Sales Tips from the Apprentice

Sales Tips from the Apprentice

This year’s apprentice has kicked off with a bang, and already there’s all sorts that we can learn from the new cast of bright-eyed, go-getting candidates.

The opening scenes of each season are packed full with blasé and overtly arrogant statements such as “I’m disgustingly ambitious”, “I’m like a Swiss army knife of business skills” and a personal favourite, “I’m a godfather of business”.

This year Lord Sugar kicked off his majestic boardroom introduction with the conventional quoting of the candidates’ application forms, citing one individual’s dislike for corporate mumble-jumble and then shaming another for their literary prowess in defining nonsensical corporate sales speech. As quoted by Lord Sugar: “the trailblazer is a fully managed and implemented business growth campaign that starts with a focus base camp to remove the clouds from our clients’ business growth mountain where they can clearly see the summit we are aiming for”. His reaction wiped the smile off Richard’s face in no-time.

Yet this leads us to ask the question: how much corporate floss can you get away with before someone sees straight through it? Should salespeople paint elaborate pictures in order to sell? Or are they in danger of over complicating things and deterring their customers?

We see in their first task, Dan making a meal (no pun intended) of selling lunches to unsuspecting passers-by “would you like some salad sir” which clearly doesn’t entice anyone, however the slightly terrifying Ruth with her unknowingly creepy approach works. Why so?

In our opinion people buy from people. What people don’t like is buying from people who make it hard to buy from. If you ask someone randomly on the street if they’d like salad, of course the answer will be no, it’s a closed question and unless they’ve been thinking about salad all day, the answer will almost always be no. However if you create a story or add a personal flair like Ruth does, you’re in with more of a chance of closing a sale. What’s important to consider, is that people buy more into the ‘why’ of a product or service, rather than the ‘what’ Although this may seem hard to get your head around with the salad example, Simon Sinek’s famous Ted Talk ‘Start with Why’ may help to explain.

If a sales process is easy and hassle-free, then customers are more likely to come back next time. It’s also true if you give them a memorable experience. If you’re not direct and complicate the process, you’ll put your customer off who will not want the trouble next time.

So next time you think about selling, make sure you get some personality across and build a relationship (even if you’re wearing a gaudy suit) and cut out the corporate speak. Tell the customer what they want to hear!