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Lessons From The Apprentice (6.7 – Los Angeles)

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The Candidates

Kinetic: Muna, Kristine, Derek, Marisa, Angela, Jenn, Heidi, Aimee

Arrow: Nicole, Frank, Michelle, James, Carey, Tim, Martin, Aaron, Stefani, Surya

Prelude:

Jenn decides that it’s time for her to step up as project manager for Kinetic. She feels she needs to earn the respect of the team. Derek feels she is the last piece of riffraff that the team needs to lose in order to succeed. He has vowed to vote against her regardless of how well she does.

Arrow doesn’t have much respect for Surya and is planning a potential coup against him.

The Task:

The teams are to create a special experience for Lexus owners. The team that generates the best customer satisfaction, as graded by Lexus owners, wins.

Kinetic Corp:

Kinetic develops the theme of experience your sixth sense of luxury. The team spent three hours trying to come up with ideas for their theme and still came up with nothing. Jenn comes up with a go-cart idea that the team seemed less than enthused about.

Angela and Derek head over to the graphic designer to begin working out the graphic details. They spend too much time working out the details and miss the 9 o’clock deadline.

The team had half the amount of signage than they wanted because of the missed deadline. Derek was technically in charge, but it was Angela that caused the delays.

Jenn opens with a presentation that is basically unprepared. She blows it hard. Later they take the owners to drive around in go-carts. Jenn feels they entertained about half the owners.

Arrow Corp:

Jenn and Muna headed over to the Lexus dealer to get a tour of the new Lexus. They had a consultant teach them all there is to know about the vehicle.

Meanwhile the rest of the team was brainstorming in the war room. Surya began to map out the strategy on the board while the rest of the team got to work. Surya was leading, but no one was following.

At the event, the team doesn’t know much about the car so they have a hard time showing it to the Lexus owners. The attendees were starting to get frustrated. Later the owners get to test drive the new car which caps off the event nicely.

What I Might Have Done:

The event was all about the car. The go-cart thing, while fun, did nothing to create an event to “sell” the new vehicle. Since this was all about the car the car needed to be the central focus. Everybody on the team needed to have a lesson on the vehicle so they could talk about it with the owners. They needed to own those details in their head.

Presentation is everything and trial runs are necessary. The presentations should have been prepared in advance and memorized so the presenter could give it knowledgeably. It might have been useful to create a professional movie that goes over all of the vehicle features so the owners can see how everything works.

The test drive was perfect. How better to sell a car than to let people drive it?

The result:

Both teams felt that they performed very well. Arrow received a score of 94 out of 100. Kinetic got a score of 84. Surya wins again despite himself.

The Boardroom:

Jenn starts out saying she was ultimately proud of her team. Randall says there was no comparison between the two events. Kinetic had only four signs and the event lacked “luxury”.

Angela and Derek were in charge of signage. Derek says that under the working conditions then he is ultimately not responsible. Derek says the person in charge of customer experience should be held responsible, though the go-carts where his idea. Jenn defends Derek for at least coming up with an idea when the rest of the team could not.

Derek claims himself as “white trash” and is not Lexus target audience; therefore, his ideas should have been ignored. Trump asks Derek if he things that Trump wants to hire someone who is “white trash”. Trump fired Derek on the spot. This was an absolutely spectacular firing – the best all season! Afterward Derek claimed he thought he was going down anyway (he wasn’t necessarily) and figured he’d go down as a smart ass.

Trumps not done, he still wants to fire the person responsible for the loss. Heidi defends herself and Muna in that they did not lose on product knowledge. Randal agrees. The focus turns on Jenn for blowing the presentation. Jenn puts the blame toward Angela and Derek (who are now gone).

Angela agrees that, as a team, the team did not convey the luxury. She puts it on the go-carts, which nobody seemed to like, but Jenn decided to go with for the lack of any other ideas. Trump doesn’t want to waste time and doesn’t even ask Jenn to bring someone back with her. She’s fired.

Jenn has one of the most graceful exits I’ve ever seen on the show. Despite her poor leadership skills, the team seemed to genuinely like her.

Who’s Not Apprentice Material? Frank, James, Aimee, Surya.

Final four predictions: Heidi. I’ll add Muna to the list today. We have not seen much of her and she has not really been tested, but she seems pretty bright and may have what it takes to succeed. Heidi remains the clear standout.

Lessons Learned:

  • Be prepared. When giving a presentation you need to be prepared, both with material and settings.
  • If you’re leading and no one is following, you’re just out for a walk. Learn to lead your team, don’t make them lead themselves.
  • Atmosphere is important. When selling a high-end product you need to put on a high-end event with a high-end atmosphere.
  • If you lack creativity, ultimately you’ll lose. You need a team that can come to the table with creative ideas and has the ability to allow those ideas to evolve into a solid creative idea.

What would you have done?

Stoney G deGeyter

Stoney deGeyter is the author of The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!. He is the founder and CEO of Pole Position Marketing, a web presence optimization firm whose pit crew has been velocitizing websites since 1998. In his free time Stoney gets involved in community services and ministries with his “bride enjoy” and his children. Read Stoney’s full bio.

2 Responses to Lessons From The Apprentice (6.7 – Los Angeles)

  1. Go-cart at a Lexus event? Are they out of their minds there?

    I “almost” became an owner of a Lexus automobile about 3 years ago. I then decided to buy instead of lease. I remember driving the car and the luxury feel I experienced. How can you even connect a go-cart to this car??? …. and this was targeted towards Lexus owners?

    Presentation should have been short and to the point. “Here is what so spectacular with this new car, bam, bam, bam 10 pointers and let’s move on.

    Let me sit in the car, drive the car…

    This is not brain surgery … the task is to get current owners of Lexus to fall in love with the next model.

    In business …. “detail oriented” people win. Knowing that the sun might do glare to the plasma screens is something that could have been prevented. Once again … not detail oriented there. There were many other flaws. I think the signs were the least of their problems.

    What I would do …. treat these people like royalties. Make them feel “VIP” for being these big, big, powerful, luxury car owners. There is no need to create a video (at least in the short time these guys had). Let people experience the car. Take every feature of the car and turn it into a BENEFIT.

  2. Barry says:

    You might enjoy knowing that Trump University has just announced a free series of three phone-in seminars with Randal, Sean and Kendra, three former Apprentice winners.