'You think you're a good salesperson…': Lord Sugar fires Laura after she fails to hit the targets on The Apprentice art task
22:36 GMT, 9 May 2012
She was adamant that her strong point was sales but it seems Laura Hogg was wrong as she became the latest contestant to be fired on The Apprentice.
In a frank statement to the Scottish businesswoman, Lord Alan Sugar told her: 'You think you're a good salesperson…I'm not totally convinced.'
Laura couldn't help but shed a tear as she realised that would be her last time in the boardroom and that she could kiss a partnership with Lord Sugar goodbye.
You're fired: Laura Hogg was the latest contestant to be sent home from The Apprentice
Losers: Team Phoenix failed to sell enough art during the latest task
'Feeling pretty gutted at the moment especially as I am so confident in my own sales ability and I can't believe that's what sent me home,' Laura said as she was driven away in her taxi.
Her downfall came during the group's arty task in which the candidates had to represent two urban artists and sell their work to customers, collectors and clients.
Gabrielle nominated herself as project manager for team Sterling, while Tom felt he could do the job justice on team Phoenix.
Choosing their clients: Both teams met with five different artists and had to decide who they wanted to represent
Decisions, decisions: The teams had to pick artists depending on what art they thought would sell at galleries
The team's first job was to split up – with some members staying in London and some travelling to Bristol – to meet with five different artists who they then had to choose between to represent.
Following their attempts to sell urban art to two of London's cutting edge art galleries, Lord Sugar first addressed team Phoenix where Tom informed him of his knowledge of the subject.
He explained that they had wanted to represent the artist Pure Evil but that they had chosen Sterling instead, and admitted: 'Maybe I went in with the wrong tact.'
Lord Sugar's sidekick, Nick Hewer, confirmed this, saying that there was 'a lack of a real desire to represent him.'
Ready to sell Team Phoenix criticised Laura's selling skills
Instead Tom revealed that they had gone for artist James Jessop, whose work fetches high prices.
Meanwhile, on team Sterling Jenna explained their strategy of showing enthusiasm about the work towards the artists and Karren Brady agreed that this worked, saying: 'You fawned, you flattered, you listened.'
However, Lord Sugar was shocked that Gabrielle hadn't asked for a budget during the client briefing.
He informed her that the client actually had a budget of 10,000 and the art that Gabrielle had offered them was worth 500.
But this detail seemed to be insignificant as Karren and Nick read out the results of the task.
Winning: Gabrielle seemed confident as project manager during the art task
It was confirmed that team Sterling’s client did not order a commission and the group had total gallery sales of 11,630, giving a commission of 4,579.65 and therefore the total commission for the team was 4,579.65.
Meanwhile team Phoenix’s client placed an order of 5,000, resulting in a commission of 2,000.
They had total gallery sales of 5,980, giving them a commission of 2,442 and their total commission was 4,442.
Understandably, team Sterling were delighted with their win and were treated to some action painting on a giant canvas where they wore all-in-one white suits and got rather messy.
The results: Karren Brady, Lord Alan Sugar and Nick Hewer announced the news that Team Sterling had won
Meanwhile, at the Losers Cafe, team Phoenix were devastated at their loss, but Tom was willing to take responsibility,.
'It was my strategy and we didn’t get Pure Evil, so it’s my fault, both of them, simple as that really,' he told the group.
But it seems it didn't play out that way in the boardroom as the entire team admitted that choosing to represent James Jessop was the wrong strategy.
'It was almost like we only had the one artist there,' Laura told Lord Sugar when he revealed that they didn’t sell any of his work.
Arty fun: The team's winning treat was action painting on a large canvas
And although Tom said he felt he was a good team leader, he did say 'there‘s definitely problems with the way that I approached some of the artists.'
He admitted that he hadn’t had a contingency plan, putting all his eggs in one basket with Pure Evil.
He then informed Lord Sugar that he relied on Jade’s feedback on the Bristol artists and that she had told him that SPQR was too controversial.
But this prompted Lord Sugar to tell him that there is nothing wrong with taking a gamble, because if it works it can really pay off but asked him “Why didn’t it work”
Messy look: Gabrielle was chuffed with her team's win and celebrated by getting covered in paint
Having a laugh: The group couldn't wait to create some of their own art
Jade responded saying that she felt it was down to the large size of the James Jessop canvases, which limited their market.
Tom added that he felt they could have sold a bit more in the gallery, but this led to Lord Sugar informing the team that Adam was the top seller, with Laura only selling 750 worth of art.
This seemed to be the beginning of Laura's farewell from the boardroom as she answered saying she found it hard where to pinpoint what went wrong.
'Maybe you’re just not a good business person,' Lord Sugar replied, but Laura strongly denied this.
This is also what led to Tom bringing back Laura and Jade back into the boardroom with him, as after Lord Sugar complimented Adam on his selling, it seemed he had no real reason to bring him back in.
Once back in their chairs, Lord Sugar highlighted how in Laura’s application she had noted 'success in sales' as one of her best skills.
Fighting for survival: Laura pleads with Lord Sugar as Jade and Tom look on
She defended this, stating, “'I am a very good sales person, I just didn’t work smart last night,' to which Tom added that she had taken a 'backseat on the task.'
And it seems that Lord Sugar agreed with him, as when addressing the threesome he said: 'Tom, on this task alone, two massive big flaws, the loss of Pure Evil and the choosing of James Jessop.
'Those decisions caused the fact that you didn’t sell as much as the other people did.'
Looking in Jade's direction, he said: 'Stretching beyond this task a little bit is my worrying concern about your indecisiveness. In not pushing forward one of the other people from Bristol, that I think was another big error.'
But his final word came when he spoke to Laura,' as he told her: 'You’re certainly a good talker. I’m not totally convinced that you should remain in the process so Laura, you’re fired.'
Gutted: The Scottish businesswoman shed a tear after being fired by Lord Sugar