Sam Walton: “Please Buy From Me” Simple Marketing Techniques

by Rick London

“Would you consider buying my goods?”, was the business mantra of Wal-mart founder Sam Walton and I walk together. Not literally but geographically and in spirit. No, I’m not in Sam’s league by any means, but I, geographically walk down the same streets, paths, fish in the same fishing spots, and other activities. You see, Sam Walton and his family grew up down the road from where I now live, in the Ouchata Mountains of Arkansas. There may not be a more beautiful place to live and work.

A creative, peaceful climate lured me to this locale. When I look back, I can see it was a positive move. For many years, I would not shop at Sam’s stores. It was for a silly reason. I was young, new in my own retail business, and was working hard and succeeding and then Wal-Mart moved into town and put my store, and most of my fellow retailers out of business. Wal-mart became, in our minds, “the evil empire” and we avoided it like the plague.

We were young renegade entrepreneurs, out to conquer the world. That was almost thirty years ago. In my early days in Arkansas, I began meeting some of the executives, employees and other associates, I found that many of them were warm and friendly people, and after reading Mr. Walton’s biography, I learned some unique retailing issues and obstacles that he faced. How he bucked the system with a vision so strong it (and he) were unshakable. His philosophies of business were, ?Be as good as your word? ?Give them what you promise?, and ?Ask them to buy from you?.

While new medias such as radio and tv were making their debut, and other retailers were featuring nearly-nude dancing women to manipulate their ways into our hearts to buy products we may or may not have needed, Sam kept it simple. His first store in Bentonville, was not a big budget place, but his heart was as good as gold. People loved him and came back often. He didn’t advertise much simply because he did not have the budget. Way before cyberspace,

Sam could have been what one might call a walking-talking social networker”. He made friends with his customers, not just because he wanted to make the sale, but because he was genuine He not only appreciated their business, but he enjoyed talking to them. He would bluntly ask people, Next time you go shopping, please think about my store”. The marketing world of today is so different than what Sam had envisioned. It is full of spin, sex and fun, that message sometimes gets lost in the translation. But I worked in advertising public relations and media for many years and no matter how many fancy graphics, beautiful music, gorgeous models, and what have you, the real message was and is, “Please consider a purchase from me”.

It almost sounds like begging but it is far from it. It is a “call to action”. You know its a win-win situation. Most retailers have turned up the sexy heat if you will, but if you look at Wal-Mart ads, though the theme has changed, the message is the same. They are not complex. No dancing girls. No blasting music. Just good information on products, fair prices, excellent customer service and return policy, and the simple question ?Would you buy from us?. Of course those words are not asked today, directly, but the Sam Walton’s spirit can be felt in the energy of every store.

As a cartoonist and Internet entrepreneur, have opened a number of web stores with my licensed cartoon images on them. When I started about a decade ago, I utilized the media in the way I was formerly taught in school and in corporate America. Spin and sale. Say it louder, faster, sexier, and folks will buy. And though that method does work, it does not necessarily make you a good loyal friend with your customer, as he really does not get to know you. Therefore the majority of those sales are not return customers. There are many business models from which to choose.

But I decided on the Wal-mart keep-it-simple model. And guess what? Sales have jumped over 5000% in the past few years. I visit social networking sites and blog. I make friends and even talk to many on the phone. I have met a number in person. I give them my business card with my main web site address on it (the links to my stores are on the main page of my cartoon site). I hardly miss a sale, and customers are very happy. The refund rate from over 10,000 transactions in three years is less than .01%.

Everyone wins with this tried-and-true business philosophy. Sam made sure “everybody won”, and so can you. With today’s knowledge and technology you (and I) can do it even faster and better. But it still requires that old fashioned people-person spirit like Sam had, whether you are behind a monitor with an online business, or downtown Peoria.

Wal-mart founder Sam Walton and I walk together. Not literally but geographically and in spirit. No, I’m not in Sam’s league by any means, but I, geographically walk down the same streets, paths, fish in the same fishing spots, and other activities. You see, Sam Walton and his family grew up down the road from where I now live, in the Ouchata Mountains of Arkansas. There may not be a more beautiful place on the planet. It has been my happy home since 1999.

I migrated here for a better and creative life. It was a good move. For many years, I would not shop at Wal-mart. It was for a silly reason. I was young, new in my own retail business, and was working hard and succeeding and then Wal-Mart moved into town and put my store, and most of my fellow retailers out of business. Many of us who were forced to close our doors, would not enter a Wal-Mart. We were young renegade entrepreneurs, out to conquer the world. That was almost thirty years ago.

In my early days in Arkansas, I began meeting some of the executives, employees and other associates, I found that many of them were warm and friendly people, and after reading Mr. Walton’s biography, I learned some unique retailing issues and obstacles that he faced. How he bucked the system with a vision so strong it (and he) were unshakable.

His philosophies of business were, “Be as good as your word”, “Give them what you promise”, and” Ask them to buy from you”. While new medias such as radio and tv were making their debut, and other retailers were featuring nearly-nude dancing women to manipulate their ways into our hearts to buy products we may or may not have needed, Sam kept it simple. His first store in Bentonville, was not a big budget place, but his heart was as good as gold. People loved him and came back often. He didn’t advertise much simply because he did not have the budget.

Way before cyberspace, Sam could have been what one might call “A walking-talking social networker”. He made friends with his customers, not just because he wanted to make the sale, but because he was truly honored they continued to shop with him. He not only appreciated their business, but he enjoyed talking to them. He would bluntly ask people, “Next time you go shopping, please thinking about my store”.

The marketing world of today is so different than what Sam had envisioned. It is full of spin, sex and fun, that message sometimes gets lost in the translation. But I worked in advertising public relations and media for many years and no matter how many fancy graphics, beautiful music, gorgeous models, and what have you, the real message was and is, ?Please consider a purchase from me”. It almost sounds like begging but it is far from it. It is a “call to action”. You know its a win-win situation.

Most retailers have turned up the sexy heat if you will, but if you look at Wal-Mart ads, though the theme has changed, the message is the same. They are not complex. No dancing girls. No blasting music. Just good information on products, fair prices, excellent customer service and return policy, and the simple question ?Would you buy from us?. Of course those words are not asked today, directly, but the Sam Walton’s spirit can be felt in the energy of every store.

As a cartoonist and Internet entrepreneur, have opened a number of web stores with my licensed cartoon images on them. When I started about a decade ago, I utilized the media in the way I was formerly taught in school and in corporate America. Spin and sale. Say it louder, faster, sexier, and folks will buy. And though that method does work, it does not necessarily make you a good loyal friend with your customer, as he really does not get to know you. Therefore the majority of those sales are not return customers.

With today’s knowledge and technology you (and I) can do it even faster and better. But it still requires that old fashioned people-person spirit like Sam had, whether you are behind a monitor with an online business, or downtown Peoria. The time is ripe for going back to offering good service, excellent products, and asking for the purchase. Simple as that.

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