Written by Frosty Rose
A common objection to joining Mary Kay is that the market is oversaturated. There are simply too many people trying to build a business selling the exact same product. “I understand how you feel,” the recruiter will reply. “I felt the same way, too, and asked my director that question before I felt comfortable starting my business. What I found is that a town can support as many sales directors as bank branches and your town doesn’t have nearly that many directors currently. There’s still plenty of room for new consultants, and even directors.”
Let’s break that down, shall we? Now, bear with me, because we’re about to deep dive into some true Mary Kay math (which is to say, entirely divorced from reality). But I’m using “typical” numbers, per several “well respected” national sales directors.
A sales director needs a minimum of 30 consultants to maintain her director status. If she wants that trophy on wheels, the pink Cadillac, she’ll need 75-100 (the reality is much higher but no one tells you that). But let’s go small and pretend she has 30.
Working consultants are encouraged to build a customer base of 100-200 skin care customers. Easy, right? Sure.
So, a unit of 30 consultants can expect to represent at least 3,000 faithful skin care customers. But, wait! The market isn’t saturated! Mary Kay only has 10% of the market share, leaving 90% of potential customers using the “wrong” brand. Assuming that every man, woman, and child in a town is a viable prospect for Mary Kay (ha!), we would need a population of about 30,000 people to support one sales director.
The town I grew up in has more than 10 bank branches for a population of less than 12,000.
There’s something broken with this formula, and it’s not my calculator.
Either our dear nationals are exaggerating the number of customers the “average” consultant has or the market is saturated. I would argue it’s both.
Anyone who’s been in Mary Kay for more than five minutes can tell you how difficult it is to hit that mark of 100 skin care customers. In over 12 years of working hard to build my business, I doubt I ever had more than 25-30 faithful skin care customers—that is customers who are using only MK skin care, not a mix of this serum combined with whatever cleanser and a moisturizer from somewhere else. The reason for this difficulty is quite simple. As soon as a customer orders a bunch of skin care, you book her as a hostess. That way she gets a discount on her order and you get to expand your network. And what do we do with our hostesses, ladies? That’s right, we recruit them! How else are you to get to director?
And is the market saturated? You don’t have to take my word for it, or your recruiter’s for that matter. Here’s how you test it. Pop over to your Facebook and say you’re looking for a consultant. While you’re waiting, pull up eBay and compare those list prices with the Look Book I know your consultant left with you. See the difference? In the meantime, how many comments do you have on that Facebook post? Ten? Twenty? More? Now consider, these women are selling the exact same product you hope to sell, from the exact same catalog, to the same market you hope to target (your friends and family). The only competitive edge you have is how deep a discount you’re willing to give them and how completely you’re willing to burn the relationship. And while we’re talking Mary Kay math, this is exactly why you can’t possibly hope to earn anywhere near 50% profit from your sales.