I was invited to Bankers for what I was told was an interview that turned out to be a mass hiring seminar. Being in management for 22 years, I know how this works. A company does this to entice as many people as they can, because they know a majority of them will not be around. They will either quit, or get fired. I was skeptical when I learned that this was a 100% commission job, as I never did that before. I was not a salesman, but at my age (37) I figured it was time to try something new. A change of careers was iminent.
I was invited back for a second interview with the "Unit sales manager." He was arrogant, and thought his s*** didn't stink. He still thinks that. He used a very barbaric tone of voice to get his point across. I accepted it. I was out of work for a year, and had to do anything in this trying economy to make money. Of course he exaggerated the earning potential to impress me. I knew that. I'm not as stupid as he thought. I was then invited to a third interview with the branch office manager, who told me that the second guy told him, "this guy is special. Don't let him get away, whatever you do." While I thought this manager was a great guy, I knew it was a line to keep me interested in the job, because as I was talking to colleagues, he said it to them, too. Yeah....I was real special.
Anyway, I went to the training class the first weekend in October, '08, and I have to tell you, I was really excited to learn something new, and help people at the same time. I was told that they provide leads, and there was no cold calling. After my training class which cost me $174 out f my pocket, I took my state licensing exam. This was another $180. There are 4 sections of the exam I passed all but one. No biggie. I'll take it again. It cost me $103. Not that I am proud to admit this, but I have taken that stupid test 3 times. You guessed it--$103 each time. My field trainer was gracious enough to pay for one of them. He even fronted me the money for business cards.
We train for the first week in the conference room, and then we are assigned a "field trainer." Great concept, right? No. my field trainer did everything for me, and NEVER allowed me to lead a sale. Everything was so focused on money that he said, "i'll roll this one. We need to put some biscuits in the basket, and fast." How could I argue? Technically he is my trainer, and I am "supposed" to follow his lead. I mean, don't get me wrong. When you are in the car, he is a great guy. Kind of like your best friend. In the office; zero patience, and a short fuse. Consequently, I learn nothing but his life story, because he was doing everything for me. On fridays we had accountability meetings. This is what I like to call the chance to be made a fool of in front of the whole office. This idiot who was just promoted to be unit supervisor within the last couple of months decides he is going to berate me in front of the whole office. He wants everyone to believe he is God's gift to sales. He sold cars, so he knows everything. He is a middle eastern "Kramer." He is obnoxious, vulgar, and insulting. He doesn't utter one sentence without an offensive reference. He and my trainer are more worried about discussing their off duty partying than to worry about the fact that they are setting me up for failure.
1) The leads are a joke. It was all cold calling. They tell you these seniors responded to a mailer, but how many seniors actually remember that they mailed something back 6 months ago? I'm 37. I wouldn't remember that, either. So guess what? That makes it a cold call. The other leads I was given; All in very low-class dangerous neighborhoods where these people have no money, and are on government assistance. But the unit supervisor was going through the leads first and taking the good neighborhoods for the girl he liked in the office. I heard him tell my trainer one day, "give me those River Forest leads for________." This was a regular occurrence. Can you se the unfairness, and favoritism there. Only certain people are allowed to get the good leads. The rest of us are up the proverbial creek without a paddle!
2) I told my field trainer about 3- 4 weeks before this report that I needed some training on Long term care products. I was sketchy at best on them and couldn't transition in a sale from Medicare to that, because of my lack of product knowledge. Now, keep in mind that a few days before that, I was brought into the conference room, and told by the unit supervisor that it was time for me to start thinking about whether this was for me, because I was making no money. I told him I was going to make this work somehow, and I was working my tail off. I told him that I would concentrate on what area(s) I thought I may need help with. And I did, as I stated above. My field trainer told me that the two of them would take some time to train me better on that area. This was neglected. They obviously were lying.
The unit supervisor told us before new year's, that he was excited that he was going to be in charge of getting us leads, and better ones at that. He lied. Monday we have t be in the office cold calling from 8:30-6pm. We each got about 20 leads. Big deal. I went about my week. I had appointments with what they call "orphans." These are people whose servicing agent is no longer with Bankers. These people were livid with the company because of variouos reasons. I find that troubleshooting, and re-building those relationships are every bit as important as the ones that buy policies. They don't think the same way. On wednesday, Jan. 7th, 2009, I arrived at the office at 1:45 pm. the unit sup. tells me in front of everyone that he and the unit managere want to talk to me in his office. I knew what was coming. I had been watching the sales board over the past 3-4 weeks, and names are disappearing like crazy. They were getting fire-happy. I mean this guy got a promotion, and his head swelled like a balloon!
He tells me to forget it for now, and not to worry about it. The entire office laughed. They all knew what was coming. He wanted me to stay on the phone for 4 hours trying to get appointments for other people because he was firing me. Why? Plain ignorance. He was using me for his gain, only to fire me at 5pm. Then he has the audacity to ask me for the leads for his people. He goes on to tell me that I wasn't making enough money for the agency, and I was an embarassment to him. Check this out---He tells me; "Joey, if you need a really good reference, give my phone number, and I'll take care of you." Wow. No way. If you can give me such a great reference, then why are you firing me. Not to mention, I am not your employee. I am an independent contractor for your firm. Then my field trainer comes in, and can't look me in the eyes, because he knows he was wrong, and cowardly for not being in the room when this happenned. He tells me, "Listen, just between you and me....someone who was here, and decided that this was not for them, got a position with the home office. Maybe you can, too. But this is just between you and me." Are you friggin' kidding me? What makes you think that after you stab me in the back, and screw me over, I am going to keep a secret for you. I mean he couldn't look me in the eyes, nor would he shake my hand, or even offer some sort of; "man, Joe, I am so sorry about this. I wish you the best." Nope. As long as they had my leads, and my policy apps out of my car, that's all they cares about. Both of the branch managers "conveniently" left before this went down, because they knew it was wrong.
I received a phone call today from a guy that started right after me. He was fired today too. They told me I had until 1/31/09 to reach my goal(s). They gave me 5 days. They only 3 people in management at Chicago branch 3013 that know what they are doing are the two girls upfront, Who are just the best, and the Branch manager. There is one field trainer there that I have very high regard for. He respects his guys, and the guys/gals that aren't his. You'll know who he is, because he is the quiet one of the bunch. I am very surprised that the managers that hired me couldn't even face me. They both ran out before "kramer" dropped the hammer. I still have outstanding commissions, and don't know if I am going to get paid for them. They "say" they will pay me, but I have no idea if that is true.
In conclusion, I would highly suggest to anyone who is currently working at this branch to not get too friendly with anyone there. The knives are being thrown, and backs are being stabbed. This company that touts being such a great supportive team to it's agents, couldn't care less about any of them.
River Forest, Illinois