I was prompted to watch a Mary Kay recruiting video, and I couldn’t help but feel the pull all over again. These ladies are good. Really good. I know what’s going on under the surface of Mary Kay, and even I was smiling and nodding! Why, any outsider would have no idea how rehearsed and perfected these little talks are. How they are practiced at every skin care class till they are memorized, with inflection, and breaks, and smiles and nods dropped in at all the appropriate places.
I even remarked at how some of the quips and sayings were mine, but then, it is hard to remember what you came up with yourself and what you borrowed. One thing is for sure-they know what works. And if you can hit all the key hot buttons aimed at today’s woman, you will have her on your hook.
So the lady on the video wants us to be amazed at how early in her business she won her pink Cadillac. She leaves out all the advantages she had and all the obstacles, and promotes the idea that you just go to work and it happens.
Lets back up and see what got her into Mary Kay in the first place. She was recently out of college, pursuing a career, needed more money, and thought she’d give this a try. She had opinions about Mary Kay’s image that weren’t too positive, but she’s glad she had the insight to give it a try. She’s as sincere as all get out. She made more money in 30 days part time than her teachers salary! (So does everyone. That’s your “warm market” helping you start your business because they know you and love you and feel obligated to buy something.)
She fell in love with all the prizes awards and recognition and wants to know if you get that kind of appreciation at your job? No? Hmm. Well, she shared nice happy photos of stage walks, and meetings, and laughter, and costumes, and camaraderie. Bet you don’t have that at your job. Funny thing about all those group photos. It is likely that 80% of those pictured aren’t even in Mary Kay anymore. But you won’t be told that. You will tell yourself they are one big happy girlfriend club.
When it came time to build her family, because of Mary Kay, she was a lucky work at home mom who had all the flexibility that she needed. She has to pull down $16,000 wholesale production per month for her caddy, finding new consultants to order “full stores” and old consultants to “stretch”, but has time to toss her baby on her lap on sunny afternoons. Anybody buying this?
Now of course, working for yourself means you can choose the times you work, but as we all know, if it takes 8+ appointments on the books to hold 4…and if only 1 out of 4 recruiting interviews nets a recruit, and if the average start up order is $1,000 wholesale, then you or your unit members better be out hustling or we’re talking Cadillac co-pays. That means you are helping interview, holding meetings, holding training and orientations, doing facials and classes, warm stalking, calling, calling and then some more calling as you follow up on guests, unit members and customers.
But look at all those happy pictures of a well adjusted baby! It’s a good thing kids don’t remember much of their early days. She wants us all to know that since she is a confident woman, her kids will grow up confident as well. You can transfer your confidence developed through your affiliation with Mary Kay to your own kids. Doesn’t that sound great? You transfer a lot of other things too, like being disingenuine, hypocrisy, manipulation, and damaged self-image when the pressure of needing production trumps school activities, homework help, together time and simply being present. Really “present”. Not present with a telephone taped to your head.
It is curious that no one seems to concern themselves with the confidence that was damaged among thousands and thousands of women who came in as hopeful true believers, and got kicked to the curb when their activity and resources and efforts just didn’t create the same results. Who worries about their confidence? Their self esteem?
They bought inventory, sold to their warm market, bought more to replace the products they sold, and struggled to maintain consistent bookings from then on. What was sold as so easy to do, becomes harassing women in shopping malls, memorizing scripts (that never fail to make you feel inauthentic and are used to manipulate answers), endless made up “challenges” used to guilt a friend or acquaintance into an appointment, all the while NEVER being able to speak out publicly about an empty datebook, mounting debt, and after being at everything, little profit.
If you stick with it and go for the recruiting avenue of income, you are in for another version of manipulation because it is way harder to quit and stop the madness if you brought someone in to the business, to build your team and get your “pearls of sharing”. (Entirely the point…. you will feel guilty and you will stay in longer.)
“Listen to your Director,” you’re told, “she is where you want to be.”
The ironic truth is that the more you listen to your Director, the more you will end up where you never wanted to be. You wanted what that lady said on the video. And that’s why they scripted it that way. What they aren’t telling you, is that you have to ignore the outcome and results of all the women you recruited into this, being sure to pat yourself on the back, because you never gave up. You are still plugging along, constantly “on”, looking for prospects and recruiting targets. This isn’t a part-time world. This is ALL time.
In addition, do not concern yourself with the Emerald Star order ($3,600 wholesale) your first recruit placed because your Director told her she needed a full store. (You need $7,200 in retail product like a pig needs lipstick.) Do not concern yourself with those team members who buy for recognition, and never stand for high sales weeks. That’s not your focus. Do not concern yourself with the fact that your Director got another $600 wholesale order out of a woman, your team member, who wants to help and can’t say no, who hasn’t held a decent class in 3 months. Do not not concern yourself with the month end pressure to order so that the Unit can reach “X” goal. “The speed of the leader is the speed of the gang” so put those blinders on and work your business and make sure you have guests coming to the meeting so your SD has someone to recruit. She’s doing it for you, remember?
When recruiters tell the Journey of Mary Kay Story, within all the scripted wonderfulness, there is a missing key to tippy top success. What we Directors were told was to work harder.
Now I know how you feel…
I felt that too…
But what I found is…
…it is not determination, drive, focus or “being too dumb to doubt”. It is not even “working your business”, since we know many Directors are high up on the pyramid because of the activity of those recruited below them driving production, and in some cases who they are related to. What the missing ingredient is for the struggling DIQ or Director (who is not at the tippy top) is one giant dose of callous disregard.
Simply put, if you care that some of your people are drowning in unsold inventory, you simply CANNOT make another ordering call. If you care that they tried to go “on target” and over-ordered to reach the quota, you will not suggest they do it again next month.
Tippy Tops will. Your Tippy Top will get mad if you don’t! When faced with car re-qualification, if the numbers aren’t there, you’d do what’s needed yourself, or let it go. Losing your car is tough. It can mean humiliation. A Tippy Top would never let that happen. She’d max out a few cards before that would happen. But you’ll never know that from the recruiting video. She’ll still call it “winning a car”.
And when a unit member wants to return her merchandise for 90% buy back, a Director who cares for her welfare would see if she could offer help, but would ultimately support that decision. A Tippy Top won’t be a Tippy Top if she allows that nonsense! She has to pay back commission on a chargeback! This is the structure that is in place in product based pyramids. A sales director can not have a consultant’s best interest at heart if it hurts her bottom line. She runs the risk of losing momentum, so necessary for team production pull.
A director is supposed to do everything she can to maximize production, every month, month in and month out. Every unit member will be put under sales pressure to contribute, regardless of what her own sales were. When beauty consultants have had enough, they will slink away, fully convinced that they didn’t “focus” or have enough drive and determination, since that is the common parting shot. That’s also the parting shot leveled at the director with an awakening conscience.
The selling going on in that marketing video is nothing more than trying to fill the production tub, with YOU, because the drain stays open… as former consultants flush out, and that will collapse the pyramid. It’s an endless recruitment game. Directors are enmeshed, trapped, replacing those who recently flushed out, in a near constant attempt to go up the down escalator. Nope, not on the recruiting video, either. It’s called “sharing” on the video.
We got involved by saying yes to hostess a party, then said yes to joining a team, then said yes to “sharing the opportunity” with the intention to help other women and raise everybody up the ladder of success. And that was what was exploited, and that is also why those in the middle are in denial. She really hopes you might not flush and instead take over under her, chasing the ladder to the tippy top so she can take a rest. This is called an “opportunity”.
So when you see all those happy, smiling, tippy top directors sharing their trip photos and cars and prizes and lifestyles, looking sugar sharp and asking you what your “interest number” is, think a minute about how all this is accomplished. It is accomplished on the backs of thousands of women across the country, doing wholesale ordering, believing what the tippy tops are promising, under the spell of a culture that they thought had their best interests at heart. No negativity now, ladies! Cause that just might be how you find out the truth.