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Security products - a natural add-on to firearms sales.

A young woman walked into her local gun shop, and said to the clerk, "I don't feel safe in my home, I want to buy a gun."

The clerk talked a little more with the woman, assessing her gun knowledge, her commitment to using lethal force, and the amount of time and energy she was willing to invest in firearms training. Together they decided on a .38 Special revolver.

Then the clerk said, "While you're waiting to take ownership of your gun, let's make sure the chances of you being forced to use it are less," and he guided her toward the store's security center.

This little scenario probably hasn't happened in your store yet, but it could. One thing dealer's should keep in mind is that they're selling safety and security to their customers. Women who purchase guns for self defense feel fear. They hope they will never have to use a gun on another human being, but when it comes down to a "him or me" situation, they want to be the ones who survive. So after you've given a woman great advice on the best handgun for her needs, help her make sure she never has to use it except for target practice.

Think about devoting a small gondola to home security devices. This could include many products that you already have in stock such as flashlights, utility knives, multi-tools, pepper spray, etc. - you'll just be marketing them in a different way.

Explain to your customer how a flashlight is an invaluable self-defense tool. If a thief cuts the power to your customer's home, a flashlight will be helpful in locating her tools of self defense. A flashlight is also essential for target identification, preventing the tragedy of your customer shooting her teenage son who forgot his keys. It seems like common sense, but the best ideas usually are.

Pepper spray is an effective non-lethal deterrent that some women may feel more comfortable owning, especially if they have small children in the house. It's a great item to sell to women to keep in their purse and could also be sold in conjunction with a firearm for those occasions where a gun is not permitted.

Utility knives and multi-tools are also important in defensive situations. The variety of tools and small blades are enough of a "mini toolbox" that a multi-tool can be used to complete everyday chores or to cut through a seat belt in the event of a traffic accident.

A small selection of deadbolts and window locks would also be appropriate for a home security gondola. Of course, your customers can get them cheaper at the local hardware store, but if you stock good quality products that come with a healthy dose of advice and reassurance, women will buy from you. They'll be glad to pay for your knowledge and experience.

Make a deal with a local locksmith to offer any customers you refer a small discount on installation. He'll appreciate the business and your customers will be glad to know that someone they can trust is taking care of their security needs. You may also be able to make an arrangement where the locksmith pays you a small commission on each customer you refer.

If your customers are women who spend a great deal of time on the road, suggest they gather a small bag of items that will help them stay safe no matter where they are. All of the items mentioned above would be valuable, but there are a few other things that could come in handy as well. For example, a blaze orange hunting vest could be kept in the trunk of your customer's car for emergencies. A bright orange vest could keep her from being hit by a car as she walks to the nearest phone on a dark road.

Another item women who travel will find useful is a portable door jam or lock. The Travel DoorJammer from Defenders Network (800-800-1011) is a small device that hooks onto the bottom of a door and makes it virtually impossible to open. Its small size makes it highly portable and easy to tuck into a suitcase. There are also several small portable locks that can be attached to hotel room door jams. These would be great items for traveling women who visit areas where they cannot bring their firearms.

A final item that you could suggest to women for both car and home defense is a cellular phone. Experts such as Massad Ayoob recommend that everyone have a cellular phone for emergencies. It can be used to call a tow truck from the side of the road or the police when the power or phone lines are down.

It's not practical for gun shop owners to become cell phone dealers, but this is another case where a referral to the local phone shop could earn you a small commission. A gun shop can't be all things to all people, but steering women in the right direction can earn you a lot of loyal customer points.

Most gun shops probably already stock many of the items mentioned. Take a look at your inventory and consider grouping these and other security items in one highly visible area. Train your staff to supplement pepper spray and gun sales with window locks and flashlights. Most of your customers only buy one gun, but security accessories could be purchased throughout your customers' lifetimes.
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Copyright 1996 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Arms and the Woman
Author:Parsons, Lisa
Publication:Shooting Industry
Article Type:Column
Date:May 1, 1996
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