The Apprentice – And so to Germany

Well I was really looking forward to this week how would the teams get on taking a product to a new customer and  would they take the German Customer into consideration in the crisps they came up with?

Well I have to say both teams did this week carry out customer research and the winning team were sensible to go into a supermarket to look at the crisp product in Germany.  The losing team just went into one takeaway shop to carry out their research but they did get valuable information from that so perhaps I am being slightly harsh on them.  It was good that there was more focus on the customer from the teams this week but felt that Stella leader of the winning team would have been on the firing line if that team had lost as she did not listen to the research carried out and continued on the British theme despite the fact that her team had fed back the research re sausage flavours and paprika.  If she had carried out research herself that had shown that the German market was saturated with these flavours and were looking for new flavours of crisps that would have been one thing but she didn’t with a I know best routine that has spelt disaster for many a leader.  However in general a big improvement on the customer focus.

The team dynamics are interesting now there are always in any business team players and those who put their own interests first but this was at play with both teams this week and you can see the team dynamics starting to break down now and there was also a distinct lack of communication between team members this week as well as a fair amount of stabbing each other in the back.  A successful team like a successful sports team works together and communication is key to success.

The big lesson this week was “The early bird catches the worm.”  As a working mum I know from experience that personally a 1300 appointment would suit me better than 0900.  But business is not about my needs and requirements it’s about the customer or in this case the potential customer.  You take the first appointment that they suggest as that is the one that is likely to suit them best and you run the danger as this team did of losing to a competitor.  The sales carried out by the winning team to this particular client was also very good and contrasted with the desperation of the losing team.  However even with the sales techniques of the winning team if the losing team had taken the 9am appointment they may very well have won the task so a lesson for all including myself.  “The early bird catches the worm” and you need to do things to suit the customer not yourself.

I was pleased though to see some genuine passion and skill this week and found myself cringing less and having more respect for some of the contestants.  I also thought that in the BBC 2 follow-up show that the losing candidate had honour and my respect by saying that he wanted to do business in the correct way and by working alongside people not against them.  In that I believe he is right.  People do business with you because they like and respect you and he set himself above some of his colleagues who could do with learning that particular lesson.

I wonder what next week will bring on 2010 Apprentice.  Will they remember the customer?  Will the team dynamics break down further or will they pull together and which team will win the task and which one will be FIRED!


About fionadranesblog

40 plus mum of two married with a mad cocker spaniel. Along with two colleagues run Bright Light Marketing a rural marketing agency who specialise in getting rural businesss noticed. Live in St Boswells in the wonderful Scottish Borders. Love books, walking and living life to the full here in the Scottish Borders though its sometimes a juggle!
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