Falling over an episode of The Apprentice whilst chillin’ this weekend, I was minded to continue surfing and settle elsewhere for my hour’s entertainment. This series of the London franchise has had precious little to offer in the way of insights into the world of business, and the calibre of contenders is disappointingly low. Although at times it is possible to offset this against the fact that by very definition, an apprentice has several rough edges.
Anyhow, the task today was to rent out high-end supercars. Although I’m not into ‘motors’ myself, I considered this a cracking test of nous. With just ten hours to obtain rental deals, the major factor determining success was nailed in the first few minutes. Choice Of Car was critical. With daily rates ranging from £650 to almost £3k, I reckon most true reps would have chosen one of the top two and a middling car as their pair. The winning team followed that creed with a Zonda and Spyker. The ultimate difference being their ability to shift two day rentals of the most expensive on offer; a Zonda. I think it turned out that just a single day’s rent of this car would have won.
There’s a great reminder in this about why marketers put seemingly unsellable items on their product lists. Time and again it is proven that the reason to have expensive items on offer is to sell the less expensive. So in this case, if someone wavers over shelling out for a ‘Zonda’, a slightly cheaper ‘Spyker’ option is likely to be a killer alternative close.
I must say the two fellas from the winning team were not the super-salesmen they believed themselves to be. They were too self-centred, built frighteningly little rapport and had no natural closing skill nor imagination. Although they got the job done, the best sales lines came from a lady in the losing team. She urged prospects to picture what it’d be like driving with the top down, listen to the engine roar and asked questions like “do y’wanna go for a play for a couple of hours?”, “how about you go for a day?” and when the response to that was a ‘couple of hours’, she successfully countered with “can I sign you up for 3 hours?”.
The task also exposed how not to close. The losing team leader was shown repeating phrases such as, “I’m pushing ‘cos I need to close deals today…y’know how it works”.