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

It’s Hard Getting Classes to Hold

Written by Rebecca

I was at Seminar and it was my third time in DIQ. (I would go through one more time before I hung up my heels.) I was on my way to the director’s meeting. My husband and I had just gotten off the plane, and I ditched my poor hubby with all our luggage, and ran like the wind in three inch heels to get to the meeting. Nothing quite like that red polyester jacket to give you a sauna treatment in Dallas, is there?

As I walked into the hotel, I met up with a new DIQ in our area who had also just finished her car. It was her first time through DIQ and she’d just signed 5 women the day before. Four of them activated the same day. She had 21 active consultants at the end of her third month. My jaw hit the floor. I had 20-some on my team, but only 11 active.

What was this chick doing?! She explained to me: “All you have to do is sit them down, sign the agreement online, and then without letting them think about it too long, have them fill out the MK Chase Visa credit card application. You get on the spot approvals, and then you just place their order. It all done in a little over an hour!” (She finished DIQ the following month, and taught at fall retreat about her methods).

Not only had that thought never occurred to me, I wasn’t sure how I felt about that. I’d long had reservations about telling women to buy inventory on a credit card, but since that was the MK way, I’d done it, albeit with a lot of hesitation and clarification during my inventory talks. (My director believed once you started DIQ, you were on your own, so I did it all for my recruits and their recruits – debuts, inventory orders, daily phone calls, etc. Gee, it’s so much fun to do a director’s work and not get paid for it. Woohoo!) So I walked the rest of the way to the meeting on my own, pondering this DIQ’s words.

Inside, there was a panel with the top directors in our area. As I stepped in the room, all the sales directors I knew came over and hugged me, which is what I loved about this whole business. Everyone knew me, and I loved being one person that always got asked for her scripts, as I cold called and booked better than anyone.

We got started and the question came up: “I’m having a hard time booking, and getting classes to hold. Have any of you had a problem getting solid classes, and if so, how did you fix it?” (As if this problem must be all her issue, and NO ONE else is having this problem except her… I wonder who convinced her that was the case?)

The question went to the panel. These directors were all half-million and up. There were the typical answers: you need to offer more, believe in your hostess credit, coach better, believe that what you have to offer is better than anything they will get elsewhere, etc.

A million dollar direct sat there silently, clearly warring with whether or not to make her statement. Finally, she held up a hand, and everyone grew silent. When you’ve done million, you get a modicum of respect. Her voice shook when she spoke. She said, “I don’t know what the numbers are, and I’m not sure why, but they are not always what we say they are. Women today are busier, have more going on in their lives, and are tired, ladies. I’m not sure what my numbers are, but I know that I have to call more than 10 to get them to book, and I have to book more than ten to get 5 to hold.” She continued on, stating that this may have a lot to do with why consultants get frustrated. She clearly did not want to alter the status quo, as she didn’t feel like she had a replacement answer, but she was training her girls that they had to do more to get results.

I was in the top three in my area. I was a seller, and I didn’t have a ton of inventory. I talked to my national, called her, was called by her, and knew her kids. We were close, given the relationship most consultants have with their national. So I’m not saying this to be nasty or exaggerate. My NSDs face closed down. This director had put her on the map as a national, and everyone loved this director. Treading carefully, my NSD poo-pooed what the director said in subtle, manipulative ways. “Things have changed for women over the years, and we do, in a service driven business, have to be sensitive to their needs. Depending on your geographic area, perhaps the numbers are different…” etc. etc. etc. I’m sure you can fill it in from there.

Can you imagine the whispers after that meeting? The director was practically apologizing at dinner that night. Here’s the deal – what they believe is so fragile, so founded in these roots of 30 faces, 30 days, 3+3+3, book 10 to hold 5, etc. that anything that flies in the face of that has to be silenced. Even if you have some serious sales chops, the cards are stacked against you.

When I got home from seminar, I (like a good little automaton) asked my director about the other director’s statement. She, of course, did damage control. But the first director’s words stuck with me. I did more calls, more numbers, worked through even more setbacks.

Over the next six months, I did an average of $1,300 wholesale each month. I didn’t carry a lot of inventory, so these orders represented actual sales of products. I had $1700 worth of inventory at the end, a logical amount for someone who sold as much as I did, over four years. I ordered what I SOLD – yet still didn’t show a dime of profit.

I finally came to realize that this is the norm in Mary Kay. Even if you are selling, the cards are stacked against you. The numbers they preach are a lie. It’s almost impossible to book consistently and have those appointments hold. But who in Mary Kay is willing to tell you the truth? Not the directors and not the NSDs.

7 Comments

  1. NayMKWay

    Rebecca’s story could have been told by a Pink Truth critic as proof we’re all wrong. After all, she was actually booking and selling. She made new friends in Mary Kay, was able to recruit without coercion, etc. (Sure, she wasn’t making any money, but that’s typical also; critics just don’t admit it.)

    Rebecca could work the system, but thanks to her clear thinking, she saw through the system. She saw it for what it is: a stacked deck, where the only sure winner is Mary Kay Corp. MKC may let a handful of NSDs earn big bucks, but those are a minority even of the NSDs, the supposed creme de la creme.

    Good on you, Rebecca, for keeping your eyes open and seeing through the pink fog. Thanks for sharing your story.

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  2. Kristen

    I wonder if a director (an NSD I guess) stood up and told the truth in front of a huge audience of Mary Kay followers if she would be allowed to finish or if she would be pulled offstage by the cane.

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  3. enorth

    “It’s almost impossible to book consistently and have those appointments hold”

    It will only continue to worsen. It will never improve. Besides, how many discounts, credits and freebies can you afford to give away? It’s a ridiculous “business.”

    Mary Kay up-lines will try to spin the “We’re pulling out of the pandemic and things are only going to get better!” Don’t believe it.

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  4. Char

    “I ordered what I SOLD – yet still didn’t show a dime of profit.”—

    MLM teaches you to target friends, family, and people in your social circle first. Can we think about that for a moment?

    I would feel extremely uncomfortable trying to make a commission markup and trying to upsell the people I know. I mean, who looks to profit off friends and family? Ewwww. Most probably don’t, and they wind up passing on the discount. Or, they are deluded into “sharing the opportunity” instead because it sounds less predatory.

    This is just another flaw within the MLM system when it comes to retailing product.

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    1. Destiny Angel

      My SiL was pro-active in keeping her MLM friends from me just after my husband died. The two who got through were friends of friends, an oily hun and a Pure Romance hun. I later found out it was because she didn’t want to upset her MLM-slinging friends as I don’t have much tact.

      The PR hun got a photo of her catalogue going through my shredder. I’m not too sure why she’d think I’d be in the market for sex-toys days after DH had died.

    2. Brainwashed no more

      I’ve lost friends this way. My director/ former friend convinced me to try to recruit a really good friend without her even trying the product. Lost her as a friend. Very sad about that. I was so brainwashed.

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