Joyce Brugar, who has been a Mary Kay employee since 1977, has just earned her 19th sales career car — cars given to qualified sales representatives. Bruder’s extensive experience in the company has helped her to see numerous incentives throughout the years, in addition to the cars. There are currently over 6,000 Mary Kay career cars on roads across America. But how well is Mary Kay really performing?
Some would say, not well. Mary Kay and other makeup companies that pay by commission rather than hourly wages have had trouble lately with recruitment, which in turn has a direct impact on their potential profits. Many former employees actively dislike the corporation, so much so that there exists a hate site entirely devoted to sharing stories about Mary Kay.
Two million women might comprise Mary Kay’s sales force, but many would claim that the entire operation is a scam for the majority of its employees. From Mary Kay’s mistakes, we can learn a lot about how a company can positively and correctly incentivize their sales reps — and how to make sure sales people stay happy at their job, rather than taking their talent to other companies.
1. Making Sales People Question Their Security
It’s true, sales people are strongly motivated by sales. To the same token, though, someone who feels insecure in this position — who feels like it’s incredibly hard to make any sales goals — is not going to stick around long. Mary Kay asks many of their new sales representatives to pay upwards of $300 for start-up products, according to LearnVest. Are you giving your sales people something to work with — or are you relying on them to do all the contact lists themselves? Create an environment where people can actually succeed upon entering.
2. Recruit From the Right Places
There’s a reason that large corporations with years of professional experience often rely on recruitment firms to supply the majority of their applicants — it results in a better pool of potential hires. Because it costs them nothing to hire contract employees, Mary Kay attempts to hire anyone potentially interested in working for the company. As a result, a lot of people have negative experiences not because no one can successfully sell the products — but because a lot of people trying to sell the products simply are not good at doing so. Working with a recruitment agency will, in the end, work out better both for you and the applicants.
3. Offer Real, Attainable Incentives
As children, we’re all convinced we can get the largest toy at the fair. All you do is roll a ball! Mary Kay incentivizes its employees with cars that only a tiny percentage ever obtain. When you have individuals trying to move forward in their sales career, you can’t placate them with bonuses they’ll never qualify for. Make incentives real and fairly attainable so that they’ll have to stretch — but not break in order to reach them.
How would you incentivize someone with a sales career? Let us know in the comments. Read more.