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BMW Motorcycle Demo rides – charity donation - a sad tale
a motorcycle rider. Last year I was delighted to discover “Motorcycle Demo Ride
Days”. That means that anyone with a valid motorcycle license could test ride
the newest bikes at a local motorcycle dealer. I visited events at six
motorcycle brands and created a shortlist of bikes that I’d never considered
but now must have.
is a simple yet powerful marketing technique based on the principle that if you
give them a free taste and they like it - they’ll want more.
manufacturer or national distributor trucks a dozen or so of their newest
models around the country to dealers. The local dealer hosts the event, manages
the logistics and even provides refreshments. And it’s all free with no
obligation or high pressure sales pitch.
year I searched online for more demo rides. Near the top of my wish list was
BMW. I had visited the BMW Museum in Munich, Germany decades ago and have long
dreamed of owning and riding a BMW motorcycle.
was excited to uncover a BMW demo ride at a local dealer. And yes, I had to
“uncover” it because there was no mention on the local dealer website or their
Facebook page and only one mention on the national site. The national site
listed an email to contact for more information.
a BMW motorcycle wasn’t free. The website stated “for a small charitable
donation you receive a lengthy ride on a variety of roads that are chosen to
highlight the unique qualities of a BMW motorcycle…”
sounded reasonable and I was willing to donate to the charity in order to ride
a BMW motorcycle.
I called the local dealer I heard that, “It’s $25 for a ride”. He sounded like
a side-show barker. I asked him, “Will I get a charity receipt for my
donation?”He replied, “No. We picked
$25 because a receipt isn’t required under $30. We don’t want to deal with the
comments sounded strange so I checked the website of Canada Olympic Foundation
– which was the charity. That site stated that a “charitable receipt was
automatically generated for a donation of $10 or more”. I emailed that
information to the dealer rep and asked “If I make my donation directly to the
Canada Olympic Foundation online and bring my receipt – would that be okay?”.
The dealer rep didn’t apologize or explain the discrepancy between that fact
and his “under $30” statement. He simply forwarded my question to the BMW
Canada marketing rep who responded…
to clarify the test ride donations, the reason we do not give receipts is
because you are receiving something in exchange for the donations. In
this case you are getting a ride on a new motorcycle and also lunch or a
refreshment. It is just like if you buy a hospital lottery ticket,
no receipts because you are getting the chance to win something. If
you donate directly to the COC then yes you can get a receipt because you are
not getting anything in return for the donation.
test ride program is not set up for you to donate directly to the COC and then
to show us a receipt.
you are interested in riding a new BMW, please follow the regulations we have
set up. We pool all the money collected during our rides and donate it on
behalf of the Motorrad retailers at the end of the season and make an announcement
on the total when done.”
this the Way to Build Trust?
email raises several questions which I list and discuss on another post. The
first discrepancy is that BMW Motorrad Canada seems to be using their own
definition of the word “donation”. This so-called donation looks like a fee for
service. The second curiosity is the refusal to give a receipt for the money
they receive. Apparently some of that money collected might be donated to a
charity by BMW Canada.
decided not to attend the BMW demo motorcycle ride because I believe that the
BMW people were misleading at best. If you’re a stickler for the truth you might
consider those statements lies.
feeling of being deceived tarnished the shine of BMW motorcycles. The local
dealer was either misinformed or misleading. The message from the national
office was misleading.
one deceives (or lies) about a simple thing as “charitable donation” you might
wonder what other deceptions (or lies) have they, and will they tell?
experience did not build trust with me – which is an important part of inviting
prospects into your store to examine your products.
and riding a motorcycle has little to do with logic. It’s all about the
feeling. One of those feelings is trust. Normally I’d be writing about the
riding experience but the experience before the ride turned me off so I
canceled my ride.