Last night’s The Apprentice was the now-familiar “go out and buy me a load of stuff” task which has, in the past, proved one of the most amusing – remember the one in the Arab market? This week’s was disappointing viewing with few memorable moments, save the desparation of trying a dry-cleaning firm called “Top Hat Dry Cleaners” as a possible place to buy a top hat.
The result was inevitable – although the margin was surprisingly tight. This showed the profound effect that the detailed task rules can have. If the penalty for not getting an item were a couple of pounds less, the result would have been different and another person would have gone home.
The inevitability arose from Gavin’s team failing wholly to get organised and structure the task. On the follow-up “You’re fired” show it emerged that nobody realised that the team had several different yellow Pages directories covering different parts of London.
Top Tip: Inventory your resources at the start of any project.
They were also clueless as to the identity of a couple of the items – notably a cloche.
Now, I know that they probably have smart phones with web access removed, but I am prepared to bet that there was a library within a few miles of the Savoy where they started – one of them could have got into their car and popped out!
Top Tip: Research the facts
But Gavin’s team failed due to lack of planning and organisation and that is an old theme. So let’s turn to the specific task: negotiation. We saw and heard some examples of the very worst in negotiation:
Seven sins of negotiation
- Patronise your counter-party “You’re a lovely man”
- State your weakness up front “Can you help us – we are desperate”
- Make an unreasonable offer “If they say 100 – offer 5” – several buyers tried to start negotiating well below the seller’s cost price
- Lying about the future “There will be repeat business”
- Lying about the present “We only have 20 to spend… How about 30… How about 40?”
- Giving the seller the advantage “We’ll come to you and we need to do the deal today”
- Failing to offer something in return for the discount.
But ultimately, the biggest sin was failing to prepare – there is no getting away from it. Brilliant Influence, page 156:
Four Step Negotiation Process
Apprentice Lesson 3
Before you meet your counter-party for any negotiation: prepare scrupulously.