When it comes to emotional manipulation in multi-level marketing companies, I think Mary Kay takes the cake. Mary Kay Cosmetics easily wins the award for best at finding weaknesses and exploiting them for all the money they’re worth. Here are some conversations that a director can have with someone who has been in Mary Kay a few months and not doing well.
Mary Kay Cosmetics offers representatives “sample conversations”, which are scripts that sales directors are encouraged to use on consultants. Here’s another set. Mary Kay suggests using these on consultants to get them thinking about: “moving up the career path, working her Mary Kay business, or achieving a goal.”
Now there’s nothing wrong with that, is there? Nothing inherently wrong with “helping” someone to move up or even to help someone start thinking about moving up? Of course not. The problem here is the manipulation that is being taught and encouraged.
Mary Kay Inc. says that weeks 10 and 11 are difficult for new consultants, and key issues may include time and fatigue. (Uh yeah, she’s figured out by now that the products don’t just fly off the shelf, getting anyone to hold a class is really hard, and her sales director keeps begging her to order more inventory!)
Here’s how to start the conversation with her:
“Hi,(name). This is (your name). (Pause for her to respond). I was just calling to say hello and check in on you to see if you needed anything or any help.”
You may want to consider asking these questions:
- Tell me what you are most excited about!
- How can I help you?
- Would you like some help prioritizing? (Mary Kay first, Mary Kay second, Mary Kay third!)
- Tell me about what’s working and what’s not.
Once you’ve got her talking, Mary Kay recommends that you use one of the following, based upon which DISC personality type she is. For general frustration by the consultant or time management issues:
Dominance: You are on your way to having a very successful Mary Kay business. I know it can be frustrating at times, but your team is looking to you for leadership. (Because if you return your inventory, they probably will too!) It’s up to you how far you can go, and I know you can do it! I believe one way to help you get there is to follow Mary Kay’s advice to plan your work and work your plan. And remember, I’m here to help in any way can. (If you’re going to place an order, that is.)
Influence: I have no doubt that you are going to be a superstar! Your enthusiasm is contagious and that’s a big part of your success. Another key to success is time management. (All Mary Kay, all the TIME.) If you really want all this opportunity can offer — like money, the use of a car, jewels and trips – then you’ll want to consider taking Mary Kay’s advice to plan your work and work your plan. So let’s focus on helping you reach all of your goals.
Steadiness: You are working so hard and I’m sure your family is proud of your efforts. (Cuz they sure haven’t seen any money yet!) I know sometimes you feel pulled in many different directions, but think about all of the advantages this business can provide for you and your family. Mary Kay created this great opportunity to give women balance, and I am here to help you do just that.
Conscientiousness: You are working so hard and I’m sure your family is proud of your efforts. I know sometimes you feel pulled in many different directions, but think about all of the advantages this business can provide for you and your family. Mary Kay created this great opportunity to give women balance, and I am here to help you do just that.
If the consultant is already wise to the Mary Kay game (MK calls that “fatigued”) the conversations go like this:
Dominance: I know you’re a very busy woman and juggling everything can be exhausting. But your natural leadership abilities (and your available credit!) can help you keep moving up the business path. I’m here to help you work as efficiently as you can so you can keep your energy up and reach your goals.
Influence: You have such exciting goals and high expectations for your business. That’s why I think you will be a superstar! It may seem hard now (and later), but just how imagine how great you will feel walking across the Seminar stage or earning the use of a car or becoming an Independent Sales Director! I’m behind you every step of the way so just let me know how I can help.
Steadiness: I know it can be hard balancing your family responsibilities and your Mary Kay business. (That’s why we don’t expect balance. We expect you to put Mary Kay first all the time.) But the rewards for you and your family can be so great that it’s worth the effort. I’m here to support you and to help you get everything you want from this business.
Conscientiousness: You are working hard and it takes a lot of energy to manage all that you do. I suggest you focus on income-producing activities when working your business and learning to prioritize. (Mary Kay first, Mary Kay second, and Mary Kay third.) I have found that planning can make all the difference. Let’s set a time to go over your tasks and priorities so you can block your time before your week goes crazy. And don’t forget to plan time for rest!
So what happens when the Mary Kay sales director knows the consultant doesn’t stand a chance of being successful, but she knows she can probably squeeze a few more inventory orders out of her? How does THAT conversation go?