Reconnecting With Old Friends to Push Mary Kay

One of the first things I was taught after I started Mary Kay was how to “reconnect” with old friends in order to sell the product. They get you to make a list of “everyone with skin” that you know, so you can start begging them to “help me meet a challenge” or “help me start my business” or some other lame guilt trip.

Once you get through your list of current friends and family, you’re encouraged to think of old friends you haven’t talked to in a while. You contact them under the pretense of “reconnecting” (what a great buzz word), but then as soon as they ask what’s new, you launch into your spiel about this great new thing you’re doing (Mary Kay). When I was in MK, you had to find their phone number, so that involved a phone book or some sort of directory. Today it’s connecting with them on Facebook or Instagram or Snapchat or TikTok.

From there you try to get them to hold a class with their friends and family, and if they’re foolish enough to do that, you start with the recruiting lines and continue on from there.

Sales directors encourage the use of these types of tactics, which I find sneaky and disingenuous. Sure, they may be nice people and you might be happy that you looked them up again. But if you were honest with yourself, you know that you wouldn’t have had any interest in “reconnecting” if you weren’t trying to pimp some overpriced beauty products. In fact, if you had an interest outside of MK, you would have called them BEFORE you joined!

The old school methods involved using tactics like “Secret Pal” or “Secret Santa.” You would get your hands on a list of names and start contacting them with a line about how someone wanted to give them a Secret Pal Pampering Package. Sure, you wanted to be their pal for monetary reasons, so technically it was true. You would get your hands on any sort of directory (church, mom’s club, PTA, etc) that would list names and numbers and start making the calls. I always felt that this method was dishonest. Even though you could technically say you told the truth, in your heart you knew that you created a false situation in order to lure someone into having a party.

The more current methods revolve around posting endless things on social media. There are a couple of different ways to do this. One involves doing promotional types of posts which promote the various products and ask people to buy them and/or host classes. The other kind of social media posts flaunt a lifestyle that you say MLM offers and you casually mention your MLM in every post and make sure everyone knows the MLM is responsible for this wonderfulness.

No discussion of sneaky tactics would be complete without mentioning “warm chatter,” a favorite Mary Kay ruse. Included in this is offering a supposedly sincere compliment to someone in order to start a conversation that will quickly lead to mentioning Mary Kay. It’s the equivalent of stalking people in public to badger them (even if it is ever-so-subtle) about lipstick. Who wants to be approached at Target while they’re shopping? How embarrassing to have to spend loitering at Starbucks trying to meet women coming in for their morning coffee so you can give them a “sincere compliment”?

Now… I get the concept of “networking.” I’ve done it to build my own real business. But I’ve done it in a genuine way, not with these tricky little methods. I haven’t contacted anyone to pretend to “reconnect.” I’ve told people about my company in the context of a legitimate, genuine conversation… not because I want to recruit them or sell them something. I haven’t stalked women at Target or Starbucks to try to push my services.

These tactics in the context of Mary Kay are so insincere. And if you doubt that… Just remember that one of the key teachings in Mary Kay is “work the numbers.” Have you been told: “Some will, some won’t, who’s next!”??? These things demonstrate how the goal of Mary Kay isn’t sincere interaction with women. It’s about playing a numbers game and moving on to the next person with skin who might be interested.

Share your favorite sneaky Mary Kay selling or recruiting strategy!


  1. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: If your sales pitch includes a phrase along the lines of “please support my business,” you’re not starting or running a business; you’re panhandling.

    You may get a pity sale or two, but you’ll never build a strong customer base if you guilt people into buying from you. People resent that crap and will avoid you.

    MLMs like Mary Kay are fully aware of this, yet they still push it. Why? Because they know the market is fully saturated with sellers and new recruits aren’t likely to find many retail customers. But they might rope in a recruit or two, and recruits are far more profitable for the company, what with their obligation to buy inventory that’ll sit unsold in their garage. So they urge their sales force to turn every encounter into a recruitment effort.

    In Amway they call it: “Sell the hope, not the soap.” It’s pretty despicable, and it’s what all MLMs do.

    • Very true. How many real business operate in this way? The coffee shop down town doesn’t try to ‘warm chat’ customers into coming into the store or lure their friends to ‘help them with their goal’. The nail shop probably wouldn’t last very long if the store owner’s way of drumming up business was to call and ‘reconnect’ with old friends and relatives. Businesses thrive because they have a service that people want at a price they are willing to pay. If people aren’t buying and joining MK, they simply don’t want it and will resent efforts to guilt, harass, or pressure them into it.

  2. “Practice interviews”. Had fewer sales tactics that were slimy than recruiting. That’s where the money is!

    • Hahahahaha!! When do I get it back?

      I HATE the word “pampering” just because of Mary Kay. Pampering is a cringy word that makes me envision manipulating women into a trap. They have to be subjected to sales and recruiting pressure until they can escape. That is not pampering. It’s a lie. Especially since you have to pamper yourself. There’s no spa treatment done by anyone but you.

      • Ew! “Pamper session” made me cringe. I could never say it.

        See? That’s why I “failed”. Wasn’t willing to learn the business! ?

      • “Pampering” wasn’t a part of the MK vocabulary when I was in it in 1992. We were told time & again at our Monday meetings that under no circumstances were we to touch our clients’ faces because (a) we weren’t licensed beauticians/estheticians & (b) MK takes a teaching approach in skin care & glamour classes so that the clients learn how to apply the skin care & makeup.

        My definition of “pampering” is making an appointment at the local day spa, where I can get a facial from an esthetician. I’ve had such an experience & it took about an hour. Blackheads were removed, products were used on me according to my skin type, & I was even given a neck & shoulder massage at the end. The esthetician asked if I wanted to buy any of the products she used, & I did buy a couple of them. The products were from Elizabeth Arden, & they’re head & shoulders ahead of MK when it comes to quality.

        MK’s use of the word “pamper” or “pampering” is false & misleading advertising, & the FTC should be all over this. If I went to a home party where I was told I’d be pampered & found out that I would have to apply the products myself, I would most likely stand up & let the consultant know that she engaged in false advertising, & I was therefore leaving. And I have to believe that I’m not the only individual who feels this way. Had the word “pampering” been part of the vocabulary when I was in MK, I would have been horrified & angry because I had the spa facial I mentioned above in 1982 & knew that there was no comparison whatsoever between that facial & a facial in a MK skin care class. SMH

  3. “contact them under the pretense of ‘reconnecting'”

    We didn’t hear from a family member for years. But then she started selling EOs. W got a “Let’s do a video call so we can catch up on life” message, and a few “Been thinking about you…how’s your health?” emails. We did not respond.

    • The hubs and I experienced that a year or two ago. I didn’t respond, and when she sent me a message on FB, I told her that I wasn’t interested at all and that she’s welcome to say hello, just no MLM talk.

  4. Most people can smell an ulterior motive a mile away. That person who the MK lady is ‘reconnecting’ with is probably getting an ill feeling in the pit of their stomach when the MK lady starts talking about her ‘business’. I personally resent when people seek me out to ‘reconnect’ (especially if we were never really connected all that much in the first place) or under the guise of friendship to push their MLM on me and I am sure I am not the only one.

    I also think asking for help to reach a goal is tacky. I wouldn’t ask you to help clean my garage or run errands for me for free. I don’t want to ‘help’ with your MLM, especially since it is a tactic for roping me to spend money on it.

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