I recently worked for SMG in New York City. SMG is a part of the Marcus Evans company, and also has another branch known as THG sports, based in Chicago, IL. The first thing that should have thrown me off is all of the aliases this company uses. Their name is so well known and synonymous with telemarketing, that they have to keep creating new company names in order to not get hung up on.
First, a little company background. Marcus Evans, sometime known as ME Events groups, is based in Europe with offices in North America as well. They sell business conferences and summits for companies to interact with other high-end executives. Their sports division is what is known as SMG or THG sports. The purpose of the sports division is to sell VIP corporate hospitality to high-end decision makers, centered around some of the leading sporting events in the world. If you're interacting with SMG/THG, you're likely to encounter a guy named Gordon. He's a well-spoken Englishman who seems nice enough to speak to, but has devoured the company kool-aid like none other.
On paper, it sounds like a creative concept and an interesting product to sell. They even offer you a week-long training program to teach you their methods and sales pitch. They'll tell you that even the CEO started in your shoes and that everyone advances from within. They'll give you a chart of your advancement path, from Sales executive, to team leader, to manager etc. You'll be told what the "average" employee makes during each of these steps and you'll exit training ready to start your first week on the phones. This is where the fun really begins...
Your office will be a boiler room mentality. You think cubicles suck? You'll wish you had one here. You'll share desk space with other employees. All you'll have is papers and a phone in front of you, no salesperson gets their own computer. The NYC office had 4 computers in the corner, meant to be shared with every other employee for purposes of researching leads. They have designated times where it is acceptable to use the computers, typically during lunch or after 5pm. During the day, you're to be on the phones, no exceptions.
The calls themselves are just awful. They expect a minimum of 100 calls a day, with 200 being the goal. They DO NOT provide you with ANY leads, despite what they may state in the interview process. What this means is you need to provide yourself with 100+ leads to call each day. Since computer time is so hard to come by in the office, you're expected to research these on your own time at home. That's a lot of homework. The calls themselves are meant to target top-level executives from major fortune 1,000 type companies. As you might expect, a CEO or EVP won't be picking up their own phones. You'll become very familiar with their assistants. You're given aggressive goals of attaining cell #'s and reaching decision makers on a daily basis.
Naturally, assistants don't give out cell phone #'s, so in order to do this, they encourage incredibly dishonest and underhanded tactics. One example, get the secretary's extension, purposely mis-dial that extension and hope that the person who answers will transfer you directly to the decision maker, or give their cell. Or my personal favorite, they encourage you to pretend you're an employee of the company that you're trying to reach by calling one of their international offices. They encourage you to create a bogus story about being stranded at an airport, and needing to reach the decision maker back in the US, who you're trying to play off as being your boss. Sometimes, they may have a company database with direct lines or even cell #'s, but you feel like a complete d-bag for the methods you went through to attain it.
In the rare occasion that you get someone on the phone that expresses a little interest, you're told to offer a "cancellation pitch" where you once again need to lie. Essentially, you're telling the decision maker that the only available slot just become available because another company had to cancel, and that it is available on a first come, first served basis. This is far from the truth, but it's the only way they allow their product to be sold. Forget establishing a rapport or building trust with a client, if you can't convince them to say Yes to your completely untruthful sales pitch, then you're told to take the offer off the table. Think about it, what are the odds that you'll be able to call a Fortune 1000 company, get the decision maker on the phone, get your sales pitch out without them hanging up, have them express legit interest, and then get to to say Yes on the spot, all without ever having had a conversation with you before? 1 in 1,000? 1 in 10,000?? Do the math, and you'll see why they demand so many phone calls in a day.
The problem with making 100-200 calls and offering the same product, with the same results as that it is mentally draining and incredibly repetitive. If you're a mindless drone, then this is the place for you. This company thrives on employing young workers whom they hope they can brainwash, just because they're thankful to have a job. Lead management is horrendous, as many employees will be calling the same companies in the same day. It's a ruthless, cut-throat, sleazy sales game that they promote with a dog-eat-dog mentality. The work environment is absolutely toxic. You'll enter in the morning, counting down the next 8 hours to the very second that you can leave. Your favorite parts of the day will be the 1 hour lunch or the 10 minute s**t you take, just to get away from the endless phone calls. You'll be surrounded by people who will be thinking the exact same thing, whether they choose to admit it or not.
I lasted only a month for this company. Luckily I had enough work experience to know that this was the bottom of the barrel. The turnover is unlike anything else I've ever seen. In the month I spent there, at least a half-dozen other left before me, in an office of 20 max. They're always preparing for more interviews, just to off-set the next round that are guaranteed to quit, or get fired for not excelling in a near impossible sell. They pay is awful, unless you strike lightning in a bottle and make a bunch of sales. You'll be paid a base of about $1,000 per month, with paychecks coming once a month rather than bi-weekly. You'll stress out, work long hours and get even sleazier in your methods, just to try to make a couple extra bucks. If you're currently working for this company, plan your exit now. If you're thinking of working for this company, run as far and fast as you can to the next opportunity. If you've been contacted by this company in an effort to sell you their services, know that nothing that was pitched to you was ethical or truthful. How this company is even still in business is the most shocking aspect of it all.