May 15, 2008 / 1:01 AM / 10 years ago

Sara Dhada dumped from "Apprentice"

LONDON (Reuters) - Car saleswoman Sara Dhada was dumped from The Apprentice after her “bludgeoning” sales pitch alienated brides-to-be at a wedding fayre.

"Apprentice" participants Sara Dhada and Michael Sophocles are shown in an undated photo. REUTERS/Handout.

The 25-year-old was tasked with selling wedding cakes during the event at the NEC in Birmingham.

“If I had been one of those recipients of your sales pitch I would’ve got your head and pushed it in the bloody cake,” Alan Sugar told her in the boardroom. “You go off like a machine gun.”

But Sara’s sales technique was not the only one criticised.

Michael Sophocles told one potential customer: “You’re going to pay 200 pounds more for a traditional cake and it’s going to look dull. It’s a real shame; it’s your bloody wedding!”

Sugar told him: “The fundamental flaw here was that the sales approach on this was wrong, in the sense that you’re not selling double glazing.”

The team, led by Helene Speight, got off to a bad start with her insistence that the team sell the middle-range wedding dresses rather than the high-end ones.

This led to them losing out on the lingerie and beachwear accessories option and left them trying to peddle the cake.

Helene’s team took nearly 2,000 pounds profit, despite selling more dresses than Lucinda Ledgerwood’s team, which took nearly 6,000 pounds with the more expensive dresses and lingerie.

“You rolled the dice and you won,” Sugar told Lucinda’s team. “Good gamble.”

Sara’s team mates turned on her in the boardroom.

“You work very hard, but you speak AT people but you don’t read body language, and I was cringing (at the sight of you selling),” said Helene.

Sugar said: “Sara, you have a tendency of transmitting and not receiving. You talk, talk, talk but don’t listen.”

Sara, a trained lawyer, responded by saying she went for the hard sell in the last half hour of sales in desperation because the soft approach was not working.

“For the past eight weeks there’s been lots of suggestions that you actually don’t do anything,” Sugar added.

“Your arguments are always very confusing. You’ve alienated customers and that’s the feedback I got.”

Despite telling Michael he has “reached the end of the road” with him, he fires Sara.

She says in the taxi following her exit: “I find it really difficult to work in a team ... with team mates that you don’t personally like and don’t get along with.”

Reporting by Avril Ormsby; Editing by Steve Addison

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