Thursday, January 10, 2008

Are you a "sales" person?

MKShay a regular here and soon to be Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant said something today that caught my attention.

I guess working in sales is really a different type of work than what most people are used to. :o)

If I work in any sales job, I am "on" all of the time. It doesn't mean I am stalking people, but if I am selling computers and I overhear someone saying they need a new computer, I will certainly give them a card and chat a bit. Same thing with selling cars, houses, etc.

If I am working a sales job, then I may make phone calls or whatever from home. This doesn't count towards my hours worked and turned in at the end of the week for pay - that is work I do on my own time.

Why? Because I will get more sales that way and a bigger paycheck.

I guess I don't see where the way hours are counted is deceptive.
In a traditional office-type job, people expect to "trade hours for dollars" - get a flat salary for hours worked.

The thing I love about sales is (not just MK but any type of sales) how you really have the potential to blow the doors off and make good money. You really are unlimited in what you can make.

Some people prefer the security of a set salary, and that's fine. They like a 9-5 job they can leave at the office, and that's fine, too.

What can I say? I just like sales! :D

The specific thing that caught my attention was the "always on" vs. "leave work at the office" mentality.

I have definitely done both. I have worked in environments where I had to be at the office 9-6 and when I left, I was DONE. I have worked in environments where I did not necessarily have to be anywhere in particular at any given time, but I was ALWAYS "on"!!

I can't say that I fully prefer one or the other. I wish I could combine them. Something like not have to be anywhere specific, but NOT always on either! (the other way would be really crappy - 9-6 AND always "on"!!!) I have heard that these jobs exist, but no thanks!

Either way, I have made it a point to enjoy the positive aspects of whatever job I am in.

The question I want to know is, "What do YOU prefer?" I know many of you prefer the flexibility (why else would you be in Mary Kay), but I would love to hear your thoughts about this.


Flexible schedule but always "on" - VS. - Rigid 40hr schedule but leave work at the office


Secure, consistent paycheck with limited growth potential - VS. - Unlimited growth potential, but no consistent guaranteed paycheck

Nothing Follows


  1. GOOD MORNING!! I can tell you from my experience, being a hairdresser and working on commission when starting out and even now I am always on. I talk to people about their hair I guess that might be warm chattering so what is the difference in a hair dresser doing that and selling MK and doing that. I think like MKShay said if you are in sales you are always on. Always looking for someone that is looking for what you have to offer. That is the way that it is done. You don't have to be pushy. It can benefit both people, the one that is selling and the one that wants what the seller has.

    Personally I think that everyone sales themselves when they walk out of their house everyday. It might not be a money exhange however when you get dressed and walk out of your house you are selling the way you dress the way you act the way that you treat people. When you go on a job interview you are selling to that person interviewing you that you would do the best job of anyone else. Sales go on and we don't even realize that we are doing it. This is just my opinion.


  2. Obviously, I like commission/sales. I like being able to be compensated if I work harder. I am not afraid of the uncertain paycheck because I am confident in my sales abilities. I also put some aside for a rainly day or emergencies. Paychecks that were REALLY big were mostly put into savings, not just spent.

    When I first started in sales, I was not so sure of myself, but now I am. I am automatically "on" all of the time. Even when I am not in a selling biz/job, I have always maintained the practice of conversing with strangers while I am out and about.

    Why? Well, because it is fun and it is second nature to me now. I strike up conversations in grocery lines, Wal-Mart and the playground, not because I have any ulterior motives, but I am comfortable doing it and it is fun. I have met some really good friends that way.

    Honestly, if I had a "normal" trading hours-for-dollars job, I would be bored beyond measure. Where is the challenge? Where is the potential? Where is the opportunity to shine? Where is the accountability? I go work X amount of hours and get X amount of dollars. Bo-ring. It is fine for some people, but not yours truly. No way.

  3. Something else I wanted to add:

    I am NOT an extrovert by nature. I was painfully shy until I went to college. I remember crying to my Dad on my first visit home about how I didn't know anyone and didn't know how to meet anyone. I was incredibly lonely.

    His suggestion was to start striking up conversations with people on the elevator in my dorm. Why the elevator? Because I had a captive audience, the conversations would be short, and I would begin seeing the same people over and over and talk to them again.

    It worked. The first 10 or 20 times were torture, but I gradually got better at it. Then I got more confident and started talking to people away from elevators. LOL

    By the time I left college, I was known as being an outgoing, fun person, and people who know me now are shocked to learn how shy I was growing up.

    I say all of this to demonstrate that you don't have to be a born salesman to love sales. :D

    (PS - a stint in Amway right after college got me over my fear of public speaking. LOL)

  4. Shay, you sound like me. :) I'm fairly shy, but my years in dance and my time in MK has definitely coaxed me out of my shell. I'm still in the growing progress. I get scared when I have to make those booking calls, but I am determined to get used to it! :D My husband says I'll never succeed in sales because it's not in my nature. I know it isn't, but I can learn! I liked reading your comments here. Very reassuring! Thank you!

  5. yes, mkShay is right: a salesperson is always "on". And pink bren got it right also, when she discussed how you look when you walk out of the house and in terms of interviewing.

    A NSD once told my wife & I at a small group dinner (3 NSDs & 3 directors w/ spouses) that she tells her area not to bother approaching a woman unless the woman looks like she looked in the mirror before walking out of the house. The same applies to consultants. What first impression will you make on a prospective client? I'm not talking about skirts, hose & heels. We don't live in NYC, and this is not some made-for-TV fashion show like "Cashmere Mafia" where everyone is dressed to the nine's. We live in a community where 50% of the income comes from farming and related industries (packers, etc). A put-together outfit around a nice pair of jeans fits in 90% of the time.

    Anyway, I'm a salesman. Even as a Navy officer I was a salesman. I may not have had to make a monetary exchange, but I had to sell my capabilities to my superiors in order to be assigned additional responsibilities that would look good on my periodic evaluations, which would enhance my promotion opportunity and next duty assignment.

    When I was working for a major high-tech manufacturing company, our check stubs were printed with the saying, "Your paycheck paid by satisfied xxxx xxxx's customers", to remind us that even though we were not directly dealing with the end customer, our performance made a difference.

    As a salesperson/owner making presentations to my customers, I have learned so much about sales and customer relations from my wife and from attending training (incl Seminar) with her. My sales are different, because no one yet has whipped out a checkbook and written a $30K-$40K check on the spot. There are multiple conferences, contracts, measurements, etc, but building the customer relationship is the same.

    And I'm "on" all the time. I never know who I might casually talk to in an airport who might say, "I don't need that, but you should talk to ... at this company."

    I'll end this with something I noted over at Pink Truth. One of their suggestions on "improving MK" was to "change the system to benefit those 99% of women who lose money in Mary Kay". In other words, change the system so that EVERYONE makes a profit after expenses, which is the same situation as people who earn an hourly paycheck with taxes deducted up front, since hourly/salary people cannot deduct other expenses because they are not self-employed. (They are receiving W-2's not 1099-Misc and are not filing Schedule C's.)

    A long time ago I made this statement on ME's blog, My Pink Truth: the positions advocated on Pink Truth are union/socialist: everyone makes a living, earning more than someone else is bad (perhaps even criminal), and corporations are evil. (If you ever come across a comment by Havurah, note the similarity to the writing of Noam Chomsky.)

  6. I was told that you didn't have to be a salesperson to do MK. "That's one of the wonderful things about this company."

  7. Judi -

    No one makes money in MK without sales being made (product being sold).

    However, many people have a stereotypical vision of what a "salesperson" is - pushy, overbearing and going for the "close." No one wants to do that! LOL

    So people say things like "We aren't 'selling' - we're 'sharing'!" or something similar.

    Call it what you want - it's selling. Money is exchanged for product. :D

    Still, you don't have to be a stereotypical "salesperson" in order to be successful in MK.

  8. I agree with Shay (again!). I get complements all the time from my customers. They love that I am not a pushy salesperson. I believe when they say you don't have to be a salesperson they are saying you don't have to be like a stereotypical used car salesman.

  9. I hope there are more consultants like you two. The steriotypical MK lady is known to be pushy. Very much like a used car salesman. When I was really pursuing this business I was not pushy and I thought maybe that was why I didn't succeed in getting many SCCs. I thought maybe if I pushed harder or overcame more objections then I would get more hostesses to hold. Then I put myself in their place. When I say "no" it means "NO."

  10. Thanks, Judi! I don't think you have to be pushy to get the bookings. I think you have to have confidence in what you are doing and saying. If you exude confidence people will be more responsive to what you are saying. Some people over compensate their confidence with pushiness. I think the two are actually opposites. When you feel less confident you become defensive and that can lead to pushiness. If you are confident in yourself and your business you can be soft, get your point across and get better results because you are being genuine. That's just been my experience. And for me, no does mean no. I do check and make sure whether no means never or not right now. I even ask them that point blank. "OK, so is this no never, or is now just not the right time?" There's a lot of psychology in sales. That is one thing I've learned. Good thing I was a psychology major in college! ;)

  11. my consultants and sister directors could attest to this but maybe it will give you all a little laugh or hope. I am so doggone shy, my knees still shake, I get butterflies in my stomach, and you can hear (if you listen carefully) the cracking in my voice whenever I publically speak. = now once I get going you may have a more difficult time shutting me up than you did getting me started:)

    I am not a "Sales" person. I hate taking money from people. I won't be pushy because I don't want a big one time sale, I want a happy repeat customer. I love working with people, showing them the products, and then letting them have what they would like.

    If I had to sell something where I didn't get to sit there and let people try the products and have them tell me what they want, if it was just trying to get someone to buy, such as cars, well I would starve to death.

    Mary Kay always said to treat everyone special and I try to do that both in and outside of MK.

  12. One of the biggest problems my wife sees with brand new consultants is that when they are done with the facial or SCC, they don't ask for the sale. You've got to "close the deal", often just shortened to "close". Especially if it's a group setting (i.e. a SCC), you have to have a group close followed by one-on-one consultations. Otherwise, everyone just sits around waiting for someone else to be first.

    The same applies for making bookings. The consultant has to suggest something, such as "what would be better for you, Tuesday or Thursday", to get the ball rolling.

  13. If there is one thing I really took with me from business school, it's that"pushy and persuasive" is outdated. Being in sales or marketing in today's society is all about the relationship with the customer. Isn't that wonderful news? My customers come for me first, the product second, which makes me feel good about my MK business.

    Am I the sales type? Yes, especially the modern type described above. I'm always recommending things and I care very much about each person finding things that suit their needs. I can't count the times I've helped people in grocery stores or recommended things when needs, problems or desires pop up in conversations. The result: people expressing their gratitude and often wondering if I get paid for saying what I say. No, I only get paid for recommending MK, everything else I do because I'm passionate about sharing good things and matching people up with products and services. So, yes, I'm absolutely the sales type!

    I can't stand the 9-5 and being told what to do and when and how to do it (see why I'm not a teacher anymore?). Sure, I sometimes wish for more stability and predictability, but I solve that by having a husband completely lacking any trace of entrepreneurialism ;) He provides the steady base flow of cash, so that I can go out and do my thing. We're both very happy this way!

  14. I'm like Matilda in that I don't like the 9-5 rat race. I hate it. I don't like answering to bosses and being an "underling." I also don't like ordinary office work. It's a mundane existence to me. I'm used to life in the performing arts. I never pictured myself behind a desk and here I sit. Blech!
    Am I the "sales type?" No. Not the pushy salesperson frazzled for a sale. I present the product, offer my services, and I make sales. It's all good! :D I think if I look the part (if I look like someone who knows how to wear makeup) and I don't put any pressure on the client to purchase; I can sell the cosmetics.
    I think I might be ready to post my MK pros and cons...

  15. Miss3H aka MK RulesJanuary 13, 2008 at 12:31 AM

    As I have mentioned on other blogs, my primary job is being a server in fine dining (4 star). At my job, we do lots of "suggestive selling". This should be taught more in MK, IMO. Suggestive selling is selling, but not the way you think. Let's say someone wants some wine. But they have NO idea what to get. They say to me, "What wine should I get?" Do I sell them the "miracle set wine" (ha ha...I mean most expensive) right off the bat? No. I first ask them questions. Do you like red or white, dry or fruity or creamy finish, what do you think you will be eating...etc. This is the way to ensure they will love what I do sell them. I always suggest a mid priced wine first to judge what THEY want to spend...not what I want them to spend. So I think we can use this mentality more in MK. More questions = a better relationship with our client, ensuring they get something they like, and leads them to trust you have their interest at heart (not just dollar signs in your eyes).

    In MK, if someone wants a foundation, we need to start by asking, "What type of coverage do you like, what is something you dislike about foundation, etc." Even if they tried one, unless they just love it, they may not want it. You can still suggestively sell them a different type by asking what they did NOT like about the one they tried. This all takes time and is a learning process. However, the more you work with the same client, the more you know what they like and you can then make more recommendations based on your previous knowledge. This will lead them to trust you even more when you suggest something new that they absolutely love. This deepens your relationship more. You have now built a loyal customer.

    All this said, with doing one party a week or less due to my other job taking up all my time in split shifts, weekends, and odd hours...I did not have the time to devote to getting to know the people well enough at my classes to sell them anything. I had no idea what they liked or disliked except for the profile card questions. That is why those questions are important. If you see someone likes bar soap now, you can upsell them to MK bar soap. If you try to sell them the creamy cleanser you will most likely get a no. Go for their current likes to sell them MK.

    Am I a sales person? You bet. Am I pushy-- no. That is why my sales were low. I am not pushy and did not have enough time to devote to building loyal clients by contacting them more one on one occaisionally. This takes time. You don't usually let your new stylist cut your hair however they want. After you get to trust them, they may talk you into a braver cut though, or some color. That is sales. It is all about relationships and building trust. Sorry this is sooo long but I hope it helps.

  16. I prefer to work 8 to 5 and then be done with it. My work and personal hours need to be completely separate in order for me to be sane.


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