SMI, SMI and Associates, Sports Marketing InternationalDishonest, Misleading Job Scam Takes Advantage of Young, Naive Job Seekers

1

Sports Marketing International, SMI and Associates, SMI is a scam! Their ads are up all over the internet. CareerBuilder, Monster.com, Craigslist.com. Companies like this constantly change their name to avoid being found out and to avoid prosecution... their former name was Boomerang Marketing.

They will tell you they have "big wig" clients like the White Sox. This is NOT marketing. It is door-to-door dishonest soliciting. Dishonest to consumers and dishonest to their employees.

Please do not fall for their schemes! Sports Marketing International (SMI and Associates), and the like, prey on young, naive college graduates, servers, athletes. Sports Marketing International doesn't do a stitch of marketing consulting work for any sports teams (or any other place for that matter). This is straight up dishonest sales. If you are still working at SMI and Associates, I beg you to get out now!

Oh, and as an independant contractor (as that is how Sports Marketing International will "hire" you) you ARE required to file your sales on your taxes. The "manager" at this place (Greg) is encouraging employees at SMI and Associates to participate in illegal activities, such as soliciting in governmentally protected non-soliciting areas, and not file taxes. He is putting you in very illegal situations and manipulating you!

It is NOT normal to work long 10 hour days and no even be on the company's payroll. You are NOT your own manager (as the company tries to make you think you are), you have a sly, manipulative, fast-talking boss standing over your shoulder telling you you can't leave until you have sold all of your items!

Please, I beg you to NOT apply to this company, or anything affiliated with Doug Ascher, SmartCircle, SMI and Associates, or Sports Marketing International.

Responses

  • Vi
    Vic Oct 30, 2008

    haha, i completely agree. i'm pursuing new jobs as mine is currently on the rocks. well i've been on job hunting sites like monster and saw this company SMI, which I think is also listed as Hybrid, Inc. haha. anyway, i go there yesterday, to the Lombard office and meet Greg. he says the interview will last 20-25 minutes. it's done in less than 10 mins. the guy barely asks me any questions about my background and doesnt even leave room for me to ask questions. he also draws a very quick diagram on the structure of the program, saying it's a fast-paced 6 month program to become a manager. reminds me of how those Quixtar guys draw quick diagrams for you. the craziest thing though, he says he's interviewing about 25 people and has only spots for 7-8 people for second round interviews. he calls me in the evening and says, "Congratulations, you made the second round. Only 6 people made it and you were one of them. Now this round is an all day interview." I told him I'd go, but after doing some more research and especially reading your comment, I'm absolutely convinced it's a scam. cuz there is no way you interview 25 people in a day and choose 6, that is ridiculous. this is probably a pyramid scheme of some sort. probably the funniest thing that he said was he used to work for a Industry Leader somewhere and took this job as an Entry Level Manager. yea right. if he were working for an industry leader, he would never have taken this job, unless he's one of the clowns whose idea it was to trick naive people, like I once was, into making cash for him. trippin!

    0 Votes
  • To
    Tony Jones Oct 30, 2008

    hahaha the first post and the comment are completely true. The guy didnt even have his top button done, and had like 15 interview packets right in front of me on his desk like he had been doing interviews all day. He does his sales tactics like they are right out of the book. Creates urgency with 25 candidates, called me and said 8 made the list and that I was on it. I am going on a second day just so I can see how scam loaded this place is. Probably not quite as bad as JT Marlin from Boiler Room, but I am very interested to see the comparisons. ABC, and not to make some other guy the cash.

    0 Votes
  • Li
    Lisa Nov 13, 2008

    SMI is truly a disgusting scam. My poor brother "broke his neck" to get to this interview. Not only did he borrow an interview suit, but also took the el from the city, the metra and then a cab. He is a smart young guy trying to find a job - not easy in this market. Everything he was told and went through with the "interview process” is verbatim of the other postings on this site. He was blatantly lied to and misled. Thank goodness my brother's instincts told him to look into this outfit further. Life is not easy, ya gotta be smart people. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

    0 Votes
  • Jo
    Joshua Nov 19, 2008

    Wow! I have an interview today at 12:45 with SMI. I decided to do a little research ahead of time and found a wealth of negative information. I will definitely not be making the 26 mile trek out to Lombard for this kind of scam. Thanks for getting the word out guys and saving me the time and effort and frustration of going through the hassle of unraveling the scam myself.

    0 Votes
  • Ka
    Katie Nov 26, 2008

    Thanks for the Warning! I recently got an email from them stating that they are very interested in my background. After reading these comments I'm glad I didn't waste my time. Thanks!

    0 Votes
  • Er
    Erika Young Nov 30, 2008

    Thanks for the heads up lol. I am also glad that I did not waste my time with this scam.
    Good idea, but needs legitimate people and business practices behind it, too bad.

    0 Votes
  • Jo
    Joe Dec 04, 2008

    I had sent in my resume to these people through Monster.com and received a response and interest to interview me. I am supposed to meet them today in Sherman Oaks, CA but I'm not going. Thanks for the heads up everyone.

    0 Votes
  • Ry
    ryry Dec 07, 2008

    OMG I KNEW IT! THEY SEEMES A LITTLE TOO INTERESTED CANT TRUST THE INTERNET THESE DAYS HUH? SIIIIIICKK PEOPLE JUST PLAIN SSIIIICCCKK I TELL YA!

    0 Votes
  • Ma
    matt Dec 10, 2008

    Joe I feel your pain. I went to the Sherman Oaks "office". I Be glad you didn't go. What a freakin' joke. I actually made the mistake of going to the 2nd interview, again, it took only of 5 minutes. They wanted me to follow them to Sam's Club to see how their business works. Yeah, I took the bus so I didn't have my car. The dude says, "well call me back at like 3:00 and I'll let ya know if ya got a 3rd interview." Call him back and guess what...another interview and plan on a long day tomorrow. What a freakin' tool!! I'm glad I found this website to confirm my suspicions about this company and their scam. Thanks to all that have contributed to outting the posers.

    1 Votes
  • Ma
    matt Dec 10, 2008

    The Landers Group IS Kelly Advertising, Granton Marketing, DS Max. I found all these former names on /link removed/ Anyone that gets an e-mail from any of these companies don't answer it. The saying is true, "If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is." Well, this one is 100% not true. I tell ya' what's pretty stinkin' funny though. Call the Sports Marketing International phone number (818-907-0175), and just start yankin' their chain. If you call and ask for The Landers Group (their most recent name, R.I.P.), they will acknowledge it. Yet, they still answer the phone Sports Marketing International. To really screw with them, say you got an e-mail from Granton Marketing and you were calling to set up an interview. When they dodge that bullet, tell them you have another e-mail from Kelly Advertising with the same number. And so on, with as many names as you can find. You'll get put on hold a couple of times, but if you don't mind that then it's a pretty good time. You're not on hold for long. Just long enough for the person on the other end of the line to look to their boss and say, "Ummmm...This person knows more than they should, and I don't know what to say back." Made me laugh. Enjoy if you try and be sure to let the rest of us know how it went. What a bunch of tools.

    1 Votes
  • Wo
    wolvesfan24 Dec 11, 2008

    This thread is a little off topic.

    1. You are all talking about 5 different companies.
    2. 1 guy that nobody has ever meet, ever spoken with outside of this blog, or ever come in contact with, is writing his opinion on something, and everyone takes it as gospel truth...isn't that how hate, rumors, fabrications, and paranoia is started???
    Wal-Mart is rated the best company to work for, yet they have a website with over 5, 000 ex-employee members dedicated to saying "they suck". Tom Brady is one of the greatest QB's ever, yet there are people that will tell you he is terrible. Do people honestly believe one disgruntled person's beliefs that much as to accept it as truth.
    I work there currently and yes, I work very hard and long hours. Yes, I make commision, but I also get a ton of bonuses. Yes, some people are not cut out for sales or face to face type presentations. But that's exactly why they have a full day interview to come see if it is for you or not. I've worked at many places where what I was told was not what I ended up doing. I saw the sales and marketing first hand, something I was very impressed they'd show me on an interview.

    Also, saying that business to business sales/marketing and event based sales/ marketing isn't "real marketing" should be the reason everyone discredited this guy's post in the first place. Ask any CEO on the planet which is better; Print, Radio, Internet, or Face to Face marketing/sales/advertising...I bet I know the answer. Ever wonder why so many companies are going under and so few "traditional marketing" jobs exist? It's not cost effective. I went to school for Graphic Design. I learned the hard way that I spent $80, 000 on a degree with no future.

    Also, Sports Marketing Int'l doesn't just do B2B sales. We are doing marketing events at hospitals, sporting events, Retail chains, etc...and by the way, they DO work with the White Sox, the Bucks, etc...I've already been to 3 games with the office where the tickets were provided by the client's themselves. I went to the Minneapolis affiliate office and when I was there, we went to a Timberwolves game where the VP of Marketing gave the whole office a suite and came and said "hi" at halftime. Also, from Day One, I was told of the 1099 status for the "field sales" I did, AND I was told EXACTLY how to file taxes and the tax breaks I receive. And I don't know what you are looking for monetarily in life, but if it's more than $30, 000, then, yes, 10 hour workdays are pretty normal. In fact it IS the norm, like it or not, if you want to get ahead these days. (God knows I'd love to work in Spain and get a siesta break everyday, but that ain't the case here stateside)

    For those of you really looking for a career, I have no idea if SMI is for you or not, but listening to some dude you've never met ramble on about stuff he has no clue on, is probably not the best source of "good info" on a company you can find. If you believe that type of stuff, I've got some real ground-breaking info for you on a huge alien conspiracy involving terrorists, WMD's and Barack Obama I'm sure you'd like to read on DarthVader4ever's blog site on Myspace and it must be true because it's on the internet right???...geesshh

    -1 Votes
  • Th
    thatguy Dec 15, 2008

    Yes, it is in fact a pyramid scheme. When they tell you that you start out at the bottom and then get people to work below you to help you move up that is pretty much the definition.

    IT IS DOOR TO DOOR SALES, plain and simple. It blows. It especially blows in the winter in Chicago. Trust me.

    No, it is not for everyone. You do in fact learn a few things about life on your 12 hour days. You meet some good people, can make some money every now and then, and even have fun. But when you spend 12 hours working around people doing the same BS you find ways to make it tolerable.

    If you go on an interview ask Greg why Boomerang Marketing had to change they're name. I started out with Greg in '04 when he was an AE, he was great with sales, but there is plenty good reason why his companies keep ending up on the [redacted]. Dude is shady. And no he didn't work for an industry leader, if my memory serves me right he worked inside sales selling steel.

    Wolvesfan, you keep drinkin the JUICE brother! Believe me, with a degree in graphic design you can make more money and finding a better job isn't that hard. Fact, a $30k job is NOT hard to find. And no, you don't have to work more than 10 hours a day.

    To others looking for a job, good luck, it's never fun, but keep doing your research and you might not waste several months of your life!

    -1 Votes
  • As
    ashleymorgan17 Jan 16, 2009

    I, too, was an recent graduate eager to find a fun and exciting career. The job described seemed like a lot of fun. Unfortunately what a mess. The company lures you in and makes the job seem very lucrative. I went to my first interview where I asked questions about whether or not they were door to door and if they disturbed people at their place of work and whether or not it was salary or commission. That should have been the first tip. She refused to discuss any sort of compensation with me in the first meeting and assured me that they weren't those people who barge in on businesses. What horrible surprise when I showed up for my second interview and they drive you offsite with "your interviewer" and basically trap you into spending your whole day following their sales rep around going business to business selling spa packages (that was what they were selling on my day out). It was awful I couldn't get away. I went to school for business, to be a part of a business, not disturb others while they are trying to work. I understand the approach but they lie to people to get them to believe they can get into management. I was so upset that I took a day off of my current job to look into this. Save yourself the time and effort don't do it. And for the record to the person saying that a 30k job is looking at 50-60 hours a week if you find a job that pays you $15 an hour you can work 40 hours a week and make 30k. So a little math may have helped in your venture to prove a point. I'm pretty sure with a 4 year degree or even an AA someone is willing to pay you $15 an hour and maybe even give you the option of benefits.

    0 Votes
  • Al
    AlmostASucker Jan 23, 2009

    Thanks for the info everyone. Funny thing... I just got off the phone with the HR people at SMI in Lombard, IL (Sport Marketing International) setting up an appointment. I then got a confirmation email from them... did some online research... and quickly found this page and a handful of others saying pretty much the same things. I then responded to the HR persons email telling them that I will not be showing up... and made sure to include all the links that I found online... showing them why I was cancelling. The nerve of them to take advantage of respectable people. If you notice, SMI marks all their job listings as "Entry Level Sales/Marketing", etc..., clearly targeting young and naive people. What a disappointment.

    0 Votes
  • Pr
    protective mom Jan 25, 2009

    To the guy who is comparing Walmart complaints. Try simple math as you do it so well with salaries. Walmart employs well over a million people world wide. SMI employs hundreds. Do the ratio and you may find that comment a little backwards. My guess is that you will find over all the percentage of people who complain about SMI is higher than the percentage that complain at walmart.

    0 Votes
  • Pr
    protective mom Jan 25, 2009

    My son worked for them for 3 days and it was so painful for me to watch him go to work. As a mom, your kids have to do what they have to to learn life lessons and this one was a life lesson for him. Thank goodness it only lasted 3 days!!

    0 Votes
  • Kw
    k weins Jan 30, 2009

    Nothing is funnier than reading people's comments that are basing their comments off someone else's internet comments whom they've never met. I started in that office and now I run an office. I have no financial issues despite the economy. I learned everything from sales to management from the team there. Oh yeah, I just purchased a new house and am getting my fiance the engagement ring of her dreams due to my success at Sports Marketing International. But hey, haters hate, that's all they know how to do. I just laugh at these comments and I realize how truly tough it is to be great when you are surrounded by mediocre minds of the mob trying to keep everyone else "average". So listen to the internet posters, go get a job on the bottom rung of the corporate ladder and HOPE to God that that company is ethical, sticks around for 40 years, and doesn't ever lay anyone off or go do something for yourself, learn real skills, and get rewarded with running an office and making your own destiny and desicions...Obama said it best when he said the biggest problem nowadays is that people don't dream big enough. If you want to work for a big corporate culture and get 40 hours a week and a small benefits package, you are right, don't go to Sports Marketing Int'l. If you want to move up based on performance and forge your own career like I did and you are willing to work hard at something (which is no different than anything you've done in life like sports or band or getting good grades) then go interview and give it shot. Don't listen to some guy's rants that is now a busboy at Buffalo Wild Wings...

    0 Votes
  • Me
    meyers T. Feb 01, 2009

    I currently work at SMI and been there for 5 months, hey its hard just like any other job, but the benefits are great. In just a couple months I will be running my own business, and retire before Im 35. The only thing I regret is I wish I could of started younger. So stay away from this company if you are: IGNORANT, LAZY, DEPRESSING, AND JUST PLAIN UNMOTIVATED. Most of the people who write these comments are overweight and old. This is as far as I go and let you feeble minded ### form your own opinion if your capable. Keep up the good work SMI!

    0 Votes
  • Sc
    Scam Revealer Feb 03, 2009

    Meyers T.,

    I'm curious... So you are currently working at SMI, but you are living in Miami, Florida? How's that commute working out for you?

    I'm making these postings to protect young people from getting taken advantage of, with no gain of my own. For the record, I'm a highly motivated, upbeat, early-twenties post-graduate student.

    I'm not sure who you are, but if I had a guess, you and anyone else defending SMI on these posts is likely one of the scammers that owns one of these unethical sweatshops and is taking advantage of ambitious, young students or graduates. You are just trying to cover your butt to save the company.

    SMI promises their applicants the world, and tell them that it's only their own failures that are keeping them in the way of success. Of course it's true that hard work and motivation will get you far, and certainly those working under area managers (like Greg in Lombard) are working their butts off. But, let's be honest, here. They're not going to be raking in the dough until they leave SMI and their door-to-door sales and go for a real career.

    The primary difference between Sports Marketing International, SMI, SMI and Associates or whatever they want to call themselves and a legitimate career environment is this: When you work for a legitimate company or organization, they INVEST in YOU. This is the core failure in my mind of SMI. When you are working for a company that values you as an employee, they want to keep you around for awhile. They make you feel like you are such a vital part of their company that they will give you things like 401k opportunities, health insurance, mileage reimbursement, continuing education reimbursement.

    When companies don't classify you as an employee, but rather as an independent contractor, the obligation to provide such benefits is not longer necessary. This is how SMI operates. I currently work as a marketing independent contractor, and know that there are strict classifications that will determine whether or not a company can legally classify you as an independent contractor rather than an employee. One such stipulation, is that as an independent contractor, the company you are working for CANNOT specify what hours or days you must work. This is one of the many violations...

    0 Votes
  • Fo
    former employee Feb 03, 2009

    TO THE PEOPLE DEFENDING THIS COMPANY AND WHO ARE DISMISSING THE COUNTLESS CLAIMS OF PEOPLE ON HERE: I was a former "employee" for SMI, at the time was Boomerang marketing group (they changed their name for legal reasons). I worked there for over 4 months and was promoted to an account manager. I worked with Greg Mertes and saw the tactics he used first hand. You start out the day in "atmosphere" which is where they play music and you practice your pitch. This is called brainwashing, and is a psychological tactic used to boost your attitude. You sell coupon packages door to door. You are told to be deceitful to customers using REHASH and other tactics. You are encouraged to pitch in non-solicitation buildings and government facilities. No, Greg does not have a solicitation license and the "employees" dont get one either, Nobody contacts any chambers or bureaus to notify them ahead of time about solicitations to businesses...this is downright illegal! And yes you can get fined for it...and yes YOU are held accountable, not the manager of the office. You are assigned a territory for the day, and are told to pitch everyone! And at the end of the day everyone huddles around and either rings a bell or hits a gong to celebrate how sucessful they were that day. Again this is a psychological tactic used to influence the new people and interviwees that day.

    They do not do a background check on people. I worked with a guy that had just gotten out of the state prison!! Greg uses profound profanity and has slandered his employees numerous times, even insulting someone in front of the entire office...not proper management tactics at all! And the company has no clue about marketing as they are in a cold market and have saturated it too much (just ask how many repeat custiomers they have) and Smart Circle sells these coupon books on their website at the same price, so you dont have to buy from these reps, how stupid!

    I encourage all of you entreprenuers on here who are thinking about working for any of these Smart Circle companies to do research, and find enjoyment starting your own company and not a scam one like this!!

    And for people who were hurt by any one of these companies, write to your local representatives. I do know of local and state legal action in Illinois that is in the process of being taken as we speak!!

    2 Votes
  • Fo
    former employee Feb 03, 2009

    ALSO: Read this about SMI, Boomerang Marketing and Gregory Mertes from the BBB.

    BBB Rating

    This business does not meet BBB criteria for a satisfactory or unsatisfactory rating. Any BBB concerns about the business are stated in the report.

    Business Contact and Profile

    Name: Boomerang Marketing Group, Inc.
    Phone: (630) 810-9012
    Address: 2801 S Fairfield Ave
    Suite A
    Lombard, IL 60148-1358
    Website: www.boomerangmktginc.com
    Principal: Gregory Mertes
    Customer Contact: Gregory Mertes - [email protected]
    Email Address: [email protected]
    File Open Date: October 2007
    TOB Classification: Advertising/Marketing Agencies, Door to Door Sales/Solicitations
    BBB Accreditation: This company is not a BBB Accredited business.
    Additional DBA Names: Altitude Advertising
    BMG, Inc.
    SMI

    The BBB has requested basic information from this company. The BBB has not received a response. Without this information, the BBB may not have current information concerning such things as the company's management or its nature of business.

    Products and Services

    Per consumer allegations and information received by the Bureau, this company advertises employment offers that are allegedly misleading about their nature and the type of work to be performed. The positions offered are 100% commission-based door to door sales and/or promotions, that have little to no benefits and/or very low pay.

    The Bureau has also been advised that this company is displaying a BBB accreditation plaque in their office, however Boomerang Marketing Group, dba Altitude Advertising, is not accredited by the BBB. The Bureau has sent the company a cease and desist letter to stop the company from using the BBB plaque without permission or authorization.

    Additional Information

    Sports Marketing International, Inc., the business currently occupying the office at 2801 S Fairfield Ave., Suite A, Lombard, IL 60148, has informed the BBB that Boomerang Marketing Group, Inc./Altitude Advertising, Inc. has allegedly gone out of business. For a report BBB Definition:

    report - A summary of activity reflected in a company's BBB file. Includes basic business background, BBB Accreditation information, and BBB complaint activity over the previous three years. Also reports may include any known government actions, advertising issues BBB Definition:

    advertising issues - Claims alleging print or electronic media advertised claims or practices misrepresent the service or product offer.
    or other information that results from activity conducted by BBB.
    on Sports Marketing International, Inc., please click here.


    All taken directly off the BBB site, scary stuff!! and explains why they had to change their name from Boomerang marketing to Sports marketing.

    ANOTHER NOTE: The Brookfield, WI office is directly related to Gregory Mertes. The name is currently Dynasty marketing group or DMG and the manager there is Adrian Frey, just to inform anyone from the Milwaukee area. These companies need to be held for their responsibilities and actions, as well as pain and suffering to former reps!

    2 Votes
  • Pa
    Padin Feb 07, 2009

    Well I just went on an interview yesterday and it seems to be exactly as Scam Revealer has posted earlier. Interview lasted about 20 minutes and the guy (Kelley) seemed to try and keep me pigeon holed into some sort of "Managers" role. He stated at the end of the interview i would hear from him at the end of the day if I made it to the second interview, of course he called me and told me I had. Kelley then told me that I would come back on Monday and observe the team at work, so expect to be with them all day. I do not know many companies that want you to meet the clients before you even have been made an offer to work there. Oh, well I will get back to you on Monday and let you know what happens. I appreciate the heads up, but I am one that needs the info first hand so I am going to waste my time and see first hand them in action. I will then share the info with you all.

    1 Votes
  • Sc
    Scam Revealer Feb 08, 2009

    UPDATE: This company now has one more subtle variation of its name that it is going by, SMI, Inc. Creative, huh?

    My guess it's a slight attempt at Search Engine Optimization, since at this point the sites getting the most hits when you Google SMI and Associates or Sports Marketing International aren't very complimentary to them...

    Also, I just located this site which might be insightful to anyone checking out this company or any other company loosely affiliated with SMI, Inc., SMI and Associates, Greg Mertes, and the like and offers a bit of support for and post-traumatic victims! Turns out, SMI, Inc. is a part of something much larger than I had anticipated. (http://groups.msn.com/DSMAXTheAftermath/general.msnw?action=get_message&mview=0&ID_Message=36295&LastModified=4675705285592661227) If you aren't able to access this link, search for "DS-MAX" (which seems to be an affiliate group) or "DS-MAX the aftermath."

    I've gotta hand it to 'em; The SMI, Inc. guys (or whatever name they prefer to go by at the time) are nearly as swift and clever in their scheming as Bernie Madoff, but also equally as sickening.

    They've found ways to evade legalities, so far, but just wait... their judgment day and expose will come soon enough, if we continue to get the word out on them!

    1 Votes
  • Sc
    Scam Revealer Feb 08, 2009

    Additionally: Legal issues.

    If you are interviewing here or working here, be sure to challenge them regarding your status as an "independent contractor." Here are the qualifications regarding independent contractor vs. employee:
    http://www.taxprophet.com/apps/active2/indep-mm.html

    SMI, Inc. will wrongly (illegally) classify you as an independent contractor for their benefit and your disadvantage.

    1 Votes
  • Kw
    k weins Feb 13, 2009

    t meyers,

    I am not going to get into it with you as you have your beliefs and I have mine. But if you think for one second that "legitimate companies" "invest in their employees" then you haven't been paying attnetion to the economic news lately.

    You can go work a job where they control every decision and every facet of how much you are worth or not worth to them and I'll take my chances with a company where I can grow based on my performance.

    I have a great life, love my job, and money in the bank. That's more than I can say about 80% of the American workforce that took the "traditional" path of go to school, get a job with a big name company, and work my way to the top. That doesn't exist anymore. I could drop about 50 articles written in Newsweek, Time, Forbes, etc. that would tell you the same, but your mind is already made up on what you believe and that is fine. Just remember that 93% of the population works for 7%, and those 7% control the top 70% of wealth. They didn't get wealthy by working 9-5pm for a company where they get 2 weeks paid vacation, 3 weeks sick leave and candy on Fridays. They went out and built something from nothing. Lee Iacoca slept in his car to build Chrysler. Bill Gates took off 6 days TOTAL in 10 years. But good luck to you, I truly mean that. Outside sales is not for everyone. Neither is managing an office and running a company. But for those that do enjoy it, they can become very successful and very fortunate working with SMI. Doug's promoted a lot of people into their own offices and that's got to count for something. later

    -1 Votes
  • Fo
    Former Employee Feb 14, 2009

    K Weins,

    We are not speaking against entrepreneurship, in fact you are correct that you will not get rich working a 9-5 job. I am a business owner of my own and am happy with the benefits and challenges. However...

    We are saying that these businesses and its affiliates are in fact illegal. Have you looked at any of the links posted here? They are illegal according to the BBB and the US dept of Labor, those are pretty reasonable sources for businesses. I want you to answer a few questions for me;

    - Do you know why Doug Asher and SMI are at 2801 Farifield avenue in Lombard, IL?
    - Do you know who ran the business before he came in?
    - And do you know why that previous person had to shut down?
    - Do you carry a solicitation license with you when you go door to door?
    - Are you told you can go into non-solicitation buildings?
    - How many people at SMI have marketing degrees, or a college education for that matter?

    You are brainwashed to believe a lot of false information! I know, because I was there once. If you finally believe that in a year you will own on of these offices and make a load of money, think about this...These businesses currently operate at an average turnover rate of 1500%!!! Think about that...1500% The highest sector in the job market is the food and hospitality section at 54%!! So good luck trying to keep people there for longer than a couple months.

    Everyone here including myself encourage you guys to stop this unethical and Illegal business! Invest in a business that will hold true to its customers and bring real wealth!

    2 Votes
  • Kw
    kweins Feb 20, 2009

    I will attempt to answer for you:

    1. Doug is running an office there, because the company before that was there, Boomerang Marketing Group, got shut down because the owner was unethical. Sports Marketing Int'l is NOT Boomerang. They had the same supplier, that's it. Doug actually had the Boomerang office shut down because they WERE doing shady type stuff like not explaining the job correctly to interviewees and teaching things that borderline on deceptive and shady. Have you met Doug? He's the most honest guy you'll meet. When I interviewed back in the day, he told me straight up that I'd be doing B2B sales.

    2. The guy before was named Greg Mertes and that's who Doug shut down. As you can see by this thread, Greg pissed alot of people off.

    3. Question3 was answered above

    4. No. Because of the following findings by the Supreme Court of the U.S. : However, in Watchtower Bible & Tract Soc’y of N.Y., Inc. v. Vill. of Stratton, 536 U.S. 150 (2002), the U. S. Supreme Court struck down as a violation of free speech rights, an ordinance requiring permits and pre-registration for all kinds of canvassing and solicitation.

    side note: The business DOES have a business license, a Tax ID number, and a sellers permit. Which are the required forms.

    5. No. All businesses that ask field reps to leave are left with a, "No problem sir/ma'am, if you get a chance please visit us at ____". I do know that this wasn't always the case. Back in the day, there was no regard for the businesses wishes. Now, with such a High end client list, No soliciation laws are followed.

    6. When I was getting promoted, I had 14 people that I oversaw. 2 were previous business owners. 2 were former loan officers. 1 was a former all Big Ten track star. and I'd say total, 70% had college degrees. Just so you know though, go to Forbes Top 10 richest Americans list. 8 do NOT have a college degree. Entreprenership is the fastest growing major across the country in US schools as well.

    What's the turnover rate at IBM or GM or AT&T? It's probably 5000% if that's how you want to rate turnover. Of course not everyone that starts will get to run one of the new offices. How many people that start at General Motors become the CEO?

    Nobody guaranteed me I'd make it to managment. In fact, I heard Doug say "A lot of people won't make it because it is really hard" a lot more than I heard, "Everyone will make it". In fact I never heard that once out of Doug's mouth.

    I hope that answers your questions. Congrats on running your own business as well. I am sure at least a little of what you learned in this company prepared you for running your own. Good luck to you and your business and you may hate the office that you were in, but if you had worked with Doug, I think you'd have a totally different taste in your mouth about the direct sales and marketing industry.

    -2 Votes
  • Fo
    Former Employee Feb 21, 2009

    K Weins,

    Im glad you are able to respond to my questions, and it shows that you believe in what you do. I have in fact met Doug Ascher and he was a pretty nice guy. I did not get the chance to know him on a personal level, but if he is more ethical than his counterparts congrats to him, however...

    *Who promoted Greg Mertes in the first place? Since Doug was able to work with Greg Mertes first hand for almost a year wouldnt he be able to spot his tactics, if not, than wouldnt that look like a cloud of judgement? How do you know he or someone else won't do it again? One good person doesn't save a business from all the bad ones. Unfortunately Greg promoted Adrian Frey in Milwaukee (Brookfield), Kelly Latting in Minneapolis and Leeroy Shanks and a few others.

    *Have you taken a look at your supplier on BBB? Smart Circle has a current rating of a C-. Obviously more than a few people didn't care for the misleading tactics the salespeople used.

    *By the way I asked if YOU carried a solicitation license or permit on you? You havent looked into law too much because the Watchtower Bible & Tract Soc’y of N.Y., Inc. v. Vill. of Stratton case is the village of Stratton, Ohio and not (as you presume) the whole country. But Ive heard it thrown around a few times from you guys trying to defend your company. Here is a piece of the transcript from the case:

    -Held: The ordinance’s provisions making it a misdemeanor to engage in door-to-door advocacy without first registering with the mayor and receiving a permit violate the First Amendment as it applies to religious proselytizing, anonymous political speech, and the distribution of handbills. Pp. 9—18.

    The case had NOTHING to do with door to door sales, but with religous and political material ONLY

    *Finally, most cities do have a Green River Ordinance in place. Im assuming you didnt call any bureau's or police departments around Chicago?? I can name off hand at least a dozen that require a permit to sell door to door...and it needs to be an individual permit if you are selling outside the business premises!

    *If you say none of your business reps ever went into a no solicitation building even once I would say you're a downright liar, because there are numerous accounts of this happening with Smart Circle reps across the Country.

    *I think you took my college education question a little vague. Im glad you have all walks of life come into SMI because its great for business to diversify, but how many have marketing degrees?? The reason I ask is that if I advertise that Im a Graphic Design firm, I will not hire someone who has a degree in sociology to do my designing. So...if you advertise that you're a marketing company, why would you hire people without a marketing degree...or even a background check??

    If your reps did know a thing or two about marketing you'd know about over-saturation, which is exactly what Smart Circle does!

    *IBM's turnover rate is at 8%, and AT&T and GM are around 15%. Please look it up before you post if you don't know how to calculate turnover ratios. Yes 1500% is insane. That means if you wanted 20 new people to stay in your office for a year, you'd have to hire around 320. IBM only has to hire 22 people to guarentee that 20 will stay for a year.

    *How many people that start at General Motors become the CEO? Probably just a couple. But those people aren't hired to be trained as CEO's either. How many people start SMI and are told that they are training for a management position? Everyone if I'm correct!

    And finally one more thing to think about...Im not sure how much money you make in a week and I won't ask, but the TOP few percent are only averaging $14/hr if you divide up their commision. Most everyone is making $9 or less, so good luck!

    1 Votes
  • Wo
    Wow Feb 22, 2009

    That is really interesting that you have made this your life...your business must be going really really well.

    -1 Votes
  • Fo
    Former Employee Feb 27, 2009

    No, I haven't made this my life but I am a strong advocate of consumer and employee rights. I have first hand experience with this company's affiliate and have seen the thousands of complaints from people who were hurt financially, pulled away from their families and friends, and misled by using unethical and illegal tactics.

    The facts are there if you care to look at them. While some of these managers may be honest and mean good to their companies, most of what they do violate labor laws and state ordinances. I would doubt if anyone working in these companies has more than a few credits of marketing or business managment under their belt.

    These companies have NO clients, I repeat NONE! Smart Circle aquires the clients for them. Another suprising fact; These "Marketing" companies don't do a lick of marketing! They do sales! Marketing has to be understood as a business discipline separate and distinct from sales. Complimentary, yes. Subordinate to sales, most of the time. But separate and distinct nonetheless. Stapling a business card to a piece of paper and handing them back to Smart Circle or the clients has nothing to do with marketing since you are trying to build an impulse sale and rarely have repeat impulse buyers.

    The people that drink the Kool-Aid at these places believe this; I will do outside door to door sales in harsh weather conditions selling coupons to businesses and homes and if I work really hard putting in 72 hours or more a week making on average less than $9 an hour with little to no benefits then I could have this pie in the sky dream of operating one of these companies and try to encourage other people to do the same so I can make an inflated income like my manager says he does!

    They are toyed with psychologically with all these dreams of one day making 6 figures and owning a dream car and home. What they are not told is the stories of countless managers who have failed at these businesses because they have little to no experience with business managment, and especially one that operates at a 1500% turnover ratio. And the stories of reps being cited because of violating city ordinances and having their busineses shut down because of horrible practices.

    1 Votes
  • Ma
    Matt Kelley is my master Mar 10, 2009

    My interview experience at SMI in Sherman Oaks was similar to the responses already given. SMI seemed like a cult. First thing in the morning they gather you up to practice pitches and the managers give their motivational sales ###. But the managers also said a "keyword" like GOALS and the room of compliant sheep would chant it back simultaneously as though under a spell. They totally prey on naive and impressionable young people who are lead to believe there is actually a future in slanging coupon booklets in the street for straight commission and no salary. They claimed they had big time clients and that you would work your way up to opening your own office and doing business with major sports teams. I began to seriously doubt that when the employee room had a bootleg 2005 Florida Marlins poster up and not one of the major locals teams they claimed to represent. They train you to do COLD CALLS BUT IN PERSON. The poor brain washed girl who took me out to the "Field" A.K.A "street" seemed to be boarder line trespassing by entering unmarked buildings and checking every door handle as well as entering buildings and businesses that clearly had "NO SOLICITING" signs. Im glad my intuition told me to leave 15 minutes into my first day. They basically pimp weak minded youths into doing their bidding.

    2 Votes
  • Fo
    Former Employee Mar 17, 2009

    It's been almost a month but the people backing these companies won't post after my rebuttals. Shows just how strongly they feel about their company and dreams! They really don't have a base to stand on other than the brainwashing they recieve from the managers.

    0 Votes
  • Si
    Sick&Tired Mar 18, 2009

    Another company that has currently popped up on job sites is FAST TRACK, which is exactly like SMI, except they sell home remodeling products. I saw the posting on erecruiting.com, and they said they did "Promotional Marketing" (I love how these pathetic companies use various marketing and sales terms to validate their actual strategy. You're a door-to-door sales company, and future prospects are eventually going to find out what you do, so just tell them). They also falsely led me to believe they pay an annual base salary. So I thought I would send in my resume to see what happens.

    On their job postings, they specifically stated they would not open attachments in emails, so they wanted applicants to copy and paste their resume into the body of the email, which is fine. However, while I was preparing my resume, I absent-mindedly attached it to the email, and sent the email at 7:34 PM. I immediately realized what I did, and figured I would not hear from them.
    Lo and behold, I receive an email from FAST TRACK at 2:50 THE VERY NEXT MORNING, saying that "management" has looked over my credentials and would like me to schedule an interview. I found this very suspicious, so I talked it over with my family to see what to do. They said to at least look into it because they didn't want me to miss an opportunity. So I decided to schedule an interview and head to FAST TRACK's headquarters which are located at 2801 S. Fairfield Ave. Suite A in Lombard, IL (which just happens to be the same address as SMI's headquarters, which I was not aware of at the time).
    During the interview, the interviewer (who I will leave nameless) asked me a few simple questions about my resume and then informed me he had about fifteen more interviews in the day, and that was basically the whole first interview. Upon leaving the office, I wondered how he would separate me from the "other interviews" considering he didn't ask more in-depth questions.
    I received a voicemail around 2:50 in the afternoon the same day from the interviewer saying he wanted to discuss some things on my resume, and finished the message by fumbling around to give me the number to his office, which ended up with him giving the wrong number. Unfortunately, I had the correct number saved on my cell phone and called back, and they invited me back for the second round interview to shadow one of their "managers" for the day to see their "day to day operations". So I figured I would get to see what they actually do and make a decision for myself.
    The morning of my second interview, I received a confirmation call from the secretary of FAST TRACK to make sure I was coming for the interview, except when she addressed what company she was calling for, she accidentally said SMI, and quickly corrected herself and said FAST TRACK. I immediately felt a bad feeling about this company, but I decided to go through with it, hoping that it would be something other than door to door sales.
    I arrived at the office, met the manager I would be shadowing, and from 12PM to 8PM we walked around a neighborhood doing door to door sales. Not only did I find it absolutely frustrating and unprofessional going up to people after 5PM, after they have been busting their behind at work all day, but then we even went up to people's doors around 7:30PM, when it was completely dark out. That's just shady.
    We returned to the office around 9PM, and after the interviewer talked with the manager I shadowed, he said the manager had nothing but "great things" to say about me, even though the whole day I acted completely uninterested and hardly asked any questions. Then he offered me the job on the spot and asked when the earliest I could start was. I said I wanted a couple days to think it over and talk with my family about it, and got out of that office as fast as possible.
    So to those who work for SMI and FAST TRACK, which apparently those names are interchangeable, here is a message from me to you: your company is pathetic, unprofessional, and desperate, and if you think your company is stable and a good work environment, you might want to re-evaluate your life. What I witnessed from that company was the saddest thing I've ever seen, and to be around other people my age with college degrees acting like what they were doing was completely normal made me feel like I was in the Twilight Zone. Why are your companies so desperate to hire anybody, seriously? No seriously, I really want to know. And why do you try to hide the fact in your job postings and your interviews that you're a door to door sales company. Just say it, because the people you employ are eventually going to find out, and you will save plenty of people's time and money. Wasting my time with your company was one of the most disappointing experiences I've ever come across, and am personally embarrassed that I was douped into walking around doing nonsense for eight hours even after they constantly slipped up by giving me wrong numbers and messing up their own company's name. One word to describe this: JOKE.
    This is a detailed account of what I had to experience, and I hope people understand what they're getting into when they apply to these companies. If you still don't, I'll make it easy for you: If you're looking to work 10 hours a day, possibly weekends, work strictly on commission and not be guaranteed any money, and perform DOOR TO DOOR SALES, then SMI and FAST TRACK are for you.

    2 Votes
  • Ei
    eiu_collegegirl Mar 21, 2009

    THANK YOU SOOO MUCH for the warning!! They called me & said that they found my resume from my universities recruitment system & that they were "very impressed with my resume." I told them I would call them back when I was closer to graduating (they were confused all though it says on my resume Graduation: May 2009... duh!). I will not waste my time now. Companies like this are horrible!! It make people like me feel worthless for having worked so hard to earn my degree. Thank you again for the heads up! I truly appreciate it when companies are exposed for what they really are. We need more people like you to help us with this!

    0 Votes
  • Jm
    J Millz Apr 02, 2009

    I found Sports Marketing International on careerbuilder.com and went ahead and sent them my cover letter along with resume. After about 10 minutes later I checked my email looking to see if anyone had responded due to the fact that I was applying to numerous jobs and I had received a response from SMI (Sports Marketing International). The response went like this:

    "Thank you for your interest in a position with Sports Marketing, Inc.., Not revealing the name and I am the Human Resource Manager. I’ve received your resume, reviewed your qualifications, past experiences and skills, as well as compared your resume to others received. After evaluating these things against our criteria, I would like to invite you to come in for a personal interview with one of our managers.

    Congratulations on being selected, as there were many resumes that were submitted and reviewed. With new locations, new clients, and current campaigns that include some of the area’s professional and amateur sports teams, as well as a few of the region’s premier restaurants, golf courses and entertainment venues on the horizon, it is important that we set up a preliminary interview as soon as possible. "

    I logged on their website only to see an old photo of Kobe Bryant in his #8 jersey. Kobe wore that # three years ago. That hinted me to look up these frauds and see exactly what I would be doing since they really don't tell you upfront of what you would be doing. This job is a fiasco, this job is for losers who only want to make their failure in life complete. I am not graduating from a college tomorrow that I busted my ### for four years to come out and get a job like this. It's a horrendous and horrible job market for even us college grads but no one needs a job bad enough to the point that we're running around door-to-door selling coupon booklets at all hours of the day and night. Going to people's homes and businesses that have a sign posted in plain site saying no soliciting.

    One more thing. Whomever is on here defending these foul people that run that racket disguised as a legitimate business, quit it! You've been exposed! Don't come at us with statistics about who makes the most money in the country and how they make it. It's only a smoke screen that I now see clearly through.

    1 Votes
  • Sm
    SMI is effin G4Y Apr 03, 2009

    SO yea this SMI is a complete scam. There is not one aspect of this company that has to do with marketing. All it is, is a bunch of young kids who are tricked into thinking that the office that they are sitting in will be there's in 6 months, and they are literally walking around town trying to open any door they can get their hands on.

    I went in for my "second interview" today and it was pathetic. Walking around warehouses and buildings with locked doors and "NO TRESPASSING" signs where we are obviously not suppose to be in, and asking random people to buy this piece of paper from us is rediculous. It was disgusting and it makes me sick to think that people actually try to make a living off this.

    Now let me tell you what first tipped me off when i went in today. So they tell me that im suppose to get rich and be a manger in 6 months right? Well we go to get in the "managers" car(kelley) and it's a 1994 cadillac in terrible condition. Now, don't get me wrong but, if your a manager and your suppose to be "rich in 6 months" wouldn't u have upgraded by now since u told me you were doing it for 2 years.

    I have been a new and used car sales manager for about 6 years before this industry took a hit and to be honest, the kids that they have out doin this door-to-door sales are terrible salesman. They tell people we're giving you free tickets but they cost 40 dollars. STFU are u kidding me. There lucky cuz if that was me and someone was tryin to seel me that b.s. id have robbed then for everything they have...Thats what im going to do. Im going to start a company that just robs all these SMI type companies and then just call myself an entrepeneur.

    0 Votes
  • Pr
    protecter Apr 15, 2009

    I recieved an E mail stating SMI was very impressed with my Resume. I am a college grad that graduated at the top 10% of my class. I received my degree in Marketing/Public Relations.. It was refreshing to hear back from a company finally during my job hunt. I had a lady named Jessica call me back and say again they were very impressed with me. I went to the first interview. Before I entered I hear music... when I entered I felt as though I was in a club downtown. One of the rooms people were comming in and out of had house music playing. There were guys with pho-hawk hair dues everywhere. The main room had loud "soft rock" music and a movie was playing on the TV. I donno something didn't feel right. Upon my interview I got that diagram thing too explaining how the corprate later looked. Then Greg said "I am interview about 25 people today and I'm only picking 5. You may or may not hear back from us at 5pm. At 6 pm I recieved a voicemail stating I should come in for a second interview. Jessica the recpetionist said make sure you wear flats and dress accourding to the weather. She said it would be a long day from 9am-6pm. This seemed kinda weird to me. I called back and tried to ask questions about if benifts are included and how much was the pay hourly. The receiptionist claimed she didnt know. I ask to speak with with someone who can discuss before my interview and she would let me. She said everything will be explained when you come in for the second interview. Personally, before I spend a full 9am-6pm not getting paid on a second interview I want some questions answerd. Today was suppost to be my second interview. Due to the lack of informaiton provided to me I decided to do some research. I am so thankful I found this blog for SMI. I had a gut feeling something was right and thanks to your comments I'm not wasting anymore time.

    0 Votes
  • On
    ontheroadagain May 17, 2009

    I found it interesting that you came up with a different name of the prior company that what I know it was... this company is under an umbrella of DS-MAX... a company started out of Canada in the 1980s... and it is currently owned by Matt Kelly, but his staff has changed, like Fatta or Curly are not there anymore to my knowledge.

    Anyway... in my spare time I do research on this and other companies that are spin offs of this company.. they tell you are an independent contractor--WRONG.. you are an employee... how do I know this.. I practiced law until a few years ago.

    I have now met someone who was not aware of companies like this that are ruining his business, and this man as clout... so I want you to know this... I am not a sucker. I saw through matt Kelly from my kitchen door without ever meeting the man on day two.

    This company was formerly called The Landers Group, and before that Kelly Advertizing.. and the names go one. Perhaps this boomerage name was something matt made up... He manage to have to whole office quit on him last may I think it was.. and you can go to a website called one day, one job... it was started by one of those employees, and others have joined. I love to read the comments.

    If you REALLY want to know the story.. research DS-MAX, the aftermath... and other DS-Max blogs... you will get the full story.. in the meantime, I will continue to find a way to level this organization down. It is now world wide... and it goes on 24 hours a day.

    My recommendation to anyone who wants to work for this company is this: QUIT NOW.. you are not weak.. just smart.

    1 Votes
  • La
    Lar2345 May 19, 2009

    I worked for this company for 3 days and I have to say it might just have been the worst 3 days of my life. They lie non stop. The ad is a lie and the job is a lie. I believe the end concept is legit and if you put in all of the work you will definitely end up having your own office, but at what price? These people are worse than used car salesman. Who wants to go door to door for 12 hours a day for 8-9 months in the rain, sleet, snow, sub zero temperatures...not to mention in some of the ### and shady areas of the city you will find...and not even be guaranteed any money. Like the above poster said...the economy might be horrible, but I will never subject myself to something like this again. There is no such thing as having integrity when you are performing this job. They use brainwashing tactics on all of their employees. Trust me...EVERYONE is brainwashed...I am by no means old (27) and wise, but every employee is a recent college grad around 21 & 22 years of age, and they don't know any better because they've never had a "real" career job. That is why this company preys on them. From the first minute I stepped in there something just didn't feel right, and thankfully I got out quick. Just to let you know the horror you're in for I'll even break a typical day down for you:

    9:30 am - report to the office to "practice pitch" with all of the other used car salesmen. This entails the managers putting on hip urban music while everyone partners up and practices a specific pitch to try to trick people into signing up for home improvement estimates and cleaning services. "The first line of the pitch is "Hey sir...(with a big fake used car salesmen smile)...don't worry I'm not selling anything ..(this is said to put them at ease, but if they don't sign up no one gets paid..so you are indeed very much selling something.) It's all dirty tricks.

    10:30am - Get into a broken down looking car with your manager, and 2 other "used car salesmen".

    11:30am - Get out of your car in a horrible, run down, dangerous neighborhood and go door to door trying to get people to sign up for cleaning services and home improvement estimates. You know...utilizing your ### pitch.

    2:30pm - Lunch

    3:15pm - back going door to door

    8:00pm - Finish up in the field after going door to door for the last few hours in the ### black of night (very shady)

    9:00pm - Arrive back at the office to recap your day with all of the other losers, and brag about how well you did, and try to hide in a corner if you didn't do well.

    9:15pm - Very bizarre ritual where everyone stands around a table with a schoolbell, a gong, and a really tiny bell. One of the brainwashed douchebag proceeds to yell "Hey guys"...where everyone then responds "Hey what"...then the douchebag says it again.. "Hey guys"..and you have to repeat this ### yet again.."Hey what"...Then goes up and either rings the little bell = 3 sales made...the big bell = 5 sales made..or the gong = 6 sales made.

    10:30 - finally arrive home


    So if this sounds like the type of day you want to have for 8-9 months or longer...be my guest..don't say you weren't warned. i have a college degree, and even though the economy is bad I'll find something 1000 times better than this eventually.

    0 Votes
  • De
    derrick May 27, 2009

    SMI has a new name...I was Job hunting on Craig's List this morning and found "EVOLUTION MARKETING." Same office address, different company name . STAY AWAY FROM EVOLUTION MARKETING AND SMI.

    PASS THIS ON.

    0 Votes

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