The Sales Apprentice – Sales training tips from the hit TV show, Part I

I have to admit I don’t watch much TV. I do not have time. When people talk about “Big Brother”, “Eastenders”, “I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here”… I have nothing to say because I just don’t watch it. But I do like “The Apprentice”. I didn’t see the first series, but I really got into the last one. So much so that I was positively looking forward to tonight’s first episode. And this made all the more interesting because I know one of the roommates…

Who will be the superstars?

So tonight the new students came into the house. Who will they be? How will they be? Will they continue? Will they fight? Who will be the highly qualified idiot with no common sense? Who will be the braggart who already thinks they’ve made it? Who will be the real superstars? Will there be one? How many of them will obviously be worth nothing in the region of £100,000? Of the 10,000 hopefuls, surely there must be more people who “have a chance” than last year?! We all waited with bated breath…

Hard work, but an easy task by anyone’s standards…

Their first task was to brew and sell coffee from two stands per team – one fixed, one stationary. Hard work, but an easy task by anyone’s standards. A simple transactional sale – you give me cash, I’ll give you coffee. Some simple calculations of probable sales. A small amount of inventory control. Finding a high footfall, drinking latte for the mobile van. Make face-to-face sales. Be ready to move the mobile van when it is not producing. Keep it up. Simple!

Or so you would have thought…

The list of errors was appalling… the assumption that because the machine could make 100 cups an hour, you could sell 100 cups an hour! The van was on a quiet road in a market area with cheaper coffee everywhere! Do not move the van for hours! Unable to pick up or return a cell phone! The lack of management! Driving the vans around, wasted time selling! Close one of the vans of one team! Holding a “meeting” in the middle of core sales hours! I could go on but it’s making me depressed…

But none of these are the Sales Apprentice’s sales training tips for this week…

No! Because we can do better than them. Sales training tip of the week comes courtesy of Jadine Johnson… Jadine totally missed the point that this was a transactional sale. If you want to sell as much coffee as possible in a day and you’re never going to do more than sell, sell, sell and deliver good, strong coffee. But like many salespeople trying to impress, she made it way more complicated than it was. Her complication of choice… brand Eclipse. What? What the hell was she doing about the brand? Why the hell did she put Eclipse logos on coffee? What the hell was that song about Eclipse being the place to buy your coffee?

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Errr… no, it’s a TV show and you’ll be fired if you don’t wake up and smell the coffee!

Jadine, you made up the name yesterday. You only make coffee for one day. You will never see your customers again! This has nothing to do with brand. It’s all about sales. Besides, you don’t know the people well either. Sir Alan likes people to interact and in many of his activities this means selling well. He hates pretense and frankly that’s where you are with your irrelevant brand nonsense.

Tre Azam and the other one who seemed to speak every language under the sun seemed to be right. At least for the first hour. They were the dream team any sales manager would have begged for – 55 cups in the first hour…from a mobile booth. Very impressive. But not good enough for Jadine. No, she split them up and destroyed their territory. Why? Because they weren’t promoting the Eclipse brand. What?! What?! What?! Brand has nothing to do with this – nothing, nothing, nothing.

Look at your sales and make sure you don’t complicate something that should be easy!

Some sales are really complicated. Many are very simple. Sellers complicate them for all sorts of reasons. Look at your sales and make sure you don’t complicate something that should be easy!

Until next week…

Gavin

ps Who thought Andy Jackson was a little touchy? I lost count of how many times he “touched” the girls. They said nothing. People often don’t. She “oohed” and “ahhed” even when he said something sweet at the end of the exercise. But they threw it out and voted it out anyway. Was this because of the touching? Who knows?

But if you’re a little touchy like Andy, be careful who you touch… people like me won’t say anything, but we don’t like it! You have been warned. Andy, wherever you are… when you start selling cars again… keep your hands to yourself! You can have that tip for free!