The Man Who Said 'No' to Wal-Mart

What does it mean to say 'no' to a huge client? When does it make sense to "fire" a customer? Fast Company notes:

Tens of thousands of executives make the pilgrimage to northwest Arkansas every year to woo Wal-Mart, marshaling whatever arguments, data, samples, and pure persuasive power they have in the hope of an order for their products, or an increase in their current order. Almost no matter what you're selling, the gravitational force of Wal-Mart's 3,811 U.S. 'doorways' is irresistible. Very few people fly into Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport thinking about telling Wal-Mart no, or no more.

In 2002, Jim Wier concluded that continuing to sell Snapper mowers through Wal-Mart stores was, as he put it, 'incompatible with our strategy. And I felt I owed them a visit to tell them why we weren't going to continue to sell to them.'

Distinctive competence meets huge revenue temptation in The Man Who Said 'No' to Wal-Mart.

Steve Johnson

Steve Johnson

Steve Johnson was a founding instructor at Pragmatic Institute, a role he held for more than 15 years before he left to start Under10 Playbook. In his return to Pragmatic Institute, Steve supports the complete learning path for product teams, ensuring they are fully armed for success. 

Over the course of his career, Steve has helped thousands of companies and tens of thousands of product professionals implement product management processes. He has worked in the high-tech arena since 1981, rising through the ranks from product manager to chief marketing officer. Steve has experience in technical, sales and marketing management positions at companies that specialize in both hardware and software. In addition, he is an author, speaker and advisor on product strategy and product management.


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