The Apprentice Asia

The Hand, The Clueless Local, and The Shocking Twist

The Board prepares to hand out today's task.

The Hand, The Clueless Local, and The Shocking Twist

Surprise surprise – Tony sent Andrea to join the men for this week’s task. Celina certainly was happy about the move, saying “Now that Andrea is not there, I feel that people are more able to speak up.”

Teams were presented with 6 new Taiwanese products this week. Teams had to choose 3 products each, which they then had to sell to mega-retailers Giant and SOGO, as well as to small retailers of their own choosing. The team that made the most sales would win.

Tony picked the project managers – Celina for Apex, and Andrea for The Mavericks.

Nobody listens to Sam!

The Mavericks spent most of their meeting discussing their products’ features. Sam felt that they should be discussing pricing strategies instead. But for the 2nd week in a row, everybody disagreed with Sam.

Andrea raised her voice and used what she termed “The Hand” to stop Sam from speaking.

An exasperated Sam told the cameras, “Andrea has the perception that the loudest voice in the room often has the smartest ideas”. (Later, in the boardroom, Kathleen stood up for Sam, saying that he “wanted to say the right things, but he was asked to shut up.” Tony agreed. “Don’t forget this point”, he chided, “Price is key.”)

The Mavericks’ big pitches

Andrea, Alex and Jon each pitched one product. Their pitch to GIANT was mediocre. While Alex and Jon did passably well, Andrea’s pitch was disastrous. She was nervous, didn’t know her product well, and eventually got cut off by the buying team.

Disappointed, Andrea complained to the camera that their products were too high-end for GIANT. But with a new pricing strategy in hand, they nailed the Sogo pitch. An impressed Kathleen went so far as to call their product demonstration “awesome”.

Apex’s big pitches

Apex’s strategy was to approach the pitches like they were, in their words, “friendly neighbourhood housewives”.

At GIANT, they were relaxed, they knew their products well, and had multiple pricing strategies. They nailed the pitch. But at Sogo, Dee felt intimidated by the Sogo board of buyers, and was all nerves. Celina made things worse by constantly jumping in to pitch on her behalf.

The Frenchman Saves The Day

The Mavericks’ Nash and Sam were sent to sell to small retailers. To Sam’s shock, Nash started the day by lying to the first retailer about the popularity of their bike. Much lying and 45 wasted minutes later, there was still no sale.

It all went downhill from there. In Sam’s words, Nash “had no clue about his own city,” and since he didn’t know which shops sold what, all their cold-calling efforts went down the drain. In a good move, Andrea called to check in on them after the Sogo pitch, and decided that the Pitching Team should help sell to small retailers too.

Alex, putting his Frenchman charm to good use, closed many orders.

Ningku and Nik are Not Happy

Apex’s Ningku and Nik worked on small retailers. Ningku thought that Nik was not straightforward and assertive enough with retailers, and kept taking over sales calls and cutting Nik off mid-pitch! Nik was frustrated, but unable to keep Ningku under control.

The results

Apex’s sales:

GIANT: 682,000 Ringgit

Sogo: 299,250 Ringgit

Small retailers: 103,000 Ringgit

Grand total: 1,083,862 Ringgit

The Maverick’s sales:

GIANT: No sale at all. Tony noted, “you screwed up because of pricing”

Sogo: 993,955 Ringgit. Tony again noted, “you came back, because of pricing

Small retailers: 178,983 Ringgit

Grand total: 1,172,938 Ringgit.

The Mavericks won.

Celina started crying immediately. Ningku declared that “Nik was the cause of the failure.” But Tony interjected and said that he’d been told that retailers were put off by Ningku’s aggressiveness. Nik insisted that she had told Ningku to tone it down, but Ningku didn’t listen. This prompted Tony to berate Ningku, saying, “You’re stubborn. That’s a big big problem. Doesn’t work with me.”

Everybody chose Ningku as the weakest link in the team. Celina chose Nik and Ningku to go back to the boardroom to face elimination.

Someone Quits!

In a shocking turn of events, Dee offered her resignation!

“No no no no! Why!” was Tony’s immediate response – he felt she had potential to go all the way.

Dee explained that she felt that competitors were not being respectful to each other, and she didn’t fit into the environment. But “business is about winning”, Tony noted, “and sometimes people will cross the line.” Wishing her the best of luck, Tony sent Dee on her way.

Celina, Ningku and Nik were still called back to the boardroom. All three were berated for poor performance and attitude, but in the end, Tony didn’t fire anyone.


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