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Is it easy to sell Mary Kay?

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November 22, 2010
by Lacy Sereduk

I recently interviewed two Mary Kay distributors and two potential clients.  With only two women, it wasn’t really a party but the Mary Kay ladies attempted to make it as fun as possible.  Here’s my account of the sales process.

It all starts with a woman being called by a distributor, “Hi, my name is so-and-so and you have a Secret Sister that wants you to have a night of fun and pampering a long with a gift card for Mary Kay!  When do you want to set that up?”  We’ll call this distributor Dina.

The unwitting female selects a friend to attend with them under the ruse that they’ll receive a “goody bag” with treats and product.  The two ladies arrive at what looks to be an office strip mall in the middle of an industrial lot.  They arrived before distributor Dina so a different distributor, Janie, lets them in.

They make their way inside with ooh’s and ahh’s for the memorabilia on the walls.  Pink walls, pink cups, even a pink coffee pot greet them in the little kitchen area.  They’re seated on a couch in a little room while Janie calls around to try and find out who asked them to come and whether or not the distributor was planning on showing up.  We’ll call our clients Holly and Molly.

After about half an hour of waiting, Dina finally shows up all bustling and brimming with joy and good will.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that her make up wasn’t over done and she actually looked normal.  Janie’s make up was also properly and appropriately applied.  The two potential clients, Holly and Molly, were bare faced and stated that they never wore make up.

The Mary Kay consultant ‘Dina’ stated she had been in the industry both full and part time for 14 years.  She loves selling Mary Kay because she likes to make women feel beautiful.  When asked about her previous experience, she stated she had been fired from the majority of her most recent employments so she decided to try Mary Kay full time and feels that she is doing well at it.  Our consultant ‘Janie’ stated she had been selling for roughly 9 months and makes about $300 – $500 a month in commission.  She was a stay at home mom before she started with Mary Kay.

At first, I thought Holly and Molly would be a tough sell as they stated they don’t wear make up but, after putting about 6 different products on their face, 2 on their lips, and at least 2 on their hands, they were discussing what they wanted to purchase.  At the end of the application of products, they were instructed by Dina to look into their mirrors and say, “I look pretty.”  -Neither of them would do this.

Next up was a lead generation.  Holly and Molly were asked to write down the names and phone numbers of all of their female friends that might want a little pampering.  The woman that gave the most names would receive a free product.  Holly, the younger of the clients, filled out her entire sheet as she just had to win the free product and beat Molly (who happened to be her mother) in names.  She won a lipstick.

After this little contest, the clients are told that Dina and Janie would be contacting the females on the list to offer them the same pampering session along with a $10 gift card.  Holly and Molly didn’t appear to understand at this point that they didn’t actually have a friend that bought them a gift card.  It didn’t seem to register that their name was given to the Mary Kay distributor purely so someone could win a lipstick.

Next, the clients were asked to fill out a questionnaire; one of the questions being somewhat loaded looked a bit like this:

  • I’m interested in being a Mary Kay distributor because:
    • I want to earn some extra money
    • I want to spend more time w/ my family
    • I want to help women feel beautiful
    • I want to build a residual income

‘I’m not interested’ wasn’t an option.  This led to the sales sheet.  It wasn’t like an Avon sale, you don’t look through the catalog and pick out what you want to order.  You look at one piece of paper with 3 sets ranging from $99 to $299 and you’re asked which one you’d like to order.  Surprisingly, Holly and her mother Molly (the clients that don’t wear make up) were discussing buying the $299 set to share between them.  They didn’t place an order because they were short on funds so hostess Dina offered to take their credit card info and let them pay for it at a later date.  The clients started scheming as to how and when they would have enough money to buy the $299.00 Queen of Everything set.

This drew the party to a close but Holly and Molly still needed to receive their ‘goody bags’ with the before promised treats and product.  I’m assuming that each distributor can choose what to put in their goody bags but this seems to be the standard.  I was given one as well so I’ll share it with you.

One sandwich sized plastic zip lock bag:

  • 3 Starburst fruit candies,
  • 3 Hershey’s asst. candies,
  • 1 curled piece of ribbon for color,
  • 1 business card,
  • 1 tri-fold color card
    • 3 shades eyeshadow for blending
    • 1 shade rouge
    • 1 shade lipstick

In my opinion, the consultants did a good job.  If Holly & Molly had been offered the catalog, they may have made a small purchase.  From their conversations, I could glean that they weren’t exactly rolling in disposable income.  Dina’s pitch seemed to be more about getting the clients to become distributors rather than selling them products.  She pushed the large sale, distributorship, or nothing at all.  I asked about a catalog and was actually given one to take with me by Janie.  Dina didn’t sell, Holly & Molly didn’t become distributors, but Dina did get upwards of 20 more people to call for party’s plus the opportunity to schedule an in home party with Holly for “more free product & goodies!”

The start up cost to become a distributor is $100 plus taxes and shipping for a distributor kit.  Through the month of November, Mary Kay is running a special so you can purchase your starter kit for $75.  You also have the chance to get $100 off your first product order, free business cards, catalogs, email business announcement, and 50% off your web site subscription if you place an order for $1200 retail ($600 wholesale cost) by December 31st but no later than 15 days after you sign your initial consultant agreement prior to November 30th.  In order to maintain distributor status, you must purchase $200 wholesale ($400 retail) worth of products in one order every 12 months.

If you are a Mary Kay distributor and want to tell us about your experiences, take our survey here.  If you’re interested in becoming a Mary Kay distributor and want some more information, check out our review page or contact Mary Kay at 1-800-Mary Kay.

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