There’s yet another reality show on telly devoted to business. Seeking to emulate success scaled by The Apprentice, Natural Born Sellers you’d have thought, by dint of title alone, would be terrific.
Unfortunately, everything that makes the siralun show win has been jettisoned in this effort. Schedulers have already lost faith, shoving it backwards close to oblivion after only two weeks (a metaphor for our times I’m afraid, as even The Apprentice took a couple of seasons to break through). The two primary mistakes are swapping teamworking for individual endeavour and the lack of any charismatic mentor input. Despite his billion in the bank, this show’s business bigwig plays the role of afterthought, rather than driving force and a cash-only prize just seems misgiuded.
As you’d expect, juicy editing exposes most selling attempts as coming off a training course circa-1987. This makes objective comment tricky. The youngest of the contestants was thrown out thinking he was gifted, yet each time he was shown in action, the words you heard almost to exclusion of anything else were “I” and “me”. It is the lack of rectification of this type of misjudgement that condemns the show to a early telly grave.
For the selling skill observer, the main triumph involved a piece of applied learning. The week’s challenge had two strands; sell £135k worth of limos from an exhibition stand, and add to that by selling tickets for the post-exhibition bash.
All the reps tried to shift tickets before the show started. Despite the presence of bikini-clad assistance, enthusiasm waned and they considered the rewards small beer when set against the limo lure. All but one gave up on the tickets. The logic of this lone wolf was basically “what the last two weeks taught me is that all the little extras count”. In other words, she reckoned if no-one sold any limos, she’d win if she could sell the most tickets. Her masterstroke was to call local strip clubs and ask if she could pop along and flog some tickets. Out till 2am, she racked up sales.
Despite her consequential flaws, this plan did indeed make her safe. When summing up to help the winner decide ‘eviction’ (another mistake by the producers) the referee seized upon this. He told the eventual loser that sales wasn’t just about being blinded by the big deals, and that to win you must “take all the crumbs from the table”. He’d ignored the small sales at his peril. It was also to the show’s loss that he’d gone. As a character he was one of just two that’d ensure viewers engage (the other being our lap-dance queen). And they kissed goodbye to his initiative. His efforts at cold-calling from his hotel room, having pinched a business phone directory, prior to the exhibition should have been a major part of what the competition was about.
Finally, perhaps the one thing that surely had to be rammed down the watching public’s throat was left unheralded. The winner was the least pushy of the lot. Who wants truth to interfere with stereotypes? For the purist, it’s all downhill from here I fear.