Well I just got back from IPA-IBA training and my eyes have been opened. Suffice to say I am not taking the job. Is IPA the Devil incarnate? No, but they are no Angels either. My biggest beef with IPA is that I felt they mislead me as a recruit. Note that I say felt that way. Technichally they did not really. but three other guys left the day I did because they felt the same way. Like their customers who complain about them, I feel they were not up-front in their approach with me. Yet I invested $500 and valuable time to get training for what was supposed to be a viable lead generated business that would help small and medium sized businesses.
I actually have no doubt they do help some businesses tremendously. But they use the mentality of the cheating spouse who justifies their deception as the best possible thing for the marriage. Their basic premise is that most business owners are too blind and/or stupid to save themselves from themselves. Unfortunately, they may be right about some business owners. Yet, I don't feel this justifies their approach. It is without question, a very high pressure sale. The leads are not at all what they were made out to be thoughtful, qualified and solicited by the customer.
Really what they appear to be are very high pressure calls where the busy owner agrees to let someone drop information by the office. The address may or may not be right, the company may or may not qualify for the minimum sales volume needed for the service, and the owner may or may not be the actual owner. In the end, the rep winds up at an address where he is instructed to get the sale at any cost. Sales instructors reiterate throughout training that you are really saving this business owner's life and it is your responsibility to take him down kicking and screaming so they can be saved by IPA.
The rep sells the survey or analysis for a price depending on the company size and sales. Here is the good news the report (I feel) is a very valuable tool in the hands of a savvy owner and is more than reaonably priced. It is useless to someone who does not understand it. To really get value, the owner must engage IPA's other services which can cost upwards of $30K to $40K or more. Again, in and of itself, not necessarily a rip-off. It may be just what the company needed in fact. The product is not really at issue although I have little experience directly with it and they will never show you a compelted one as a rep. That is questionable to me. I was told this was to save me form over thinking the sale. If I saw one I would start to over analyze it and could draw my own wrong conclusions.
What I mostly don't agree with is the high pressure sale and almost Mafia-like collection methods they use for that service. They bully the sale and collect daily.
This is supposed to provide the client with the most satisfying method of payment because it is agreed to daily. This way the client can never complain because they can start and stop at any time but can they really? It's like having Tony Saprano in your home and he says you have to complete the service to get the benefit, but really the benefit can't be expected without flawless adherence for a year. The client is contract bound to report to IPA each month. Is this evil or bad? Not necessarily, it is just not up-front and completely honest.
The other thing I thought was suspect was that if a client looks at the rep's card, they do not have the rep's phone number on it. All calls go to the main office. If you call on the week-end or after hours to re-schedule an appointment, you are out of luck. The bottom line is IPA intends make themselves unavailable, and to show up regardless, either to pitch the analysis or to begin the analysis or other service. There is no room for buyer's remorse. Remember In IPA's mind this is how they are going to save you by giving you no choice.
If you are late for an appointment as a rep they instruct you to say nothing- hoping that the owner was too busy to actually write down the time. I found this to be dishonest. There are sins of commission and sins of omission and I find most of IPA's sins to be of omission.
At one point in training they actually admit that it is the dollars that drive things, not the good of the client, but why let those nasty little facts get in the way of our mission to save American business. There were many more little things that may be troubling to an honest sales-person's conscience, but those are personal convictions you will have to evaluate.
I did notice that the minute I was in any way opposed to what they do, I became a stranger and enemy instead of a valued employee. I paid my own way back home(including a $60 taxi ride by the way)since the company did not pay for anything not directly benefitting them. They got me out to the middle of nowhere to train, but when I did not want to continue for conscience sake, they pretty much said, screw you, you are out your plane fare and now have to pay to get to the airport yourself. I even asked, what if it is an emergency? They didn't care I was an outsider now.
Expect to not be allowed any questions during training sessions and also expect that they are clever to point out looser and traitors are those who disagree with them. It is surprising how many people buy the premise that if you disagree you must have a flaw.
Actually it fits the Shark A-Type personalities they are trying to attract. Count on 80% of you either quitting or being fired for underperformance in the first 30 60 days. I did not realize at 100% commission I could be fired if I didn't sell enough. And what is enough? that is all in their head, and they will tell you when it happens, not before.
Realistically, this is a cold calling, gig. If you are too arrogant or too stupid to know when someone does not want your product, this job is for you. It is a one Sit close, make no mistake about it. Re-schedules are not allowed becasue the customer will never do it. Remember, the customer does nto knwo what is good for them - you do. Be prepared to memorize verbatim their script. Nothing else is acceptable even your 20 years experience selling.
If you are a bully and like playing with other bullies, you will fit in just great. Good luck to you and don't let that bigger shark right behind you worry you. Yes, he is looking at your territory, but trust them, they got you covered? Or do they? Just don't every ask questions or disagree with them. The good news is the CoolAid is oh so refreshing.