High (rise) Drama
Well, what an interesting and unusual week this proved to be! Two candidates left the process; one fired from the losing team in the usual manner, and one who quit from the winning team. And, news of the quitting was leaked on the day of broadcast.
This leaves 6 candidates remaining for the final 3 weeks of the competition.
In another first for the series, the teams became estate agents selling luxury and mid-range properties in London. The team earning the highest commission would win.
To balance the teams, Selina was asked to move from Connexus to Versatile. This was preceded with clips of both Selina and Charleine stating that they dreaded ending up in the same team. The level of tension between these two has risen to outright bitchiness in recent weeks. Joseph Valente was keen to take on the role of PM. Richard Woods successfully lobbied for the role in Connexus.
After a bit of discussion and strategising, the 8 candidates effectively became 4 pairs for the rest of the programme. In Versatile, Joseph was sensible and kept Selina and Charleine apart. Joseph accepted Selina’s desire to sell the high-end properties, leaving Gary and an unhappy Charleine (she wanted to sell the high-end properties too) to sell the mid-range properties in south London. In Connexus, Richard and Varna took on the high end properties, leaving Scott and Brett to sell mid-range in south London.
For the high end properties, the first step was to secure the right to act on behalf of the developers. Richard and (especially) Varna applied passion and enthusiasm to charm the developers. Joseph was more direct and practical, preferring to discuss commission. Selina added nothing. Not surprisingly, Richard and Varna had their choice of developers, and secured the Canary Wharf properties that both teams desired. Versatile were left with the Stratford properties; still high-end but in a more up and coming area. In terms of location, Canary Wharf is more desirable.
In terms of selling, the process is the same whatever the product you are selling:-
- You have to make a connection with the buyer. The buyer has to trust you and be able to identify with you. This is not just about introducing yourself, but also about establishing rapport. Joseph was instructed by the developer to dress in a way that the high end clients would expect; don’t wear braces!
- Next you have to understand what the buyer is looking for, and this requires asking good questions, but also listening to what they say and how they say it. This will give you clues to what’s important to them.
- If you know what they are looking for, you can position your product to match these needs. Scott made the cardinal error of not knowing his product. He had to be rescued several times by Brett because he was misleading the clients.
- Having answered any remaining questions, the last step is to seek a commitment from the buyer. Charleine was especially good at this, not being afraid to ask for the business in a strong, assertive manner.
Richard and Varna managed to sell high end properties using the same approach that secured them the Canary Wharf location in the first place. Joseph managed to sell a high end property in Stratford, but Selina was more of an observer, constantly blaming everyone else for her lack of success. Yet again, there were scenes of Selina and Charleine arguing, back in the house or on the phone.
In the boardroom the sales and commissions were calculated and it was no surprise that Connexus won convincingly, predominantly from the high end sales of Richard and Varna. However, as part of the
review Lord Sugar had been in a particularly challenging mood, with Scott’s shortcomings this week coming in for special mention. Despite being in the winning team, Scott was told that he was lucky to be in the process. As his team mates left to celebrate victory, Scott remained seated and then shocked everyone by quitting. He said very little – thanking Lord Sugar for the opportunity, then departing without even saying goodbye to his team mates.
Later, on “You’re Fired” he suggested that he had realised he was out of his depth and his heart wasn’t in it. He probably saw the writing on the wall. Whatever his reasons, this was a first for the series.
For Versatile, there was the post-mortem in the cafe. Everyone agreed that Selina had added nothing to the process and that she was manipulative – finding ways to blame other people rather than accept responsibility for her own failings. It was no surprise that Selina was brought back into the boardroom by Joseph, with Gary making up the final three. His sales did not stack up to those of Charleine.
It was no surprise that Lord Sugar fired Selina – her lack of success alone made her vulnerable, but her lack of personal accountability and general bitchiness along with a tendency to sit on the side lines, sealed her fate. Where Selina has had success it has been as PM, but too often she has been poison in whichever team she as attached to.
Selina refused to honour her contract and appear on “You’re Fired”. Presumably, she preferred to stay in Dubai, where she lives. Instead, in the run up to the day of broadcast, she tried to sell her story, have a go at the producers and (coincidentally) it was leaked that Scott had quit. Taken together, these events reinforce Selina’s lack of character and good riddance.
As for Scott, he did have a bad week, and the criticism was deserved, but I suspect that his was an emotional response. He seemed to lose his energy and enthusiasm in later weeks, as though his heart wasn’t in it. Possibly he lacked the emotional intelligence and resilience to last the process. I’m sure that is what Lord Sugar would say.
As for the remaining candidates, Richard remains strong, but Charleine may yet prove to be the dark horse. Her determination and resolve is formidable. Don’t rule out Varna either.
The Excel Communications Apprentice 2015 blog is written by
Training Associate – Mark De Cosemo