Great Falls Marketing has one key requirement for job applicants–that they possess a desire to succeed.
“We’re always looking for great motivated people,” says Steve Mondor, vice president of sales and marketing for the call-center operation based in Auburn. “Regardless of your background, if you’ve got the motivation to work and can put a smile on your face, and you’ve got the desire to earn and can follow a process that we teach, you can do extremely well.”
This attitude has helped Great Falls gain a reputation as a “second-chance employer” that’s open to hiring people in recovery and others who may have spotty employment records.
Because of the nature of its business handling so many credit-card transactions, background checks are done. So an applicant with a criminal history of fraud, for example, won’t be hired. But Steve says a gap or two on a resume is a non-issue.
“A lot of employees come to us with gaps for whatever reason. And that’s OK. It’s certainly not something that would make you ineligible. As long as you have that desire to learn and work, we want to talk to you.”
Great Falls tries to accommodate a variety of people, including those not quite ready to plunge into a typical 40-hour workweek. “Some people maybe aren’t able to do a job where they have to present themselves 9-to-5. Maybe they want to work nights or weekends or something different. We have that flexibility.”
The company, which started in 1999 and was renamed Great Falls Marketing in 2005, had workers at three centers and a warehouse until March when COVID-19 led to transitioning all 400-plus employees to remote setups.
With an 8-year-old at home and a wife who works at a healthcare facility, Steve directly understands the many interruptions this new brand of workday creates.
“It’s going better than we thought it would, but there are challenges,” he says, noting that the goal is to bring people back on site as soon as it’s feasible. “If you could work without distractions, it’d be one thing. But when your kids are home all day and there’s no daycare or summer camps … we as a company have to be really supportive. Our middle- to top-level managers are fantastic. They have an average of seven years working at this company. That has really helped for transitioning new people.”
At a time when so many businesses are struggling just to stay afloat, Great Falls is seeing robust sales and continues to hire. “We’re very fortunate. We survived Y2K, we survived the recession of 2008 and everything else. We continue to be extremely busy,” Steve says. “I deal with business development and client relations so I’m always talking about what’s happening in the industry. Right now, people aren’t going to retail, so they’re looking to purchase stuff either through a telemarketer or online. And it’s happening across the board with all of our clients.”
Easily recognizable products Great Falls sells include still-popular Time Life DVDs and CDs (think Johnny Carson and Dean Martin roasts!) and Ancient Nutrition. It sells a lot of health and wellness and CBD products, beauty devices, exercise equipment, home goods, everyday household items.
Steve, who has worked for the company 11 years, says most people have only a vague sense of what goes on at Great Falls.
He offers a snapshot: Our specialty is inbound sales. So info-mercials you might see on TV–‘Call now to order this, call now to order that’ – there’s a good chance if you call that toll-free number, it could ring into one of our centers in Maine. We specialize in selling products to people.”
Great Falls also provides customer service, answering questions, explaining returns, handling email correspondence for some clients. A Brand Ambassador outbound division involves calling customers to check on their satisfaction and thank them for purchasing, in hopes of developing relationships that lead to more sales. And the company also has a growing fulfillment house in Saco where it ships products out.
Most employees come to Great Falls without sales education and get extensive training. They learn through role-playing, feedback on calls (“Hey, here’s where you might have said this and it would have changed the way that call went”) and positive reinforcement.
“It’s not easy. It’s not for everybody,” Steve acknowledges. “Sometimes you have to have tough skin to work in this business.” But for employees looking for a fresh start, and to succeed, it can be a great opportunity.
“You can make really good money,” he says. “Our top agents are making $25 to $30 an hour every single week. Our average agents are probably closer to $18. But it’s an opportunity where you literally sit down, and warm leads come right to you. You can learn so many things, not only sales, but confidence and really how to overcome rejection, how to control a conversation, how to put the best foot forward to maximize your results. People skills, communication skills, interpersonal skills – and how to listen. The skills you learn here can translate to really any type of industry.”
Steve attributes the company’s success to building good relationships.
“We’re well-recognized as one of the best in the business in the country, and we have clients from all over the world that use us. It’s a little hidden gem here in Maine.”