Follow the crowd, but don’t – Be the same, but different…. Confused? Yay ‘The Apprentice’ is back on our screens on BBC for an eleventh series, showcasing another bunch of candidates who don’t seem to have an ounce of business sense between the 18 of them. Laugh-wise though, this series got off to a great start with gems such as:
  • Team ‘Versatile’ offering a restaurant manager a ‘once in a lifetime opportunity’ to purchase some fish…it was a vegan restaurant and the manager was vegan too.
  • Richard’s quote that he is like a ‘swiss army knife of business skills’ – cringe.
  • Scott’s dodgy sales technique: “I’ve got some fresh fish fingers, I practically scuba-dived and got the fish from the sea this morning.” Double cringe!
  • Dan asking if he can throw his thoughts ‘into the thought pond’ or something! He deserved to be the first candidate to be fired for that alone.
  • And finally, Brett and his absolute commitment to sticking with the ‘specification model’ – even though this meant that he a managed to create the biggest fishcakes ever seen and worthy of a world record. And he only managed to make 88 of them instead of 325 due to their giganticness.
  • Oh, and I almost forgot to mention Ruth’s amazing suit. I’m not saying anything else about it. If you haven’t seen it, Google it!
So, anyway, I will be watching the rest of the series with interest (and lots of popcorn) for the humour content and of course to see whether any of the candidates actually do have any amazing sales tricks up their suit sleeves (don’t forget to Google ‘Ruth’s suit’). I remember being pleasantly surprised to see during Series 9, the use of ‘bundling’ – i.e. adding two products together to create a more unique and appealing product. Well done that candidate – let’s hope for some more of that this series. But seriously, being creative is all part of ‘The Apprentice’. The tasks each week are pretty straight-forward and usually involve an end target of simply ‘making a profit’ because of course this is what Lord Sugar is all about. He’s a straight-forward kind of guy who wants the job done, the profit made and with a little bit of ‘thinking outside the box’ added in for good measure. It’s the same with selling online. You want to make a profit and will often need to be creative to get that result. Researching a hot product can be very simple, but if there is massive competition already when it comes to selling that product you’ll need to use your creativity. In fact, on my product research travels this week I’ve already sourced two hot products exclusively for members of The Source Report which, on face value are both extremely popular and could be listed on their own, but are far better ‘bundled’ together to form a ‘set’. This is the sort of creativity I’m talking about. You don’t have to go wild, just use your brain to aid your sales. Do something different To ensure you stand out from your competitors you need to be different. By all means sell exactly the same product as other sellers – lots of sellers means an in-demand product – but in the words of almost every X Factor judge ever to sit on the panel, you need to ‘make it your own’. Offer that little bit more, whether this in the form of a no quibble money back guarantee or a more descriptive listing that makes people want to buy, or a ‘bundle’ or ‘kit’, it’s really up to you – but you do need to be ‘better’ than the rest so that you stand out. So, ‘bundling’ is a very effective way of offering something extra with your product. As I recall, in Series 9 of ‘The Apprentice’ a quick witted candidate managed to sell a job lot of a very cheap product by adding batteries to the offer thus making it ‘similar but better’ than the same product offered without batteries. You will still be offering the same product, but there will be something more enticing about it to buyers. It’s as simple as that. When you ‘bundle’ it’s just like a type of up-selling, except you are not trying to up-sell people by directing them to separate listings for your other products, you are instead offering them a unique package or ‘bundle’ in which the buyer can receive related products at a discount, compared with if they were to purchase them separately. ‘Bundling’ is happening all around you This strategy can work for pretty much any product in any niche and you’ve probably seen it done but haven’t realised at the time. For example, McDonalds bundle products – this is exactly what their value meals are – multiple products combined into one fast food complete meal! You may have seen a Laptop offered with pre-loaded software – this is also a ‘bundle’ or shampoos and conditioners packaged together – another ‘bundle’. And the reason it’s done is because it works! So, try putting your creative hat on and consider grouping products together, upping your guarantee, providing money off vouchers or putting together a specific offer that buyers can’t resist. By adding something more and becoming ‘similar but better’ you will still be selling your original product but you will be offering a ‘uniqueness’ that can help your profit margins. Finally, a tip from me If you want to get some really good ideas for ‘bundles’ head over to Amazon when doing your research.Increase your online sales by not taking tips from this series of The Apprentice! You’ll see that often (not always) when you look at a product page, if you scroll down the page to somewhere near the reviews, there will be a large box headed ‘Frequently Bought Together’ like the one in the image. Within this box, Amazon tell you exactly what people are buying that is related. So for example this could be a camera and a camera case. Often these items are purchased together, but from two different sellers, so an idea for a ‘bundle’ would be for you to offer a camera AND a case together. Get the idea? I hope so!