The Apprentice: Selina sacked and Scott storms off

Scott Saunders shocked everyone by walking out of the process but Selina Waterman-Smith's firing came as less of a surprise

The Apprentice: Selina sacked and Scott storms off

Photo credit: Boundless

Candidates on The Apprentice have sold pretty much everything over the years but this week, Sugar wanted them to sell the most expensive product of them all: property. Their challenge was to make the most money in commission but to succeed, they also needed great people skills to build a rapport with both the property owners and the buyers.

Empathy is essential

In this task, the candidates’ ability to empathise with the people they were working with was tested. The property market is a high pressure environment and there are big numbers in play. Joseph’s bull-in-a-china-shop approach was perhaps indicative of his business immaturity, while Vana did a great job of showing her enthusiasm for the building and built a great rapport with the property owners and buyers. Ultimately, business isn’t always about fast-paced decisions. It pays to take the time to understand people as you’ll be much better placed to succeed, whether you’re selling to them or working with them.

The importance of psychology in sales 

When a salesperson can display an in-depth knowledge of the product they’re selling, especially in a high-value sales situation, they stand a much better chance of closing the sale. Selina and Joseph failed to ask questions of the property owners and this was their downfall in the pitches. As a result, they weren’t able to answer the buyers’ questions and this put the seed of doubt into the buyers’ minds.

Joseph was also asked to alter his clothing to better suit the situation and this was fair. Even if just at a subconscious level, mirroring the people you’re interacting with – in both the knowledge and passion that you show and the way that you look – can be a hugely powerful tool.

Likewise, on the other team, Scott embarrassed himself when taking a potential buyer around the showroom. His failure to properly research and learn the layout of the apartment led to him making some fundamental errors.

Tactical choices in a dog-eat-dog world

The candidates know they’re getting toward the end of the process now and they all seem far too focused on their own agendas. Selfishness in business never works out well and a failure to share information or support others in the team was in part to blame for team Conexus’s failure. Selina was fired for her inability to work well as part of the team. The remaining candidates will need to work together to get to the final.

Scott leaves the process

In a surprise move this week, Scott decided to leave the process, despite being part of the winning team. It’s difficult to comment on whether his move was the right one or not – though followers of the spin off show You’re Fired will know that Scott has since set up his own payroll comparison business so his premature departure certainly hasn’t stopped him pursuing his goals.

He had struggled for a few weeks though and in a process like this, you need to be on top of your game at all times. In this task, his failure to retain information and his apparent lack of energy showed that, deep down, his heart wasn’t in it.

In business, it’s very difficult to not let your mood get in the way of your work. As Karren said about Selina, she seemed to let her mood almost take over and she wasn’t able to be effective in her team. Scott did the right thing by seeing his task to completion but then he removed himself when he felt he no longer added value. 

Alastair Campbell
Alastair Campbell

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