The Apprentice candidates on the task.
The Apprentice Episode 9: The Task
It’s Week Nine and Lord Sugar asks the candidates to meet him at the world-famous BBC Maida Vale Studios in West London.
These studios have played host to some of the biggest music artists in history. Everyone from The Beatles to Beyoncé have played here, and today business’ leading frontman Lord Sugar sets their task.
This week the candidates will need a good eye for business and an even better ear for it as they are asked to become Music Managers. The U.K. music industry is worth a staggering £4.5 billion, most of which is licensing deals.
Both teams must audition unsigned artists before choosing which one to represent. They will then head to the studio to create a brand-new remix of one of their tracks.
The end goal is to secure sales of the record at their own showcase events. They’ll need to produce a good track and make strong sales if they want to end up top of the charts in the boardroom.
For one team, there are creative differences in the studio as they fall out more than the Gallagher brothers, while on the other there is a compilation of calamities as they fail to harmonize.
The task presented some nail-biting moments
The Apprentice Episode 9: Key Skills
This task required a number of key skills that are essential in business—below I have articulated each skill and its relevance in real life business scenarios.
Think about how you start a relationships with a client, commission structures need to feel fair. Like a win-win for both parties. If you misjudge that early communication by asking for a 50/50 split then that can tarnish the relationship.
Understand what the industry value is (in this scenario 10-25%), if you know the narrative and you understand the lingo, then you can approach the commission negotiation with the right level of professionalism and openness.
The art of negotiation can be embedded in flattery but also building rapport—being bullish and forceful doesn’t work as a sales technique in every environment.
2) Client Brief
This is essential, you cannot sell a client a solution without truly understanding the problem. It is the same in any sales environment, as the right questions so that you can achieve the right answers. Ask:
Budget: how much would they hope to spend and when
Requirement: what is the purpose of the campaign, why do they want to part with their money. What is the ‘brand story’?
Timeline: when do they need it? When will they make the decision.
3) Advocating for Oneself
It is an important thing, we should all understand our value and advocate for ourselves BUT with that said, there is a strong difference between confidence and ego.
Of course, I am a personal branding consultant so I would always talk about the power of your profile and authenticity but if your authentic self is rubbing others up the wrong way then it is a moment for reflection.
Baroness Brady is not impressed.
It is important to consider your personal brand as an individual but also how that brand reflects efforts in a team environment, in the most part, in most businesses you do need to be able to work with others.
4) Listen to Feedback
You cannot push someone to spend more money on a product if they don’t like the product. It is essential to listen to the feedback and then reflect on the budget and negotiate with that in mind. If the budget is £75,000 (top end) don’t go in at £85,000, that is an insult, especially if they do not like the product you are selling.
Getting a budget holders back up is not ideal and can result in one hitting a brick wall. They did well by asking the initial budget so it makes no sense to then try to increase that budget when your solution does not suit the brief.
The Apprentice Episode 9: The Reality
There are a few things to think about from this task in addition to the above, so here is a round of quick fire bullet points:
- Likeability: I have said it before and i will say it again, being likeable is an important aspect of your personal brand and will assist you in business. People like to be lead by people that they like. Lottie really needs to look at this, but as a take away – it important to realise that it is difficult to make a second first impression!
- An important rule Don’t take an artist’s song and sing over it because you are trying to make it fit. Defeats the object of having the artist in the first place.
- Sales Patter: A market stool level sales patter doesn’t work in every environment, a good sales person understand the importance of tonality but also in changing their sales technique to suit the audience demographic.
The Apprentice Episode 9: Who Deserved to be Fired?
*Spoiler Alert* If you haven’t watched this episode, stop reading now.
Dean won, good on him. It is a great illustration of how being personable helps in building relationships and sales and he had the challenge of dealing with Lottie.
Thomas isn’t great at understanding when he is wrong, he thinks his products are good EVERY TIME, even when he is losing. That is some strength of conviction but misguided, which is unfortunate as I quite like the guy (although I doubt I would wish to work with him).
Thomas the music producer.
Lord Sugar sounded like he genuinely liked Thomas, no surprise there, he is a likeable character. But he was still fired.
Oh and Marianne was fired too. The first double of the series… so it’s crunch time!
See you next week!
As an aside, if Lottie can say she has 15 years of music experience having started playing an instrument at the age of 4. Then I can say that I have 26-27 years worth of experience in business because I started selling from my bedroom at 4! So I guess I should update my LinkedIn profile? I welcome thoughts on that…