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

How to Dial for Dollars

The concept of “dialing for dollars” is as old as MLM itself. These days, your sales director can email or text you, but we still call it dialing for dollars. The end of the month is coming. Commission checks have to be topped off and car qualifications have to be completed. The way that is done is  by calling unit members and begging them to order.

Your director already knows you don’t need any products  because you haven’t sold what’s already on your shelf. So she’s going to need a convincing argument to get you to do something (spend money) that benefits her and harms you. What does a director say to get you to order? There is a very specific formula to this:

  • Thank the consultant
  • Make her feel important
  • Pretend she’s part of a team
  • Use guilt in a subtle way (ex. ask her to order sooner than she was planning because of our goal)
  • Tell her you love her even if she doesn’t order

Directors tell one another that this isn’t “asking for production.” This is giving a consultant “an opportunity to participate in a victory.” Uggh.

Here is one script:

I’m sure you’ve noticed that in the past month, that you’ve been hearing from me more often. It’s because we have this HUMONGOUS goal and it’s probably one the hugest goals that our unit has ever tackled. I’m so proud of everybody and the part they’ve played.

I just want to say Thank You! Your participation this year has made a big difference and I know that because you don’t come to the unit functions and you choose to do Mary Kay very part time, that maybe you think that you’re not as important! But you know what? Nothing could be further from the truth. Your order in January and your order in March, that $200 wholesale, it all adds up to making a million dollars, so you’re very much a part of our unit, and I want to say thank you for all that you’ve already done!

We are working on a really tight deadline and so what I’m looking for right now is just to see if you’re going to be able to help us out with our unit goal this month by placing another wholesale order maybe a 200 maybe a $400 or $1000 order…whatever, little or small or big or large. Bottom line is this; if you were planning on placing an order in the next couple of months, it would be great if you could do it this month. You could stock up on your own personal products.

These scripts are so manipulative. And directors and NSDs know it. But they will promote this idea that you’re part of a “winning team.” And everyone want to be part of a group of winners with an excited leader. What exactly are they leading in Mary Kay? They’re leading a unit of women who are all losing money, but as long as the director is making money, I guess that makes them winners.



  1. Ruby Slippers

    Good article. As a new Director I printed off and memorized scripts for new consultant orientation, end of month, and goals. I was so far into the pink fog that I didn’t realize I was so manipulative. I had people that helped with those end of month goals for me. 🙁

  2. Char

    “It’s because we have this HUMONGOUS goal and it’s probably one the hugest goals that our unit has ever tackled. I’m so proud of everybody and the part they’ve played.” —

    There’s another one of those words, “goal”. MLM has hijacked so many! Recently we’ve had “retire” and “career”, and we always have the dreaded “leader”, “director”, and “opportunity”.

    Continuing my thoughts from the other day, these words usually connote something positive and admirable, but not always. MLM companies and upline purposely use these words to trick your brain.

    “Goal” – What is the reason for this goal? It’s to keep your upline at rank and make them a commission off your order. For the company, it just keeps all consultomers buying THEIR products, so they can pay their employees and golf club memberships.

    “Leader” – A leader of what? Prison gang, drug cartel, alien spaceship? MLM scam team?

    “Opportunity” – An opportunity to do what? Rob a bank, kidnap a child, participate in an MLM scam?

    “Director” – Directing you to do what? Lie, beg, order, recruit?

    We need to stop defaulting to the positive connotation with these words. Again, it’s a trick. MLM companies use these words on purpose. Have you ever heard them say, “Would you like to be an MLMer and order makeup?” Noooooo, it’s, “I’d like to tell you about an opportunity.” End stop.

    Reality. I’d like to tell you about an opportunity……..to be a lying MLMer, orderer of crappy makeup, and how to deplete your bank account. We have a goal this month to achieve that. Our leader is the best liar and so successful at it. She can convince anyone to jump on board. My director is also phenomenal at teaching these same skills and scripts, so that you too can duplicate and leverage yourself. Are you ready to join my awesome team? I personally have a goal to be in the top 1%, so I’ll need you to order a closet full of stuff and be in the 99% of losers for me to be a winner. You are soooo awesome Hun.

  3. NayMKWay

    Those disconnects with reality…

    You have your own independent business, yet you’re part of a team that depends on you.

    You’re your own boss, yet you have to kowtow to your upline because they’re smarter than you for some reason.

    It’s not just Mary Kay. In Amway they’re drilled: “Do NOT question your upline! They know what’s best for you and your business!” I’ve seen videos of Beach Body online meetings where women are excoriated for not “putting their all” into the business. Got a sick kid or pet? Don’t care! Take your phone with you and recruit from the waiting room. It’s sickening.

    If more people in MLM saw that their uplines’ motives were rather less than pure, it might help them see they’re being abused and manipulated.

    Here’s a message to all who may be considering leaving Mary Kay or some other MLM: Are you feeling guilty? Don’t. Feel like you’re letting down your team? Stop. You owe them NOTHING. Get out now, send back what you can, and do what’s right for YOU. They’re going to bad-mouth you after you’re gone anyway, so why try to please them? Just get out.

    1. Juliet

      No, you sure don’t owe your mkrap team ANYTHING. BUT MKCRAP SURE DOES OWE YOU. Tons of dollars for overpriced product that they know you won’t be able to sell. And that’s not even getting into the time and experiences you have lost out on believing their lies. NO GUILT.

  4. Kristen

    I love this, Char! How about some other hijacked words:
    Wholesale (retail)
    Pampering (sales pitch)
    Excited! (Desperate)
    Unit (cult)
    Unit meeting (recruiting time)
    Training (brainwashing)
    Skin care “class” (recruiting/sales pitch)
    Negative (logical)

  5. Cindylu

    Dialling for dollars. More like desperation. As this mlm begins to implode, their ploys become more miserable. I can’t imagine the hopelessness and sense of dread of many directors and NSD’s at this point. How sad that entire lifetimes have been wasted on this pointless scam. It must be terrifying to realize that it was all a lie. Now there are no real girl gatherings either. No conferences and no fake Seminar with gaudy dresses, sashes and thrones. This is the best time ever to free yourself from all this anxiety. Send product back and quit so you can once again enjoy your family and stop the MK debt.

    1. Juliet

      You nailed it Cindylu. They CAN’T admit it is all pink fluff as they have spent their entire “career” in it and if it’s all a fraud…..I truly think that would take major therapy to deal with all the issues that would stem from that realization.
      The lack of in-person brainwashing is such a boon to dismantling these structures. While the kingpins definitely are deluding their followers into attending events regardless, the events have to be hugely reduced across the board. I wish I knew the amount of events mkrap would’ve have held by now that had to be cancelled. Just to know how many opportunities have been squashed lololol.

      1. Coralrose

        That’s a really good point. I wonder if this is a something therapists see a fair amount of, people who are struggling emotionally because of the effects of being in an MLM.
        I wonder if it’s something therapists see enough of to notice a pattern & know how emotionally abusive MLMs are, or if many people simply don’t seek help.

    2. SEB

      Like I am just so fascinated/flabbergasted that somebody would actually beg someone to order $1000 worth of makeup so another woman could earn a car or trip or whatever. THEN the fact that people do it! I mean $1000 or more of makeup?!?!?? That pink Kool aid must be pretty potent! Gah!

      1. Kristen

        There is always that hope that it can be sold later. But, yeah it is so crazy to step back and think about it. No wonder they claim to be the #1 selling brand. Most customers don’t walk into Sephora every 2 months and spend $1000. That is so much money to waste. Incredibly sad.

      2. Coralrose

        It’s not quite as simple as that. When my director called, she’d also have sales “tips”, (try this FUN! promotion) and motivation “Why don’t you call a customer you haven’t heard from in a while?” I KNOW your customers are going to love the new products. So, get the new products on your shelf! I started to think I was going to be able to make sales from these ideas. I was going to be successful!
        My director would also share how another person in the unit made $300 in 3 hours. Wouldn’t you love to make $100 an hour?
        Also, I think very, very few consultants actually order $1,000 every 2 months. That’d be a director’s dream. 🙂

  6. Juliet

    “I’ll need you to order a closet full of stuff and be in the 99% of losers for me to be a winner. You are soooo awesome Hun.”
    Char, that really hit me, the I need you to be in the 99% of losers so I can be in the 1% of winners. How very cruel. You write such great exposes, in that you put the real world language onto the pollyanna mkrap, but that one especially stood out. Thank you for all your efforts, Char, you are always enlightening.

  7. pinklobster

    I remember always feeling high anxiety every month, like a hamster exhausted but still running on a wheel. Even when I finished a goal, there was a new, bigger one waiting. It. Never. Ended. Seriously, are there suicides we don’t hear about in MK? Because I wasn’t even in DIQ and I was super overwhelmed with it all. Criminal.

    1. BestDecision

      But, there are a lot of eating disorders! I’ve seen people forget to feed their kids, drop them off at daycare, and have complete disconnect from their husbands all in the name of production. While I never heard of suicide, I personally know of more than one NSD and Director that had eating disorders. Many guzzling caffeine and never at peace or full rest.


    2. Neverpink

      I often wonder about this myself! Since a lot of MK appears to be shame and envy-based, I wonder how many suicides there are?

      BestDecision mentioned eating disorders… involvement in MK seems like such a dysfunctional way to live. I’m so thankful for PinkTruth, especially in this regard.

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