Without a clear vision and any client rapport, they were doomed.
Brett and Scott were also not at the top of their game. As Brett put it, Scott’s pitch was like “a train wreck”. Scott seemed lost and unclear of what to say or how to sell.
He mumbled and muttered through several appointments; one highlight was attempting to sell a luxury flat to a bemused prospect, because it was near a launderette and a fish and chip shop. Brett’s head fell into his hands – I shared his desire to be elsewhere. Scott had lost the plot and so it seemed the will to continue in the process.
During the board meeting at the end, as Lord Sugar announced his team had won as a result of Richard and Vana’s sales ability, Scott obviously felt out of his depth, deciding to throw in the towel and dramatically quitting the show, cleverly snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
To be successful you have to believe in your product, get behind it, support your team, understand how to communicate its benefits and address real customer interest points. The candidates that did these things sold well. When elements were missed they failed.
The winning team were sent off for a boat ride along the Thames. The losing team were dispatched to the café of recrimination. Heated argument with a side order of negative attitude please, with Charleine and Selina as the cantankerous cooks. The arguments continued from café to board room. In the end it was Selina heading home, and I can’t help feeling not too many people will miss her all that much.
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