‘Are hi vis jackets actually about protecting the chicken when they are on the roads?’ - The Apprentice tackles pet products
The Apprentice candidates grappled with a straightforward sales task this week and it was self-proclaimed sales queen Ruth's lack of understanding of the 'golden silence' which proved to be her downfall.
One of the biggest markets in the UK is pet products and Lord Sugar calls the candidates to Dr Samuel Johnson's house for their task briefing.
"Samuel Johnson? I thought you said Samuel L Jackson," said a confused Mergim.
Thankfully the task itself was simple - all they had to do was flog pet products to pet lovers at the London Pet Show.
The array of products available ranged from the practical to the downright odd with hi-vis jackets for chickens to luxury poo bags for dogs.
Of the former, Vana asked, "Is it actually about protecting the chicken when they are on the roads?"
We're still none the wiser ourselves.
Meanwhile members of Team Versatile modelled animal t-shirts they hope to sell on their stall.
When both team Versatile and Connexus wanted to sell the same product they each had to pitch to the vendor who then chose who they'd like to represent them at the show.
Brett reckoned rabbits are a sure thing, "We need to be upbeat on what the rabbit sector has to offer."
Ruth's Team Connexus ended up with cat towers, which seemed like a sensible choice, until their sales team struggled to shift them.
On the other team, animal balloons were a big hit with the families, but corralling the customers proved too much for distracted project manager David.
Mergim's balloon sales technique left something to be desired too, "Do you want to say hello to my giraffe?".
His fellow team-member April, meanwhile, proved she was in her element with this task, revealing the interesting names she has given her dogs: ‘‘My first dog was a Dachshund and her name was Anastasia Edwina Jackson and I now have a Yorkie called Diva’’.
However, of all the wheeling and dealing (or lack of it), Ruth's high energy sales technique was particularly baffling to her team and Claude.
"There’s a thing called golden silence in sales, where you make your pitch and then you’re quiet while the other people deliberate…she doesn’t stop talking…she confuses the customers," said Claude.
"She’s not closing the sale. What she needs to do is to shut up a little bit more and sell that product.’’
Back at the boardroom the results were revealed:
Team Connexus – PM Scott – with Brett, Gary, Elle, Natalie, Selina and Ruth
Sub team 1 (pet accessories) sold £1,221.20
Sub team 2 (cat towers) sold £1,807.20
Overall total £3,028.40
Team Versatile – PM David – with Joseph, Mergim, Richard, Sam, April, Charleine and Vana
Sub team 1 (pet accessories) sold £1,589.50
Sub team 2 (dog sofas) sold £2,462.12
Overall total £4,051.62
So Versatile won by £1,000 and earned themselves the 'treat' of a training session with double Olympic and World Champion Mo Farah.
Lord Sugar was not happy with Connexus.
"You were representing cats in this task but I’m afraid you don’t get nine lives in this process.’’ he said.
After their defeat, Scott brought Ruth and Selina into the boardroom and Lord Sugar revealed his final decision.
"Scott, you were the project manager, you made some errors here, you put the wrong people in the wrong place and not being able to assess what people do is bad news in business terms," he said.
"Selina, there’s an old saying, no smoke without fire. You are a different person on task than you are in this boardroom and I’ve seen it before…people with two faces.
"Ruth, I don’t dispute your enthusiasm but you claim to be a sales person, you claim to train people how to sell. Here we are in a sales task and you failed miserably.
"And Scott, you come across as a very nice chap but business is all about how you manage people and you needed to be a bit more ruthless in choosing your high end sales division and I’m not using that as a pun because maybe less Ruth would have been the best thing so Ruth…You’re Fired.’’
The next episode of The Apprentice airs Wednesday 4th November, 9pm on BBC One