The Apprentice Week Seven: Poor Sales And No Passion

Rain might have made it a poor day, but that isn't an excuse for poor sales.
Rain might have made it a poor day, but that isn’t an excuse for poor sales.

This week on the Apprentice, Titans lost their first task but Frances won her first. The challenge was to sell a mixture of items at a trade show. Both teams had a high-ticket product, a medium-ticket option and two low ticket products to sell at a boat show.

For Titans’ securing the popular jet skis was not the winning formula they hoped for, as none were sold compared to the sale of two of Nebula’s boats. But it was also the smaller items that won the task. In the end, Nebula outsold Titan by a victory of more than 140 to 1.

Karthik Fizzles Out

The big surprise of the night was Karthik’s surprise firing without the dignity of a final boardroom. Lord Sugar simply fired him for his ‘poor leadership’. We do agree with some of what he said, Karthik’s leadership was lacklustre and he didn’t make the decisive leader we expected from previous weeks. As a leader, you should have complete awareness of what is going on and discreetly rein in disruptive behaviour.

And when it came down to the important decisions, he failed to make them. One of them was placing Samuel, who had experience selling high-ticket products, on the low-ticket stall. Though Samuel really should have spoken up more.

Be Passionate About Your Product

It wasn’t just the candidates who should have learnt some hard business lessons from the episode. The seller of the jet skis should have taken some notes too. When both teams wanted his product, he went for the team that asked technical questions rather than the team that demonstrated passion for the product.

The trouble is, he forgot the golden rule of selling – sell the benefits not the features. The other team, who knew the product, didn’t have passion. In fact, they looked rather bored with the product and this was telling – they didn’t make a single sale.

In contrast, Frances was passionate about the boat and they sold two. Although it made little difference to the win as the low-ticket price could have won it without the larger sales.


Leading your team and having passion for your product. Two basic tips to help you sell more at trade shows and in sales calls. Perhaps if Karthik and Samuel had thought of this, they wouldn’t have lost the task.

Did you watch the episode? What are your thoughts?

Let us know in the comments below.