Inventory & Selling

Mary Kay Has Never Been About Ordering?

The May 2007 issue of Mary Kay’s Applause Magazine has an interesting piece called “Inventory Answers: Coaching Your New Team Members to Success.” And they have the audacity to claim that Mary Kay has “never been about ordering.” But everything else in Mary Kay is contrary to that claim.

Naturally, the article blathers on about the importance of having products on hand and how women want immediate gratification. There is also a warning of sorts, telling consultants not to overstock. (This is the part where the company covers its butt by saying “we told them not to order too much.” *wink wink*)

And then there’s this statement:

And remember, the Mary kay opportunity has never been about ordering – it’s about selling products that can enrich lives. If you need some selling suggestions, consider asking your Independent Sales Director for tips, or check out the Mary Kay InTouch Web site. You’ll find may educational tools to help you reach the level of success you desire!

How dishonest can Mary Kay Inc. get???

Dare I say that Mary Kay has committed a material misrepresentation here? This disclaimer about not focusing on ordering is easily impeached with Mary Kay’s own system and training documents.

The system is specifically designed to encourage consultants and sales directors to order. Oh sure, they say they couldn’t possibly track sales so this is the only way… but that argument is beside the point here. The point today is whether or not Mary Kay encourages ordering and then turns around and publishes a statement in Applause disclaiming the focus on orders.

The Mary Kay system is set up to encourage and reward orders:

New Consultant Bonus: Free products are given to a consultant when she orders, not when she sells. The amount of free product given to a consultant increases if she orders more, not if she sells more.

Star Consultant Status: Prizes and recognition are awarded for orders, not sales.

Active Consultant: A consultant is deemed active or inactive based upon when her last order was, not when her last sale was.

Commission: Recruiters and sales directors are paid commission based upon orders to the company, not sales of products. Commissions are only paid to active consultants and directors, which requires orders, not selling.

Unit Volume Bonus: The sales director receives a monetary bonus when her unit orders more, not when it sells more.

Queen’s Court of Sharing: A recruit counts as “seminar qualified” based upon how much she orders, not how much she sells.

Those are pretty straightforward, right? In everything that Mary Kay Cosmetics does, we know the focus is on ordering. Period.

But I hope you’ve taken the time to scroll down this far, because here are where the little gems are. We all know that sales directors are taught that everything is based upon orders. And in new director training, they’re taught that minimum unit products ($4,000 wholesale per month) is to be done with “star orders” from new consultants. Any reorders from existing unit members are considered an extra bonus…

And should you have any doubt that the company is encouraging sales directors to get consultants to order, check out these…

First up we have a little piece by Mary Kay Inc. called “Where to Find Buried Treasure at Month End.” Yes, “buried treasure” refers to how to get extra orders out of unit members. Check out the full document, which details consultants and various levels to remind the sales director who should be asked for an order.

Then of course there’s a section of Mary Kay In Touch for sales directors that has sample letters and tracking sheets. Surprise, surprise. There is a section titled “Encouragement to Place an Order.” Does that make it sound like the focus is orders?

I’m sure I could go on and on with the documentation from Mary Kay (usually to recruiters and directors) that makes it clear the company’s focus is ORDERS ORDERS ORDERS!!!



  1. My friend, who is retired, disabled and living on a fixed income was asked last month by her director to place a $1500 order to help their group meet a quota. My friend was beside herself with guilt over not being able to afford to place the order. Sadly, by the deadline, she ended up putting more money on her card to place the order. There’s not a room in her house that isn’t chock-full of MK products that she no longer has the physical or mental capacity to sell.

  2. “retired, disabled and living on a fixed income”; “she no longer has the physical or mental capacity to sell.”

    Tessa – someone quickly needs to notify social services to get involved here.

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