I am seeing some things that are very real and some that are just completely untrue. I am going to share with you how things really are at Rocky Top Marketing. I worked for the company only for a short time period. I first heard of the company when I was searching for a job on Craigslist. The description was very appealing as it advertised direct marketing with great money and the opportunity for business ownership. This is actually not a lie, and I will explain later why I say this. What the ad did not do was explain exactly what duties the job would actually require. It also did not state that the job was strictly commission or advertise the hours that you are expected to work. During my first interview, the owner of the company very clearly explained all of this. I knew, before I took the job, that I would be doing door-to-door sales. Nobody goes into this job not knowing what they have to do.
Hours you will work:
I was also told that the hours are very long. If you really want to know the work schedule, here it is: Monday through Friday 11:00 A.M until approximately 9:00 P.M at night (this is about the time you return from "the field") and Saturday 9:00 A.M until approximately 5:30 or 6:00 P.M. This does not account for the extra meetings that you are required to attend. The employees in leadership training are required to have a certain number of one on ones each week, and you have no choice but to go in early for these if a leader requests it. Sometimes you have several meetings a week talking about the same things with each person. The topics are never planned by the leader... meaning you have to plan what you are going to discuss during a one-on-one scheduled by another person. Saying "I don't need to meet about anything" doesn't cut it. With that said, you can add about five more hours to your work schedule each week. Tuesday nights are team nights when each team of salesmen do something together, and Thursday nights are office nights in which the entire office does something together. You are obviously not required to attend these activities, but you are frowned upon as not being a team player if you don't.
Pay and benefits you will receive:
There is no base pay. Everything is straight commission. I know for a fact that some people even at the entry level make very good money (2-3 hundred dollars a day or more). On the flip side, some people may go several days in a row without making any money at all. In this case, you may find yourself working 60-70+ hours a week and bringing home paychecks that barely buy groceries. In defense of the company, the lack of sales is sometimes due to laziness on the employee's part or a lack of methodology. There are some cases in which people simply don't want to buy what you are selling, and there is nothing you can do about it. There are no benefits with this company, but the owner does have good reasons as to why they are not offered. He does not want you to be in the position of selling for a long period of time. The point of the company is to train people to become business owners.... not to sale cable door-to-door forever.
Promise of business ownership:
I saw somewhere in this feed that one can only open his or her own business if he or she has the funds to pay for everything. Let me clarify that this is not true. Rocky Top does follow through with the promise of business ownership, and the employee is NOT expected to pay for this. The campaign that is being pushed (currently AT&T Uverse) pays for everything once the employee reaches a set level of goals. I know this for a fact because one of the assistant managers working there now is about to open her own office in Memphis. AT&T is paying for everything. The new business owner is expected to continue meeting goals to fund monthly bills. This is where it becomes multi-level marketing. The business owner continues to promote out other business owners and receives commissions off every office below him or her. I want to correct one comment that I read where someone said that Rocky Top's owner, Bob Edwards, only made about $40k in 2011. I saw for myself in a CYDCOR magazine that Bob was one of the top earning new business owners that year. The man makes $40k a year simply off the commissions. This is his fourth year of business ownership, and the guy made 6 digits during his first year. Some of the entry level leaders make $40 k. Again, all of this varies from person to person. What you need to keep in mind is that once you open your own office, your primary responsibility is to constantly train people to do door-to-door sales. Yes, in a sense, you are building entrepreneurs, but they all start in sales.
The majority of the people employed at Rocky Top are in their twenties. When I worked there, the oldest people were in their mid-thirties. One reason for this is that older people are not willing to do door-to-door sales. Another reason is that the job can become quite vigorous. I personally think the main reason is the lack of professionalism behind the scenes. If you attend a convention or greet one of these salesmen at your door, he or she will be dressed very nicely, will show great interest in everything you have to say, and will present his or herself very professionally. This is how sales are done. Inside the office, employees are expected to wear business jackets. (As far as the changing of clothes before going to the field as I see mentioned in one of these comments, the only thing that is usually changed are coats, shoes, and gloves or hats for warmth.) Looks can be deceiving. Foul language and dirty jokes are constantly being shared in the office and in the field when new employees are training. Personally, the comments didn't particularly bother me because of what they were, but it bothered me that there was no policy against this. It made the job seem tacky. This also allows the chances for people to say offensive things with no repercussions enforced. If this would bother you, then this isn't the job for you. The morning "atmosphere" is also a little ridiculous. Even though you go into work at 11 (earlier if you have unnecessary meetings scheduled), you don't actually start working until about 1:30 or 2 P.M (depending on how far away your territory is located). During the first few hours, you attend meetings separated by leaders and future leaders. The day starts by running into the office screaming and high-fiving one another. There are several verbal cues that consist of random yelling of words and body actions to accompany each word. You are expected to play a game every day (charades is played at least a couple of times a week). The games do have some underlying meaning within each one, but on the surface, they have absolutely nothing to do with the job itself. Shouting is the method of communication throughout the entire meeting, and there are no chairs in the room. All of this is supposed to increase the energy before going out to the field for the day, but I always felt that a lot of precious time was wasted as the morning atmosphere/meeting lasted for several hours.
The Job Itself:
You will be on your feet the entire time! Your territory may be anywhere from within a few miles of the office to an hour or more away from the office. During training, you are accompanied by a leader until you can make 4 sales within 6 days with no assistance from your leader. This time frame varies for each person. You will be expected to walk miles a day in any type of weather conditions when you are working with someone else. When you are by yourself, it is your choice if you want to drive or walk your territory, but you are strongly discouraged from driving since it wastes time. You will walk the same loop 3-5 times a day so that you knock on doors at different times of the day in hopes to catch someone at home. You are taught to be pushy and invalidate every objection given by potential customers (although this is a typical sales technique - just want any potential employee to know what is expected of you). You are also taught to hustle when you walk your territory. Part of the company's eight rules of success is to have a high sense of urgency. You will walk in very hot weather, very cold weather, in rain, and after dark (you always carry a flashlight). Although your work day technically ends at 8:00 P.M, you are not supposed to leave your territory until that time which puts you getting back to the office between 8:15-9:00 depending on where you are working. Realistically, most people are not happy to see salesmen approach their homes, but one common issue you will experience with this job is arriving at houses in which the customer says they have already been approached and are not interested. You are expected to pitch them anyway (since they may have had different circumstances at the time they were asked). Be prepared to have people cut you off immediately,share their personal opinions about the product you are selling, refuse to open the door, and close the door in your face. This is part of sales in general... not specific to Rocky Top Marketing.
Be Aware of "Business Trips":
As you are promoted into leadership, you are expected to attend a certain number of business trips. This may consist of visiting another office or simply going to another area to sell your product. I will share with you my personal experience on the one and only trip I ever attended. A group of us car-pooled in three different vehicles and split expenses for gas and groceries to last a week in Memphis, T.N. The hotel rooms were paid for by R.T.M but we were put four to a room. As we all worked separate territories, three people were designated to drive us each to our areas and drop us off. The first night I worked while walking in pouring rain for eight hours (no option to drive since I had no car). I did make one sale. For those of you who are not familiar with the area of Memphis, it is famous for its high rate of crime, and every person (including the 20-something year old women) was walking around by his or herself. I became very physically ill during this trip, but was still strongly pushed to return to the field alone the following day. During my second night of work, it was so cold that the puddles of water were freezing around me. A cop stopped to ask me what I was doing at one point because I appeared to be suspicious walking around a neighborhood after dark with a flashlight. He, of course, left me alone after I presented my identification. Shortly afterwards, a random man stopped to ask me what I was doing and informed me that I didn't need to be out there at night because "there were too many people getting shot around there." The leaders on the business trip were not surprised by this and said it will happen all the time. If any one of us had been hurt or kidnapped, nobody would have even known about it until the driver returned to our designated areas to find us missing. The bottom line is there are no safety precautions taken whatsoever. I made no sales at all my second night of working very long, miserable hours. I became more sick, and I made the decision to take a bus back to Knoxville on the third day. I did not go back to Rocky Top Marketing except to collect my last paycheck.
In a Nutshell:
Pros to the job:
Unlimited earning potential
High energy and fun for some people
Opportunity to own your own business
Rules are not strict (for those of you who like this)
Knowledgeable leaders (product and in methods)
You will learn a lot of valuable business strategies/concepts
You will teach yourself to be persistent and grow a tough shell
Bob Edwards is a genuinely nice guy who doesn't sugarcoat anything
Cons to the job:
No base pay and no benefits
The goals for business ownership are tough to attain
You will dedicate your life to the job since the hours never seem to end
You will put yourself in danger at times
You may find yourself surrounded by immaturity
At least some of your time will be wasted
You will physically work your a*s off
All in all, Rocky Top Marketing is not what I consider a scam. They do exactly what they tell you they are going to do. The one thing I would suggest to keep from misleading people is to tweak their advertisements. I think they tend to get people excited, and it is a big letdown when they arrive to an interview only to find out they will be doing door-to-door sales. Just because this job wasn't for me, it doesn't mean I wouldn't recommend it for anybody. There is lots of potential for success, but you should know what you are getting into from the beginning. Rather you find my very long post helpful or not, this is the real deal. I am not by any means a disgruntled ex-employee, and when I explained to Bob Edwards why I was leaving, it was not an angry split at all. We shook hands and parted ways.