NES Midsummer Meet - Is cycling the new golf?

06/Jul/2011
Paul Holmes

I received a call sometime in April from a customer asking if I fancied meeting up for a ride – he knew that I was into cycling, and were both in training for the same race.

Not one to turn down the opportunity to slip into some lycra, I hastily agreed. So there we were on a sunny evening at the end of April riding round the lanes of Bedfordshire when I thought to myself “isn’t it great doing something I love in the company of a customer, I wonder how many of our other customers and business partners are into cycling?”

This got me thinking further - how can I get out of proper work and travel the country riding my bike with customers? Well OK maybe not, but I did start to wonder how I could get my love of cycling and work a bit closer together. I knew that National Bike Week wasn’t too far off, and thought it might be nice to see if we could do something around it. At the same time we might find out a bit more about our customers, and forge some stronger relationships. So with this initial hair brained idea I approached some colleagues.  To my amazement I didn’t get laughed at – in fact they thought it was a reasonably good idea. From there NES Big Bike Bash was born, and given the coincidence of the time of year we soon renamed it the NES Midsummer Meet.

Gone are the days of the corporate jolly, no more morning rounds of golf course, followed by a boozy lunch. Most of our members work for themselves, and are busy people so we had to come up with some interesting seminar sessions to make it worthwhile having a day away from the business.  Then we needed an alternative to a bike ride, I’ll admit cycling isn’t everyone’s view of a good time.  We did a bit of research to find something that was work related, and I found that we have the original MKEnergy Park on our doorstep.

The last thing was to focus on the point of getting closer to our customers, informality would help that - everyone likes a barbecue surely!

A couple of weeks have passed since the Midsummer Meet now, and the feedback we’ve had from those who attended has been fantastic. Everyone liked the short, fast paced seminar sessions, everyone liked the opportunity to get out doing something a bit different, and everyone liked the informality of the day.  I was right too everyone does like a barbecue (and let’s also not forget the ice cream van!).

Interestingly, when I got home a cycling magazine I read had arrived that day, with an article in the back about cycling being the new golf.  So is it? Well, possibly - a large proportion of the guests for the day weren’t regular cyclists, but most who came out on the ride did enjoy it.  And there was some fantastic networking - so maybe it’ll become the new golf.

What lessons did we learn?

  • First of all no idea is a stupid idea.
  • Think a bit differently to try and engage with customers or potential customers.
  • Do something that they’ll remember.
  • Simple things sometimes work best.
  • There’s nothing wrong with informality.
  • Some initiatives don’t have to cost a fortune.
  • Everyone likes a barbecue.

The views expressed in this blog article are the personal views of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of National Energy Services.  When submitting a comment, please be aware of the guidelines provided in our website terms and conditions

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