Sneaky Sales Tactics

A high level Mary Kay sales director did training piece called The Art of Networking.  And what fun to look at her suggestions here.

I object to many of the sales and recruiting techniques taught to Mary Kay consultants because they are dishonest. They range from warm chatter (think up a compliment, pretend to sound sincere, and start a conversation with it) to finding a recruit’s “hot buttons” (find out what she’s “missing” in her life and give her a bunch of ways that Mary Kay fills that need, leaving out anything that might cause her to say no to the opportunity).

Every business uses “sales tactics,” but what I object to in Mary Kay is the emotional manipulation and the selective information that is given. This training document highlights the “ulterior motives” of so many Mary Kay consultants. Consultants are taught to do these things, and often don’t realize how dishonest their being. If you’re out of Mary Kay, aren’t you glad you don’t have to look at everyone as a target and everyone as an opportunity to sell or recruit?

Beauty Salons

  • It takes a little bit of time because you have to develop a relationship with the owner or manager of the salon as well as the beauty operators. Bounce around to a bunch of them.
  • Find one that is up to date and has some advertising in the windows. Offer free makeovers for their clients for client appreciation.
  • You tell them this is a different type of makeover. I’m going to teach you how to do this yourself so you can look this good all of the time.

Brides Fairs

  • New brides make good recruits because they are going through major change in their life. 1/2 to 1/3 of her recruits last year came from brides.

Girl Scouts

  • This can sometimes be a bust and sometimes it can be great. The key is if you get a good troop leader. Have her set up a mother and daughter pampering session.
  • Don’t try it with just the girls. We need the mom’s there so we can teach them what to do to take care for their skin so that they can act as a mentor for their daughters.
  • We don’t want to tell them that we want the moms there because they have the cash, and we don’t want the daughters going home telling the moms I want this, this and this and the mom’s don’t know what’s going on.

Facial Boxes

  • Please know that some will be thrown out, some will have names of men and others kids will sign up. So what keep moving. Good place to target are bagel shops, coffee shops, dry cleaners, doctors offices i.e. OB/GYN doctors.
  • At the coffee shop talk to the person behind the counter each morning. Offer her a satin hands set for getting people to put in their name and number.
  • Try and target everyplace that you are spending your money. If you are doing business with them they should be doing business with you.


  • Call people who work in the healthcare industry. They are usually overworked and underpaid. The person in charge is always looking for ways to pamper the staff that is nice and won’t take a big bite out of their budget.
  • You go in and offer your service. You tell them that you know they are always looking for ways to pamper their staff and you are there to help.
  • You will not push product on them. You will just do a luxurious hand treatment and have books and samples if they would like something. Have the clients fill out the cards for a free facial/makeover and for the drawing. Bring wrapped PCP gifts for the drawing.
  • Bring a sample hand cream for everyone.
  • When applying the satin hand treatment really massage their hands and this gives you a brief moment to talk to each person. Use the private spa lotions to finish off the hand treatment instead of the hand cream.

Chamber of Commerce

  • When you spot a really sharp woman, here’s a sample script: “Hello, I’ve only got about 10 minutes and I’m looking for sharp women to go in my portfolio of professional women. I’ve scanned the room and saw you and rushed over to ask if I could feature you in my Before & After portfolio of professional women.” Then exchange cards. The best thing is that you’ve got her work number, so she’s less likely to “hide” from you. She’s a professional so if she isn’t interested she’ll say “no” and if she books, the appt. is more likely to hold, since she understands business. When you put her photo in your portfolio, but her business card next to her face which will promote her business.

Professional Before & After Photos

  • To take a Before Shot: Have the model stand in front of a WHITE wall, with a WHITE towel draped around them, then photograph with them NOT smiling.
  • To take an After Shot: Have the model wear a bright blouse and/or a colorful scarf and fluff their hair. Then photograph them WITH a smile.

Fund Raisers

  • You provide free facials for PTA ladies (referrals and possible sales for you) and the PTA has increased attendance and participation, etc.

No one is safe when the Mary Kay lady is around!


  1. BestDecision

    Ah, Cindy Machado Flippen. She’s been in for around 30 years and still, even though being Pam Shaw’s personal team member AND restarting her business years ago, isn’t an NSD. I have no doubt she works hard, but it’s sad she hasn’t moved the needle in her business. More proof that even being a personal friend and team member of an NSD doesn’t give you secrets or an edge to make it up there with her. So, so sad!

    1. Mountaineer95

      Wait, is this “move the needle” concept similar to the 20/20 girl who said she can “ramp up” her business whenever she chooses?

      Oh poor MK directors…when will they acknowledge that it takes a ridiculously, unsustainably high level of work to hit the minimums needed to be a director, and they’ll inevitably need a month (or three, or six) “off” just to catch their breath, during which time they’ll risk a car payment or losing directorship completely?

      And news flash: that “ramp up” stretch has you working 50+++ hours per week…so make sure you factor that increase in hours when you’re calculating your actual per-hour earnings.

      1. Cossette Garcia Gomez

        When I was in high school, my mom bought around 5000 in inventory from Mary Kay. She was convinced it was the answer. My mom is a hard working cosmetologist, and the Mary Kay sales lady convinced my mom that she would sell so much Mary Kay to her clients. That my mom could buy a nice house and provide for us
        My mom could not sell hardly any of it.
        It still haunts me. My mom worked so hard, and that’s a LOT of money to spend. I am so mad that they manipulated her and used my mom’s personal life struggles (being a single mom, living pay check to pay check, already being a hairstylist) and she put all this money into the business. Unfortunately, she couldn’t do it. She got very depressed and stressed shortly after that and its like i didn’t know my mom for a while.
        All that inventory got lost. I couldn’t even sell it on eBay as a lot , for the price she paid.
        I know it’s not that Mary Kay consultants fault that my mom committed to it, but my mom was in such a weak place at the moment. The consultant pretended to speak to her as a friend and like she cared- but really she didn’t. I wish I could give my mom that money back. I wish I would have been wise enough to tell her Please, no. Put it into things that need to be fixed in the house instead.
        When I was pregnant, my friend brought me to this ‘free’ facial that she won. I should have known. It was a Mary Kay lady! This Mary Kay lady has been harassing me for the past year now. Yesterday I answered the phone after not recognizing her phone number, and got stuck on the phone with her for 15 minutes. I didn’t have the guts to hang up- she was asking such personal questions about my baby, my husband, how we are doing etc. But she finally hit the target, and turned all this into advertising. She told me I would be a perfect Mary Kay sales consultant and I could make extra money for the family. She told me about the new natural skincare set that I need.
        I was Not going to fall for it.
        I quickly said I have to go, she can send me a text message about it.
        I am pretty sad that she is at this place of life where she needs to brings things like this to people. Is she really satisfied with her ‘job’?

        1. Lazy Gardens

          “I know it’s not that Mary Kay consultants fault that my mom committed to it”

          Yes it is: rhe consultant was DELIBERATELY exploiting your mom’s weak spot and DELIBERATELY exaggerating the chances of success.

          SHE LIED to your mom to make money for herself.

  2. Literal Koala

    Just think of how much time and money it would take to be a regular at multiple salons. And to make and maintain relationships with doctor’s office staff and other healthcare workers. And don’t forget the time it takes to be involved in Girl Scouts, Chamber of Commerce, and the PTA. Wow, surely this gives you a lot of “freedom”.

    1. PurpleH

      Right? Imagine if every tire shop, jewelry store, dental office etc had a facial box, a Tupperware draw, a pharmacy flyer, a mortgage consultant’s brochure etc. They’d have nowhere left to do their business. Another way that MK wants to horn in on space that actual businesses pay for.

  3. Char

    Not only are these slime ball sales tactics, they are trying to sell you on a pyramid scheme! I think it therefore qualifies to be higher on the sleaze-o-meter than used car salesmen and realtors.

  4. cindylu

    Win a MK Makeover or satin hands. What a joke. It’s not a real makeover because you aren’t a certified aesthetician. As to satin hands what a ridiculous approach. I can get a real make over at Macy’s, Sephora, etc. If I purchase a lipstick or a couple of products that coves the hard work of a real make up artist. They also don’t try to recruit me and have me buy hundreds of dollars in inventory. Having someone from MK do a make over is risky. Also how dare MK advise hundreds of consultants to put up a phoney makeover box at a real business? Why can’t MK simply do real advertising instead of encroaching on legitimate business owners?

  5. MLM Radar

    Beauty salons…. Notice how she slimes them by calling them “beauty operators”? Notice how she slithers right by the fact that everyone who works in a salon is a Genuine Licensed Beautician, who promotes genuine high-level beauty products? Who went to a real beauty school and can see right through the MK hype because they know the difference between a real makeover, and junk makeup with fake makeovers?

    Now I have seen some multi-level marketing products sold in salons (It Works comes to mind), but those are not skin, hair, or makeup products, and are sold by the shop owner/ manager or with her permission. I’ve never seen Mary Kay or any other MLM makeup products offered near the expensive fancy brand salon products.

    Come to think of it, the only places I’ve ever seen Mary Kay sold or offered in a public setting are:
    1. An oriental food store. There were various MK products in old, faded and dusty boxes.
    2. An empty fishbowl in a Chinese food takeout restaurant. I also saw a “free vacation” scam box there, with no names in the box.
    3. MK business cards on a break room bulletin board. Nobody took one and after a week or so they were thrown away.
    4. Several nasty public bathrooms. Ewww. Most of the time nobody touched the stuff, and the janitor threw it out. But once I saw a fresh basket full of samples, and watched as a lady dumped the entire basket into her purse. Both ways the consultant was the loser; all the samples she paid for were gone and she got no customers to show for it.

    1. Mountaineer95

      I had gone into a small “gift shop” near my hometown, I hadn’t been in there before…it was literally the inventory remnants of every single MLM I could have named at the time…cheap shelves and tables covered in old MK, Avon, Tupperware, Party-Lite, It Works, you name it. This woman actually rented a brick and mortar space to try to sell this stuff (maybe a friend or family member owned the site and let her use it for awhile). It’s OOB now, of course. This was just before the LLR world takeover, so none of that was there. Oh, and I’ve seen MK drawing boxes in at least three Chinese takeouts.

  6. Mountaineer95

    I bet there are many Kaybots who read this and think along the lines of this just being little white lies (or not even lies) to get business and there’s no harm, no foul in such examples. And maybe that’s true…that in these specific examples, the small lies/exaggerations aren’t really causing harm.

    BUT there is a slippery slope when it comes to accepting things that aren’t entirely true..and if a director is advocating for these small untruths being justified, you can bet she is ALSO using the same philosophy when it comes to her income claims that she uses to get new recruits.

    So, IBCs, while the director’s lies described in this post might seem inconsequential to you, how do you feel about the same director exercising similar “artistic license” by saying lies about her income and/or your potential income? What income claims did she make when she recruited you? Or forget income claims, what overall numbers did she use to explain the opportunity and how easy it is (ie, chatter 50 to book 20 to sell 10 to recruit 2…or whatever random metrics you’re given)?

    Now, (considering the many little lies she’s used like the post describes), can you be completely sure that the “opportunity” she presented to you contained NOT ONE single exaggeration, intentional omission, or flat-out lie?

    The takeaway here is that, while you might not be offended by the behavior described in this post nor affected by it directly, your director isn’t lying in a vacuum. If she uses these tactics to sell, she uses similar tactics to recruit. You’d better question everything you were told about this opportunity when she recruited you…because you have good reason to believe she lied.

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