Talking You Out of Returning Your Inventory

This email has been circulating for years. It is meant to seem professional, almost as if it was a real live exit interview from a real live job. It also makes it seem as if your sales director cares why you’re leaving Mary Kay.

The truth is that all she really cares about is you not returning your inventory so she doesn’t get a commission chargeback. She doesn’t care what you do with that inventory, as long as you don’t send it back to Mary Kay.

You will notice that during the interview she makes it seem like she is really interested in the reasons the woman is quitting. Yet it’s clear what the focus is when she talks up how much the woman will “lose” if she sends back inventory. There’s the real focus.

I put together this brief survey as an “Exit Interview” when a consultant suggests that she’s ready to ship her products back to the company and close her MK Business.

I did my first exit interview using this script last night with a $3600 inventory. We left each other on a VERY positive note. And while she is still deciding what she wants to do, she’s very strongly considering not sending product back. At the very least, she will leave Mary Kay knowing what a wonderful and caring company we are.

Here’s what I did:

First of all, it’s Soooooooo important to do this in person rather than over the phone!! She can see and feel your heart in person. Travel to her if necessary.

1. Once I learned of her decision, I immediately called her and said: “Hillary, I understand that you have made the decision to not continue your Mary Kay business. The next step in the process is that we get together for an ‘Exit Interview.’ During that time I will give you your options of closing your business, and you will leave with the paperwork necessary if you choose to send the product back.

Hillary, I hold these exit interviews for two reasons–first I made a commitment to you as your Sales Director to help you through every stage of your business, even if that means closing your business. I will not try to talk you out of your decision ((note: this is their biggest fear about getting together with you)).

Second, I use these interviews as a way to learn as much as I can so I can improve my training within my unit. The best way to learn what doesn’t work in Mary Kay, is to talk with someone who is closing their business

2. She was more than okay with meeting with me, so we met at a diner close to her home. We small talked, and chit chatted for a bit to ease any uncomfortableness. The moment I felt that we were friends, I began the interview. I learned SEVERAL THINGS in this process. I’ll share that in a moment.

3. I spelled out in D-E-T-A-I-L what she will be losing if she chose to send product back, and what she would gain if she chose to sell it at cost. She purchased during the time where she received well over $1000 in new consultant and monthly ordering bonuses. There was a $1000 difference between selling back to MK and selling it at cost to friends/family/customers. I stapled this sheet to her pink form.

I learned several things through this interview:

a. She had NO communication or support from her recruiter once she came into Mary Kay. In fact I learned that her recruiter continued to pursue Hillary’s family and friends as customers and recruit prospects (ACKKK!!!) (A huge red flag to me that I needed to do more Golden Rule Business training!)

b. I learned that she LOVED having me as a director and she thought the training and support from me was great (I took her with me to my classes). However, because she had zero communication with her recruiter, she still felt lost. She didn’t want to bog me down with little questions that she had because she felt that I was probably too busy.

c. I learned that the $3,600 package was too big for someone like Hillary. She shared with me in the beginning that she just wanted to do Mary Kay for fun. However when I met with her and her husband during the orientation process (He is in the sales field), I think he wanted to do Mary Kay more than she did!! It made total sense to him and he excitedly bought the $3,600 package for her. She told me in her exit interview that this size package was too overwhelming to her.

Exit Interview

1. What was it about the Mary Kay opportunity that excited you? Why did you want to become a consultant?____________

2. Why are you deciding to close your business? ________________

3. How did Mary Kay Inc. not meet your needs? ____________

4. How did I not meet your needs as your sales director? _______________

5. On a scale of one to 10, how would you rate the following? (If less than 10, ask her to explain).

1. The Products?______
2. Training and education?______
3. Explanation of Inventory Options? _______
4. Sales Director Support?______
5. Company Support? _______
6. Recruiter Support?______

6. Do you understand that if you send product back to the company that you may never be a Mary Kay consultant again?

$3,600 Wholesale Inventory

If Returned to the Mary Kay – You will receive $3,240 through the 90 percent buy-back guarantee. You do not receive $$ from Mary Kay for your free product bonuses, which are valued at $516 (wholesale value).

If Sold at Cost – You will receive $4,116… Wholesale Inventory = $3,600 + Free Product Bonuses = $516 at wholesale. You may profit by selling your free product bonuses.

If Returned to the Mary Kay – You are closing the door indefinitely to your Mary Kay opportunity. You may not be a consultant again

If Sold at Cost – You may continue to purchase Mary Kay products at cost. And you may pick up your business at a later date.

Ways to sell product at cost:

1. Have a 50 percent off going-out-of-business sale over your web site or at your home. Your recruiter or director will help you have an event at your home if you’d like.

2. Let your existing customer’s know you are closing your business for now, and ask their help to liquidate products. Schedule classes and facials with them, and let them know they will receive products at cost/free for helping you. Your director or recruiter can help you hold appointments, and we’ll support the customers after that appointment.

3. Give your friends, family members, customers Look Books and Beauty Books to take to work and sell products for you at discount.

4. Have your friends, family members, customers hold a web show for you, where everyone get’s products at cost. If you don’t have a web site, your MK recruiter/Director will help you.

There you have it. The grand plea to not return the inventory to the company.

And don’t forget, if it was so EASY to sell the products, no one would need to return them in the first place!


  1. Lazy Gardens

    I did my first exit interview using this script (Below) last night with a $3600 inventory.

    She did not interview a person, to her it was a pile of inventory (and the potential of $900 in chargebacks from that $3600)

  2. JanRD

    “Do you understand that if you send product back to the company that you may never be a Mary Kay consultant again?”

    SMH. Isn’t that the purpose of sending product back?! This strongly reinforces the advice I have seen on this site to decline exit interviews before returning product.

  3. cbbgreat

    So let’s talk about “ways to sell product at cost”
    1. “Your recruiter or director will help you have an event at your home if you’d like.”
    yup, and they will be contacting every single person to try to make them the next MK victim the minute you return product
    2. “Schedule classes and facials with them, and let them know they will receive products at cost/free”.
    This is what was offered when the IBC wasn’t going out of business so why would it work now? And if it’s given away “free” then how is that “sell product at cost”?
    3. “Give…Look Books and Beauty Books….”
    ummmm right. same as #2 – tried that too and it was not successful – no one wants MKrap
    4. “hold a web show”
    again, no one wants MKrap, this is not a way to SELL – it is simply another way to annoy people.

    Return your product, and receive 90% of what you paid plus 100% of the sales tax (including on your “free bonuses”) and be FREE!

    1. TRACY

      They really won’t help you have an event. It’s all a lie. What they’ll do is tell you they’ll have an event, drag things out as long as possible, never come through, etc…….

  4. Formykids

    Assuming for a second that you could sell all of it at cost, getting another $1000 more than if you returned it to MK, using all the strategies outlined above, how many hours, weeks, months more of work would it take to do so? Sounds like a massive amount of time and energy for an extra $1000. So choose that option and you can continue to work for less than minimum wage till all of the product is sold(fat chance). Boy does that sound way better than sending it back:)

  5. LR

    “Give your friends, family members, customers Look Books and Beauty Books to take to work and sell products for you at discount.”

    So…..IF people agreed to take Look Books, and IF potential customers actually looked at them, and IF those customers ordered product, what are the odds that these new orders would exactly match the inventory the consultant is trying to get rid of? If the 3 IFs are met, it seems likely that the consultant would end up ordering NEW inventory to fulfill the orders and would not be any further toward clearing her shelves.

    1. BestDecision

      Best and most valid point! When I sent my inventory back, I knew it was over in a matter of seconds, not weeks or months. I was free from boxes, peanuts, sales tickets, finding more Look books, and delivering all that product.

    2. SW

      Besides, why would they agree to sell things for another person’s business? Unless one is supposed to pay them for it. With what one would have recovered from selling already discounted product, I imagine.

  6. Pinkiu

    Selling at cost is a joke. There is absolutely no way that ANYONE could sell $3600 wholesale. My local thrift and consignment stores have loads of MK selling for .50 and $1 including Timewise and no one buys it. In fact, my favorite higher end consignment store had ALL of the Mark product half off their already low price and still, lots of it sat there. Lush sells. Lancôme sells. Estee sells out in a day, but MK? It sits.

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