Is it so wrong?

In MK Blogland, on the “dark side”, they more than hint that MK consultants, directors, and MKC are unethical or wrong to work their businesses in certain manners. Such unethical/wrong behaviors include:

1. MKC enticing consultants to place larger orders by offering prizes.
2. “Warm Stalking”/ “Warm Chatter”: Talking to strangers about MK
3. Discussing inventory
4. Recruiting
5. Using credit to start the business

MK Rules says, “Is it so wrong?”. Here is my rebuttal to these so-called unethical behaviors:

1. MKC enticing consultants to place larger orders by offering prizes.
This one is one of the “many” ways they claim MKC is “tricking” us into ordering. That’s pretty funny when you think about it! I do this with my customers! I don’t find it unethical or pressuring to do this. It’s called “business”. We are enticed at wal-mart, target, online: It is all around. “Buy XXX amount of XXXX product to get XXXXX”. You’d think if this was “brainwashing” the FTC would have caught on by now….

In reality, those who used thier own minds and credit/cash to purchase large orders for personal reasons did so, and some regret it. Regret does not upset me. We have all made mistakes. However, blaming someone else and in fact implying that consultants are too weak to make good decisions when it comes to inventory is offensive. Not having the personal power to say “no” to buying inventory does not give one the right to blame the company who sold it to them. I think we are smarter than that and in turn should be big enough people to take the responsiblity for our own actions.

2. “Warm Stalking”/ “Warm Chatter”: Talking to strangers about MK
While some will always give us a bad name by over-doing the warm chatter and never giving up on a lead, this is NOT the norm. I think most of us are wise enough to know that “no means next”. If you are hanging on to old fishbowl entries and old warm chatter leads instead of looking for new ones, that is affecting your business negatively. Sales moves at the speed of light and NEW customers are as important as old customers. Old leads, however, are cold. They have lost interest for whatever reason. While I feel it is ok to meet a new person and offer her your card or a chance to enter your drawing, let’s have the wisdom to be able to tell who is truly interested and who isn’t.

3. Discussing inventory
Each facet of MK has a different agenda: MKC is a wholesaler, so it makes perfect sense to me that they want us to be working, selling, and ordering. They know that if we don’t sell, most of us will sell our product back and surely they want to avoid this. But as a wholesaler, they also have to find ways to sell to us and make us want to sell to others. They know that if we have it, we will want to sell it more to move it. Customers will want to buy more because of impulse shopping and immediate delivery. Directors make commission on this, of course, and they will inform you of the benefits of inventory. Now, if a car sales person tells me all about the awesome new Ferrari, and how I can lease one for a “reasonable amount” (in his eyes), I still will not do it without some thought. It is the same with inventory. Almost all of us WANT it, but some cannot get it. If you can’t, don’t. It will be a little harder, but less costly up front. Any questions? Read number one again if you still think consultants are suckers….

4. Recruiting
Many anti-MKers and some even MKers think that recruiting is wrong. I beg to differ on this one! While recruiting someone who you know will most likely not do well can be controversial, you just never know. If someone wants an opportunity to make extra money, reach for the stars, or just give it a try, who are we to judge? I see recruiting as giving, not taking. I see it as giving them information, offering them choices, and letting them make the decision. Do I try to recruit every customer? Of course not! Not everyone has a need to be filled with MK. Some do not want extra money, think they are too busy, etc. If so, convincing them otherwise will work for a while, but if they never see the need for MK, they will go inactive shortly after starting. All this said, does that make recruiting “wrong”? Am I “deceiving” them or “tricking” them into thinking MK is a great company? No. I am merely filling a need in their life with MK. Nothing wrong with that!

5. Using credit to start the business
Credit for inventory is just like using credit for anything else. Some buy furniture on credit, some pay cash. It is personal choice. Let’s say I buy a car, planning to sell it in a few years. I buy it on credit/financing. Now a few years pass, and I attempt to sell my car. I send an email to my friends/family announcing I am now selling my car! No one is interested. Let’s say in 2 weeks I try the same method. No response. I choose not to find anyone esle to buy my car by putting up flyers, talking to people that I know, asking my friends/family if they know anyone who would be interested. I give up, so angry that I cannot sell my car. “If only that salesperson hadn’t pressured me to get it on credit!”, I exclaim. Do you see my point here?

We make the decision to use credit or not. It is not right or wrong, it is a personal decision. We make the decision to continue to try to sell the product or rather mentally give up and stop looking for new buyers. The only one to blame for debt is yourself. We can work and pay it off, making it an investment, or we can let it sit in the garage or office…therefore letting it become a debt! Work it girls and make it an investment!

So, are there people who will try to deceive you in this business? YES. Are we smart enough to see through that, do our own research, put the pressure on THEM by saying we are out if they pressure does not stop? YES. That is called negotiating and it a big part of every business. So is it so wrong? Are we victims of a business driven society? No. Personal responsibility is part of being an adult.

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13 Comments

Filed under Direct Sales, MK Blogs, Money Management, Real life answers, Team Building

13 responses to “Is it so wrong?

  1. I’ve been lurking for some time now. I agree with you, mkrules. Also, I believe this business is no different then any other that involves offering an opportunity to someone else. ie colleges recruit, employers, and the military just to name a few. Some of these even offer incentives either bonuses or awards.

  2. Hi Martie: Thanks for your opinion!
    Yes, I just am curious if “victims” of MK are “victims” in all other areas of life…

  3. shadesofpink

    Kudos to you, MKR! You said what I’ve been thinking for awhile now. 🙂 I started my business with a medium inventory on a 0% interest credit card. Sometimes, in anticipation of a selling event, I might order a little more on credit to be prepared (my choice! no one told me to do that). If I didn’t sell it or an appointment canceled, well, that’s life. Live and learn. So, I don’t do that anymore. Was I a victim? Only if I perceive myself to be. Sometimes, I think “victim” is a state of mind.
    As far as incentives to order from MKC–of course they will offer that. As far as I know, pretty much any wholesaler offers incentives to its dealers/potential dealers to continue to retail its product. Um…that’s business. Then, we, as consultants will offer incentives to our customers to buy the products from us.
    In recruiting matters, I am like you. I offer the opportunity if I think someone would benefit from what it has to offer. I don’t do it to make money off of them! That is just a bonus. Sometimes, people actually ask me about how I make money in MK. So, I tell them that aside from selling, I can also build a team. I told a friend of mine about the recruiting side and I said that if she wanted more information, I can arrange that. I also said that if I meet someone who is interested in signing up, then when they sign up and start selling the products, MKC sends me a check just to say “thank you.” Because, after all, that’s what it is. I have more to say, but I have to head to the university for a Marketing meeting! 😉

  4. colleen

    1. MKC enticing consultants to place larger orders by offering prizes.-nothing wrong with that at all most companies give some type of incentive cheap or expensive.
    2. “Warm Stalking”/ “Warm Chatter -only if you dont offend someone I see nothing wrong with spending a whole day giving out your card if you wish people do it with fliers all of the time. If there is a no soliciting sign then thats different.
    3. Discussing inventory-that is something you HAVE to do if you are going to recruit someone and ALL of the options should be laid out not just 600 dollars and up.
    4. Recruiting- that is building a business and is the icing on the cake and if you tell them its MK not a business meeting or just a time to get together and be a model Im all for recruiting.
    5. Using credit to start the business-If you have a good business head and have discipline (or are willing to learn) most businesses start off this way.
    Unless someone has 10 classes booked that hold I dont think that anyone should start with a 3600 because they need to learn how to turn over their inventory. I think that 2400 is more like it if you are going to do this a lot or full time. The only time I would waive that is if you are in DIQ and you need the extra production and the person is willing to do it but she needs to learn how to sell it quickly or she will cry in her sleep or return the products back to the company.

  5. shadesofpink

    Those are excellent points, Colleen. 🙂

  6. New To Pink

    Wow ladies, you have been busy since I was last on. I totally agree with all of you! Thanks for saying what a lot of us have wanted to say all along. 🙂

  7. I really like this post, MK Rules!

    Here are some of my comments to add:

    #1) Using contests/prizes to get consultants to place orders: Please name a company that DOESN’T do this! Car manufacturers give dealerships incentives to order a certain number of a certain model of vehicles (just so you know, if a dealership shows you the “invoice price” of a new vehicle you’re thinking of purchasing, that’s not necessarily the actual price paid to the manufacturer by the dealership!). And how many tire stores do promos where you buy 3 tires and get the 4th free!

    I have a “club card” at Papa Murphy’s, Dippin Dots, Safeway, Frys, etc. The more I purchase, the more “perks” I get! At Papa Murphy’s and Dippin Dots, when I place 9 orders, I get the 10th free. At Safeway and Frys, for every $100 I spend on groceries, I get $0.10 off per gallon of gas on my next fill!

    #2) Talking to strangers about your biz: Direct sellers aren’t the only ones who do that! Mechanics, employed salespeople, virtual assistants, wedding planners, basically anyone who has a service or sells something does this! Whenever you go to a home and garden show, health fair, women’s expo, bridal show…what are all the vendors doing? They’re certainly not there because they thought it would be a wonderful way to spend three days!

    I have a friend who just started his own mechanic’s shop. He was telling everyone about his new business, just so he could have work lined up when he opened his shop. Within a week, he had two-weeks’ worth of work waiting for him to open his doors, and he didn’t even have his garage finished yet!

    Many other businesses also work on referrals. At my recent chiropractor appointment, I was telling him about my daycare lady’s nerve problem. He gave me a card to give her for a free consultation. With that card and my testimonial, he now has a new customer!

    #3) Inventory. On this one, I do think directors should not make it sound like your business will fail or you will not have “profit” if you do not have inventory. And if a consultant decides she wants inventory, the director should have the new consultant WITH her when she places the inventory order, so the consultant knows what she’ll be getting and how to use/demo/sell it. And before inventory is ordered, the consultant should have held at least 4-5 scc’s, so she can get a feel for what her customers will be ordering, and that she CAN do classes, and that she CAN get bookings.

    I don’t carry inventory for my current biz for regular parties. I got burned too badly with stuff I couldn’t sell in MK (a bunch of Limited Edition stuff that ended up being obsolete and no longer listed in the Look Books the very next month!). My customers understand that they will get their items shipped to them and will get them within a week. Many tell me the day they get their package in the mail, it’s like Christmas for them and their partners!

    I use the fact that I don’t carry inventory to my advantage, actually! If they want something to take home that night, they have to book a party. When they book, they get a little sampler package with a bunch of creams, massage lotions, and “mini-toys” to take home. And at the night of her party, she will get a really nice hostess gift with more toys, lotions, and a DVD she can use right away (after everyone leaves, of course!).

    #4) Recruiting. This one is interesting. Of course, direct sellers recruit. But I know many business owners that recruit when they need new hires rather than placing ads in the paper or going through Job Service. Many of them hate placing ads/Job Service because they get a lot of “lazy” people they have to weed through. Instead, they opt for word or mouth referrals (telling people they know, like, and trust that they’re hiring so if they know anybody…).

    A friend of mine owns a landscaping/carpet cleaning business. He finds new hires by going to Wal-Mart, Menards, the grocery store, etc. and just observes the way the people work. If he likes that they seem to have good work ethics and work hard, he hands them a card and says he’s looking for someone at such and such per hour, and if they’re interested to let him know.

    I actually got my first job out of high school that way—I went with my husband (who was just my boyfriend at the time) to an implement dealership (he was going to tech school and wanted to intern) and after talking to the shop manager a little while, got hired to detail the farm machinery—and I wasn’t even looking for a job at the time!

    #5) Credit. This goes along the inventory thing. Some people who are unable to get credit are made-out to be failures from the get-go since they couldn’t start with the inventory that their new director said was a MUST if the new consultant wants to make a profit! The directors unwittingly make the new consultant feel bad by stressing how important carrying “profit level” inventory is, then when the consultant can’t obtain proper credit to get it, she feels like she’s not able to start “properly” and many times ends up giving up before she even starts.

    One of my best friends signed up for MK about a year before I tried my hand at it. She was in and out in less than a month. She was so excited to start and all her friends (me, too!) booked classes with her and everything…then she got the inventory talk. All her cards were already maxed out and, while venting to me, said she joined to make money, not spend money she didn’t have! And she really got upset when the director told her to put ALL of her sales into inventory until she had “profit level”. She needed the extra money NOW (to help pay off her already huge credit card as well as some other bills), not when she reached “profit level.”

    Yes, you do need some type of credit to start a business, but direct sales businesses like MK, my romance biz, and others are meant for a person to be able to start their own business with as little money as possible, not thousands of dollars! Use credit for a brick-and-mortar business, not a direct selling business.

  8. When recruiting, I think it is important to prep your recruit for “the talk”. Let her know that your director will feel strongly that inventory is important, but it is not impossible to run your biz without it. I always make sure I say that it is possible to start with none at all, and if this is the only option, although it isn’t the best option, it can be done. I feel this is my responsibility as her recruiter because if she does not get all the info or is made to feel she cannot start without inventory, this reflects upon me as well. It will seem like I left this info out! I want to avoid that situation.

  9. Pink Biz

    A perfect way to describe the “talk”.

    I also make it known that business cards and a personal web site will be a consideration for them. Specifically, I let the recruit know that it’s my job to inform, and their job to make a decision on those three areas in their new business (inventory, bus cards, pws). That way the recruit has some working knowledge of what to expect after the $100 for the starter kit that is valued at so much more. I never have to consider later that they didn’t have all the details necessary to make an educated decision to begin Mary Kay.

  10. Martie: Yes, my hubby had to do his day of recruiting when he was in the army. It was not his cup of tea; he is more of an action oriented person rather than talking and paperwork.

    But you are right, many business do recruit. In fact, many businesses set up booths on college campuses to recruit people. Hmmm, sound familiar, ladies?

  11. Zalea

    Being raised around the Navy, and a former college girl, recruiting is just a way to find like-minded people to share the idea with. Nobody (who is operating their business in a smart, ethical manner) would forcibly make someone sign an agreement. My personal sucess plan is to bring anybody interested to at least one skincare class to observe how it works (hello, hostess) and if they still have questions, bring them to a weekly meeting to see the training and camraderie, and meet others whom the might relate to better and also some perspective from a Director or two. If that doesn’t scare them off, then it is their choice to sign the agreement, and they have to deal woth the consequences of their own sucess, or lack thereof. 🙂

  12. mkrules, good to hear your hubby was in the army. I retired last year after 22 years, it was time for a new career and to continue my education. I was a recruiter for a very short time (involuntary detailed). I didn’t care who enlisted them or what branch they enlisted into as long as they were happy. Had to many soldiers that weren’t satisfied for one reason or another, or didn’t listen. Anyway, I don’t believe these items are wrong. Other organizations do the same things. It’s just a way to motivate the consultants and help consultants build their businesses.
    Oh, if you look at recruiters/career counselors for other organizations, they will only tell you what you want to know at the moment. They won’t offer any additional information, unless asked. There will always be an unsatisfied individual and some will blame their recruiter or someone else.
    Love the above comments, great insight.

  13. amklover4life

    no one by no means will twist your arm to make you join the pink bubble.
    if you bash you really have never had the true mk experience!

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