Being in Haute Water

suit.jpgWritten by SuzyQ

It seems that we have more than a few new readers on Pink Truth in the last couple of days. We are crediting the director suit picture in the email that “should not have been forwarded” for the visitors. Yes, this is the “negative site” that you have been warned about repeatedly.

Reading it will most probably affect your attitude about your Mary Kay business. I remember how I felt when I found this site for the first time, too. I vowed repeatedly to stay away, but I didn’t. I kept reading. Initially, I took comfort in knowing that I didn’t do the things that were causing complaints. It felt like a validation of sorts—I was okay and everything was still mostly right in my Mary Kay world.

I took full responsibility for my months that were not so good, and avoided taking credit for the good ones (Okay, secretly I took most of the credit for success) I knew I had to believe and work hard to have success in Mary Kay, and I had a huge list of successful women I could model myself after and learn from—the path was there, all I had to do was follow it.

Except, there was so much deception. It didn’t feel like deception and I certainly wouldn’t have classified it as lying, but nevertheless… there it was staring me in the face.

Little by little, the denial and my pink bubble started to fail me. As directors, we talked about our highest checks at events, but the guests were free to think that was our usual monthly salary. We talked about making an executive income, but we usually weren’t. We bragged about driving free, but we sometimes had copays.

We told prospective recruits that there was no investment beyond the $100 for their Starter Kits, but we scheduled them for an inventory talk as soon as they signed. We had bankers who would “work with us” to get a new recruit a credit card very quickly, and we told the new recruit she would pay that debt off with her sales. We reminded her that business debt was good, personal debt was bad, but we didn’t tell her that the answer to every question she might have about the wisdom of incurring debt would be met with “Hey, just hold a class and you’ll have more than enough for this payment!”

We reminded people that you must spend money to make money. We reminded them that to go up, they must show up but we knew the only way to “go up” was to recruit. We told her that the training was free, but we didn’t tell her about the weekly meeting fees, the costs of company events and the cost of area/unit events, the costs of a website, business cards, Preferred Customer Program, hostess gifts, product sacks, discounted product, free product just for listening, motivational CD’s and on and on.

When our newbies called us with concerns about classes not holding, phoney phone numbers, no shows and cancellations, we commiserated, but we didn’t tell her that was still our experience too. We allowed her to believe our books were filled to overflowing. All the time. Except at Christmas. We took that week off.

We looked forward to company events ourselves, for a chance to get away and to learn from the pros, but we sometimes didn’t have the money to go, so we were told that’s when we needed to go, and we were told if we went with an open mind and open heart, we would hear exactly what we needed to hear and it would change our businesses.

But, we heard the same things over and over. We were reminded that there are no secrets and there is nothing new—Book, Sell, Book, Recruit, but we were told that if we attended this or that event, everything would change.

We were taught about attrition but it didn’t sink in. We were good directors and we prided ourselves on really working with our people, but we also reminded our consultants that this is a people business, and people can let you down. We told ourselves that this was a numbers game, but we didn’t allow ourselves to think of those “numbers” as flesh and blood people—we told ourselves “Next” or “I need a new unit.”

If we were making and missing production, we reminded ourselves that all we needed to do was put in the difference and work harder to sell the product we didn’t need, but ordered to meet the quota. Each month is a new beginning, and a chance to do it right, but we thought we were doing it right. We tweaked our websites and newsletters and looked at different ways to present the marketing plan at meetings but if we didn’t bring our own guests, very often, there were no guests at our meetings.

We were told that Mary Kay was a supportive nurturing Christian environment, but we were filled with shame and guilt. We needed to talk about these feelings, and sometimes did, but that caused guilt too, because we were being negative. We were going to be nsd’s and had lists of things we would and would not do in our areas, but we didn’t realize our chances of making it to the very top were about as good as winning the lottery. We lived and planned for the future, but the reality of the way to get to our unlimited success was not so great.

And so it goes. If you are still reading, I apologize for the length of this post, I have to stop somewhere and this seems as good a point as any. There are a lot of directors on this site who are regular posters and who make comments. Most of us started just like you—just reading. There’s nothing special about us, some of us are still in MK, some are not.

Keep reading, we PT’ers believe more information is better than not enough. Some of our writings will strike a chord with you, others will not. But hey, isn’t that true with just about anything?