Ordering Incentives: Mary Kay Consistency Club

At the beginning of every seminar year (July 1), Mary Kay rolls out new promotions. You’ll notice that the promotions are never about what you SELL, but only about what you ORDER from Mary Kay Inc.

The sales directors will tell you that’s because corporate can’t possibly track actual sales to customers, so this is their only way to reward consultants. And you shouldn’t order unless you’re selling anyway, they’ll probably say. Except during the year when they need production to finish a car or a level or some incentive, then the sales director will twist your arm to place an order (knowing darn well you won’t be able to sell those products).

Back when I was in Mary Kay (20 years ago!), they introduced “Consistency Club.” It was a way to get consultants to order every month, whether they needed it or not.  “You don’t want to miss this month… you’re 3 months into your Consistency Club.”

In Mary Kay, units live or die by new recruits who order large inventory packages (that’s called frontloading a consultant). Those large orders are what meet the monthly minimums and the car production requirements. The orders from existing consultants are the “extra.” Odds are that the order placed by the new consultant will be the most she’ll ever order in Mary Kay. Most times, if a new consultant places an order of $1,800, she may place a couple more small orders, then she’ll be out of money or credit, won’t be able to sell the products already on the shelf, and she’ll quit. So the key for the director is to get that initial inventory order to be as large as possible, thus supporting the unit production that is needed of the month.

But there are consultants who hang on for months or years, placing little orders here or there. Consistency Club is a way to coax additional orders out of them. Below is the flyer for the next six months (July to December). If you order at least $600 wholesale each month ($3,600 total), you’ll get the key necklace. It’s supposed to be a badge of honor to wear that necklace at MK events and show everyone that you did completed a company challenge.

This necklace is something that MK is probably paying about $10 to $15 for, if not less. Let that sink in for a moment. A consultant orders $3,600 of product (probably much of it unneeded), and is given a $10 or $15 prize in return. That’s nonsense.

I know, I know. The Kaybot response is “you’re not supposed to order if you’re not selling” and “this prize is just something extra on top of all the money you made from selling those products.” Hogwash. The challenge is about ordering, not selling. And the actions of the directors contradict their statements about not ordering if you’re not selling, because they will certainly twist your arm to order when they need production, and they won’t give a darn if you’re selling or not.

 

19 Comments

    1. Poisonberry_Sparkle

      I think there’s something to this, in the psychology of “collecting them all” that has been part of a longer standing tradition of influence. I know as a kid we spent a lot of quarters trying to collect certain must have items from those little vending machines…This article points to it well:

      https://nationalpsychologist.com/2007/01/the-psychology-of-collecting/10904.html

      And back 200 years or so, a cabinet of curiosities was “a symbolic display of the collector’s power and wealth”. So the women at seminar with arms full of the chintzy bracelets are showing off what, exactly? that they put $7,200+ on their credit cards annually, to wear 12 bracelets that are collectively worth maybe $120? Same thing with the bee pins…and on and on…

      So Mary Kay is very ingenious in their way to spur on that “collecting mentality” so to speak…

  1. ThinkPinkThinkAgain

    I used to love getting “rewarded,” but I was always so sad when a piece of jewelry I’d worked hard to earn tarnished or broke quickly. It happened with several “monthly challenge” bracelets and necklaces I received from MK, and they wouldn’t replace them no matter how much you spent to have them sent to you.

    I am so glad I no longer feel internal pressure to keep up a facade of success.

    1. BestDecision

      And to work hard to make it to Director and then maintain it and then INCREASE it, and all we got was a ceramic knickknack of some asparagus as our Christmas gift.

      No lie. Asparagus. And then there was the bonus for $600 wholesale to get a “Golden Rule” trinket box. Or a Barbie in a Red Jacket for $1,800 wholesale in a quarter.

  2. enorth

    I just perused a certain ESSD’s site. How this for a “reward”?
    — A pink, insulated tumbler
    — A bangle-bracelet with a huge pair of red lips
    — An inspirational decal

    (Remember, the ESSD isn’t making the money you think she is.)

  3. “If you order at least $600 wholesale each month ($3,600 total), you’ll get the key necklace.”

    There are 86 Mary Kay necklaces on Ebay right now. The most expensive one is $74.99. Shipping is free. Depending on where you live, it may not be taxed.

    “Or a Barbie in a Red Jacket for $1,800 wholesale in a quarter.”

    There are 11 Mary Kay Red Jacket Barbies on Ebay. The most expensive is $1,200 buy-it-now with free shipping and the cheapest one is $39.99 starting bid with $9.46 shipping. Ditto on taxes.

    “You Hold The Key” consistency club. The only thing you hold will be unopened boxes of overpriced crap and debt.

  4. coralrose

    I notice a square on the flier says “these three little words can transform your business”… “Transform your business”. I didn’t notice this when I was in MK, but now that I’m out… A LOT of MK’s challenges/ incentives promise to “transform” or “breathe life” or something similar. If business was as great as my recruiter promised, it wouldn’t need to be “transformed.” The words on the flier are just another example of MK’s brainwashing.

    1. Char

      “If business was as great as my recruiter promised, it wouldn’t need to be “transformed.” The words on the flier are just another example of MK’s brainwashing.”

      It’s a double whammy at brainwashing because being an MLM direct buyer isn’t really owning a business.

  5. Kimisan

    I saw the RJ Graziano stuff on the HSN website. Not particularly elegant, but not bad. The average for one of his pieces i about $40. You have to order at least $600 to be eligible for a $40 necklace. I think I’d rather keep $560 and just order the necklace from HSN.

    1. PurpleH

      That’s the thing, isn’t it? Some of the jewelry awards are things you might buy as casual pieces to go with a certain outfit. But when you see dozens of others adding it to a uniform at a conference, it makes the whole experience as cheap as the gift. And the ridiculous huge jewelry on some of the NSDs at Seminar just looks dumb. Linda Toupin is 63 years old, with earrings that rest on her bosom. An armful of jangly bracelets over a suit jacket, gigantic plaque pendants… just so tacky.

    1. TRACY

      You can make friends without being a part of this predatory company. Why lose money in a fake business just to be around other women (who lie to recruits and consultants)?

    2. Lazy Gardens

      Lisa … there is no way, no matter how much you want it be that way, to make Mary Kay into anything but an MLM. No way to make it into what it claims to be instead of the well-oiled machine that sucks money out of recruits for the benefir of the upline.

      If you want the “comroderi” and to support other women, there are plenty of ways to do it without losing money and lying about ‘the opportunity”.

    3. NotIntoBSorMK

      What opportunity are you referring to? Business? Could you get last quarters P and L statement together for us? No? Okay, what was your taxable income from the business for the last two years? No? Hmm…not really a business is it?

    4. BestDecision

      No one sincerely supports others in MK or else they’d still be friends with us after we left. The philosophy is that we were to stay away from “quitters” because the negativity would bring others down. The reality is our real, factual concerns and experiences that made us leave are the very same things those people still in, perhaps like yourself, are experiencing but don’t want to acknowledge it.

      Please. MK is far from a utopia.

  6. Anna

    The pressure and manipulation to place these huge orders every month or at least regularly are really shocking to me, a marykay outsider. and what is Mary Kay corporate doing for all of these women who are faithfully ordering probably on credit every single month? Absolutely nothing, from what I can see. I’m assuming consultants pay for their own catalogs and things like that.people would be better off putting their hundreds of dollars into a low-interest certificate of deposit and then going off to work a minimum wage job.

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