A Mary Kay DIQ wrote seeking advice on becoming an ethical Sales Director in MK:

I found your site on accident over a year ago when I began my business. I pop in occasionally just out of curiosity to see what is being said. While I disagree with a lot of the points that are made, I can identify with the emotion and hurt that are behind those defenses.

I am currently in my 2nd month of DIQ and am working on finishing my 3rd month of car qualification, and while this is a really exciting time, I am not completely happy with the way I am being taught to do things. I.e: get production from recruiting new consultants who purchase large amounts of inventory (rather than train my current team to sell the product and consistently have a legitimate need to reorder product), put inventory orders and starter kits on my OWN credit card and have them pay me later, expect my husband to cook/clean/do laundry when I am fully capable of doing at least part if not all of that, guilt my best friends into joining by telling them I NEED them to or they aren’t my real friend, etc.

I have never had a problem with selling the product, and consistently sell $1800-$2000 every month, and I truly enjoy meeting new people at the appointments I hold. Where I am starting to lose my enthusiasm though, is in the tactics I have been taught to get orders out at the last of the month. Like offering outrageous ‘incentives.” Shouldn’t 50% profit be a good enough incentive?

I am writing because I do feel that I would make a great SALES director, but with what I have been taught so far in DIQ from my soon-to-be-senior, I can see why you all here had such a bad taste in your mouth. So I am writing to ask, what tips would you have for me to actually be an ethical, respectable, and relatable Sales Director as opposed to what is apparently and unfortunately the ‘norm’? I will not turn into what I have been seeing lately as that is against all I stand for.

Thank you for your input!

-Don’t want to be a DIQuitter


  1. Oh, dear, sweet, innocent, OP. The short answer is, you can’t be a great, ethical sales director in Mary Kay. It’s simply not possible.

    You say you’ve been reading PT for a year, but you seem to think that the people posting here had bad experiences because there are a few unethical individuals in MK, and that we have a bad taste because of a few bad apples. The truth is that the system itself is designed for the majority of consultants to fail. There’s no possible way for a multi-level marketing company to survive otherwise. If you haven’t yet, watch Lula Rich on Amazon. While I personally think that the founders of Lula Roe are more over-the-top than Mary Kay was, the flaws that created its meteoric rise and catastrophic crash are inherent to MLMs and exist in Mary Kay. The only thing that prevented MK from doing the same thing is the lack of social media in 1963.

    You believe that people can make money selling the product, and some can. Like you. If you’re really selling $1,800-2,000 per month, you’re probably seeing some profit. But you are the outlier, not the norm. It’s ok, I was, too. And I spent years frustrated with my team who wasn’t able to sell like I could. I thought I could train them out of it, or motivate them out of it, or inspire them out of it. Or something. But I couldn’t. Because it’s not normal to have a profitable selling business in Mary Kay. You are competing against Sephora, Ulta, drug stores, Amazon, and Ebay, not to mention gazillions of other consultants out there trying to do exactly what you’re currently trying to do. The market is oversaturated, consumers have too many other choices, and the services you’re trying to offer to inspire loyalty are over-hyped.

    I would challenge you to take a hard look at your profit numbers. You throw around “50% profit” as though that’s reality. It’s not–I know it and you know it. How much are you really profiting from your sales? Calculate Section 2, shipping, postage, mileage, giveaways, discounts, hostess gifts, meeting room fees, events, and all the rest of it. Just do that for October (a month without a company-sponsored event to eat away at your money) and calculate your profit percentage. My bet is it’s closer to 25% if you’re lucky.

    While you’re taking a hard look at things, look at the training the company is providing to you as a DIQ. We can leave your sales director out of the equation since even you acknowledge that she’s doing things unethically. Is it sales training? Training on how to teach your consultants to sell to make production? Or is it how to recruit? Yep, it’s all about how to recruit, and how to “help” your recruits start with “profit-level” inventory.

    Listen, I know it’s disappointing. But without front-loading consultants, you can’t finish DIQ. And that’s the tip of the iceberg. You can’t operate a successful unit without constantly recruiting new consultants and starting them with large inventory orders. Others on this site have tried and ultimately quit because it doesn’t work.

    There are two kinds of directors in Mary Kay: those who are not ethical, respectable, or relatable. And those who quit. It’s up to you to decide which of those you want to be.

  2. You are asking the wrong question. If you want to make an honest living in Mary Kay:
    – Don’t recruit. Just grow your retail business
    – Don’t sell to family and friends (unless they ask)
    – Minimize your costs to bring value to your customers. Get as much stock as possible from GOOB sales so your customers will pay less than your competing Mary Kay retailers. This will increase your margins while impressing your customers
    – Be honest about product that is soon to be discontinued
    – Be honest about the opportunity. If asked about recruiting, tell them 99% lose money in endless-chain recruiting schemes like Mary Kay, so you won’t be part of that
    – Be honest about personal use consultants…that they will be comitting to $1000/year spend with Mary Kay to maintain the discount. It would be cheaper in the long run just to buy from you

    What makes MLMs like Mary Kay unethical is the endless-chain recruiting coupled with the exploitation of personal relationships. Avoid those big two pitfalls and you will be well positioned to run a legit retail business.

  3. Norms only become norms because they are things that work.

    The MLM business model isn’t about retail sales to end users. It’s about collecting commissions on the product people under you order. If they don’t order, you don’t make money, you don’t get to be a director, you don’t get to drive that “free” car, period. If they don’t order a minimum amount every month, you lose your title. That’s the norm for MLM.

    This is why it’s the norm for directors move heaven and earth to get their people to order inventory when they haven’t sold a thing all month, particularly towards the end of the month. They don’t need to order, they don’t want to order, you need them to order, you’ll have to come up with ways to make them order. Welcome to your new normal.

    Unfortunately, that’s also the end of the parts of the business that you like: meeting up with clients and selling product. Because in order to hold onto your title, you’ll be spending that time instead trying to get your team to order enough to keep your title, wearing yourself out recruiting to replace the people who punk out on you, Because that’s the norm, too

    In MLM, “ethical director” is an oxymoron.

    I don’t think people find this site by accident. If a doctor tells you the cure for your athlete’s foot is Tinactin and keeping your feet dry, you’re not going to seek out a second opinion. If the doctor tells you the only cure is amputating both legs at the hip, you’re gonna seek out a second opinion.

    You’re only 2/3 of the way into DIQ and not liking what you’re seeking. You’re uneasy enough to write in to “the enemy” with your concerns. You’ve read the stories here, over and over the people who thought the same as you: they were going to be ethical directors, training a top-notch sales team who made their money the right way, by selling product, and turning into that crazy frazzled director who’s constantly riding her people’s backs in order to make production. Because that’s the norm for MK.

    Quitting isn’t always bad. No one would blame you if you quit a regular job with crappy pay, coworkers who harassed you, and a boss who treated you like garbage. Or quitting a sport that you hate and are bad at.

    My advice is get out now before you turn into someone you won’t like. Since you enjoy meeting people and selling, look into becoming an esthetician, makeup artist, or salesperson at a place like Ulta or Sephora, or the cosmetics department in a store. You’ll meet and help lots of people and I guarantee you’ll make better money, and possibly benefits, as well 🙂

    Listen to your gut and good luck! 😀

  4. “-Don’t want to be a DIQuitter”? That “DIQuitter” indicates your SD is using a “thought terminating cliche” on you to keep you hooked while she reaps the commissions from you.

    Quitting is NOT a bad thing. It indicates that you have analyzed the facts and realized that it is not going to work out as you planned, or as you were led to believe. You know who did NOT quit? The Donner Party did not quit, and they ended up mostly dead and partly eaten. You know who DID quit? Bill Gates quit college! Harrison Ford quit carpentry for acting and then quit acting for carpentry and then quit carpentry for acting AGAIN.

  5. Either keep your couple customers who make you that small profit or run while you can. 99% of people lose money in MLM’s.

  6. OMG! Thought distortions 101! Clichés that are meant to create doubt and action even though there is no basis in reality. DIQuitter is at the rip-off the list. Really? You’re an intelligent adult. Where else in your life would you allow such phrases to make you do anything? Listen to the logic fleeting through your thoughts. You know better!

    Ask the why? Why? Why? Questions.

  7. Please, be a DIQuitter. Get a real sales job, you’d be awesome at it. It’s great that you can sell $2000 a month to retail customers that like the product and like you, but that’s nowhere close to a full time income and with MK margins and the amount of work it takes, you aren’t going to develop a full time income doing it your way.

    There are outside sales jobs out there that offer the same freedom and independence as network marketing, and that can give you a full time income. If you like makeup and cosmetics, get a sales job with a makeup brand where you can spend your days calling on department stores, showing and demonstrating products to their employees. Or if you have another interest, any interest, there’s a good sales job in there somewhere.

    Good Luck!

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