Employees at a national insurer had the last laugh today after their CEO lost a bet that they could not beat last year’s sales and was forced to dress up as Father Christmas and face his fear of heights by plunging off the world’s highest commercial bridge bungee, the 216m high Bloukrans Bridge along the Southern Cape .
Despite his fear of heights, Multisure Corporation CEO Denton Goodford was forced to eat humble pie after jokingly betting employees last month that surpassing 2012?s sales was next to impossible.
“It has been a tough year for everyone,” said Goodford, a former state prosecutor who started the company in the mid-2000s, “so I never thought it would come to this. I said it half joking, but also wanting to try and motivate my staff and the company’s marketers. I guess the joke was on me!”
Following his bet, Multisure’s staff and marketers around the country went on a sales blitz, signing up thousands to the company’s insurance policies. By mid-December, they had comfortably surpassed last year’s sales.
Multisure marketing assistant Kate Saunders-Puntis even went as far as sending out an email to the group’s employees, saying: “We can’t let a comment like that go. Bloukrans Bridge in the Southern Cape is the highest bungee jumping spot in the world! We think we should make Denton jump.”
With its headquarters in Port Elizabeth and offices in Johannesburg, Cape Town and East London – and soon to open in Durban and Bloemfontein – Multisure offers legal and funeral cover and has a national footprint of network marketers (known in the industry as independent consultants) who earn a second income from marketing the company’s products.
Shortly before taking the plunge off Bloukrans, Goodford joked that at least he made use of his company’s products.
Afterwards, he said: “I’ll never do that again, but it had to be done. Let this be a warning to all the CEOs out there – be careful what you say to your staff, because they’ll hold you to it!”
Goodford has become a popular motivational speaker around the country, encouraging pupils and students to work hard and follow their dreams, as he did. Having grown up in Uitenhage, Goodford studied in Cape Town to become a state prosecutor. After returning to work in Uitenhage, he took to earning an extra income by driving a taxi part time as he furthered his studies to become an advocate. Later, after seeing the dire need for legal insurance among his clients, he started Multisure.
“Sometimes you have to give up what you are successful at in order to enjoy more success,” he said. “Things won’t always go according to plan. . . but decide on your values and constantly improve your knowledge about your business and industry.”
Respect was also an important factor in success, he said.
“I am always mindful to be grateful and remember to thank those who played a part in your life, no matter how small.”
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