I stopped by the Riverside BMW motorcycle dealership the other day. It was a curiosity visit as much as anything. I am always interested in how different brands are approaching consumers. It seemed like an opportune time to see how they would pitch someone like me on their products.
As I walked in I spotted the new cruiser, a KT1600 GT. It is an amazing bike with a big engine, wonderful ergonomics, and creative solutions to a wide range of historical annoyances. My perspective took a turn when, in response to a simple question, I found myself talking with the owner of the dealership. He rides what he sells. He also rides three very different types of bikes. Along the way, he had developed an informed view that he is willing to share.
As we wandered from bike to bike, we shared our experiences. He knew that I was not in the market. At the same time, it was fun for each to talk with one that loves bikes yet was also candid about what he liked and disliked about them. Rarely is any bike perfect, event the versatile ones. I found myself seeing more than I had before about each. Ones I liked became even better. Even with those I disliked, I could where they would be a top choice.
As kept looking for the sales pitch, but it never came. As our conversation moved along, we ended up where I had started, with the KT1600 GT. As we talked about the new features, he invited me to sit on the bike and start it up.
I looked at him and asked the obvious. “We are in a showroom. Should I actually start the bike?”
“I hope you’re not going to be argumentative about this.” (1 Corinthians 11.15)
“This is a special bike. Fire it up. If you like the experience, bring your helmet next time and take it for a ride.”
I pressed the start button and heard a familiar sound that was different in subtle ways. Invitations can be just an invitation.