When you get in to the boardroom on this programme you better have a strategy. Stuarts been there so many times he knows how to play it. Preen and look keen works best. But as I said last week the three C’s of charm cheek and chutzpah are a banker when the firing finger hovers. Tell him you can make him millions and he is as intrigued. Not that Lord sugar is greedy or grasping. He is a big advocate for people paying their business and personal taxes for example. But like all entrepreneurs he wants to know if someone has that sprinkling of magic dust. In this crucial week the teams were summoned to become London tour guides for a day. With a mixture of selling, negotiating and presenting, it had all the skills the Apprentice likes to feature. The team under Joanne won on the basis of firstly never underestimating the tourist taste for gory London, and secondly because they secured the services of the main selling agents in Trafalgar square. Chris’ risky masterstroke of bringing them down from their normal 35% to 20% of every sale was audacious. It meant when the team drummed up their own sales they had to cut the agents in and even when Jamie got tips for his hilariously inaccurate tour blab. Right away Joanne and Jamie criticised this and Joanne tried to go in and roll it back. Good luck with that but In Lord Sugar’s world a deals a deal. And it was a great deal in the end. That meant the winning team had to hand over £200 to the agents. That’s despite the fact that they failed to get enough passengers on the last tour.
The team lead by Stuart lost. Flawless Liz was fired and the rough edged, flaky, ego machine, upstart Stuart Bagged a place in the final process. Liz lost because she looked like she felt her record spoke for itself. She was in truth rather bloodless looking even more like Posh with her poise and pallour as she squirmed in the chair. Her Stepford- like persona came over when she tried to get get a stone faced jellied eel man to "cockney-up" for the tourists. Stella played a safety shot operating as tour guide using her "London gel" credentials, though failing to find a jellied eel in Roman Road market. She showed her less wooden and corporate side by singing old London ditties on her cockney tour; it was a bit like watching your maths teacher playing air guitar.
Stuart’s over reach on the pricing front and his rejection of the agents deal should have had him fired, but to be fair he has that certain something which Lord Sugar likes. In fact, Stuart’s aggressive sales technique which makes timeshare touts in Tenerife look like timid booksellers in Teweksebury was a failure. He sold approximately £44 quid less than Liz. But he sold himself. Stuart Baggs the Brand. That was the difference. Stuart Baggs the brand who believes in himself even though nobody else does. This unique 21 year old has that almost clinical self belief perhaps marks him out as an entrepreneur. As the series goes on Lord Sugar gets softer; after all he has invested a lot of time and trust in the people who remain. But I think Baggs won’t be the apprentice. He is good quality to watch and his Baggs to riches via yo-yo’s story is compelling. In these tough times though Lord Sugar needs an operator not an operetta.
What a great episode, really looking forward to seeing what happens next week – Jamie’s comments about “one little hole in my CV and they exploded it.” And Stuarts “oh its Margret, hello.” It should all provide some excellent viewing.
I also can’t believe Joanne’s response “noooooooooooooooooooooooo” and she reaches new levels of sensitivity. There was a great moment on communication dialogue with Jamie and Joanne. Did she really feel threatened by Jamie’s comments!! I am defiantly going to use that as an example in communication delivery.
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