Alana Spencer: There’s nothing Lord Sugar hates more than The Apprentice candidates who won’t shut up

Lord Sugar’s business partner Alana Spencer, winner of The Apprentice 2016, dissects last night’s episode of the latest series and explains why candidates must step up to the plate but not talk for the sake of talking

Alana Spencer: There’s nothing Lord Sugar hates more than The Apprentice candidates who won’t shut up

Photo credit: BBC

It’s horrible when you’re in the boardroom. The pressure is immense and you put yourself across in a way that you don’t really want to but everything just gets to you. When I was a candidate, there was even a time where I lost all my words completely and couldn’t talk – but Alex seemed to have the complete opposite problem this week. When he started speaking in the boardroom Lord Sugar was really considering whether he should go. But it’s when he rambled on and on that Lord Sugar just thought, you know what, this is the right decision.

Fortunately for Collaboration, the winning team, they didn’t have to face the music. Kayode is the secret weapon on any sales task and where they went right was selling a lot of massaging and it’s no coincidence Kayode was on that sub-team. Not too much was shown of who was making the most but if I had to put my money on it, Kayode carried Collaboration.

However, Collaboration did lose their bid to sell a big brand’s product by asking the owner too much about cost. This happens every year on The Apprentice – one team will lose a product they want for either not asking enough about pricing or for concentrating too much on it. I could see what this team were thinking but what got lost in translation with their queries was their passion for the product. Ultimately, you’ve got to sell the item for the owner and they’ve got to put trust in you to do that. You should therefore do it in a way that shows passion, not what’s the best price to flog it as quickly as possible

But Typhoon, the losing team, could have learned more. Ditching everything to stand on stage and present their big product was a fundamental error in my opinion. All of the production stuff probably took about two hours of their day. In that slot when they were off their stand, they could have sold one item and that would have made the difference between winning or losing. On that occasion, project manager Sabrina didn’t stick up for herself enough and got slightly forced out of making the other team go. Ultimately, the error was her fault because she should have put her foot down. But that makes me sad to say.

However, she wasn’t solely to blame for losing the task. Alex is potentially one of these people that reads a lot of sales and business books and therefore thinks he’s got all of the knowledge. But if you don’t sell anything on the sales task and your team loses, you’re in a really risky position. I do think Sabrina putting him over to the sub-team selling low-ticket products wasn’t the right thing to do but that didn’t change his ability – he had every opportunity to make a sale.

Of that team, Alex was 100% the right person to go. If the other team had lost I think there were a couple of people that could have gone before him but it was always going to be Alex. I felt a bit sorry for him until he said a corny line in the boardroom about sales, then I just thought he’s a bit of a tool. He says a lot of cliche lines and doesn’t have much to back himself up. He knew he had to step up so he was trying to get involved but, actually, what he was doing was talking for the sake of talking, which Lord Sugar hates and that’s why he got fired. It was frustrating he couldn’t see that if he just said “I didn’t sell, sorry, but I’ve got more to give,” he would have had much better chance.

Likewise, every word that came into Sabrina’s head was just sort of sprayed as verbal diarrhoea at Lord Sugar and I felt for her. You could tell she just really wants to impress. But I think Lord Sugar sees something in her and that’s why he gave her another chance.

Sian, on the other hand, came across really well in the boardroom. She didn’t do that flapping, screaming, shouting tactic that some people do when they’re stressed. She kept her cool and put her point forward really well. We’ve not seen too much of Sian but I think she’s going to be in it for a long time. She’s got a really level head and reminds me a little bit of Grainne from my year – just really straight talking and to the point but not a complete bitch, basically. 

Rick and Kurran need to look out next episode because right now we’re not seeing very much of them. I think Kurran specifically is not in the process to win. He’s being cast for the TV, I’m sure of it. For him, it’s just more about when his time is up, unless he does something that really shocks and amazes.

On a lighter note, I’ve already got my five finalists prediction: Kayode, Tom, Sabrina, Camilla and Sian. Lord Sugar doesn’t read the fine details but when The Apprentice completes their line-up, he’ll sit with production and they’ll design tasks to try and bring out the best of every candidate’s abilities. So they all have as good of a chance as possible to shine. But, equally, everyone has the chance to completely fail. 

Alana Spencer
Alana Spencer

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