A Lesson From The Apprentice
That Can Make You A Master
I have to admit, I was curious. When I saw previews
of a new show called The Apprentice,
it made me want to at least watch the premiere to
see what was going on. Immediately, I was hooked.
The whole idea of candidates - from all walks of
life, not just college grads fresh from their commencement
ceremonies - vying for a position in one of Donald
Trumps organizations piqued my interest. What
kept my interest were the real-life advertising
lessons every business owner needs to be reminded
Take, for instance, one episode where the teams
were challenged to create an ad campaign. I was,
needless-to-say, on the edge of my seat for the
entire show. One team immediately decided to phone
the client and setup an appointment to find out
about the product, the end user, and other aspects
that would make a big difference in creating the
campaign. (Smart move!)
The other team, however, said they didnt have
time to talk with the client. They were running
behind schedule. Meeting with the client - in their
opinion - would just waste an hour or two that could
have been spent on more important tasks. (Excuse
What happened? First of all, my husband came charging
into the living room asking, Do you believe
that? Even *I* know you have to talk to the customer
first! Yes, he had been listening to me after
In the end, the campaign from the team who did speak
with the client won the challenge. Once the losing
team arrived in the boardroom, the project leader,
Jason (Mr. We Dont Have Time To Talk
With the Client), really got it from all sides.
Donald Trumps assistants, George and Carolyn,
made a point of bringing up the fact that the client
was not contacted. Jasons own teammates made
a point of bringing up that the client was never
contacted. And Donald? To quote, Donald said, That
was a HUGE mistake
This was fairly early in the show so you would have
thought the other contestants would have learned
from Jasons mistake. Not so. There was yet
another episode where an Apprentice put what they
wanted over what the client wanted/needed.
In this task, the teams were charged with selling
Donalds new product, Trump Ice (bottled water).
The winner was simply the team who sold the most
in a given period of time. Nick, a salesman by trade,
was immediately confident his team would win if
they would just step aside and let him work his
Ereka, the project manager for Nicks team,
urged Nick to sit with her at the computer and research
the market and the customer base for bottled water.
Nick wouldnt even hear of it. To quote, Telling
me how to sell is like someone telling the Pope
how to pray." So off went Nick using his same
high energy sales pitch on every customer
and focusing on what Nick wanted to sell - instead
of finding the best benefits for the clients.
What happened? Nick flopped time and time again.
A teammate (Bill) jumped in during one sales meeting
and helped the client to understand the benefits
of buying Trump Ice. Bill made the sale.
In the boardroom, George immediately noted his disappointment
in how little the team seemed to know about their
prospective customers. And Donald chimed in by saying
he had no idea why Nick thought his sales skills
were so great when he had no clue about the customers
he was selling to. Ouch!
The bottom line? The team lost. Why? Because Nick
was busy trying to sell what he wanted to sell,
and in the way he wanted to sell it, with no regard
for the customer whatsoever.
The moral of the story? Know your customers. They
are the ones with the money. It doesnt matter
what you like. If *they* arent happy with
your site, your copy, your graphics, your product,
or your service
theyll abandon you cold.
When youre creating a business plan, when
youre writing copy, when youre creating
a website, or developing a brochure. Its not
its all about them. If one
of the richest and most profitable businessmen in
the world tells you target market research is vital
to success, you can bet it is a wise strategy to
About the Author
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