Fire me? Can we negotiate?

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Jim engineers Glen’s demise in The Apprentice advertising sales task

So, Jim survived the chop. Again. He either truly has the luck of the Irish or he’s Lord Sugar’s secret love child and therefore untouchable. In my opinion he was clearly responsible for the failure of this week’s Apprentice task simply for his refusal to negotiate on rate card prices with the media buyers. Yes, the name of the magazine was awful and some of their content was a little patronising but overall all the media groups liked the concept and it was considered to be a high potential market. The same media group that was refused the discount spent £60,000 with the other team and their magazine was dire so it just shows what an opportunity they missed there.

The Art of Negotiation

The subject of negotiating on price isn’t straightforward. Personally I don’t ever do it. I don’t inflate the price to start with so that I have ‘wiggle room’ to reduce it if requested so I know it’s always a fair price for the services I’m offering. Negotiating on the quote therefore just de-values what you do. What I would do however, if what I’ve proposed does not fit the client’s budget, would be to find a different solution that does. In marketing there are always alternative strategies you can adopt and I offer a wide range of services so I can be flexible.

Pricing: Trade v End User

Media sales is of course a completely different proposition. I have been buying media space for clients for many years so perhaps I’m in a position of advantage but surely most would realise that the rate card is always subject to discount? In the absence of experience in the industry you should still realise that even if end user clients (the brands that are featuring in the adverts) paid rate card, the agencies who are buying on their behalf should at least get their agency commission to allow them to make a margin. Add to that the buying power and potential sales opportunity offered by such a large media group and surely that tells you to be generous with your discounts? Jim obviously realised his monumental error by offering a 50% reduction at his next pitch and that alone should have booked his place in the black cab. Evidently ‘Jedi Jim’ can not only control people’s minds but has some kind of impenetrable force field protecting his ass!

Unfair Dismissal

As for poor Glen, fired for being an engineer, surely Lord Sugar was aware of this before the process started? It’s a good job he’s not subject to employment law. What’s next? Firing Zoe because he’s just realised she’s a woman or Susan because she’s too short? Get me ACAS on the phone…

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