Monday, July 7, 2008

How would you like your business opportunity? Well-Done or Raw?

There has been some talk lately here about the differences between MLM and so called, “Conventional” Corporate America. (CCA) In this scenario, I am comparing (primarily) the “entry level” of CCA (as in “team member” or “employee” – not franchise owner or CEO) to the entry level of MLM (as in buying the starter kit or signing the contract).

I think that the differences between these (at least for the purpose of discussion here) can be boiled down to the direct effect each has on the individual.

In the "CCA" companies like Wal-Mart, the distribution of rewards and penalties is pretty even. The person that shows up early every day, sweats out a hard day, offers phenomenal customer service MIGHT get a quarter of a dollar more than the lazy person that is late everyday, never makes an effort and talks nasty about the customers. That is only if the hard working person gets "noticed" by the right people in management. Otherwise, the lazy one (who for some reason always seems to be better at B.S.ing about how hard they work) is often likely to get the raise/promotion.

Similarly, a really talented sales person, someone that really knows the company inside and out, knows the product, and is always creating great matches between the product and the customer is not likely to see a penny more than the person who just shuffles over to a shelf, grabs the first product their hand finds, and says, "here". (or better yet, just points and mumbles something about "over there")

Welcome to retail, right?

But seriously, in that world, you could say that the risks and rewards are "socialized" to all of the bottom level employees. The huge nationwide sales force creates a "norm" and the upper management decides how much they collectively will receive for their effort. It is safe. But fairly unrewarding.

MLM on the other hand is much crueler. Each person involved will have their own unique outcome. In many cases, the "problem" with CCA that I mentioned above is "fixed". The really good, hardworking, friendly, representatives get rewarded for their persistence and diligence. The lazy slacker gets nowhere. (please, please, please note that I am not saying it the other way around... as I am about to explain)

But, because not all who succeed are the hard workers, and not all who fail are lazy losers, you have some very polar extremes.

In the pink corner, you have the ones that have learned how to manipulate the system impeccably. They are so good at it that it is impossible to tell them apart from the ones "doing it right". To speak ill of them directly is blasphemy of the worst kind. They are nearly untouchable. You have met this kind of person in other parts of your life. They are the kind that can say something without actually saying it... so that if you come back later and say, "You said xyz", they can say, "no, no, no... I would NEVER say that, I actually said, "yzx"... you must have misunderstood me". With great care, they spawn miniature versions of themselves. The "mini-me" of course is not AS careful and will get herself in trouble by saying things like "executive pay/part time hours". When (and if) this ever makes it back to the originator, they claim they never said that... and that the person who did say it, 'must have misunderstood'.

In the other corner, you have the "Crusaders for Truth". These are the ones that, unfortunately, were the victims of those in the "pink corner". Some of them were close to the "source". They were seriously manipulated from someone that "knew all the rules" and did a real number on them. Most likely, they were not only burned, they were led into burning others. Others were further from the source. They either got little burns or barely escaped getting burnt, but felt the flame nonetheless... and, understandably, want nothing to do with the flame. The problem is, for these people, this is the only Mary Kay they know. For them, that is not "a part of Mary Kay", it IS Mary Kay.

Between these two extremes, you have everyone else. Believe it or not, there are a lot of people that simply did not work hard enough. Building a client base and/or a team is hard work. Some people simply got overwhelmed and decided that a minimum wage job was a better match for them. (Some, obviously, do much better than minimum wage. I am using minimum wage to say that in some cases even the "worst case scenario" in CCA is better than MK for them) Some decide that they just don’t like sales, or recruiting, or both. Some find the “always on” aspect of things to be undesirable. But on the other side of the coin, some have found great enjoyment in being "personal use/friends and family" consultants. More skin care for less money. Some wanted a "hobby" and lost interest. Some started a hobby and turned it into a thriving business. Some started out with the intention of building big… and have done just that.

In the middle of the two extremes, you find a lot of people that feel (as I do), that Mary Kay, "is what it is". It is a business model. An opportunity. Some see it as a perfect fit for them. Others see no fit at all.

It really all boils down to you.

If you are happier in an environment where you show up at a specific time, do a specific set of things, and get a specific number on your paycheck every other week, may I recommend something in the “CCA” section?

If you prefer to blaze your own trail, and are willing to take the risk that you may blaze a trail that gets you lost or in trouble in exchange for the possibility of discovering something new and exciting (not trying to oversell the opportunity here, just trying to stay in the vein of “trail blazing”!) than I have something in the “MLM” section that you really need to see.

*Note. I am sorry if the title of this post was misleading. I know that I did not mention "well-done" or "raw" in the post at all. And I "created" the title AFTER I wrote the article, so, yeah.

19 comments:

  1. Question for you and your readers:
    Is resistance to Mary Kay futile?
    Are Kaybots coming for my daughters?
    http://www.franchisepick.com/ikaybot-resistance-is-futile/
    Or are the Pink Truthers just lazy whiners looking for someone else to blame for their own lack of motivation?
    I appreciate balance, but what's the answer?

    ReplyDelete
  2. The only people I have ever heard refer to PTer's as lazy whiners/loosers are the pter's themselves.

    Personally and from reading, I feel most posters were manipulated or/and made poor business choices and then realized both, and feel embarrassed and bitter/angry that they allowed this to happened to them.

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  3. My director would call everyone who was no longer a consultant "a lazy loooser." If they were succeeding why would they stop being a consultant? So they must have failed.

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  4. Well Judi, if your director says this, than In My Opinion, she is way out of line and it is she who doesn't know what she is talking about- one can stop being a consultant for any reason, maybe they just don't like it, doesn't make them a looser or lazy.

    In my entire time in Mary Kay, I have not heard these words come out of anyone's mouth that I associate with and trust me, if I did hear anyone say that, I would not hesitate for a moment to give them my 2 cents on the subject.

    ReplyDelete
  5. The CCA job described is IMO confining, frustrating, and irratating. Sure, it may be safe, stable and steady. Unless you tick off the wrong person, then maybe your hours get cut back. Or maybe then you get the crappy hours. There goes time with your family! Buy-bye! Maybe the lazy one with his BS-ing abilities schmoozes the right person and gets those good hours that you'd prefer.....

    I much prefer my "job" in my MK business. Yes, I must conduct my business within the guidelines of my Agreement. Everything else is up to me. I decide. I make the decisions. It is up to me and me alone.

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  6. Regarding the two questions, "Is resistance to Mary Kay futile?
    Are Kaybots coming for my daughters?"

    That makes me laugh! Seriously. Mary Kay is not an alien invasion! It's just a business. Just say No. No to the products. No to the business opportunity. Walk away. Hang up the phone.

    "Or are the Pink Truthers just lazy whiners looking for someone else to blame for their own lack of motivation?"

    I think the answer to this is complicated. As MK4Me said, some were manipulated then became angry/bitter because they allowed themselves to be so manipulated.

    I think others on PT were the manipulators and their MK businesses eventually collapsed.

    Some, I think, were just downright unethical and even corrupt. This finally caught up with them and they were terminated OR their MK businesses eventually collapsed.

    Others I believe just tried MK didn't really like it, found PT and hopped on the PT band wagon of MK bashing.

    Are they "lazy whiners looking for someone else to blame"? Perhaps some are. I think some wanted to make fast easy money and discovered MK doesn't work that way.

    I think some found people who told them what they wanted to hear. When that collapsed in MK, they found PT where they once again found people who tell them what they want to hear.

    I don't think there really is a simple easy answer. Human nature can over-complicate the simplest things.

    In MK I have heard a number of people whine about stuff. It's really annoying. Some people are just whiners no matter what. Lazy? Well, IMO, whining takes way too much work to be considered lazy.

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  7. this is sort of the way I see it as well. I work my business as a part time job. There are some who would rather just go out and get a regular part time job with regular/steady pay. That is fine and absolutely ok. But in that situation, your check will most likely always be the same and like dave pointed out, most likely not to change no matter if you work harder than the other person.

    With Mary Kay I can make as much as I would with a part time job, not have to worry about child care, and if I need to, I can increase the amount I get just by increasing my activity which will increase my sales. I dont have that option with a regular job. A lot of places frown upon overtime so there is not always the option of increasing your pay when you need it.
    But that is just how it works for me.

    ReplyDelete
  8. To answer the kaybots r coming (cute!):
    My opinion is we aren't supposed to be attacking people with our products or the opportunity. I attract my customers. I wear a pin that says, "Mary Kay" and I carry a tote that displays our catalog. People can see what I do. If they are interested, and this might be an amazing concept for some to grasp; they ASK ME some questions about what the products are like. Or they ask for a catalog. Yes, people do actually request info. ;)

    Also, I have had random people ask me about signing up to sell MK. Can you believe it??!! I have only asked ONE person to sign up. She did, and I Thought she was successful, but she decided it wasn't for her. The lesson I've learned: let them come to me.

    Are PTers lazy whiners? I don't think so. My theory is many were recruited by people who used heavy persuasive sales tactics on them. Gave them offers they couldn't refuse. If left of their own devices, they would have never even considered signing up for MK (or any other home based direct sales endeavor). As they became more involved they could see why it was never something they had ever considered for themselves. I also think they fell into less than ethical units. So, let's see, they were persuaded to sign up, were recruited by possibly unethical/overzealous people, weren't trained in a way that Mary Kay Ash herself would have recommended, and eventually became frustrated and fed up that they weren't reaching their goals. If that were my MK experience, I'd be pissed off, too! BUT, I wouldn't blanket everyone in MK as the same carbon copy robot they may have dealt with.

    So, are they coming for your daughters? I doubt it. Rest assured no one ever approached me about MK. I got invited to a MK party at a friend's house. Her mom's friend was the consultant. I didn't even buy the skin care that day. I bought foundation because it matched my coloring better than what I'd been wearing.

    The lady that sold me the foundation never asked me if I wanted to sell MK.

    So, I'll leave some stuff out and jump to I learned a friend of mine was selling MK. I bought the Time Wise from her because I liked how it felt. My skin was damaged by a Mall Brand and I was leery, but the MK felt better already. I was leaving my dance career and wanted to find another way to spend my time while not working my part time job. MK seemed like a fit. So, I told my friend I wanted to sign up. (She never asked me either).

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  9. Oh! I have another true story! No one asked my director to sign up for MK, either! She was a single mom and was looking for a summer job (she was a teacher). Someone she worked with (who was not in MK) said to her, "why don't you try Mary Kay?

    So, she looked up Mary Kay in the yellow pages and found her recruiter/director. My director is in a Saturn Vue (just requalified in June) and her senior is a Pink Cadillac director.

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  10. Dave said: "The person that shows up early every day, sweats out a hard day, offers phenomenal customer service MIGHT get a quarter of a dollar more than the lazy person that is late everyday, never makes an effort and talks nasty about the customers. That is only if the hard working person gets "noticed" by the right people in management. Otherwise, the lazy one (who for some reason always seems to be better at B.S.ing about how hard they work) is often likely to get the raise/promotion.

    This cracked me up big time. It reminded me of my college days, working in teams assigned by the prof. You had workers (over achievers) and oxygen suckers. LOLOL...

    This also reminded me of something my husband said to me one time, "It would be nice to just show up and collect a pay check and go home."

    He's a (successful) small business owner.

    I stand by my thoughts about ML versus CCA. IMO, the way capitalism works and the "MLM" business model work are different. Both prospect, but prospecting is different. I could sit and write reams ad reams on the subject. Suffice to say if sales were the same in both models, the MLM sales people would have "no problem" selling in the CCA model. Although, the outcome is the same. You don't work, you don't make money and you "die".

    This was a great read! Provocative! *wink!*

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  11. Flybye, I'm not understanding what you mean here, "Suffice to say if sales were the same in both models, the MLM sales people would have "no problem" selling in the CCA model."

    Are you saying MLM sales people would be successful selling their opportunities to people in CCA? Or, are you saying MLM sales people would be successful using CCA techniques in marketing their products and/or opportunities? Or, neither? :P

    If it is the first scenario, MLM sales people would be successful selling their opportunities to people in CCA; I would disagree. What has gotten lost on many in direct sales is we aren't prospecting the entire population. Just like in CCA, we are looking for people who want what we are offering (whether it is the product or the opportunity). Frankly, I don't like chasing people down. Tonight I worked a booth at a festival. The people I talked to and offered anything to were the ones who walked up to the table and confidently said, "Hello! Can I take a book? I like MK. I am looking for a new consultant. My daughters love MK and I need someone to buy Christmas gifts from." Things like that. They want what I've got. I don't need to hunt them down (well, I do, but not actively. I don't have to ask them first. I have a booth very visibly showing what I represent. The ones who want it will ask).
    The same goes for the business opportunity. I don't ask people if they want to do this, too. I work my business and enjoy it. If someone wants to do this, they will ask about it. If they think it will fill a need, they will ask about it. Now, sometimes it is subtle. They might say, "I really wish I could do something on the side. How do you like MK?" And then of course I'll tell them I really enjoy it and ask if they want some information.
    That's different than me approaching someone who ordered one Miracle Set from me and saying, "you really seem to love Time Wise. Would you like to hear more about what I do?" That's a big "WTF? Moment"!

    OK. Let's go to suggestion #2: MLM sales people would be successful using CCA marketing techniques. This is already true. Many just don't realize it. We can advertise. We're under a contract with our companies, but I do know Mary Kay has approved ads that can be used in local papers, church bulletins, etc. There are other perfectly legitimate ways to advertise ourselves without falsely representing our company. After all, the reason those rules exist is because the companies don't want it to be suggested they have retail outlets when they do not. Nor do they want their company misrepresented in print. Currently, I'm investigating my options here. It kind of ties into the above when I talk about people wanting what we have. By providing a way for them to find us, they will contact us.

    I can give an example of what I'm talking about. My NSD used to tell people (and perhaps she still does), "I teach skin care and color cosmetics application. My product of choice is Mary Kay." She presents herself as a teacher. Which we kind of are. We teach skin care and makeup techniques and use a particular product.

    OK. Time to sleep.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Shades...Good point. I don't chase people down. I am not the crazy MK lady and you better run here she comes. I know that their are woman that are like this. You know on that point...When I walk through Dillards or Macy's I do run from the ladies with the perfume that they want to spray on you so I guess you can say that they are crazy perfume sprayers.

    I think that some have done these things and it has left a bad taste in peoples mouths. I don't want to be like that and I don't that MK intended for consultants to be like that either.

    We all need to keep the "GOLDEN RULE" at the fore front of our business. And it will all come together. I wear my pin and get a lot of questions from it. I also have the bumper sticker on my car and there have been many times that I am sitting in the line at Sonic waiting on my order when some one will pull up beside me and ask for a book or my number. So there are ways that we can get business without hunting down women.

    Well have a GREAT DAY

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  13. speaking the real truthJuly 12, 2008 at 6:58 AM

    I offer a service, as well as a product. My clients depend on my expertise and my personal delivery and care that I give to them on top of the great product.

    For instance, yesterday, I had a client come over, she asked me. Today, I had a call for someone who wanted to get with me, again, to get another compact with more eye colors. 2 other calls yesterday from clients.

    I teach my consultants to to make themselves valuable to their clients so that their clients do not want to buy from anyone else or use another brand. My clients know that I am crazy, but they do not see me as the crazy Mary Kay lady, or as a stalker, rather as a professional, who is serious about her business and who is a hard worker.

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  14. Okay ... in response to Speaking the Real Truth, Shades of Pink, and Pink Bren ... I have a question for you. How do you get to car or drectorship by using such a hands-off, no-pressure approach to your business? I am in Mary Kay and I love it, but frankly I have been struggling. I am young and have not gotten into debt and my SD is wonderful, but she is moving across the state and I just have some concerns with my business. Maybe this isn't even the best place to ask for advice like this. But anyway, I just feel like I need some solid advice from another successful Mary Kay person, and believe it or not ... my director is rather unavailable, as opposed to breathing down my neck and spamming my email as I have heard the MK "drektors" are!!
    Anyway, back to my question ... a lot of you consultants have expressed that you don't necessarily want to actively recruit or are happy just making some extra cash. But I do want/need to earn the car, make money, and I really want to become a director. However, things aren't going as well as I wanted them to with my business, and I just started a job as a waitress and decided to go back to college part time. It makes me sad b/c I feel like I'm letting go a dream that I' ve had ever since I started MK over 2 yrs ago--car, directorship, really taking my business places.
    I just don't understand how you can really truly make this work by being so hands off. ( I am certainly not doubting your experience, I am just speaking for my own self.) Maybe it is the area you live in ... where I'm from people either have no clue what Mary Kay is or had a weirdo consultant 20 years ago, haha. I love Mary Kay and I believe in it wholeheartedly. Over the past few weeks, trying to sort this all out in my head and heart, I 've come to realize that I do believe in Mary Kay--the company, and the product. And I believe in the opportunity--for other people. I beleive that it's transformed women's lives, including my own director's/unit members. I think I just don't believe in it for me. This doesn't mean I don't feel it's "right" for me ... I just don't know if I can do what Iwant to do.
    Anyway, I feel sort of ridiculous typing out this huge long question that is probably so confusing to a bunch of strangers, some of who don't even like MK! I just feel kind of lost and I have been reading here for several months, and this seems like a safe place with some solid directors. Sorry is this is so long and confusing. I am not even sure what my question is anymore!! But ... "help!" I guess!

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  15. Hi Domenica! I feel your frustration. ;) I'm not really "hands off" I'm just not throwing myself at people in desperation. I have been doing a lot of MK Booths at events this year. I can read the people as they come to the table. I can see who has a bad connotation of MK and who really likes it. I like the people who walk up and are genuinely interested. It's more appropriate to prospect people in this type of setting rather than chatting up a total stranger.

    For you, as a waitress and a student, you have the potential to be in contact with a lot of people. You can wear your MK pink to class. When you meet new people, tell them you sell MK. It took me awhile to make that come naturally to me, but since I've been in a few years now and I am in a situation like you--I need to earn the car and directorship--I am stepping out of my comfort zone more.

    I think using company approved ads is a good idea. I'm going to try it out soon. I'll let everyone know my results.

    My husband is starting his own construction/remodeling biz. He had fliers made and has passed them around the neighborhood. He also has an ad that is going to post in the yellow pages come November. He also has been advertising in our church bulletin. Getting your name out there is a good way to attract people who are looking for what you have.

    My advice to you is focus on faces and sales. My goal is always 30 faces. I have never reached it yet, but some months I come very close! Other months I don't. Anytime you are in business for yourself you are going to have streaks. As you build your customer base you should be less streaky because someone will always be running out of stuff. Good customer service is key. You want your people to be loyal.

    I have been giving my card to people I chat with here and there. Not everyone. Just the ones that the conversation just naturally leads into MK. I do this at my job, too. Some people won't buy right away. I've had a few people that I told I do this and they seemed completely uninterested. Then, months later they have approached me with questions about my products because whatever they've been trying hasn't worked for them. It always good to let people know what you do; there are just less abrasive ways to do it.

    I hope this helps. ;) I'm sure the directors can give you more advice than me. :)

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  16. Domenica...I have a hands off approach in that I wear my MK pin and I have a bumper sticker on my car. As far as hands of on my business it is not.

    I think that you should always carry business cards because if you are wearing your pin you never know when someone will approach you and ask about it.

    If you are going to school you know that you will be around a lot of people. Usually they will ask you what you are taking and what you do now? That is an opening for you to tell them that you have a MK business. I know that I always have businesses cards with me and I try too have Look Books also.

    I also do a health fair every year at our courthouse and I get leads that way. I ask them if they want to be put on my mailing list. Then when I get home I call them. If they put down that they have a consultant but they can't find her I come home and try to find her if I do I give her a call and tell her that customer Jane is looking for her.

    I am not a director however that is what I want. One thing that I think that you should focus on is booking and selling. These are the most important part of this business. If you can get those mastered I think that the recruiting will fall into place. Now I am not saying if someone wants to sell MK don't sign them I am saying just consentrat on the booking the class and selling the product and doing the followup.

    I hope that this helps. I know that Speaking and MK4ME can probably give you better ideas because they are both successful directors and I look to their wisdom also.

    Have a GREAT DAY

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  17. shades of pink said: "Flybye, I'm not understanding what you mean here, "Suffice to say if sales were the same in both models, the MLM sales people would have "no problem" selling in the CCA model."
    "

    Actually, shades of pink, I had to reread what I wrote a few times to understand myself, LOLOL!!! Obviously it was late when I was writing that post (I think I'm three hours ahead of the board,) and I should've taken more time before I published it.

    I believe what I meant to say was if they were the same, then the CCA sales people would have no problem selling in the MLM model because the work parameters and operating style would be the same. (Broad brush, I know, I'm speaking on general terms.) So it would be just another sales job.

    But MLM isn't just "another sales job". I'm referring to the responsibility thing you guys bring up all the time. People think they want to be their own boss. But the truth of the matter is, the sales person in the MLM cannot defer anything to anybody else. It starts and stops with them. Every decision has a consequence (usually monetary) which affects them 100% directly.

    In the CCA model, every sales aid/tool you use is developed and paid for by your employer. If your employer wants to be in a specific place at a given time, they send you there at their expense. Your desk and supplies, computer, phone, etc., are provided by your employer (I'm not referring to the home office people elect to have if they want to.) Much easier for the people who don't want to be "that" responsible to just walk away and change gears with no consequence. Or minimal consequence. Counter that with the direct sales sales person and there is no comparison. They own [it] they pay for it.

    On the topic of prospecting, I think that's two-fold. It depends on the product and and person selling it. i.e., their personality. I agree with what you guys are saying. Soft cell works fabulously when you're selling Mary Kay, Avon, PamperedChef, etc. You don't have to be really aggressive about selling products like that. Some ladies are and that's a choice based on their style.

    ReplyDelete
  18. flybye64 said,

    "But the truth of the matter is, the sales person in the MLM cannot defer anything to anybody else. It starts and stops with them. Every decision has a consequence (usually monetary) which affects them 100% directly."

    and

    "Counter that with the direct sales sales person and there is no comparison. They own [it] they pay for it."

    Oh, yeah, I agree with this! And that's the way I like it! Uh huh, Uh huh! That's the way I like it.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Good Morning!! Yes when you are with a direct sales company the buck does stop with you. You can chose to buy the product to sell or not. You can chose to work the business or not. In CCA when you work for someone esle you have to work when they tell you and you have to sell what they offer. You don't really have a vested interest in anything that they sell.

    Saying that we are over looking too the expenses that a direct sales or home based business has. You can write of certain things on your taxes...You deliver product you write down your mileage you can write that off. When working for CCA you drive to work you don't get to write that off. You can write off a portion of you electric, phone,the up keep of your house, house payments, and the list goes on.

    I guess what I am trying to say is that their is good and bad in both CCA and direct selling. I think that with the direct selling you have to be very disclpine in money management. You are your own boss. You handle all of the daily operations of your business. That is just the way that it is. I know that some don't agree with direct sales because they have been burned by the director or the higher up if not MK. For this I am sorry for you however there are women that are making money and doing it right. If you don't follow the plan tha MKA laid out you might rise fast however just as you did you can fall at a faster speed.

    Well I hope that everyone on has a GREAT DAY

    ReplyDelete

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