Facts, opinions, and the real story behind Mary Kay Cosmetics.

How Many Leads Do You Need?

Mary Kay is such a simple business! All you have to do is work the numbers. If you do the activity, you’ll get the results.

They always forget to mention that you have to find the women first. They make it seem like women are just going to be beating down your door to have Mary Kay parties. On the contrary, you’re going to be scrounging to find new women who want to have the parties. But there are never really any ideas (that work) to help you consistently generate new leads.

Nonetheless, NSD Kristin Sharpe says all you have to do is find your “magic number.” Tell her how much money you want to make each month, and her little worksheet will tell you how many leads you need to get each month. (Good luck figuring out how to get the leads!)

The numbers here are sobering if you take the time to look. Let’s say I need to make $2,000 per month. That’s not enough to support myself, but that would probably be considered decent money from a second job. To make this, I have to sell $5,000 retail each month. (But remember, this would be if I sold everything at full price and didn’t give away any products. That’s unrealistic, but we’ll set aside that issue for now.)

Then you have to calculate your per face average at your parties. One sales director suggests you’ll sell an average of $60 per face at a party. I think that’s too high, but let’s give her the benefit of the doubt and run with it. At $60 per face, you need to see 83 faces per month to hit your sales goal. If there are 3 women at a party, you’d need 28 parties a month to get to the sales goal.

Kristin says 50% of the parties that are booked will actually hold. I think that’s on the high side too, but we’ll go with it. You’ll need to book 56 parties a month to hit your sales goal. If one out of five women you speak to will book a party, that means you need to talk to 280 women a month.

So every week, you’re going to have to contact 70 new women in order to (hopefully) make $2,000 a month (or $500 per week) at your part-time job. That’s a lot of leads you need. Tell me again where these will come from?

Is it any wonder that it is next to impossible to build a retail business with Mary Kay?


  1. PurpleH

    And they never account for the reality of the party. One guest who’s “allergic to Mary Kay.” One who admits she has no cash and cannot buy anything. One who couldn’t come but the hostess will give her a catalog. One cousin or auntie who came because the hostess begged her to fill the table, and who happens to sell Avon or work at a real salon with professional products. And one neighbor who has a purse full of old MK that she was not satisfied with, it she heard that you will return it for her and give credit on new products. Did I miss any?

    1. Pinkiu

      OMG…this one, “And one neighbor who has a purse full of old MK that she was not satisfied with, it she heard that you will return it for her and give credit on new products.” Oh, how I dreaded that one. In my last year, as I was winding down my business, I stopped being Go-Give and referred them to corporate to exchange their product.

      This article lays out the truth in black and white. These numbers are true. It is impossible to make $2000 profit without recruiting and frontloading. I remember ONE week where I sold $500 and thinking I hit the jackpot. It happened once. My average party of 5 profited me about $50-75. And just like PurpleH said, most didn’t buy. I had a number of parties where I lost money because no one bought or I sold an eyeshadow. GRRR I hate MK.

      1. coralrose

        Yes!!! To the returning products, and corporate only lets you return/ get credit in the months you’re still active, so if you’re trying to only order once or twice a year, it becomes a REAL pain to try to return something.

    2. BestDecision

      You are so right! Add in the guests who already have a Consultant and feel
      Ike just sitting at the table counts as helping the hostess.

      I don’t miss selling and packaging 12 Days of Christmas sets, Holiday Open Houses, Christmas Coffees, trying to recruit when all anyone gives you is a “after the New Year” objection, paying for Leadership Conference airfare, desperately trying to hit the Leadership party and banquet invitations, or the absolute full stop that happens after the 15th when your entire unit stops working until mid-January.

      Merry Christmas, everyone. We got out!

      1. ThinkPinkThinkAgain

        Yes, Merry Christmas to us! I have been so grateful to focus on enjoying my family and friends this month. I have said “no” to some holiday party invitations because I am no longer desperate to be at every social event (aka selling opportunity). My money is being spent on ME, and I have 0 goals to hit by December 31 other than spending time with those I care about.

  2. MLM Radar

    1 in 5 who you talk to will book a party, so you need to talk to 70 new people a week.

    You wish.

    What she didn’t say: 1 in 20 who you call will answer the phone. You can’t talk to them if they don’t answer the phone. They don’t return calls either. So, really, you need 140 new phone numbers EVERY WEEK to reach that goal.

    Ask me how I know.

  3. NayMKWay

    It boggles my mind when the drive-by critics write in and say “These are all just your OPINIONS. I know the FACTS!!!” or caps-locked words to that effect.

    These are the numbers, people. Math isn’t an opinion, it’s math. And no matter how you add them up, the numbers speak the truth: you can’t earn even decent side-money in Mary Kay. You have to recruit and front-load others by–let’s face it–scamming them the way you were scammed. Is that really what you want to do with your life?

  4. Cindylu

    Lucky MK executives. As Church Lady would say “Aren’t they Special.” They don’t have to deal with actual customers. They don’t have to deal with returning products. All they have to do is think of ways for the MK slaves to buy more products. There are plenty of ways to convince the victims to buy products. Change the products, hold contests, talk about fake opportunity, endless accolades with trinkets for prizes. They pay for nothing. Hall, reused sashes, tacky throne, tacky dresses, corporate write off flights and jewelry etc. Meanwhile IBC’s and Directors pay for: conferences, meals, travel costs, prizes, gas, co pays, magazines and co pays on those pink cars. Nice for the heirs and a few NSD’s. Meanwhile a Maryland Real Estate company gave real bonuses averaging around $50,000.00 for real work done by 198 employees. MK is the Journey of the broke and a pyramid.

    1. OnelessSD

      ^^^ THIS! Cindylu hit the nail on the head…. “MK is the Journey of the broke and a pyramid.”… a Lose-Lose proposition.

      I was broke when I was pursuing MK. In serious credit card debt and a bank account that averaged less than $100. I now have NO credit card debt and my bank account is thriving… and I have a savings account to boot! (Thank you Dave Ramsey for the advice!)
      (and all while actually working less hours per week… AND getting a paycheck with al those payroll taxes taken out.)

      My life is soooo much better off since leaving that pink hell-hole.

  5. Jacirene

    It’s extremely difficult to make 7 calls a day, 7 days a week before 7 pm … Well, December is a little worse! In the middle of the holiday season, on that holiday rush, who has time to schedule a skin care class? But your SD will say, “Do some more.” Always the same story.
    Merry Christmas to all!! You are beautiful!!!!!! ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

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