7. “But this is what my last buyer wanted.”
If you’re a seasoned Walmart Supplier, how many buyers have you been through? You already know a new buyer can bring new expectations and “the way we’ve always done it” won’t fly.
All buyers are looking to make their own mark on their category and not be a status quo buyer. When you get the opportunity to work with a new buyer, do your research. Find out as much as possible about what’s important to them. Above all, don’t assume your new buyer knows nothing! Nothing gets a new relationship off to a bad start like “schooling” or talking down to a new colleague.
However, what every buyer will acknowledge is they can’t know the supply chain end to end. Here’s your chance to shine: bring your new buyer solutions to drive down costs. This may be through a better consolidation strategy to support replenishment.
Position your conversation and presentation to enhance their goals. They’re looking for your solutions, not just challenges. Listening will always be more important than talking!
8. “Do you have kids? What kind of sports are they into?”
After asking several friends on the merchant team, this is an amalgam of what makes them uncomfortable. Family questions, compliments on appearance, greeting with a hug (people still do that?); it’s the supplier who wants to get too personable for a business meeting.
Most Walmart Buyers will advise suppliers to simply read the room. Is your buyer chatty? Great! They may like to break the ice before business, but let them lead. If your buyer is all business, keep it at the professional level. Both of you are there to make a profit together, so don’t take it personally if they can’t remember your last visit (or your kid’s soccer team).
9. “Hey, you’ll never guess who I saw at dinner last night!”
I can’t believe this one made the list: name-dropping.
I was having lunch with a friend on the Walmart buying team and mentioned writing this blog. When I asked what would be helpful to include, she practically screamed, “Name-dropping!” She then shared some awkward stories we won’t detail here.
It seems that more than a few supplier meetings at the Walmart Home Office have begun with, “Hey, you’ll never guess who I saw at dinner last night!” Let me guess. . .a Walmart executive?
Simply put, seeing Doug McMillon in Bentonville, AR, is like seeing Buzz Lightyear in Disneyland. People who work there experience it all the time, and it won’t help you get on the ride any faster. Instead of name-dropping, try news-dropping. If Walmart has announced a new program or strategy, bring ideas to the table of how you can support it through your business to grow sales.
Conclusion: Let the First Time be the Last Time
What not to ask the Walmart BuyerWhether it’s being too excited or being unprepared, it happens to everyone. The Walmart buying team is very forgiving when they hear something on this list; they just don’t want it happening in every meeting. The suppliers’ success contributes to Walmart’s success, so your buyer is there to support you through each step.
Want to go into that meeting exceeding your buyer’s expectations? It helps to chat with someone who’s been there! Click here to bounce a few ideas off the Patent 2 Product team of experts. We’ve got some insight that will turn that meeting or line review into a better experience.