First of all, many Kirby distributors use recruiting tactics that are highly deceptive. I responded to a blind ad that interested me immediately since I was out of work and flat broke: "37 workers needed. Start immediately. No experience necessary. $400 a week guaranteed. Will train."
When I called to get more information I was told they were a distributor of chemical products and building trade materials. The words "Kirby" and "vacuum cleaner" were never mentioned. This is false advertising.
The interviewer was evasive when I asked him what jobs they were hiring for. After filling out a "psychological test/interest survey" I was told they had a variety of positions available and that the test would help them determine which ones I might be qualified for. I was then scheduled for a "second interview" a couple days later which turned out to be 3-day, unpaid training class.
The first day we were subjected to alot of hype and emotional ploys. We were told we had been carefully selected out of a rigorous screening process. We were asked to share what we really wanted in life, then told we could really earn enough money to make those dreams possible. The trainer kept dangling huge income potential in front of us, showing us high commission checks, and talking about all the houses, cars, etc. that he owned. This was doubtful because he drove a modest car, and the two-room office didn't even have a computer. But now we had gotten hooked by the flattery, the potential of making a decent income, and the possibility of owning our own business.
It wasn't until the second day that we learned we would be selling Kirby vacuum cleaners and were rushed through sales techniques with very little hands-on training. We were told repeatedly they weren't looking for salespeople but potential manager trainees or franchise owners. We were told we just had to do some sales demonstrations for awhile to learn the business.
On the last day of training, we were rushed through filling out forms and more sales techniques and told to hold our multitude of questions until after class. Since class went late into the evening, few were able to stick around to get their questions answered.
On my first (and last) day on the job I learned that the "appointment setter" on our team didn't schedule appointments at all. Instead, we rode around in a van canvassing areas and knocking on doors. After doing this all day, we starting getting worried that we might not get to do the 15 weekly shows we needed in order to get paid, but our team leaders kept admonishing us to "think positive" and even handed us scripts to use to get in homes that weren't even true. We were even advised not to use the word "Kirby" or people wouldn't let us in.
While Kirby produces a really impressive and good quality product, it sells through independent distributors. Many of these distributors are hurting its reputation by using highly unethical and legally questionable recruiting and sales techniques. This hasn't seemed to bother the powers-that-be at Kirby because the company still earns nice profits while claiming it has no control over its distributors and dealers.
It took my team an entire day to get one show for each team member by knocking on doors. Shows lasted an hour or more because specific steps have to be taken before a show qualifies for payment.
Using this method, it's highly unlikely most people are going to meet their quotas of 15 shows per week, even if they work 24/7. So if a person pounds the pavement all week and only gets 14 shows, they won't get paid.
Many of their sales people are in the low income bracket or dire financial straits and, when desperate, didn't seem to mind playing on people's sympathies or outright lying in order to get inside their homes where they stayed for hours pressuring them to buy.
Two of the people on our team were recoving drug addicts - one was still going through a program. Two more were ex-cons on parole (for what we didn't know and were afraid to ask). I seriously doubt any background checks were done or questions were asked because my training started two days after I interviewed. While this could provide a fresh start for people who have probably already lost jobs due to drug abuse or who are having trouble finding work due to a criminal record it places unsuspecting homeowners, and possibly fellow workers, in a potentially dangerous situation.
All in all, new recruits get exploited because they're not told upfront what they're getting into and are required to meet a quota that they're not likely to meet. People in my group who had been earning minimum wage quit their jobs due to promises of huge incomes.
People who are just trying to make ends meet or earn a living are hurt because alot of people have been turned off by bad experiences with other Kirby salespeople.
Homeowners get exploited because they're manipulated into opening their homes to total strangers (some with criminal backgrounds) on some false pretence and subjected to an invasion of their privacy and high pressure sales techniques.
The only ones who seem to make out okay are The Kirby Company and those higher ups in their pecking order.
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