Mixing business and pleasure isn't necessarily a bad thing. Henry Camferdam Jr., president of Indianapolis-based Support Net, claims that his company's accelerated growth rate is directly tied to his hobby.
Camferdam, who is a professional race-car driver, saw potential for building camaraderie between clients and salespeople by sharing his passion for speed. He points out that we all need to blow off steam; we become closer to people with whom we blow off steam, and we become more trusting of them. And how better to blow off steam than to drive really, really fast? So as part of an annual incentive program, the remarketer of IBM computers sends about 20 clients and eight employees to driver-training school. In addition to increasing his company's revenues, Camferdam has gained brand recognition through the race-car program: Resellers who buy from him have no problem distinguishing Support Net from the 15 other IBM distributors with whom it competes.