Monday, December 17, 2007

Of Mice and Car Dealerships

Atrocious misunderstanding of facts aside, Pink Truth continues to insist that Mary Kay is... is... well at this point, I am not even sure what they are insisting over there.

On the one hand, they are still complaining about how long it takes Mary Kay to "get current"

Done it said (at 5:31 today, Dec. 17):

"New shades of lipstick its about time!!!!"

While elsewhere, it seems many others are moaning about how hard it is going to be to get rid of their old lipstick. OR Complaining about losing their commission check when product gets returned. T-t-t-t-t-thats what happens when you front-load. T-t-t-t-t-t-t-thats why front-loading doesn't work. Oh yeah and aren't all of you "out" of Mary Kay? Why do you care what colors they have or don't have? Why do you care if a front-loading director "loses" their commissions? Isn't that kind of the justice they deserve?

Anyway, as I said, all that aside:

I have been wanting to draw a comparison of Mary Kay to something we are all at least a little familiar with. Car Dealerships and the Car Salesmen that work there!

I was pleasantly surprised by Raisinberry's comment today:

"mkdv24...oh you cracked me up!!! TRIPLE 21 ! What are they thinking???? If this was a real sales contest, they would just watch the sales and award the highest top ten... or top 100 and it would have NOTHING to do with a pre determined number, pulled out of the air.REAL SALES CONTESTS ARE BASED ON SELLING

Imagine the car dealer telling his salesmen that they win the trip to Cancun when they sell triple 21 cars! O my Lord...i used to FALL for this stuff!"

So, I will combine an answer to this, with my illustration. I hope it does not prove too confusing!

First of all, Shay (our star fleet commander ;) ) answered the question of sales contests excellently. You will have to go find her comment yourself as I am not sure it will make it to the main page as quickly as I would like. You should be able to see it - here -

I just wanted to point out to RB that a CAR and a TUBE of LIPSTICK are two different things. The CAR is going to cost ummm quick calculation..... at least several thousand dollars more than the lipstick. Totally different ballpark.

On the flip side of that... if you adjust your numbers, most car dealers (if not all) WILL say... If you sell x cars today/this month/this quarter, you will win xyz. To take it a step further, if you wanted to (as a salesman) you COULD buy the number of cars that it would take to reach that goal. BUT WHY?

Ok, now onto the illustration.

In a car dealership (not all, but most) you have the following "levels".
GM - General Manager (sometimes the owner doubles as GM)
GSM - General Sales Manager
SM - Sales Manager
Salesman. (sorry, no fancy initials here!)

Now, the owner wants to make money. In order for the owner to make the money he wants/needs to keep the business running and worthwhile he will determine how many cars need to be sold each month. (again, sometimes this task is relegated to the GM, the point is, the owner says, "we need to sell this many cars this month")

The owner tells the GM, "If you want to keep your job, this store better sell this many cars/make this much money". (He probably rarely uses the words "if you want to keep your job", but believe that it is WELL known that the target MUST be reached)

The GM, along with running all the day-to-day of the store, will sit down with the GSM. He will make sure that the GSM knows how many cars HAVE to move that month. They will probably strategize about what sales incentives to offer, what kinds of discounts they can offer, etc.

Now the GSM will get all his sales managers together and tell them what programs they are running. There will almost always be a, "sell this many and get this" sort of incentive. There are also, get this, incentives for how much money the salesman makes on the deal. If he sells a car that the dealership is "in" $7,000 - for $10,000 he will get less of a bonus than if he sells that same car for $12,000. I digress.

Now each sales manager goes to his department and tells his team (usually 4 0r 5 but it varies) how many cars they need to sell. THEN he says, "AND if you sell x cars today/this week/this month you will "WIN" xyz".

In short, "the car dealer telling his salesmen that they win the trip to Cancun when they sell triple 21 cars!" is REALLY not that far off.

More to the point, on the flip side of the prizes, the glitz, and "all that" the car sales business is BRUTAL.

First of all, ANY and ALL of the people in this equation are VERY disposable. If any of them from top to bottom, don't "make production" (yes they call it that there as well) they will be gone so fast that no one will even know where to find them.

Worse still, if you do "too good", you may be in danger. You see from the owner on down, no one in that world wants YOU to make money. They want as much of the pie as they can get. When an individual (esp. a sales manager) starts to do really well, he/she is in GREAT danger of whats known as a renegotiation of the terms.

They may start out receiving 20% of the PROFIT of each car. But if they start moving 20 cars a month, 20% becomes too big of paycheck and management starts feeling "ripped off". So all of a sudden, you get 5% of the profit of each car you sell.

What's that, you don't like that deal? Well you can always quit. I am not joking, nor am I exaggerating. It is really foolish because dealerships lose some of their best salespeople this way, but greed "has a way".

To wrap things up a little and in conclusion;

1. The "similarities" that Mary Kay shares to a "pyramid structure" can be seen in almost any sales organization - mlm or not.
2. The "deal" with Mary Kay is actually a LOT better than many other industries.
3. The fact that Mary Kay has a hierarchal structure that favors those "on the top" does not make it a pyramid scheme.
4. Sales incentives are often laid out with a goal. Again, read Shay's point on this one - its a good one.
5. You can find dishonest people in any industry. I have seen entire dealerships that are corrupt. From the owner to each sales person, you are almost guaranteed to get ripped off just from walking in the front door. Let's say that this dealership sells Mitsubishi. It would seem a bit silly to start a website levying vehement attacks against Mitsubishi Corporate because of this dealership. It would be even worse to levy attacks against EVERY individual Mitsubishi salesman because of this store.

Now, I guarantee you that you can find at least one Mitsubishi dealership that is this corrupt in every single one of the great 50 States. Still not a just cause to say that Mitsubishi is bad. Corruption is everywhere. I think that Pink Truth should perhaps simply change their name to "Anti-Capitalism", broaden their topic a little to include every industry in the world, and *pow* they will be MUCH closer to "doing what they say they are doing".


  1. I bet most PTers know more about MK now then they did when they were in MK. Maybe if they had spent as much time reading before they would have been able to do this businesses, honestly and ethically and made money! I have part time consultants that don't stay up on the colors, etc.. as much as these ex MKer's do.

    And does anyone chuckle as much as I do, I have read so many complaints about too many changes and then I read comments that it is about time we are changing the boring colors we have! mamma mia, which way is it??

    Things that make you go hmmmmmm!

  2. It does make you go hmmmmmm!

    It makes me feel a little weird that I am now keeping pace with my wife on all the changes!!!

    It used to be, "mmm thats nice".

    Now it's, "yeah, I know".

    And sometimes, "Did you know that..."!

    I hope that Robin Peters makes her way over here soon!

    She seems very bright and intelligent.

    Sometimes I get the feeling that her comment is like, "hmmm, well that does seem bad, but..."

    She would make a great addition to the team over here!

    I thought she was going to get the boot when she told them that most cosmetic companies adjust their colors to keep up with the current fashion season.

    Robin, if you have discovered us, I would love to hear from you. I would be saying this under one of your comments on PT, but alas...

    thanks mk4me

  3. Over at PT they are claiming corporate didnt give time to make the changes they let us know this was coming months ago!!! I think they gave plenty of time on the color changes and packaging.

  4. Car dealerships and other companies to not claim to be enriching anyone's lives. I think that is why MK is such a sore subject to some. They claim to enrich women's lives, put God first. Then you hear about so many higher ups who are doing anything but that. I expected more out of corporate.

  5. For me it is true, Mary Kay has truly enriched my life. Fact. My truth. Also I know that I have helped many other women. Different ways and different reasons but yes, also enriched lives. So it is a true statement. It just may not apply to 100% of the populations.

  6. speaking the real truthDecember 19, 2007 at 10:55 AM

    ditto MK4ME's post

  7. For all interested, just in case anyone has question it, STRT and
    MK4ME are two seperate directors and... as far as I know we do not know each other!

    Strange, that 2 directors sound exactly alike but we don't know each other and I am sure we probably come from different parts of the Country. I am from the North East, how about you STRT??

    So maybe the stories on pt sound like all the same stories but let's look back on this site in a year and see how many success stories all sound the same. "We become like those you hang around with" is a statement that as alot of truth to it!

  8. Judi,

    You said;

    "Car dealerships and other companies to not claim to be enriching anyone's lives. I think that is why MK is such a sore subject to some. They claim to enrich women's lives, put God first. Then you hear about so many higher ups who are doing anything but that. I expected more out of corporate."

    On the one hand, I would agree with this being a problem if Mary Kay claimed to be a non-profit, but was operating as a regular corporation.

    They ARE a business. They don't claim otherwise. In that context, they are a business that, as core values, attempt to honor God and enrich women's lives.

    They can not force everyone that signs a contract to do either of these things. If they tried to, they would surely face lawsuits.

    I believe that they (MKC) still try to uphold both of these core values. It is intriguing that so many of the women they have tried to help so vehemently reject and criticize the gesture.

    They are at their core, a cosmetic manufacturing company. They COULD distribute with a standard retail model. They COULD create exclusive relationships with ONLY specific (high end or low end) retailers. But they have chosen to allow anyone that wants to the privilege of representing them.

    This means that with no experience and $100, anyone can get the opportunity to start their own retail cosmetics business.

    Is that the best way to distribute a product? I really don't know.

    On the one hand, you get to be a huge blessing to many women.

    On the other hand, you take a lot of flack from critics. Placing the marketing of your product in the hands of 700,000 people in America is pretty risky.

    And in the extreme, misrepresentation of your company devastates the lives of some women.

    It seems a little unreasonable to "expect more" from MKC.

    I think it is safe to say that they could drop the whole MLM thing, sell to retail joints, use the current commission structure for "traditional advertising" and do just fine. But what about all the women that have come to love their Mary Kay business?

    It is a very interesting subject to get into, but simply put, it is unfair to just say you "expect more".

  9. mk4me,

    I am from north-east originally!

    Email what part (if you want)... I will be traveling there for the holidays and CAN'T WAIT for the nice cold weather and hopefully some snow!!!

    Although I am sure you are sick of it!!

  10. I'm from the Northeast, too, and it is COLD here! I want to move SOUTH! ;)

  11. Shades,

    Come on down!!!

    It was cold here today too.... low 60's dontyaknow!

    I lurv me some So Cal weather, but can't wait to get in that sub-zero, lung-freezing, brrrrrr!

    Wanna trade?

    Just for a week though!!!!

    Then imma cruz back down here where surfing in Jan. is "the right way"!!!

  12. David, tell you what, you never did tell us where that picture was from that you posted ages ago, I am still patiently waiting for the answer.

    Now I will give you a clue.. I am in the North East but not in New England. I have almost been late getting some place because I have had to follow Amish buggies and I was really upset when the Steelers lost to Jacksonville last weekend and do you know who Joe Paterno is?

    Can you guess??

    You will get two brownie points!

  13. mk4me-- I was also very upset when the Steelers lost to Jacksonville, but I could get hurt wearing Steelers gear in my town. ;)

  14. mk4me,

    Hmmm... your clues are less than helpful.

    It is not possible that you live near Pittsburgh AND Beaver Stadium AND Lancaster.

    I say Lancaster because coming from your ghetto neighbor to the east (New Jersey), the only parts of PA that we are familiar with are "Jersey Shore", Philly and "that place with all the Amish people. (I exaggerate slightly, because many "Jersey folk" actually live in PA - Bethlehem, Allentown, East Stroudsburg.. to name a few)

    So, I am sure that my narrow minded assumption that Lancaster is the only place to find the Amish should be the first thing to toss. So there goes all the "fun" places you could be from... I.E. "Bird in Hand, PA - Intercourse, PA - Overlook, PA - Slackwater, PA.

    I am not very familiar with Pittsburgh, but it does not seem like it would be a very attractive haven for the Amish and so is probably not you either.

    So I am going to say that if you grew up enjoying JoePa, you probably live close to the Nittany Lions. As I mentioned, I LOVE the irony of there being a "Jersey Shore" in Pennsylvania (no where near Jersey or the ocean) And Jersey Shore is only about an hour from Beaver Stadium sooo..

    Final Answer. In or around Jersey Shore.


    Other answers would be amongst the things discussed above! Do I get a prize for "mentioning" it?

  15. Shades,

    you must live in Philly.

    No one hates the Steelers more than Eagles fans!

  16. Oh wait, theres also;

    Raiders fans
    Cowboy fans
    Browns fans
    Packers fans

    I guess I have no idea where you are from!

  17. Nope, not Philly. There is another city that absolutely DESPISES the Pittsburgh Steelers. ;) I believe their records are tied right now...

  18. Amish buggies...hmm...I'm going to take a wild guess at MK4ME's guess is Volant, PA. I think that's the right town. It's in or near Amish country. ;)

  19. Hmmm,

    Cleveland Rocks; Cleveland Rocks?

  20. Also could be

    Seattle (not likely)
    Tampa Bay (not likely)
    New York (possibly)
    San Diego (would be close to me, but also not likely)

  21. You got me. I'm in the Cleveland area. :)

  22. Judi, you said:

    "Car dealerships and other companies to not claim to be enriching anyone's lives. I think that is why MK is such a sore subject to some. They claim to enrich women's lives, put God first. Then you hear about so many higher ups who are doing anything but that. I expected more out of corporate."

    Judi, would you please explain or cite the reference for your last two sentences. Are you referring to actions by directors, NSD's or MK corporate officers?

    Thank You.

  23. You guy's are good. I am close to "Jersey Shore" but not on the Jersey Shore, I am a Penn State fan now but was brought up a (VERY PROUD) Air Force Brat all over the world!

    I am not computer smart at all but can you tell where we are from our isp's are whatever those computer address are??

  24. oh and 2 brownie points for Dave
    and 2 brownie points for shades for
    being so close...

    by the way, I wouldn't tell you exactly where just cuz I like having a little mystery surrounding me. :)

    Yes, we have snow but not enough to get the snowmobiles out yet!

  25. mk4me,

    I can't reveal whether or not I can see your IP address, because that would take the fun out of making Pink Truth users guess whether or not I can see when they come to visit!

    I will say that I know a lot more about some of them than they think.

    thanks for the brownie points... do they get shipped here in the form of real brownies?

    I have not been snowmobiling in YEARS!!!

    I may go snowboarding/skiing with my family this year.

    Heading to NJ for 1 week on Sunday. So excited!

    Are there many Amish where you are? I really thought the primary concentration of them was in Lancaster.

    Don't worry too much about your IP address. The main things you have to worry about are that your computer is secure and that you don't give out your personal information on/in unsecured areas.

    For instance, posting comments on my site is out there for the whole world to see. I would not recommend anyone leaving any personal information in the comments on this site.

    I don't consider the city/area you are from as being to personal, so what we are talking about here is fine!

    Thanks for letting us get to know you and although we will probably not "see" each other, I will be in your neck of the woods in a few days!

  26. MKHonesty, I am definately talking about my director and NSD. I have called corporate about some of the things I have experienced. I don't know how much man power they can put into complaints. I don't think my experience was illegal so I don't know how much they do about directors and nationals being complete beasts. But it would seem if they have a complaint that some of the higher ups in their company are not acting in harmony with their slogan God first, family second, career third and enriching women's lives, then they would step in a little more readily.

    Even having the examples of those on this site doing MK the right way, I have a hard time trusting this company. I can't imagine that I am the only one that feels this way.


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This Week On Pink Truth - Click Here
Pros and Cons of Mary Kay - Read or Contribute or Both!
First Post - Why I Started This Blog
The Article I Wrote For (here) (there)
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