Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Apprentice: Lesson #8: People (not products) sell people!

This week’s task was about shifting urban (graffiti) art in London’s cutting edge East end. Both teams had their own gallery space on Brick lane, they had one evening to sell their chosen art to the public, private collectors and one corporate client each set up by Lord Sugar. Both teams had to select two artists, for each sale they will receive a 40% commission. Sterling was led by Gaby who could not have been more enthusiastic through out the task... You can actually see her evolving through out the show! She’s improved her leadership skills in a big way. Being passionate and excited about the art was her only gameplan. When the sub team went to meet with the artists, they did not ask any of the questions they should have like: What’s your budget? Does size matter? They were however so enthusiastic and engaging with the artists that later, they could pick any of the artists they were interested in. Tom was the PM for Phoenix. Tom knows the scene very well and was indeed very knowledgeable however, by trying to impress the artist with his knowledge he forgot to be engaging or passionate about the art they were seeing. Big mistake as the artist had the last word regarding who will represent them. Showing no passion about the art and not speaking to the artist on their own level, caused Tom’s number 1 choice to go with Gaby instead. If the seller doesn’t show any passion or is not appreciating the art, how will they be able to sell it? Gaby’s corporate client was a distillery. They were looking for an art piece to do with London and local history, their budget was 10,000 pounds however, the team didn’t know that and what they chose therefore did not fit their client needs. Gaby said she didn’t ask the question on purpose unable to explain the logic behind it.. In hindsight, had they known the budget, they could have picked Jessop's posters selling between 8-10,000 pounds and blow Phoenix out the water! When Tom met with their client- a car manufacturer, he handled it very well. Engaging, asking all the right questions and giving them a lot of attention when they showed up at the gallery. One artist was very popular- Pure Evil. He chose Gaby though leaving Tom surprised and with no plan B...He then chose James Jessop who makes beautiful art however, very pricy and the size of the paintings is poster size accommodating only a very small niche. Tom decided to roll the dice.. They showed Copy right&Jessop. Sterling showed Pure evil and Nathan- a builder turn artist. Show time! Sterling had trouble shifting the art at first. Stephan had an interesting idea, Nathan was creating his art live for people to see, they were able to engage with him personally however, his art proved to be a little pricy. Phoenix did give us a master class at how NOT to treat a corporate client! When the clients walked in, no one was there to greet them, introduce them to the rest of the team or the artist present, they were not even offered a drink. Needless to say, they left quite fast with not even a single goodbye from the team. Phoenix were trying their best to shift a Jessop but it proved to be impossible, Copy right did sell quite well. Adam was as far out of his comfort zone as possible but he adapted fast and proved to be the best sale’s person! It was clear he had no idea what he was talking about never the less.. Copy right was their bread&butter, one Jessop would have brought the house down but it wasn’t to be.. So who won the task? In the boardroom, it was Gaby’s flattering and engaging the artists took to and was why they wanted them to represent them. Tom realized that knowledge will only get you so far and though it didn’t make sense to him, engaging and socializing would have been a better tactic. Gaby’s team treatment of their client cost them big mistake as they did not purchase any art at all. Tom’s client did purchased art worth 5,000 pounds! But in the end Sterling won the task with 4,579 pound in commission. Winning by a difference of just 137 pounds! Tom earned a lot of respect as for the first time ever in boardroom history, he fought for himself without smearing or pointing fingers at everyone else. He was honest and took responsibility for the risky moves he made. Lord sugar liked that. Lara took a back seat though out the task, she was also the weakest sales person on the team. She offered Tom no impute or advice at time of crisis, Jade was so indecisive but she sold better so Lara got her walking papers and rightly so! I was impressed with Tom, only two years out of university and already showing great business skills and understanding he’ll go far! Who is your favorite? Which artists would you have chosen? Please share with us:)

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