Written by BestDecision
Mary Kay is very clear to sales directors: Get the new recruit to order inventory as soon as possible. The longer she waits, the lower the order.
But what do you do when a major product change is coming? Mary Kay is releasing a new Timewise skin care set called the Miracle Set 3D. They say it “defends, delays, delivers.” Here is a look at it:
Mary Kay will tell you that they don’t make a lot of product changes. We know they really do. Take a look at the changes that occurred to the Timwise set over the years. Mary Kay says that it’s been 18 years since Timewise has been changed, but that page tells a different story.
Product changes are inevitable. Of COURSE a company wants to keep up with the times. But there is a special situation with MK because they encourage consultants to carry large inventories and they frontload new consultants. Who is left holding the bag when a product changes? The consultants! And it’s especially difficult when it’s a major product change like this.
There is always a problem when a major new product comes out: old inventory versus new inventory. It’s especially a problem with new consultants. You’re trying to get an initial inventory order from them right away, but you know that if you have them buy Timewise in April, it’s going to be obsolete in May when the Timewise 3D comes out.
Mary Kay has created a video (scroll down) to help sales directors with this issue. Because obviously it’s really mean to have women buy the old miracle sets in April when the new sets are coming out in May. But they don’t really care about the consultant. They care about the sales director getting a commission on the largest possible April inventory order, and they care about MK Inc. selling the remaining old Timewise that they have on hand.
There’s also the issue of the starter kit. The consultant is going to get an old starter kit. But hooray! She can BUY a “conversion kit” for $25 and get the Timewise 3D cleanser, day cream, night cream, etc.
How does Mary Kay suggest that the sales director talk about inventory? In the video, it is assumed that the consultant is going to buy inventory. She wants to do a power start, or 30 faces in 30 days. The consultant says she’s going to call 50% of her people who will be part of the first 30 faces in April. So the sales director wants her to buy inventory to service them. Notice she doesn’t take into account the fact that it’s going to take time to actually see those women, even if the consultant calls them in April. People will have to book a date for a party or facial, some will reschedule, some won’t even be reached by the consultant immediately. But never mind! We have to sell inventory NOW or we’re going to lose money!!!! We also don’t make a distinction between how many faces she WANTS to see and how many she will actually be able to see.
The sales director says we’re going try to predict how many Miracle Sets the consultant will sell. We don’t want a customer to have to wait to start using skin care anyway, so we HAVE to get them on the old Timewise. They start with the Ready, Set, Sell worksheet. Of course, there is no consideration of how likely this consultant is to actually sell the products. They only talk about how much she WANTS to sell. The video ends there, and the sales director in real life is left to decide how many of the old Timewise the consultant should order.
Normal people would say that the director wouldn’t want to overload the consultant with old sets, because she’s going to be frustrated when she doesn’t sell them right away, and she has a bunch of old stock left when the new products come out. It makes no sense to have an upset, discouraged consultant in your unit. But that’s not the Mary Kay mentality. The sales directors are very likely to have the consultant order too much of the old stuff (think of production and commission check NOW), banking on the fact that she’ll order a bunch again when the new stuff comes out (more production and more commission THEN)!!!!
This whole thing is a mess, and it always is. The consultants always end up holding the bag with old inventory they can’t sell. Mary Kay wants to dress it up and make it an issue about “servicing customers now,” but they know the new consultant will end up with old Timewise products that she can’t sell. It is this way with every major product launch.
Check out the video. The conversation about the new versus old Timewise Miracle Sets starts around 5:30.