So we reached Week 10 of The Apprentice last night. This week the teams had to select products and sell them on a shopping channel to the public. The team selling most won the task.
Sir Alan made it clear that the aim of the task was to see who could cope under intense pressure and demonstrate business flair.
The Project Manager for Ignite was Howard with Yasmina (after some debate with Debra) acting as Project Manager for Empire. With only three on each team it was vital that the teams worked well together and there was clear evidence that overall they did.
The two teams took different strategies when it came to product selection. Empire’s Project Manager made it clear that she did not want to be too risky. As a result all of the products they chose to sell were low price and selling volume was important. Ignite by contrast chose a mixture of higher priced and lower priced items.
When it came down to the final numbers, Empire, who had gone for the low value items had a narrow victory and had Debra to thank for selling around £900 of the £1,541.88 sales total. Ignite had highly credible sales of £1376.73.
As always, there were lessons to learn.
1. Howard was by far the best of the 3 team members on Ignite when it came to the practice audition but despite probably knowing this chose to present with Lorraine. On hindsight, it might have been a stronger combination to have Lorraine and Kate present the fashion product and the fryer. Yet Howard should be acknowledged for supporting Lorraine after she struggled with the audition.
2. Yasmina set out a clear strategy of low value, high volume which would have probably helped with the product selection choices. The absence of a definite strategy on Ignite maybe resulted in them spreading their product mix too widely.
3. Lorraine and Howard’s big downfall was that they spent too much time talking about the product (the fryer) and the chips it produced rather than plugging the phone number and web-site where they could purchase it.
4. The uniqueness of the fryer was that it used very little oil yet we never saw either Lorraine or Howard use this in the selling process. Maybe a health benefit could have been used and perhaps there was a point about thinking creatively.
5. A good sales person will be able to shift volume of low price products and Debra certainly demonstrated this highly effectively.
6. Team working between the person directing and the person selling is absolutely vital. If the person directing feeds good ideas to the presenter it really can make a difference.
In the end Kate, Lorraine and Howard found themselves in the boardroom facing Sir Alan knowing that if they survived they were in the semi-final. In the end Sir Alan fired Howard, referring to him as too much of Steady Eddy for his organisation.
You can watch The Apprentice on BBC1 at 9pm on Wednesday or on the BBCiplayer.
Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 7,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them land their next jobs and become better leaders, presenters and business partners. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.