When CEO Alan Scholz found sales falling flat, he turned to his longtime customers to help pump new life into this maker of folding travel bikes.
Alan Scholz believes that old customers are the most valuable. Scholz is the CEO of Bike Friday, a $3-million maker of folding travel bicycles based in Eugene, Oreg. When that company's monthly sales decreased by half last September, a dismayed Scholz turned to loyal buyers and offered them a discount on new models. "When people stopped flying, our little wheels stopped rolling," Scholz wrote in an E-mail pitch. "We need to sell more bikes to survive this very difficult period." Scholz, a devotee of Carl Sewell's Customers for Life, says the candor he shares with longtime customers is good for the bottom line. Scholz's October and November sales climbed 10% to 15% above the same months in 2000.