The Lie of Working “Full Circle” in Mary Kay

mary-kay-full-circleWritten by A Former Director

Sell. Book. Recruit. Working full circle has never been easier!

So that’s all there is to it, huh? Sell. Book. Recruit? *clunking head with V8 bottle*

As a director, I’ve taught this “working full circle” stuff more times than I care to remember. It all sounds good in theory. But in reality, it just doesn’t work. Selling this product isn’t as easy as they would have you believe. Booking or rebooking ain’t a walk in the park either. (women are sick of parties)

And recruiting. Where do I even begin? Yes, it’s true that you CAN get women to join Mary Kay. But do you ever hear about the retention rates? How many consultants drop out within the first 3 months? First year? How many directors keep their units? You won’t hear those figures from Mary Kay Cosmetics. You’ll only hear them honest directors (can we find one?) and here on PinkTruth.

Let’s examine this a little more closely.

SELL. Not just a lipstick or a mascara. Sell = THE BAG. “What would you like to start with today– the $299 bag, the $199 bag, or would you simply prefer to start with the $99 Miracle Set?” (Look down and make her feel like a loser for going with anything less than the bag. Whoever looks up first loses.)

BOOK. Not just for a follow up facial, although that’s a start. But for a CLASS. But don’t call it a class. Call it a “MK Rocks Party” or a “Girls Behaving Pinkly Party” or anything but a class. “Listen, even though you just purchased the Bag, I know there are probably still some products you can’t live without. Let’s earn you those products for FREE at your follow up facial! (squeal here) How does that sound? (Say “GREAT!” regardless of her answer) Okay, I have this date open and this date open. Which works better for you? GREAT! It’s just as easy for me to do 5 or 6 faces as it is to do one face, so who can we invite to join you at your follow up facial? GREAT! Okay, let’s call them right now to invite them. Can you get excited about earning up to $100 of free MK just by sharing your facial with some friends?”

RECRUIT. At this point you’ve got her. She’s most vulnerable right now. She’s “excited” about her bag (yeah, right) and she’s excited about her class (yeah, right) so why wouldn’t she be excited about the Mar Kay opportunity??? “Listen, (lower voice and make it seem like a top secret conversation), I know you’d probably never in a million years consider doing something like Mary Kay, but you are sooooooooo sharp that I would just kick myself if I left here tonight without sharing this with you! I know it’s probably not for you, but I’d LOVE to get your opinion of how we make our money! Could I share some information with you? If it’s not for you, that’s fine! You could be a talent scout for me! Deal?

Okay, GREAT! Here is a little bag with some great information about our company. Listen to the CD and read the materials. I will call you tomorrow to ask you what you thought. And………. I will have a special gift for you just for taking the time to listen. How’s that sound? GREAT! And you know what? I’m going to sweeten the deal. If you make a decision to join MK within 24 hours, I would be in a position to give you a FREE Microdermabrasion set! Can you get excited about that?”

So, what’s wrong with this? Well, many things. First of all, despite how many times your Director feeds you the BS line “Make your customer happy. It’s all about HER.”, most Mary Kay consultants go into each and every class with $$ signs in their eyes. And why shouldn’t they? They are coached and encouraged by this company to work, work, work, and do whatever it takes, etc… This is a highly competitive environment and everyone (if they’re honest) wants to stand up front for high sales at their meeting next week! Not only are sales rewarded, but bookings and recruiting are rewarded as well.

There are also many inherent problems with “sell, book, and recruit”. For example, if you sell the $299 bag, your profit usually ends up being 25%. That doesn’t include factoring in hostess gifts, free gifts for booking, and hostess free product. It is disingenuous to recruit women into this company by telling them that they make 50% on their sales. They don’t. And Mary Kay Inc. knows it. So you really are left with no other option but to book more people and recruit more team members! But booking is a bear. We all know that. Oh sure, we can book anybody anywhere, right? (sound like an affirmation) But will those bookings actually hold? Although women are savvy, women are also generally kind, loving, and helpful. They often say “yes” to things that they really have no interest in– knowing full well that they can cancel on your later.

And recruiting. Getting new recruits is a breeze compared to maintaining recruits. I could recruit a rock if it had a credit card. But keeping your team interested, engaged, excited, and committed is undoubtedly the most frustrating aspect of this business. You often have to throw money and prizes at them, but that usually just prolongs the inevitable– If they’re not making money, they’re GONE!

Perhaps the most concerning issue with the phrase “Working Full Circle” is that it’s simply a euphemism for “Suck the customer dry of all of her money, all of her friends, and all of her dignity”! Mary Kay isn’t stupid. They know that every potential customer of yours must be raped and pillaged (so to speak) in order for YOU to be “successful”. And the problem with that is that women know when they’re being “had”. They’ve been to waaaaaaaaay too many home parties that they can spot the bait and the hook a mile away.

Look, if I thought you could honestly make money in this business, I wouldn’t be on this site. I would be out holding classes and working with my unit! I’ve spent many years teaching Full Circle Success, and although my unit members and I have all achieved a small measure of success, (mostly intermittent– just enough to keep us going), I have not seen any long lasting, continual, consistent success. A $1200 Skin Care Class is great. Heck, even a $300 class is great. But what about all the $0 classes, $50 classes, no shows and cancellations?

Most consultants cannot afford to keep working with such pitiful results! And don’t believe the DRIVEL from the top! There are many “urban legends” floating around in Mary Kay land about how Connie Consultant had 213 classes in a row, but then at the 214th class she sold $10,000 and recruited 30 people! STOP THE MADNESS! You cannot build a viable, healthy business on the occasional “success”.

So here’s my recommendation:
SELL your product back to Mary Kay.
BOOK a cruise for you and your hubby with your refund.
RECRUIT your family back into your “circle of influence”. They need you and you need them.


  1. cbbgreat

    AMEN!! DO THIS!!
    So here’s my recommendation:
    SELL your product back to Mary Kay.
    BOOK a cruise for you and your hubby with your refund.
    RECRUIT your family back into your “circle of influence”. They need you and you need them.

    I did this (well, not the cruise – the money went to MK credit card debt) and my life has never been better!

  2. cindylu

    Return your product now before the nightmare of Seminar. Look forward to relaxing with family and friends all summer long. In a real job, you will get a real pay check and often get weekends off. Even dog walking (two or three smaller dogs) probably pays more than MK. With Dog walking, there is no recruiting and you’re out doors.

  3. pinkpeace

    I used to hate summers in Mary Kay!

    June was a stress-pit, trying to get year-end production in, and recruiting any warm body with a credit card.

    July was the hassle and expense of going to Seminar, all the while knowing that because the unit strrrrrrrrrrrrrretched in June, no one was going to order in July.

    August seemed to be the month everyone was going on vacation or getting ready for the new school year. There were no bookings to be had anywhere, and the new recruits from June had run out of friends and family to pursue.

    Many years out of Mary Kay, I think of all those wasted summers that I could have been enjoying with my family – without Mary Kay on the brain 24/7.

  4. Pinkiu

    I used to dread seeing people. Not because I don’t like being with people, but because MK taught me see them as $$. If you go to church, who can you ask to host a party. If you go to Target, who can you find to stalk? If you go to a Christmas gathering, take your kit and hold an impromptu class. Mother’s Day? Pack your car trunk with goodies and hold a pop up event in a grocery store parking lot. My life is FREE! from all of that nonsense.

  5. MK Mess

    Exactly. MK knows these party’s we are supposed to have no one likes doing them. Think about it: you just meet a consultant and she is asking YOU to have a party so she sell YOUR friends and family overpriced products and then offer the stranger a discount or a gift so she can spend money refreshments and food etc. I was trained to get phone numbers off everyone and I tried the first few timed to cold call and got exactly what I would have done. Hung up on.

    I can’t believe I didn’t find this site before. Thank you to who runs this site.

  6. raisinberry

    The other glaring point that is being made is that when you start the “bag” close, moving to hostessing, and then right on into recruiting, just exactly how are you to build show lines or make money? The bag is discounted to begin with, the give aways are next for listening and or joining, and now how exactly does she do her “follow up facial” with friends…if she joins, she is going to tell the friends to buy from HER, not the original IBC. The strategy is solely to get in front of people to recruit them. And this strategy has KILLED the Mary Kay Cosmetics biz for THE CONSULTANT! The company wants your friends and family as recruits…they make the money that way and could care less if you do.

    1. TRACY

      The “incentives” you give for doing various things end up looking like discounts. Eventually, you get yourself into a situation where you can’t ever sell for full price. Besides the fact that there are so many consultants selling at perpetual discounts, it’s really hard to get people to buy at full price. The lie is that you’ll build a relationship and your service will set you apart. The truth is that MK is a complete commodity and the market is so saturated, that no one can sell at full price (or anything close to it).

        1. TRACY

          That’s a great question.

          Sales Director
          Senior Sales Director
          Senior NSD

          I think that’s as far as it goes, because even with all the extra director titles that are available, they only receive commission on their own unit and their direct offspring. They don’t get commission on anyone 2nd line or after until they become an NSD.




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