New Consultants Should Start Recruiting Right Away

You’re a new Mary Kay consultant, and you’re just learning the ropes. You’re excited, but a little scared about all the things you don’t know about your business. Your director is encouraging you to start recruiting. You want to get your feet under you first before you will feel comfortable bringing others into the business.

But your director keeps pushing you about recruiting. She suggests you’re just going to do “practice interviews” or some other innocent sounding thing. She keeps coming at you about recruiting. Why?

  1. Recruiting is how your director makes her money. New people mean new inventory orders, and that’s where the sales director makes the bulk of her income. Mary Kay Cosmetics encourages large initial inventory orders because that is the single largest amount most consultants will ever order. With tens of thousands MK consultants quitting the company each month, a new supply of orderers is constantly required.
  2. Your director needs to get you to recruit before you realize what a loser business Mary Kay is. If she lets you wait to see how hard it is to sell the products, you’ll be discouraged, and you won’t want to set others up for the failure you’re experiencing. Eventually you’ll figure out that 99% of people who get involved with MLMs lose money, and if you have scruples, you won’t want to bring others in to lose their money too.
  3. Your director wants you to recruit before you figure out that you make more money by NOT recruiting. The best target for a potential recruit is someone who likes the Mary Kay products. If a woman is buying products from you, you have the opportunity to make a gross profit of 25% to 50% of the retail amount she buys from you (depending on how much you have to discount the products or give away free products as incentives to buy). If you recruit that customer, you suddenly make only 4% of wholesale on her product purchases. And you’ve also given yourself another competitor, which is especially bad if you have many of the same family members and friends.
  4. By getting you to recruit, your director has helped you feel successful, and your excitement makes you more likely to order more products and continue on in the business. Even when you are not making any money. You have a couple of recruits, and suddenly your director tells you that you’re “on target” for something, and that you only need to order $xxxx more to get to a higher commission level or qualify for a prize. You’re probably going to place that order, even if you don’t need the products because you want to keep your momentum going. Another order means more commission for the sales director.

After more than 55 years in business, Mary Kay has perfected the bait that is needed to lure people in and get them to order more. They know exactly which kind of “contest” or cheap prize will bring in more orders. The ribbons given out at Career Conference and Seminar cost pennies, but consultants are spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on orders to get those silly ribbons.The same thing goes for the star consultant prizes and other trinkets that Mary Kay gives to orderers during special promotions. The company knows exactly which kind of positive reinforcement leads to more orders, and getting you to recruit right away is a brilliant part of the plan.


  1. As with any scam, the most important piece is to pressure the victim to act now. If they wait, they will find out they are being taken advantage of.

  2. That last paragraph is so important, but often forgotten in the consultant conversation. The consultant world talks of who is driving a car, building a team, business owner, sales force, targets, Cadillac units, parties, interviews, crowns, jewelry, etc., as though that’s all there is to it. That is by design. It’s a distraction by the real business that is strategizing to get these ladies to order their products. Consultants are so caught up in this fake world, that they think Mary Kay *is* them. No, Mary Kay is MKI, worth billions, and they are having meetings to figure out how to get these same women to buy their products – by the truckload. MKI doesn’t have stores lining their shelves with MK products. Nope, they sell directly to THEIR consumer. That is THEIR business model, and they don’t put limits on how many people can join and buy from them. That would be silly.

    To figure out MLM, all you need to do is approach it from Corporate’s perspective. There is a saying, “If you want to make money in MLM, start one.” In case there is confusion, that means start a company, not become an MLMer fake business owner for an existing company. Think Mary Kay Ash, not Jane consultant for Mary Kay.

    Also worth noting and pointed out in the article, a resale by a consultant only benefits her. With a consultant’s customer, Corporate is NOT making a new sale to someone who would be ordering directly from them! And, upline also isn’t making new commission. No wonder training is about recruiting new “direct buyers”. They help clear the MKI warehouse – and not the old consultant’s closet. Of course this is Mary Kay’s priority…..when you think about it.

  3. Also, they’ll encourage you to start recruiting before you’ve completed any of their so-called training. “We’ll learn together! It’s going to be so much fun!” Nah, it’s the blind leading the blind. Especially in the “do it fast” director climate. What we end up having is a whole batch of directors who got there so quickly that they truly have no idea what they’re doing. And that’s sad.

  4. I remember as a director I used the following line for brand-new consultants:

    “You’re free to do whatever you want, but I’ve found two things that really cement the success of a new consultant. One is to have a good working inventory. The other is to have a recruit right away. When you have inventory, you can start right out of the gate giving your customers the products they want without having them wait. And a new recruit gives you a ‘running buddy.’ It’s always more fun to learn this business with a friend, and you can encourage each other to success!”

    Of course, this was total BS. But Mary Kay and my NSD pounded into directors’ heads that we had to get consultants recruiting right away, while they were still “dumb & happy.”

    The fact that I can still remember all my lines 20 years out of MK is a sad indicator of how brainwashed I was.

    • Did NSDs and MK Inc really use the the phrase “get them recruiting right away while they’re dumb and happy? If so…yikes!

      • Yes.

        Do you remember them using the phrase “too dumb to doubt”? It is a phrase they use for new recruits who just blindly believe what you tell them. Same concept.

  5. What’s really bad about the Mary Kay scam is that while the margins are highest at the bottom level, they’re still barely break-even. 50% sounds like a lot until you find out how the expenses eat it all up. After the mandatory discounts—few will pay full price—you’re in the hole.

    So you recruit someone, and your income goes down. Recruiting one person isn’t enough; you need a “team.” But so does everyone else. Not everyone can have a team, yet everyone is told they need to build one.

    The late Dr. Jon Taylor saw this pattern repeated in MLMs everywhere, and it was his research and mathematical analysis that confirmed the fact that 99% lose money. 99 have to lose so one can win.

    That’s what the average pushy director is dealing with: she needs a constant influx of fresh recruits who lose money so she can come out ahead. Very few have the stomach to exploit others like that, and the majority drop out.

    Almost all other MLMs have even lower margins; most are 20-30% or so. As bad as Mary Kay is, they are far from the worst, which is why most of us here are fervently anti-MLM.

  6. Regarding the value of the prizes and awards, I see the same blindness for myself on auction sites. Ohhhhh I WANT THAT!!! And I am LOSING OH NO!!! Then I go to look for the item to see what it would cost outside of the auction and often enough to make it worth checking FIRST, I find I can get it the same price or even not a small amount cheaper, and NOT taking forever to arrive etc. If not for the lure of “prestige” etc in attaining these prizes, the actual items are just…….so sadly affordable compared to what the consultant spends to acquire them. Gaslighting sucks.

  7. Another hook used by MLMs: relatively easy “promotions” early on.

    In MK, get one recruit and you’ve “moved up” to Senior Consultant. Woo hoo! Your up-line gushes over you on social media. Just sign up two or three more and you’re a Team Leader. Swoon! Proof that you are destined for success. It was meant to be!

    See? Anyone can do this business! Cha-ching.

  8. “If a woman is buying products from you, you have the opportunity to make a gross profit of 25% to 50% of the retail amount she buys from you (depending on how much you have to discount the products or give away free products as incentives to buy). If you recruit that customer, you suddenly make only 4% of wholesale on her product purchases. And you’ve also given yourself another competitor…”

    Nearly every PT critic we get to hear from every Friday (my fave part of the week, TBH) accuses PT of somehow wanting to rob women of the opportunity. But they never address the following FACT:

    Presenting the “opportunity” = SELF-SABOTAGE

    Yes, when you share the opportunity (or empower women or whatever other hogwash catch phrase) with your customers who buy from you, you ARE literally taking money out of your pocket and giving it to them, just as explained in the excellent point above.

    Why should you have to sacrifice money you probably need, and WHY is it considered “negative” if you don’t? Why do you have to pay the price of sharing this opportunity by pushing your customer to sign up instead and now get from MK their products they would have bought from you?

    And the whole “well I don’t recruit, I just sell” reasoning doesn’t save you from losing your paying customers to becoming IBCs, because if you don’t recruit them, they are fair game to any other MK person…your upline, others in your unit, anyone, because if you don’t try to recruit them, you’re not sharing the freaking opportunity. And how dare you not want her to have a chance at it!

    Why do the critics not understand this? It’s not a difficult concept. This boggles my mind.

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