If you want to see increasing profits thru sales with existing customers then this is the most important post you’ll read all year.  Repeat customers sustain and grow businesses. Building loyalty yields incredible rewards – especially, to your bottom line!

With 25+ years of business experience, one technique has worked consistently to keep customers buying. I made customers my business partner.

“How customers become business partners?”

First, stop selling and start listening to their needs and problems. Once you understand what your customers want, devise a plan to give it to them!

How Timberland Became Our Partner

I’d like to tell you my story…

We stitched shoes in the Dominican Republic. Our customer, Timberland manufactured and retailed boots and shoes.  Sidney Schwartz, president and founder, figured out how to stitch boots in a three-dimensional state with automatic machinery. He used Dominican labor and blended it with technology to produce boots and shoes.

#1 Timberland problem: When retail demand increased more then their automatic machinery could produce, Timberland did not have manual labor to produce additional production.

We listened to their problem and agreed to become their partner. We supplied labor and Timberland supplied materials and know-how.

We formed a partnership with Timberland and they became our largest customer. Timberland’s presence in our factories became a selling point in securing other high profile customers.

Soon after, Timberland needed more from us.

Sydney Schwartz visited our factories to oversee production. In the spring of 1990, he informed us that our in process time needed to be reduced from 7 days to 2 days.

We committed ourselves to reducing in process time.

Once we reduced our in process from 7 days to 2 days, we had space to add lines for 7 additional customers without adding any additional production space.

A win-win situation occurred. Having fewer dollars tied up in production reduced Timberland’s costs and we increased our sales and profits by having more space available for other customers.

This experience taught me the power of making your customer your business partner. Never forget to…

Stop selling and really listen to your customer’s needs and problems so you can partner and create your own win-win.

Partnering has been a win-win for every one of my businesses.

Can you share any experiences where you partnered with a customer and your sales and profits increased?

I’d love to hear your stories in the comment section below.

P.S. – Do you need an Outside Director, Advisory Board Member, Trusted Advisor,  or Interim CEO?  Someone who can help you see your business and your goals through “Fresh Eyes.”  Contact me and I will work with you to look at where you want to go and help you find the best way to get there.  Sometimes all it takes is someone with a fresh viewpoint, unencumbered by company politics or culture to help find the right solution.

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Larry Putterman
Board Director | Advisory Board Member

Avoid painful lessons learned. Let me help solve your business problems. A fresh set of eyes can show you a different set of possibilities. Use my experience to save time and money. I have been there and done that. What makes me highly effective is my fresh viewpoint, unencumbered by company politics or culture.


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