Having watched The Apprentice for a number of years now, it is a great indicator to what makes a successful business person. How many times have you predicted the winner from the first few episodes, and why do you think this is?
From the beginning of the season Mark Wright demonstrated core abilities that enabled him to be successful and win the competition which are worth taking note of in order to become a better salesperson.
He Knows How to Sell
In recent years, there has been a shift from the super-slick hard-sales person, to the more caring and consultative approach. Gone are the days where your charm and tenacity alone will gain a sale, now customers expect more. They don’t just want the best price; they want the best service too.
To be the best salesperson you have to make a lasting impression, you have to stand out from the crowd. The customer is most likely to have researched the product and know the technical details before even meeting a consultant, so it cuts out the opportunity to tell them why the product is good. Therefore you need to find out their needs and tailor the product’s advantages to the buyer. Gain their trust and understanding first, and then offer them what they are looking for.
Mark does this very well because he demonstrates a crucial blend between the two sales types, he has a hard sales edge, yet is also consultative and listens to what the customer needs. He is great at getting his character across to build rapport while making a sale, which he does by putting the customer at ease enabling him to close the sale without appearing pushy.
While he does have the ability to turn on the charm when needed, he knows when the right time to do so is, and when to hold his tongue unlike his co-star Daniel. This winning combination of being able to influence a sale when needed, but making the customer feel comfortable in coming to their decision is the perfect balance.
What Mark has demonstrated is that the most important part of the sales process is making a good impression by demonstrating strong interpersonal skills and knowledge of what you are selling. If you can understand the customer’s needs and listen to what they want then you will gain their trust. This is what Mark does very well and will help any business person succeed.
He Understands the Importance of Service
Mark has a high level of expertise within the digital marketing arena which enables him to talk confidently about his business proposition and demonstrate his knowledge. Customers are able to find out everything they need to about a product or service, so they don’t have to rely on the salesperson to be the gatekeeper of information.
Therefore it is not a salesperson but a sales expert that they require who can demonstrate the knowledge to help them make an informed decision on what product is the best suited to them.
This is why Mark’s digital marketing strategy will work because he wishes to offer a consultative approach by providing his clients with the support that they need. Customer’s want an experience from their sales process, so being able to form a relationship with the sales consultant, and change or modify things that aren’t working gives them what they need.
The consumer’s needs are ever changing, so by providing a consultative approach to his business Mark is more likely to build a lasting relationship and encourage retention. He will gain the power back from the consumer by understanding their needs and being able to tailor his product accordingly.
Therefore a sales process should be seen as a service to the customer, if you give them what they want then they will keep returning. Loyalty is of the utmost importance.
He Understands People
In the final task the way Mark utilised the skill sets of everyone in his team was a masterpiece of project management. Shown throughout the process, he has demonstrated the ability to win people over and work with them productively.
Knowing your colleagues’ strengths and weaknesses is important at whatever level of a business you are in. If you form a strong relationship with your team it will give you a better support system and greater potential to succeed.
Mark’s main strength was earning the other contestants’ trust within the first few weeks of the competition, where instead of treading on anyone’s toes he was considered and waited for the right time to assert his authority. It was through doing this in the right way, and backing up his ability with a good success record that enabled him to do so well in the competition.
Unlike some of his other contestant’s Mark also demonstrated humility when faced with a problem. When he fluffed his pitch to a leading supermarket, he held his hands up immediately and apologised to his team. Through doing this he maintained their respect by taking the moral high ground and admitting it was his fault where others may have tried to mask it.
When in a sales environment, having good relationships with colleagues will pay dividends because they will be willing to help you achieve what you wish. Mark’s team effort in the final of The Apprentice made him a far superior candidate because he knew what he was doing and was able to communicate his ideas successfully. By earning the respect of his peers he was able to lead them effectively to ensure a good performance.
What can we take from this?
Mark is a great example of a top sales person because he has the right blend of hard sales and determination with consultative and knowledge based decisions. Customers look for someone who is able to offer them the right product in the right way and listens to them in order to do so effectively.
His business strategy offers a product with a consultative service which will give customers the sales experience which they seek, combining a good service with industry leading knowledge.
This is the type of service people look for from a product. If you can offer a product and an experience like Mark can, then you will hit the nail on the head. Be it whether you do this by being a top salesperson or starting your own company, this is the way to ensure a successful outcome, and this is why Mark won The Apprentice.