Once you start Mary Kay, one of the most important aspects of your new business is finding new people to sell to. How do you find people that want to buy Mary Kay? Whether you choose to only sell the product or sell the product and offer the Mary Kay opportunity, you need to find people that will be interested in what you are selling. It is possible to make a lot of money selling Mary Kay if you know where to look for customers.
Not too long ago, I posted some thoughts about this process here. Shades of Pink (a commenter here) has written some excellent thoughts on this subject here, here and here. I think though that because of the very important nature of this subject, it is worthwhile to present another perspective.
What are considered good methods of soliciting new business? When should you be persistent? How persistent should you be? When does persistent become pushy? What is the appropriate balance of professionalism and personal interaction? None of these questions have a “right” answer that roundly applies to all situations. Chances are you are going to make a mistake, so relax, figure out which side you would rather err on and set your course! Allow me to illustrate.
In life, we all filter who we choose to interact with based on a number of predetermined factors. Depending on how “outgoing” you are these filters may be very strict or very loose. If you are a so called social butterfly, your filter may be, “I say ‘hi’ to everyone I see; if they greet me in return, chances are we will end up acquaintances.” If you are a so called wallflower, your filter may be, “I never speak unless spoken to, and even then, only if you are absolutely fascinating.” Chances are you fall somewhere in between these two extremes. Your filters may be based on gender (I only talk to females), age (I only talk to people that are older than me), or any number of sets of “qualifiers”. These filters can (and most likely will) change as your life fluctuates. For instance, you may thoroughly enjoy sitting with old men and women and listening for hours at a time as they tell stories from their childhood. But, in the course of time, you get married, have kids, join a bowling league and start a garden. All of a sudden, you realize that you don’t have hours to sit listening to those stories any more. Now one of your ‘filters’ may be that you avoid open-ended, one-on-one conversations with old people.
One of the major things that can influence how we form our filters is starting a career in sales! If you were previously a wallflower, you may need to loosen up and approach some people on your own initiative. You may find yourself evaluating whether or not to approach someone based on things like how likely it is that she would be interested in Mary Kay. It is foreseeable that this could lead to someone becoming a person that is only interested in people if they are interested in purchasing from them. It is these people that are accused of seeing people as dollar signs. So how do you simultaneously avoid striking up unbeneficial conversations and also avoid being so profit focused that you only offer shallow insincere compliments to people that you could care less about? The most important thing is one of the core values of Mary Kay.
From the Mary Kay website:
“Mary Kay made it clear that she did not like pushy salespeople. While tenacity and perseverance are certainly important qualities for success in any sales-oriented business, we have found that the most successful Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultants approach sales and recruiting by consistently applying the Golden Rule; using their own good judgment along with a loving and caring spirit. As a result, when making decisions about your sales and recruiting activities, we always recommend that you put yourself in the other person’s shoes, remembering to treat them only as you would want to be treated. As Mary Kay often said, “You have a wealth of influence, and everyone you meet forms an impression of you by your words and actions. So make the Golden Rule your way of life.”
Treat people the way you want to be treated! It is really very simple. In every circumstance you find yourself, every person that you interact with will be different. If your motives are genuinely to see their best interests come about, you will always succeed. You may find people that are not interested. By letting them know that you appreciate their time and parting ways, you have succeeded in giving them what they really wanted! Shades of Pink makes an excellent point about the difficulty knowing whether a ‘no’ is a ‘no, never, don’t ever ask me again’ or a ‘no, not right now’ and how easy you can figure that out with a simple question or two. When someone says ‘no’, it is not very difficult to ask, “Would you like me to call you again in a few months?” A few simple questions like this one can help you understand what they are really looking for and how you can best serve them!
As you navigate your way through this process of choosing who to approach, and treating them the way you would want to be treated it is very important to remember that if they say no, they are rejecting the product (or opportunity) only. They are not rejecting you personally. Ironically, the old adage, “It’s not personal, It’s just business” can apply here. The rejection you experience has nothing to do with you. Not everyone will want to try Mary Kay. Not all of the ones that try it will buy it. This is where the phrase, “it’s just a numbers game comes in”. As a sales person, you must know your ratios. If you have to talk to 10 people to get someone to try it, and 10 people have to try it before they buy it, and you need 10 people to buy it every week, then you have a lot of talking to do! Using these numbers, you have to talk to 1,000 people every week to get those 10 sales. You may not need 10 sales, but for the sake of argument let’s use these numbers, and assume that each of those ten sales placed a $100 order which resulted in $50 to you and approximately $500/week. This would mean $26,000/year and about $2,160/month. Your goal may be less, it may be more. Talking to 1,000 people may seem outrageous, but this is where facial boxes (or fishbowls?) can be really handy! If you set a box somewhere that a lot of people see it, you can get hundreds of “no’s” that you never have to hear! All you ‘hear’ are the “yes’s”, when you go pick up the box! Regardless, once you figure out what your numbers are, you can adequately examine how many people you need to talk to in order to make the kind of money that you want to make. I believe that my 10:10:10 ratio is probably flawed as my wife is already making this much money and I don’t think that she talks to 1,000 people every week!
Also keep in mind that when you gain a ‘regular client’, the conversions you have with them will enter a different ratio. For people that trust you, like you, and enjoy the product you offer, you will probably find your ratio to be more like 10:10 or 9:10. That is why it is so important that you treat your customers right! My wife has been a consultant for a year and a half and has about 200 clients. Some of these, will call her when they are about to run out. Some of them will order when she calls. Some will say, “I already bought brand x this time”. I don’t know off the top of my head what her ratios are for client re-orders, but I know that everyone I talk to really like their Mary Kay product and have no reason to buy from anyone else!
The bottom line is that if you want people to buy what you are selling, you have to let them know you are selling it. There are many ways to do this. In determining what methods and tactics you will use, keep in mind that the right way is always the best way. When you treat people the right way, they will appreciate it. Treat them poorly, and the first chance they get, they will disappear. It is well worth your while to earn your clients while exercising the golden rule. Your business and your clients will thank you for it!
Please help this conversation out by leaving some of the ways that you have found to be either:
- Successful methods you have found for finding clients
- Distasteful things MK reps have done that made you cringe
It is entirely possible that something that seems like a good idea to one person is actually incredibly offensive from someone else’s perspective. Your thoughts are always welcome here!