Women and Children to the Pink Lifeboats!

 Written by Raisinberry

How a sinking company makes a sinking consultant.


You may not have noticed that your journey in Mary Kay was littered with multiple prize promotions.

“Sure I did,” you say, “That was one of the selling points.” You marvel at how great the company is to lavish prizes upon you, along with your Director and occasionally your National. Not only do you get to make money selling products, you get prizes too!!!

There is a prize for just about everything, and this time of year, the prizes just keep coming. The flurry of various contests and awards for activity are the primary reason for your Director to call you and encourage an order. If we had something to promote, we could justify the “pulling production” phone call that informed you of “how close you are!”

Loyal Unit members, softies, and recognition hungry women can be catapulted into the “winners” column by mere mention of how much “we need” to make the goal, and how great it will be for you to “walk on stage”, “go to the luncheon”, “win the purse” and “lead your team!” However, something strange is in the wind, my fellow seekers of truth.

Mary Kay is running a recruiting production number bonanza like I have never seen. Some would say it is so intense as to completely misdirect one off any real issues their “business” may be facing. For doing the exact same thing, you will be rewarded over and over. The hits just keep on coming.

It started with the “It’s in the Bag” promotion to add 3, 4 or 5 recruits and win a black (consultants) or brown (Directors) purse. You also get a reception at Seminar. Four gets you the matching wallet, and an invite to the reception, and the luncheon where more prize drawings will be held! If you are in the top 50 at your Seminar, you get to go for the stage walk. You get a name badge ribbon for bragging rights at Seminar, and if you go, your improved luncheon food will be bragging rights on their own.

The pot got sweeter when they added the Country Music Awards tickets for the top recruiter (in a Cadillac unit) adding the two tier attempt at motivation, since the Unit has to get to Caddy first… then reward its Top consultant and Director.

The pot is now dripping with sugar as the next incentive was placed which is a NEW YORK TRIP for you and four of your girlfriends, with an entry for each qualified recruit. I can see the “recruiting pitch” now that will be developed. “If you sign up now, we might win the Trip to NEW YORK, and you can go with me!” That’s not all. You will all have tickets to attend “The View.” And of course you have to attend Seminar to win it ‘cause “you must be present to win”. The frenzy is at fever pitch! All this for the same activity! All you have to do is add team members! But that’s not all!

This pot of sugary goodness now has to be “iced” because apparently the incentives are not adding up to activity!

Introducing the $45 CAASSH prize for Five active recruits in the month of May. We are selling Mary Kay’s birthday and you win big, if you just, please, recruit 5 somebody’s into this “best opportunity for women” company and stop the bleeding! We’ll make this last attempt look legit by tying it to the 45th anniversary… get it? 45 Bucks for 45 years? That makes sense… you should buy into that!

With all these prizes, awards and recognition opportunities, you would think recruiting was off the graph! If you have no one on your team this minute, and you add five qualified in May, you win two name badge ribbons, the purse, the wallet, the reception, the luncheon, possible stage walk, the entry into the NY trip, a possible win for the CMA awards, a 13% commission provided you do a $600 personal order, a team leader pin and red jacket, $50 bonus for number 4 and 5, and another additional bonus of $45 for the 5 “actives”. HOO-HA! Baby this is the pay out of the century!
And this doesn’t even include any area prizes from your NSD that you might be eligible for, for the SAME ACTIVITY!

It is irresistible, isn’t it?

What you are seeing is the “set up.” Here is how it goes. Recruiting is pathetically down and May has to turn it around. By putting in place a 5 “active” contest in May, you will “believe” it is do-able because it is only a $200 wholesale order for each. Many have asked us how the secret debt gets so out of hand. This is how. Say you recruit 3 who were hostesses or customers. You are only 2 away from possibly achieving all those awards. You find “friends” who will come on board as personal use consultants. Maybe they buy their kit, maybe they don’t. Maybe they can activate, maybe they can’t.

You gladly contribute the necessary funds and have the product sent to yourself…cause we all know you will sell it. (harrumph) (Add approximately $500-$700 debt)

The “win” brings with it all kinds of attention and praise. You MUST make it the rest of the way… and Mary Kay knows that.

With so much at stake, when it comes to the final hour, if all those 5 are not “qualified”, you might be tempted, and or encouraged, to “find a way or make a way” and “make it happen”. These are the baby steps of recognition that give way to mindlessly accomplishing a goal that has been so “sold” to you, you don’t even realize that you could CARE LESS about a name badge, a wallet, an entry into a contest you likely wouldn’t win anyway! But with $200 already “in” under their belts, if just a few $400’s are needed to “lead” the Unit and be a “find a way-make a way” gal…well, if there is adequate space on the card, what the heck. You’ll sell it next month! This works every time in Mary Kay.

Now, of course, you must be at Seminar to capitalize on all that is being offered to you! What good is a ribbon, a reception, a stage walk, a New York contest if you aren’t there to join in? Add $1,000 in costs to get there and back. But LOOK! You have 5 qualified consultants and only $3,000 in production, your $600 will get you 13%.. and That makes $3600… but do you realize that if you just did $400 more, you could be officially “on target” for a car?? (Add a total of $1,000 more.) And here is the best news! Your commission check will be around $613! So you get most of it back!! Two grand worth of retail product is coming your way (not including the product you bought to activate the others) for only $400!

And now the training is complete. You have been officially schooled in the Mary Kay way of figuring out the commission coming in, to use to order, to make up production. Easy to rationalize, and reinforced with recognition and praise for “reaching the goal”.

When Mary Kay needs emergency activity to plug the leaks on the sinking ship, it will be an overwhelming, mind numbing, variation of prizes that cost them next to nothing, but can be romanced to make you think it is the be-all, end-all of your Mary Kay career.

A quick look at the low recruiting numbers across the board, and it is clear that Mary Kay is hurting. That means current consultants who buy into these contests will be hurting next. This May prize strategy has been ridiculously rachetted up a notch, to save the ship. It has the equal benefit of adding production from both the new start-ups, and their recruiters who will “kick in” the shortfalls, to accomplish it. Once again, if we inspect what we expect we can see that the focus is not on selling product.

By month end we will know if it worked, and if the needed numbers going after that $45 bucks paid off. If not, look for a $50 showcase/starter kit in June. That one is a sure winner and very effective at getting recruiters to pay the tab for the recruits. It’s only $50, and you can sell what’s in it next month. Sure you can.

Oh Look! Is that an iceberg up ahead?

One Comment

  1. Changeyourthinking

    This is EXACTLY the kind of vicious cycle I got myself into! Put $500-$1000 on a credit card each month to make up for production or do a car month, “knowing” i could sell it (actually pleading with God to help me) and yippee! My commission check would cover what I had just invested. So most of the time I broke even unless it was time to pay for fall retreat, career conference, seminar, January jumpstart, or leadership conference. Or I had to shell out money for the training center, networking groups, babysitters, gas, printing fliers, the list goes on for days. I’m SO glad to be off the hamster wheel!

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