The Apprentice contestents are ‘the best of the best’. They are Britain’s finest entrepreneurs. Our best business people. We know this, because the marketing material for the show drums these messages into us every chance they get.
Unfortunately, watching the show shatters the illusion and reminds us that we are in fact watching some of the country’s biggest egosbatting with each in a race to see who can make the least sense. It just never fails to amaze/enthral/appal me and the biscuit challenge was no exception.
One of the things that we look for at Ascent Solutions is people with the right amount of sel-confidence – who are surprisingly few and far between. Too much confidence and you’ll come across as an arrogant, boorish bullshit merchant and turn off prospective employers and lose sales. Not enough confidence, and you come across as a timid little mouse who doesn’t really think that the products or services they are trying to sell are actually all that good anyway.
Pretty much every single contestant on The Apprentice is over-confident. They schmooze, the schmarm and they bullshit – but more often than not, they don’t bring home the bacon. All, that is, except Helen who has been softly-spoken and doesn’t seem to play the bitchy, back-stabbing politics game. Rather than talking the talk, she reserves her performances for the pitches where she realises that it’s never her who is the star of the show – it is what she is selling.
She did it again this week with a brilliant pitch that was brilliant because – well, because it didn’t try to be brilliant. She listened to what was wanted, and focused on how the product would work for the retailer – and 800,000 biscuits were snapped up. Simple, understated sales that got the job done.
Potential job candidates – I suggest you watch Melody and Tom’s DISMAL roleplay over and over again and promise me that you’ll never repeat it. I found myself trying to insert my whole fist into my mouth – the buyers seemed to be a combination of confused, afraid, and pissing themselves with laughter that they were too professional to allow to show.
Helen would be a great acquisition for any sales company to have on board because she just ‘gets it’. Jim also has a lot of potential but his willingness to bullshit doesn’t help his crediility in front of big businesses (his willingness to tell Asda his biscuits would have a tie-in with Harry Potter is a corking example). tom is an ideas man who couldn’t sell to save his life, and the rest of them seem to demonstrate the full range of weaknesses that we at Ascent weed out in the first round of the selection process. The only reason I’m still watching (apart from for Hweln and Jim) is because I’ve got a book on who is going to smack Melody or Susie in the mouth first.
I’ve got £10 on Karren Brady.
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