Wal-Mart Plays Evil—and You Can, Too

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wal mart Looking for a strategy for business success? Follow the Big Dogs. Last week, Wal-Mart announced it was cutting prices on thousands of products in every one of its 3,700 stores. How? Cost-cutting, including combining shipments so its trucks carry full loads, and encouraging suppliers to reduce prices, in exchange for a “price rollback” product spotlight in the aisle.

We’re not saying to roll back prices, but we are saying it’s time to consider cutting costs. Try these on for size:

Prospect, prospect, prospect: Identify potential clients who fit the profile of your best customers and start staying in touch with them via opt-in e-mail or direct mail. Let them know that you’re serious, competent, and can help them–and that if they don’t give you their business, you will immolate yourself in front of a local middle school. It will pay off over time.

Work your referrals, the low-cost way to get new clients. Systematize the process and then let staff and clients know how to make referrals and what reward there will be for them.

Send e-mail blasts where previously you would have sent snail-mail. Send snail-mail where previously you would have used smoke signals.

Use YouTube. Unlike TV, online video is not only a great way to embarrass yourself and your future grandchildren, it’s also an affordable way to reach millions of viewers. Post a snippet of a party where you filled the floor. You know you shined at that last party—make sure everyone else does, too.

Go for coffee. Face-time with other vendors or booking agents or venue  managers is more important now than ever. But if you previously took vendors out to dinner, take them out to lunch instead. If you typically take them to lunch, meet for coffee. And if you’ve previously taken them for coffee, then meet for a Tic Tac.

Chat online. The cheapest way to expose your company to potential clients is to find newsgroups that appeal to your target markets and start chatting—in a local wedding chat room, for example. Include your URL in your signature and then offer helpful tips that might direct traffic to your website.