Business Basics

“Playing Ball” in Mary Kay

The concept of “playing ball” in Mary Kay is simple. It’s a fancy way to say that if you aren’t ordering, your director won’t help you. It doesn’t really matter if you have a ton of inventory that you’re working to sell off. All that matters are your current orders. No new orders, no help.

Here’s how one Mary Kay nsd explains it:  

Let’s Play Ball!

I made a decision many years ago, that I would work with working people. This does not mean that I EXCLUDE people from my life as they are walking through difficult times, but it does mean that from a business perspective, I will pour my energy and effort into those women who are READY now to work and who make themselves available for learning and instruction. I have experienced this truth, “When the student is ready, the teacher appears”.

I only play ball with those that play ball back with me. What does that mean? When someone throws me the ball I immediately throw it back. When I throw a consultant the ball I wait with positive expectancy that she will throw it back. If she doesn’t, I throw the ball to someone else. For example: I asked that all consultants send in weekly summaries. (I throw the ball) The consultant sends in her summary. (She throws the ball back.) I recognize her accomplishments through various mediums— praise and/or make suggestions. (I throw the ball back.) After several weeks and months our communication is open and progressive. The consultant builds her business through her own consistent efforts.

What if I throw the ball and the consultant doesn’t throw the ball back? I assume the consultant doesn’t want to play ball (her prerogative) and I move on to the next consultant until I find the one who wants to play ball.

What are some other examples of throwing the ball?

I put together a program (success meeting, training, retreat, etc.) available for her to attend and she comes!

I put out a message and ask for a response and I get one back!

I put out an email message and ask for a response and I receive one!

I call a consultant’s home and leave a message and she returns my call.

I make suggestions on how a consultant might improve her business and we brainstorm together.

As you can easily see it is not difficult to work with a lot of people. I work with ones who respond to my guidance and are good students.ÂWhen you think about this it is no different than how you work with your customers. Who do you spend the most time with; the ones who follow your guidance and advice or those who don’t return your messages or don’t attend your skin care classes? Don’t ever be afraid of growth, it is easier to work with larger numbers than it is small. I invite you to Play Ball with Me. I have my uniform on, my whistle around my neck, and the practices have been scheduled. Are you ready to play?


  1. “if you aren’t ordering, your director won’t help you. It doesn’t really matter if you have a ton of inventory that you’re working to sell off. All that matters are your current orders. No new orders, no help.”

    No new orders means you’re not playing ball with me. You’re not serious about your business. You’re not treating your business like a business.

    “You’re dead to me.” ~~Tony Soprano

    • I suppose I was lucky then. Although my director encouraged monthly ordering, she was always willing to help. If I needed something in particular to fill an order she wouldn’t hesitate to send it to me, on HER dime. But I HAD indeed over-ordered and found myself in 10K worth of MK debt. It took years, but eventually I got out from under and maintained a very small customer base, which provided just enough income to support MY Mary Kay habit (I really do love the skin care & mascara), my daughter’s Mary Kay habit and my shoe addiction. 🙂

  2. The way I figure it, the consultant has already thrown 600 or 1,800 or 3,600 balls towards the Director and NSD… Or more… Often lots more…

    How about some quality balls thrown back to the consultant? How about some real training in how to run a business and find new customers, instead of rah-rah events with a heavy dose of “fake it”?

    How about some genuine mentoring in response to consultant return messages saying “this isn’t working” instead of shunning and “no negativity” and guilt- tripping for not trying hard enough?

    Lurkers, think about this. The reason there’s no genuine business training and mentoring is because there is no way to win at this game. It’s all lies and exaggerations.

    Being a Mary Kay consultant isn’t a real business. You’re just a poorly paid outside sales rep for a company that will do anything necessary to keep you handing them your credit card number and keep you accepting responsibility for their abuse.

    • MLM Radar, you are so right. That’s the #1 reason that early on I stopped attending meetings and such. They were really just pep rallies, all hoopla, no meat, so to speak, and so NOT worth my time.

      And might I add that I do NOT miss the MK culture at.all. Today’s Consultant has it worse than I did. Many that over-order sell on ebay, so why would customers pay full price when they can purchase online for nearly half the retail price?? I’m glad I got out when I did.

      • At my J.O.B. we have regularly scheduled training meetings nearly every week. The topics vary: customer service, technical skills (lots of this), company computer software, management skills, employee development, employee benefits changes, legal and professional standards updates, ethics…

        No one where I work ever gets singled out for a stuffed skunk, or strong-armed into dancing across a stage holding paper plate “steering wheels” and singing Pink Cadillac.

        Yes, our boss does drive a BMW. We got to see and ride in it when he took us all out to lunch at a fancy restaurant, which was 100% free to us.

        Mary Kay Cadillac wanna-bees and co-payment victims, you’re being cheated. The grass really is greener on this side of the fence.

  3. And, at every recruiting event, even as we speak, the push to over order has created a climate where consultants have to liquidate…but NO ONE at any guest event will even mention that tons of product is out there for sale at less than retail—some less than wholesale!

    Again, IF full disclosure laws were in place and enforced, the amount of consultants in a 30 mile area could be known…and if it was known, how much recruiting do you think would happen.

    Here’s some play playing, Miss SD. How about I ask how many consultants are inactive and T status in my city, and You answer.

  4. “NO ONE at any guest event will even mention that tons of product is out there for sale at less than retail—some less than wholesale”

    And not just on eBay or Craigslist. Just check Facebook, where desperate MK consultants perpetually announce sales and discounts; outlandish Hostess Programs have the consultants literally giving away their “stores” just to get a few faces at a class, with no guarantee of a single sale. Your 50% profit has gone bye-bye. But, you’ll get to wear a lovely Dollar Store sash at your success meeting photo-shoot, perfect for posting on Facebook.

    Don’t be a sucker.

    • 59,960 items on eBay at this time, a lot of it because consultants “played ball” with their directors.

      “Play ball” is another “fake it until you make it” tactic to pit consultants against each other to benefit the director. How would you feel if you were the only one in the unit not playing ball with the director? No

    • No dollar store sash for you at Tuesday’s suck-cess meeting because you either dropped the ball or won’t play with the director.

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