Almost Impossible to Get to NSD

This is a piece submitted by a woman who worked in MLM that was not Mary Kay. But they were selling products to women, and the numbers are really no different than MK. Take a look at how dismal the recruiting prospects are, and how nearly impossible it is to make it to National Sales Director. Of course, it’s possible to get to NSD…. but with just over 200 NSD and millions of women who have gone through MK’s doors in the last decade or two, you can see that almost no one does it.

As an award winning top personal recruiter in another multi-level marketing company, this was my experience.

For every SEVEN new customers I added to my customer base: I signed only ONE new recruit. (I know, I know… make-up MLM is an easier sell. You all kicked my butt at recruiting!)

For every TEN qualified consultants I recruited (who placed a first inventory order): FOUR would quit before the end of the year.

For that same TEN consultants I recruited on my team: Only FOUR would duplicate themselves by accidentally, or with my help, recruiting someone else

Those FOUR out of TEN consultants who recruited someone else would end up being glorified personal use consultants who only worked “sometimes” and they would never have more than 2-3 on their team during their career–and never the same 2! So in MK speak… always gunning for Red Jacket!

I had to personally sign about TWENTY new recruits to find that ONE really sharp woman who would be interested in consistently doing the actual work of selling and recruiting it takes to “go to the top” (it’s like panning for gold!) and even they would burn out so very fast!!! But I never knew who would last so I really believed in each and every one! I was always disappointed. *sigh*

SO it actually worked out that for every THIRTY recruits I personally signed up, only ONE would actually became a seasoned enough recruiter to make it through a “Qualification” period to promote within one year of becoming a consultant (Like DIQ)

And sadly, in our MLM, for every TWO bona fide Director-types who promoted, ONE would not maintain enough minimum group production or minimum number of active consultants to keep her title beyond that first year and they would wash out. That is a 50% attrition rate for new director-types!!!!

I had always been told of the attrition rate of CONSULTANTS… but when I discovered the truth about the attrition rate of “DIRECTOR-TYPES” at the corporate sponsored “New Director-type Training” we had to attend… I really got to thinking what I was up against in order to claw my way to the top of the pyramid!!!

[Note: I walked away from all MLM at about this point after promoting an Offspring and working like hell to do it again. I figured out that moving up in an MLM truly WAS as I was told by a NSD-type, “Like running up the down escalator… hard to get ahead, and you will end up back on the ground floor if you stay in one place.” And it is soooo true that you are not compensated for your time and hard work until the very, tippy top. And only 1% ever gets that far. ]

So stay with me now… In order to get to the top of the ladder (like NSD) by having 20-30+ “Director-types” (or whatever the MLM calls for) on board at the same time, I figured I would have to:

  • Find 4,200+ new customers in a hurry so that I could
  • Recruit 600+ new consultants in order to “pan for gold” and work real hard to
  • Develop 20+ solid “Director-types” before they all got discouraged and quit!

… and then I would have to be sure to replace the 240 consultants who will QUIT within a year (much more would quit in MK!) by making sure my team found 1,680 new customers (that’s a lot of women to say “yes” when stalked at Target)

… and be simultaneously developing at least 10 new Director-types (lots of DIQs waiting in the wings!) to replace the 10 Director-types who will not maintain their status by this time next year…

And THAT is just barely enough to skate by, qualify, and MAINTAIN a tippy-top Director position!
And in reality you know there are NSDs who have WAY MORE than 600 people in their units… it takes THOUSANDS to build a really strong business!!!

So… I would have to be an EXCELLENT motivator to convince as many of my hapless team members as possible go out and sell and recruit to maintain the pyramid… mostly by shifting all of the work to mid-level Director-types who will work their tails off to maintain their tiny pyramids within my bigger pyramid…

They say in MK to “do it fast” because attrition is always nipping at your heels… over 70% instead of the 40% I was used to in my MLM… because the bottom of the pyramid is always crumbling away… and it is not possible do all the work all by yourself if you are playing by the rules to grow your teams.


  1. Lazy Gardens

    “Like running up the down escalator… hard to get ahead, and you will end up back on the ground floor if you stay in one place.”

    And in most MLMs, a chosen few have taken the elevator to floor y’all are trying to get to via escalator (friends, relatives and business associates* of the founders) … they stand there and tell you to keep trying, they did it and so can you.

  2. Char

    “I had to personally sign about TWENTY new recruits to find that ONE really sharp woman” – Sharp? Maybe she was the dumb one in the end, or the one willing to take advantage of others.

    “….it takes THOUSANDS to build a really strong business!!!” – No, it takes thousands of victims for the MLMer to unscrupulously collect money for herself.

    Every point in this article IS MLM. That’s how this inherently flawed system works.

    The article is great showing how tough it is to make it, but I’m calling attention to what one is actually doing. The author presents great and helpful details, and I hope I am presenting the big picture and moral of the story. Think of it this way……

    The store’s safe is one of the most sophisticated and difficult to crack, but the sharp woman was able to get it open and take the jewels. Do we commend her on her skills, or call her a thief?

    “Successful” MLMers are skilled at……..recruiting others into an inherently flawed system that causes financial harm for most.

      1. Char

        Sorry if I didn’t make my post clearer, as I didn’t think she was proud or still a supporter. I complimented the article trying to avoid that. Let me try again:

        The general point I was making, using her article as a guide, is that no matter how difficult something is, if achieving the end goal hurts people in the process, the effort itself doesn’t matter.

        I do agree that we should still point out those difficulties – like building a case, then eventually listening to the victim impact statements.

        MLM isn’t bad because it’s difficult to succeed doing, but rather, for those who do succeed in MLM always do so by exploiting others. There in lies the difference.

  3. raisinberry

    This is the same conclusion I came to at the end of my pink run. It started to become painfully apparent when, at Seminar, the Area Awards night showed the prior years candid photos and every one had a former Director in the pic. The last Seminar I attended, my Senior mentioned to me that it was hard putting together a “recap” for our NSD because many Directors who were now consultants, were in pictures. (A-ha!)

    If you open your eyes, and back away from pink propaganda, the truth is starring you in the face. Those who stay in, usually have a workhorse consultant who doesn’t recruit, but does sell, and orders a good deal every month. All a Sales Director has to do is convince a few new recruits to win cars or become Directors, and she’ll have the rest of the production. That’s the never ending scam. And ALL Directors make up the shortfalls in personal ordering. That’s the Pink Truth.

  4. Mickey2942

    Even though P.T. Barnum said, “There is a sucker born every minute.”. He did not account for the fact that the “sucker” also needs disposable income to spend on a generally optional item. That greatly reduces the amount of “suckers” available.

  5. Shay

    Even if someone could sell all the products by themselves that is required in a unit win the car— that person could not win the car because she didn’t have a pyramid team.

    1. KayNotMary

      Yup, It’s all about recruiting. Selling makeup is just there to keep the operation technically legal. They don’t even track retail sales because they don’t care. Keeping track of retail sales is one of the most important thing to a legit company that sells retail products.

      The MK people like to use (abuse) the term “dual marketing,” yet they don’t keep track of one of the two basic parts – the retail part – of their system. What a joke.

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