We’ve finally reached that time of year… I’ve been watching the clock tick down and counting the days until it happens and at last it is upon us. No more delays. No turning back. Just a group of narcissistic ego-maniacs displaying no morals whatsoever and caring about nothing beyond their own self-preservation and financial gain. All squabbling, bickering, backstabbing and shouting over each in a big room, whilst the public look on in loathing and despair.
The latest Brexit debate in the House of Commons, I hear you ask?
No. The new series of The Apprentice has started.
In all fairness, I’ve no doubt that careful editing condenses what must be hundreds of hours of footage over a series to focus primarily on the acts of idiocy, duplicity and all round pantomime villainy along with the occasional flashes of brilliance, insight and sales ability. After all, it wouldn’t make TV gold otherwise.
So, full disclosure, despite what I said above, it is still one of my favourite programmes.
I think reason for this is that having worked in the longest established (and best) New Business Agency for almost 18 years, I can relate to the sales challenges the candidates face.
Each week the candidates have a different task and each week the team that makes the most money wins. ALL of this revenue will be dependent on how successful the candidates were in generating new business for their team. Nothing more.
Likewise, the ethos at Alchemis is to make sure the lead generation campaigns we run result in new business wins for our clients.
But as far as technique goes, the methodology is usually poles apart. In most episodes of the programme the candidates are on a very tight deadline and more often than not selling B2C, which frequently leads to “the hard sell”. The task is short term and the next one will be with a clean slate. This can often equate to promising the buyer “the moon on a stick” whilst all you can actually deliver is a lollipop.
A successful B2B new business campaign is not something you can run in a day then forget about and move on to the next task, just because you won this week’s challenge. It’s an ongoing process which requires time, effort, intelligence and insight. The most successful lead generation campaigns will have an eye on the long term, not just the short term.
Similarly, this should be reflected in the New Business Manager that works on the account. They are not going to be the sort of person that would come bowling up to you on a beach in Costa de la Romford to try and sell you “a once in a lifetime opportunity of a timeshare for a price that is never going to be any lower, but you have to sign the dotted line today.”
They will, however, be someone that knows that listening is more important than speaking when it comes to high value B2B sales. This skill will allow them to genuinely identify the prospect’s needs, drives and ambitions before offering a solution from which the prospect feels they will genuinely benefit.
Something that The Apprentice candidates might want to take note of – you have two ears and one mouth for a reason.