Talk Your Friend Out of Mary Kay

We often get the same question from family and friends of someone who has fallen victim to the Mary Kay Cosmetics scam: How do I talk my friend of of Mary Kay? If the friend, husband, sister, mother, etc. is coming to us with this question, it’s likely that they have already talked to the new consultant and received a lot of pushback.

The new Mary Kay consultant has probably parroted talking points from her director: there will be people saying negative things about any company, I don’t need to stockpile inventory, I can work as little or as much as I want to, it’s not a get-rich-quick scheme, and so on…

If your loved one is determined to try Mary Kay (at least for now), what can you do to talk some sense into her? It’s a sticky situation because if you are too forceful in your negative comments, she may avoid you all together. So here’s a different tactic from our member MLM Radar. See how this might work for you…

My BFF was in the same box with another MLM. I tried the approach of being her business coach.

  1. Set a stop-loss deadline. Small businesses which are successful are taking in enough income to cover their current expenses within 6 months. (Debt repayment comes later.) Can she agree to look at her situation in six months and walk away if she isn’t making enough sales to cover her current expenses?
  2. To make a sale you’re going to need to make home presentations. You need to book two to hold one. You need to talk to 10 to book one. After you’ve called all your family and friends you’re dealing with people you’ve barely know. You may need to call 20 new people to talk to one. Do the math and you may need to call 400 people every week to book two appointments. Where are you going to get the phone numbers? Did you get any new numbers this week?
  3. How many hours have you spent on the phone this week trying to schedule home presentations? How many appointments did you set? You can’t count phone calls from your director for training and motivation. Your director isn’t a potential customer.
  4. You have to sell to 3 or 5 before you find one who may be interested in being a recruit. But since you both have the same circle of friends, are you willing to give up half the people who are your future customers? The only reason to recruit is that you have more customers than you can handle yourself. Do you have that many customers? Should you be even thinking of recruiting (“sharing”) if you don’t have enough sales to cover your current expenses?

When I tried this approach it didn’t take long before my BFF got frustrated. Her director, of course, kept trying to feed her the “dream.” At that point my BFF had to make a choice between her director and me. It wasn’t an easy choice for her, but she did decide that she valued my friendship, and that trying to sell/recruit me was not an option.


  1. The stop-loss deadline was what finally got me. Hubs and I sat down and said if I’m not earning enough to pay bills by July, I’ll get another job. The emotional turmoil that happened when that day came was indescribable. But I can confidently say that life is 1000% better having escaped and rebuilt.

  2. MLM Radar, the beauty in your approach is the simplicity. For those who are close to a new recruit, you can also help them set up and keep an accurate ledger. Go over it with them weekly or monthly to make sure they are recording everything, including their time.

    You won’t need to point out the recurring and cumulative losses…these will be obvious. But you can ask, “How much are you willing to lose? What is your deadline for turning a profit?”

    Without a ledger it is easy for the up-line to confuse the new recruit into believing their bonus checks are profits, even though they are actually operating with recurring losses.

    Bottom line: be supportive in helping them discover the truth. This can be done without judgement.


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