Friday, September 24, 2010

The Apprentice as Business School-Sales Tactics

"The Apprentice: The Recession Era"

In the second episode of season 10, the task was to sell ice cream. Seems simple enough, children could do it (granted, they are very cute). However, neither team seemed particularly effective.

Tactics utilized:

By the men's team "Octane"
-Barber shop vests and hats
-Whatever price they could get someone to agree to
-Attempt to spread out

By the women's team "Fortitude"
-Tight tank tops
-Moving their cart around from spot to spot
-Giving out free ice cream at the last minute near the men to deter sales

When examining sales tactics (and watching this show) it is always important to think how you would have done it better. These people all have an education, often times powerhouse MBA educations, and yet they are running around like an unorganized mass, with little to no strategy ever discussed fully. Leadership was chaos management at best. There were some attempts to delegate but the follow-through efforts were minimal.

Some ideas that would have increased sales:
-Sales rules--tell your sales team what the expectations are and set goals. If they are not meeting those goals, check-in and re-strategize
-Group sales- it goes without saying that if you can sell 20 to one person in 5 minutes, do it. Picking one or two people to go to nearby businesses and focus on group sales strategies, and creating new pricing structures for bulk sales, would have benefited both teams. The girls had 2 bulk sales that were shown during the episode...not nearly enough, and those happened to be lucky, not thought out.
-Market research-ask people what they are willing to spend and tailor the price points to reflect the market, when the day gets warmer, maybe you raise the price because people are willing to spend more, but everyone on the team needs to be on the same page. Both teams on the show just picked prices out of the air, hoping they could get it. The girls were selling consistently at $5, however, one woman actually told them "They should be ashamed of themselves" for charging people so much for a small ice cream sandwich.

These are just some of the strategies that could have been implemented by either team to really focus the task and drive up the revenue. It has always fascinated me to watch "The Apprentice" and figure out what I would do differently. Motivating this is a desire to succeed and the only way to do that is to recognize where people have failed and improve.

I will be watching the show and highlighting certain business analysis throughout the season. Keep checking back!

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