Sneaky Sales Tactics in Mary Kay

A high level Mary Kay sales director did a CD called The Art of Networking. Someone took a bunch of the “tips” and put them together in a training document, and I thought they’d be fun to share here.

I object to many of the sales and recruiting techniques taught to Mary Kay consultants because they are dishonest. They range from warm chatter (think up a compliment, pretend to sound sincere, and start a conversation with it) to finding a recruit’s “hot buttons” (find out what she’s “missing” in her life and give her a bunch of ways that Mary Kay fills that need, leaving out anything that might cause her to say no to the opportunity).

Every business uses “sales tactics,” but what I object to in Mary Kay is the emotional manipulation and the selective information that is given. This training document highlights the “ulterior motives” of so many Mary Kay consultants. Consultants are taught to do these things, and often don’t realize how dishonest their being. If you’re out of Mary Kay, aren’t you glad you don’t have to look at everyone as a target and everyone as an opportunity to sell or recruit?

Beauty Salons

  • It takes a little bit of time because you have to develop a relationship with the owner or manager of the salon as well as the beauty operators. Bounce around to a bunch of them.
  • Find one that is up to date and has some advertising in the windows. Offer free makeovers for their clients for client appreciation.
  • You tell them this is a different type of makeover. I’m going to teach you how to do this yourself so you can look this good all of the time.

Brides Fairs

  • Also check the newspaper for engagement announcements
  • New brides make good recruits because they are going through major change in their life. 1/2 to 1/3 of her recruits last year came from brides.

Girl Scouts

  • This can sometimes be a bust and sometimes it can be great. The key is if you get a good troop leader. Have her set up a mother and daughter pampering session.
  • Don’t try it with just the girls. We need the mom’s there so we can teach them what to do to take care for their skin so that they can act as a mentor for their daughters.
  • We don’t want to tell them that we want the moms there because they have the cash, and we don’t want the daughters going home telling the moms I want this, this and this and the mom’s don’t know what’s going on.

Facial Boxes

  • Please know that some will be thrown out, some will have names of men and others kids will sign up. So what keep moving. Good place to target are bagel shops, coffee shops, dry cleaners, doctors offices i.e. OB/GYN doctors.
  • At the coffee shop talk to the person behind the counter each morning. Offer her a satin hands set for getting people to put in their name and number.
  • Try and target everyplace that you are spending your money. If you are doing business with them they should be doing business with you.


  • Call people who work in the healthcare industry. They are usually overworked and underpaid. The person in charge is always looking for ways to pamper the staff that is nice and won’t take a big bite out of their budget.
  • You go in and offer your service. You tell them that you know they are always looking for ways to pamper their staff and you are there to help.
  • You will not push product on them. You will just do a luxurious hand treatment and have books and samples if they would like something. Have the clients fill out the cards for a free facial/makeover and for the drawing. Bring wrapped PCP gifts for the drawing.
  • Bring a sample hand cream for everyone.
  • When applying the satin hand treatment really massage their hands and this gives you a brief moment to talk to each person. Use the private spa lotions to finish off the hand treatment instead of the hand cream.

Chamber of Commerce

  • When you spot a really sharp woman, here’s a sample script: “Hello, I’ve only got about 10 minutes and I’m looking for sharp women to go in my portfolio of professional women. I’ve scanned the room and saw you and rushed over to ask if I could feature you in my Before & After portfolio of professional women” Then exchange cards. The best thing is that you’ve got her work number, so she’s less likely to “hide”€ from you. She’€™s a professional so if she isn’t interested she’ll say “no” and if she books, the appt. is more likely to hold, since she understands business. When you put her photo in your portfolio, but her business card next to her face which will promote her business.

Professional Before & After Photos

  • To take a Before Shot: Have the model stand in front of a WHITE wall, with a WHITE towel draped around them, then photograph with them NOT smiling.
  • To take an After Shot: Have the model wear a bright blouse and/or a colorful scarf and fluff their hair. Then photograph them WITH a smile.

Fund Raisers

  • You provide free facials for PTA ladies (referrals and possible sales for you) and the PTA has increased attendance and participation, etc.

No one is safe when the Mary Kay lady is around!


  1. BestDecision

    Cindy Machado Flippen. Been in the company 27 years, has done both Courts, and STILL isn’t an NSD. I don’t doubt that she’s personally used every one of these tactics she describes, and it just saddens me that people like her are still on the hamster wheel of Hope. She’s even a personal recruit of Pam Shaw, and she still isn’t an NSD!

    So sad.

  2. AutumnMoonfire

    Good lord! If I EVER see something like this pampering session idea come across my work e-mail several people will get an e-mail from me that contains a link to pink truth!!

    Several people there have already heard me talking about pampered chef and one of those gross oyster-can MLMs being bad news…

  3. morningstar

    Old as the hills, got this printout in 1993. The underpaid healthcare worker, yep they need to buy or sign up to MK. Our society has changed and some of these tactics are not a norm now if you want to save face (pun intended) to promote your business. Again if MK was all that much, these tactics would not be needed. That is what bothered me about MK is that their was no progression of product support from corporate to help sales, same old same old. Why would they assist, they are fat cats on the backs of wholesale purchasers.

  4. Nopink-just stink

    I also find it interesting, although I never see it in writing, that they don’t target ‘sharp’ older women, let’s say 45 and above. I was a ‘target’ up until that age – I swear they came out of the woodwork at me. I still look ‘sharp’ and have a successful business. I think it’s because they target the naive younger women who don’t know better, who are looking for the ‘easy way’ and they are more gullible. Women of a certain age are tired of the BS that they know comes with MLM’s. I wonder if there is anything written about approaching ‘seasoned women’ – I’m betting not. Thank goodness, age does have it’s privileges!

    I have heard EVERY line above at professional networking groups I’ve belonged to over the years from EVERY Mary Kay woman. It was so bad, we began to ban them and every MLM person, EXCEPT Directors! What? I found it interesting how they never wanted to make over the older women and had so many ‘opportunities’ to pamper staffers. One even came to my office to drop off something as a ‘welcome’ gift to my new female employee (who was 25). She never did that when she heard I had a new male employee. I out of politeness went and got the woman and the MKBot tried to recruit her right in front of me.

    These people are just insane.

  5. pinkvictim

    “Professional Before & After Photos

    To take a Before Shot: Have the model stand in front of a WHITE wall, with a WHITE towel draped around them, then photograph with them NOT smiling.

    To take an After Shot: Have the model wear a bright blouse and/or a colorful scarf and fluff their hair. Then photograph them WITH a smile.”

    Openly teaching recruits to manipulate the images to mislead their potential clients.

    Lies are SoP in MLM.

  6. annie

    My current “why?

    My Current ‘Why’
    “Be with my parents more and pay off everything so that we can live somewhere warm and slower pace! LOl…”

    A quote from Cindy Flippin on Pam Shaw’s website- not sure of the date but it looks like 2012.
    If she’s been in MK since 1990, and making so much money, why does she still have things to ‘pay off’??
    Doesn’t add up.

  7. Jamming Berry

    Forgot the one about following people around in the make-up aisle at the Rite-Aid or Target and offering make-overs or “enter my drawing” for free make-up here!! LOL!!!

    1. MLM Radar

      I was approached by a Mary Kay lady in Target. I told her that I was not interested. Then I found a store manager to tell him what happened.

      He had her removed from the store in about five minutes.

    2. Leslie

      This happened to me at Marshalls! This woman who was bizarrely professionally dressed up for a Saturday morning at 10am approached me about makeovers, etc., I was so pretty, blah blah blah and never ONCE mentioned Mary Kay until I asked her details about her “makeover challenge”. She almost looked embarrassed. I’m polite, so I politely filled out her little card and omg the text I got later that day — it was so friendly and ‘familiar’ it was creepy. “Hey beautiful doll”! Or something like that. I blocked it. Ugh, never again. So gross.

      1. BestDecision

        I despised giving up my Saturdays for things like that. I can just picture her tacky outfit and pins everywhere. How many times did she use the word “awesome”?

  8. Pinkiu

    The white wall…then the colorful smiling photo. That’s the one manipulative tactic that I despise because it’s so obvious. Yet they think we’ll fall for it.

  9. Shay

    Hey all.
    The Blog MommyGyver, a Mommy blog that turned in to a blog like this except outing LLR misdeeds.. go read. They sent their lawyers after her.

  10. WhatTheheck

    I do mk…and I have never been taught any of this crap. This must be how they did things 20 years ago. Actually everything on this web site, I have not heard or been taught. No one pressured me to get inventory, or any of these things you guys mention. The only thing I was taught is that you need your starter kit. My director does alright for herself, pink caddy, director trip, she’s been in 4 years. Her check is always printed in the magazine. Always between 7,500 and $16,000, but usually about 10,000. Idk. We actually sell to real customers. And have real customers who reorder their skincare. But…our unit is young..age wise. Everyone is between 18 and 40. Maybe that’s why we don’t use outdated tactics? Honestly all I do is meet up at Starbucks, and have people try stuff on their hand. Or I mail them samples. I don’t go looking for people at target. That is so weird. And I don’t have inventory…i have people order of my web site or I use the cds. Times have changed….

        1. TRACY

          I’ve written about lots of different companies.

          What happened to me: I created a very successful legitimate business.

          What happened to MK: They keep scamming unsuspecting consumers who believe that their “opportunity” is for real.

    1. BestDecision

      How much net profit did your Director make last year? I drove Cadillacs after earning my first in my 20s, and it’s not about what’s printed in Applause but what’s KEPT after taxes and expenses are deducted.

      And what about YOUR profit?

    2. MLM Radar

      All you do is meet people at Starbucks? In other words, all you do is abuse the rights of a retail store owner by pitching your business on their property.

      Your unsanctioned activity in their store makes it seem like Starbucks endorses Mary Kay, which they most certainly do not. I wonder what the store owners will say when they figure out why you’re spending so much time there. Or when a paying customer complains about you approaching her.

      Did you ever wonder why Mary Kay is so quick to tell you that you can’t have a retail store of your own, but tells you to hang out in other people’s retail stores instead?

  11. Whattheheck

    A Facebook friend posted about the lula roe article, she sells Lula and posted commentary about her personal experience, which some points she agreed and some points she disagreed. About 50 50. that is how I am on this website. I prefer to mail out samples, because I have kids and don’t have much time. But probably twice a month, I will do personal appointments at Starbucks. No one is a victim. I just invite people. They come, try stuff on their hands. I don’t tell people it’s a free facial. I tell them if they want to try before they buy, they can meet me at Starbucks on Saturday, or I’ll drop samples in the mail to them. I focus on timewise repair, and yea, I make $100 with every set I sell. Plus reorders. I don’t demo makeup. Just timewise repair. My customers are 30-45. It’s a good line for them. The younger ladies, would be better with timewise miracle set. Anyway. Wow. Sorry you all got scammed. That is just crazy. You all seem really….combative…yikes. Sorry. Bye bye

    1. Lazy Gardens

      But probably twice a month, I will do personal appointments at Starbucks. No one is a victim. I just invite people. They come, try stuff on their hands. I don’t tell people it’s a free facial. I tell them if they want to try before they buy, they can meet me at Starbucks on Saturday,

      So you aren’t making enough money to actually book a meeting room for these “personal appointments”, so you hold them in a public coffeehouse?

      Using the Starbucks parking lot, the Starbucks tables and chairs, the Starbucks lighting and the Starbucks restrooms and supplies to wash the stuff off.

      Talk about a parasitic business model.

      1. Nopinkforme

        Plus, she is probably Gold Star Starbucks status, so she buys one cup and gets refills all day for free. Giving the appearance of affording expensive coffee.

    2. BestDecision

      No, not “combative”. Just brave enough to call people out on their lies and get out of their toxic environment. TimeWise Repair is still outdated technology compared to what’s out there.

      I will, however, commend you for being honest enough to admit you’re not in it to make much money. There are far more in MK touting to make an “executive income” and aren’t. The problem is that they’re saying they’ve “not made a car payment in years” when their numbers are so low they’re not even making it into Applause. They’re quoting scripture and using their holiness to make others trust them. They’re judge mental and exclude others if they’re not in the “Big Girl Circle” and will make fun of you in a heartbeat. (Directors not making it into a lineup know what I mean here.)

      One final thing, though. You do realize all those sets you’re selling are made by a company that tests on animals? And the same company cares more about the Mexian and Chinese markets than they do their first, original market in the U.S..

    3. Lily in NYC

      Notice how these fogged ones disappear the moment anyone starts discussing actual numbers? They run the minute they realize that we don’t believe their exaggerations.

  12. Sonotpink

    Why does anyone need to be “taught” how to wash her face and put on moisturizer? That just sounds so weird to me.

    My former director has been in since she graduated high school — over 20 years. She is still just a director. One time, not too long ago, I asked her if she was an NSD yet. Her reply: Not yet. I wonder why not?

    So after 20 years she is STILL just a director. Why can’t she see what she has missed out on by not working a real job for 20 years? But her hubby might make bank, and MK might just be a hobby… a very expensive hobby.

    1. JoJo

      😹😹it does sound weird, but sadly a lot of people actually DONT know how to wash their face. It’s shocking really. Lots of people don’t wash their face at al, or only wash it when they’re wearing eye makeup or something. *side note, no idea about Mary Kay, I’m not involved, just came here looking for info when a friend asked me about their products. So anyway, can’t really comment on the company as a whole, but that comment jumped out at me. Lots of people use makeup remover as cleanser or skin cleanser as makeup remover and then wonder why they have clogged pores or wash their face in the shower and then wonder why they have broken capillaries or whatnot, so yeah, lots of people actually do need a face washing lesson haha.

      1. MLM Radar

        They may need a face washing lesson haha, but they sure aren’t going to get a decent one from Mary Kay.

        “That burning sensation? All that means is that the Mary Kay [insert product name here] is removing impurities from your pores. You need to keep using it for at least two weeks to see real results.”

        No. You need to STOP using it NOW, before you wind up with raw irritated skin, a nasty rash, and possibly scars.


  13. seriously?


    I was a mk consultant for like 6 months many many years ago, and I hated it. I hated many of the women above me. They were catty and ridiculous. And anyone, no matter what they sell, who wants to approach total strangers SOLELY TO PROMOTE MAKEUP at Target or out in public like what was described above, has an issue.

    That being said, y’all are about the most hateful, ridiculously resentful people I’ve ever seen rant on the Internet. How the hell much money do you think Starbucks makes from people meeting there for business?? It’s a thing people do, for the love of God!

    Every company has its crazies. Most companies that have survived also have plenty of people who promote products in responsible ways, or who mainly sign up as a hobby because they really like and use the products themselves.

    Mary Kay might have a bunch of catty, crazy women, but y’all sound like you got kicked out for being too catty and crazy and are now resentful for it.

    1. BestDecision

      I didn’t get “kicked out”. I resigned, sent my Cadillac back, and got a refund on my existing inventory. And any other company that has people behave in a manner like MK’s people would be FIRING them. MK can’t can’t rid themselves of these people because they’re not employees. The extra secret to that is that these unethical, God-abusing, lying, cheating people make MK MONEY, so they’re not going to pursue getting rid of them.

      Take your pathetic, uninformed, judge mental attitude somewhere else.

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