Some time back I wrote a blog that suggested you should ‘play golf to grow your business’. This was based on UK research that suggested sales people and business executives who play golf experience an 85% better chance of securing a business deal on the golf course than through conventional methods of marketing.
Now not being a golfer I didn’t get to take my own advice, so I started to think about what I had in common with my key clients. Apart from the fact I was lucky enough to get on very well with each of them, the was something blindingly obvious. Several of us were keen motorcyclists, we each had a sense of adventure and enjoyed travel. I also knew that each of them could benefit from the services or products that some of the others provided. There appeared to be the germ of an idea here. Could we get away on our bikes and combine business with pleasure?
I had a trip to NZ planned so it was quickly converted to a working holiday. I needed to meet with some NZ based clients and prospects, but was also going to test my idea – a networking motorcycle trip. Organising a few friends who wanted to do the trip we rented bikes from Paradise Motorcycle Tours in Christchurch. These guys were great and when I explained the idea I was testing they got quite excited (more guys coming to rent bikes and a new market to explore…hmmm).
The great thing about being on a motorcycle tour is the mix of ‘alone time’ and ‘together time’. I found that at breakfast each morning, at rest stops and over dinner and a few ‘cool ones’ at the end of each day there was plenty of time to share the riding experiences and discuss business. While on the bikes you can get away from it all, enjoy the roads and scenery aan contemplate the discussions you’ve had. All in all, a pretty good recipe for business networking.
The big test for this grand plan was to raise it with the likely traveling networkers. Not surprisingly (because I know them well), each is really interested in the idea and planning is now underway. We’ll be doing a few shorter rides te get to know each other better at a social level and to understand each others riding style, but I’m really looking forward to the long ride.
So who said networking had to be WORK and that it had to be boring? Use a little innovative thinking and you could be surprised at where you might be making your next business deal.