It’s that time of the year again. Pantomime villains are created for their 15 minutes of fame, strategic alliances are formed in Machiavellian plans and team mates are ruthlessly knifed in the back. Well, figuratively speaking at least. Yes, it’s the new series of The Apprentice.
Being a very long-time employee of Alchemis I have watched each series since it began, along with my colleagues, with a slightly vested interest. Let’s call this not-so-secretive organisation “Apprentice Club”.
The first rule of Apprentice Club is you do not talk about Apprentice Club.
The Second rule of Apprentice Club is YOU DO NOT TALK ABOUT APPRENTICE CLUB. Well, you can, but only to people who have already seen the result. Everyone else has a window of opportunity to watch the episode on iPlayer before the fired candidate is unceremoniously crossed off of our carefully crafted wallchart.
You may be wondering why we have a wallchart for this – it’s not like the World Cup or anything is it? No… but there is always an office sweepstake (obviously – we like to keep things interesting) which is why I said I have a vested interest. Some lucky winner is going to have a nice wad of cash in their pocket at the end of this series. Sadly for Jim, our CSD, it’s not going to be him.
And this brings me to the point of this blog.
SPOILER ALERT – if you don’t want to know who got fired and why, look away now.
In last night’s episode poor Dan Callaghan was booted out of the boardroom for his inability to sell anything. Not a sausage (or fishcake, in this instance). Since his day job is as an online perfume retailer, it’s probably not that he “can’t sell anything” as presumably he must be selling at least some fragrances over the internet to be able to make a living. It’s more that there are times when to win new business you need to be able to speak to real people (either face to face or over the phone) rather than communicating over a keyboard or hoping that people find your business amongst the millions of others out there all vying for a place on page 1 of Google.
There are different interpersonal skills and techniques involved and as so many of our previous blogs have pointed out, people buy from people. Now, I’m not suggesting that people should go at it like a bull in a china shop, but you get the point I’m making. It is an art form to stand out from the crowd as a genuinely good salesperson and not everyone can do it well.
There are a vast array of online and offline channels available to marketers in this day and age but, to paraphrase Mark Twain – ‘Reports of the death of selling through human interaction have been greatly exaggerated’.
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