Wal-Mart and NTR: An Inside Look (pt. 2)
NTR Systems' Jeremy Prescott Offers Tips on Working With Wal-Mart


  • This articleis a continuation of last Thursday’s Radio Sales Today and deals with the subject of Wal-Mart as an NTR partner.
  • The Sales Manager is responsible for a particular department within a Wal-Mart store. They aren’t as important to launching your program as the higher managers, but it’s a good idea to keep them in the loop.
  • Of course, it’s the vendors that are paying for the program. Their motive for doing so is to increase sales.
  • A charity component to your NTR program will make it all the more attractive to the Wal-Mart managers on your prospect list. Remember, gifts are not allowed.

Wal-Mart and NTR: An Inside Look (pt. 2)
NTR Systems' Jeremy Prescott Offers Tips on Working With Wal-Mart>
Editor’s Note: This is part two of a two-part article by Jeremy Prescott, President of NTR Systems™, a full-service consulting firm that provides training and development of non-traditional revenue (NTR).

The Sales Manager
The Sales Manager oversees individual departments in the store. For example, the Food Sales Manager oversees all DSD items, snacks, cookies, candy, soda/pop, nuts, etc. On the "inside," they are known by a department number such as "Department 10 Manager." When you go to a district meeting, take a survey form that you create and ask each store manager to tell you the fax number, key sales managers names, and the Community Involvement Associate. Then, memo them just prior to the start of the program. Keep everyone in the loop.

The Vendor
The Vendor is the source of funding. Their motivation is simple: sales. If you’ve secured agreement from the DM and can present them with a selling opportunity in a significant number of participating Wal-Mart stores, they’ll want to work with you.

When you contact them, ask, "What will it take for you to allocate XX dollars for the program?" You are effectively asking them to tell you how much product they need to sell in to each store in order for them to support your program. The second logistical question is, "What is the product?" A soda distributor once offered to spend $6,000 if the Wal-Mart stores each took two palettes of Orange Crush/A&W Root Beer. The managers asked for bottled water instead; the bottler agreed, and the deal was done.

Step by Step
Steps to putting your program together:

1. Get on Yahoo Yellow Pages and search for all Wal-Marts in a 100-mile radius.
2. Call your local Wal-Mart and ask, "In which store in the area is the District office located?"
3. Once you identify the location of the District Manager, call for an appointment. Explain that you develop vendor-supported promotions that will increase customers by holding events or gift-with-purchase programs, or you can say you "develop ideas that will add to their charity efforts" (Children’s Miracle Network is a top priority).
4. Get the name and office locations of other District Managers in your region or state.
5. Meet with them and get invited to their next District meeting.
6. Present a program and get agreement.
7. Present the program to vendors and broker the deals.
8. Execute the program and over-deliver!
9. Recap the program.

Act as a deal broker. In many instances, you are acting as an extension of the vendors’ sales team. Think outside your market. A common mistake of "first-timers" is to attempt a Wal-Mart program in only three stores because that’s all that are in your town or coverage area. Forget your coverage area. Think in terms of whole districts, and think statewide. Many Radio AEs stall out because the vendor can’t afford only three stores. Think big!

What Kind of Programs? Charity Begins At Wal-Mart
If you design a program that is non-charity related and simply has entertainment value, you always run the risk of a DM having trouble measuring its success.

Remember, you won’t be able to schmooze them with gifts. Wal-Mart employees cannot accept so much as the pen they sign off with. So no freebies to "make them feel good about working with you."

Community Involvement is big at Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart is the single largest contributor to the Children’s Miracle Network. Each Wal-Mart has a financial CMN goal, which must be met for the year by about mid-May. All money must be in their individual "165" accounts at that time. Bentonville then pulls the money and tallies it up. If you structure a program in which each vendor pays $6,000 and you take $500 off the top as a contribution to CMN, you are helping raise money — a measurable event. With five vendors participating, you could raise $2,500; maybe you could add other money-raising ideas such as an on-air auction, a golf tournament, or a walkathon. At the same time, you keep $27,500 in revenue, less any point-of-sale expenses.

Wal-Mart is a great NTR retailer. Like any retailer, the little things make all the difference in your success. Dollars and vendor packages will change depending on your market. In some markets, vendors have been asked to spend $30,000 each! The question will always be "will the stores be able to sell it and how much product will it take to justify a spend at that level?" An amount like $5,000 to $10,000 per vendor may be more realistic. Use your judgement and look at these programs as long-term relationships.

Make sure you call on the Pharmacy DM and RM, the Tire & Lube Express (TLE) DM and, depending on which part of the country you are in, other District Managers who oversee other "separate" departments within Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart is full of opportunity.