Why Not Trade Products?

mary-kay-productsYour Mary Kay sales director encourages you to NOT trade products with other consultants. Why?

Mary Kay Inc. makes less money and your director gets a smaller commission check!

Of course the company and the sales directors are going to “discourage” trading Mary Kay products among consultants. It is far better for their wallets if you have to place an order to get that one lipstick or eye color that your customer orders and you don’t have. And it’s even better for them if you don’t have your “earned discount privilege” and you have to order $225 wholesale that you don’t need (instead of just the one or two items that you need).

Now naturally, they’re not going to tell Mary Kay consultants that the reason they don’t want you to trade is for their own selfish reasons. Nope. They have to make up other plausible-sounding reasons. Yeah… they actually try to convince you that making you place a too-big order that has lots of items you don’t need is actually GOOD for you!

Here’s one handout on this:

In the early years of my business, we needed to place a minimum $600. order to receive 50% discount. It also could take 2 or 3 weeks to receive an order. As a result, we did a lot of trading and even borrowing from each other. Unfortunately, that did not aid in each Consultant becoming an independent business woman who had great money management skills. Some actually became dependent on their sister Consultants inventory and never built their product level.

Women who would never call another person and ask to borrow $200. in cash did not think about doing the same thing asking for product.

In our effort to be go-give, we created some really bad habits. By the time I moved from New Castle in 1992, my front door had become a revolving door with Consultants wanting to trade. I took full responsibility for creating that monster even by the way I was recruiting. I actually said in interviews, “The consultants all help each other out if we run out of certain colors, etc.” 🙁 Of course, we get what we talk about.

Side note: I could tell a lot about someone’s integrity by the condition of the products that they wanted me to take. 🙂

Now, the good news!!! Our business opportunity has continued to get better and better. We can now order as little as $225. and receive 50% discount. We can place an order and have it in a few days. The Earned Discount Privilege is available for those emergencies that we run out of something right after we order.

Therefore, we can run our businesses independently of other Consultants. It is not their responsibility to supply product for us to service our customers. Here are some things that I would like for you to consider for the new Year.

1. Build your product level up to the point that you can deliver to your customers anything they need when they need it. If you are not there yet, focus on skincare first because customers need that immediately. If they have to wait a few days for color, they probably will.

2. Place an order instead of calling another Consultant. It is always best to place at least $225. A larger order allows you to take advantage of bonus products. If you must order less, why not call a few more customers and get the order up so that your profit is not reduced by the cost of shipping.

3. If you get an order for something that you don’t have and your customer needs it right now, call another Consultant and give her the sale. If it is her product that is being sold, then the profit should be hers.

4. If a Consultant calls you to trade (I think everyone is passed asking to borrow)…it is O.K. to say No. One of my top selling Directors shared with me that someone called for a product, she went to look for it and came back and said, “oooooh, I only have 15 of those on my shelf and I fear if I give one to you, I won’t have what I need for my customers this week”.

5. Remember time is money. Time spent one way takes time away from something else. Any time spent trying to find product, going to get it, etc. is wasting both the person’s time that is asking for the trade and the person who is trying to accommodate. Everyone just needs to order and manage our own products.

I’ve often heard directors use a “quality” scare tactic to try to get you to not trade products. You know…. gosh, you never know how that consultant stored her products and it would be so much better to get fresh products from the company…

Sorry, but trading is a great way to help one another out, especially when your recruiter placed your first (large) inventory order for you and happened to get you odd things you’ll never sell.


  1. Pinkiu

    I always offered to purchase/trade the product from a sister consultant at the wholesale price + tax. I NEVER was turned down unless she didn’t have it and I never turned it down either. Trust me, no one in their right mind (including my SD) waited for a full order. We ALL traded/purchased from each other.

    Honestly, this is the ONLY reason I eventually made a little money from selling since I didn’t make the big purchases when I ran out of some obscure color or didn’t want to by limited-edition items. We all know that the SD had boxes of limited edition and more than a full store. She gladly traded/sold me some.

    Funny Memory…I was always amazed that my SD had everything on hand when I ran out of or needed product. It never occurred to me then that she had boxes and boxes of unsold product because of having to order to make production goals. It was here at PT that I realized that trading/buying directly from her reduced her inventory and gave her immediate cash. She knew that if I didn’t get it from her, I’d go to someone else. PT opened my eyes to that one.

  2. PurpleH

    My SD always allowed us a trade as well. One of the last things I did in MK was ask her for a fragrance that was JUST discontinued b/c my mom liked it. She had to swap around to get me one, and the date code on it was over 10 years old, and the box was a disgrace. If it had been for any customer other than my own mother, I’d have had to say “no thanks.”

  3. MLM Radar

    Side note: I could tell a lot about someone’s integrity by the condition of the products that they wanted me to take.

    And I can tell a lot about a Director’s integrity when she “helps” a new consultant order configure her first order by stuffing it with a lot of items she’ll never sell: Limited Edition products, Full Palette colors not matching the skin tones of anyone she knows (light ivory foundation when she is Hispanic or Black), and about-to-be-discontinued items.

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