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Selling the right gun for the job.

What's the best gun to use to defend your life? Of course, the one you have, but why should you let your customers rely on a gun that is either ill-suited for the purpose or ill-fitted to their needs?

Some customers need a gun that offers maximum stopping power. Some need one that's easy to conceal. Still others may want high capacity, ease of operation, specialized grips, extra safeties, etc. etc... Since there's obviously no gun that fits all of these requirements, it's your job as the resident gun expert to sell each customer a weapon that meets their specific self-defense needs and concerns.

After all, if you simply hand every customer the same model handgun, nearly all of them will realize they could have received the same level of service at the nearest Mart-Mart store. Some will take the simple route and go elsewhere for their next gun purchase. Others will be on the Handgun Control bandwagon before long when they realize that a badly fitted handgun is just as dangerous to them as it is to anyone they point it at.

Keep those customers confident in the products they're buying from you and satisfied with the service they get when they walk through your doors. This month, Massad Ayoob shows you how.

Last time I was in London, I walked down Saville Row and admired the famous custom suits in the windows. No, I didn't buy any. I'm the kind of guy who would rather buy his clothes at Wal-Mart. (That is, I would if Wal-Mart didn't vampire so much business away from my friends who own gunshops.)

Instead, I buy my suits from a guy in town called Manuel the Tailor. He's more expensive than Wal-Mart, but less expensive than the Saville Row clothiers. The reasons I do business with Manuel are two in number.

First, he has convinced me that he cares about me and what he sells to me.

Second, he always makes sure I don't walk out of his shop until what he has sold me fits perfectly.

I hope you can already relate to Reason One. It is the reason most of your customers come to your store instead of the Monster Mart that just opened down the street, but you'd be surprised how many of your fellow dealers totally ignore Reason Two. These poor dealers never pick up on the fact that their failure to fit the product to the customer the first time assures that same customer will never come back to their store.

Bad Examples From The Field

I spend most of my time running a school of armed defense, called the Lethal Force Institute, which offers classes around the country. You wouldn't believe how many students come to class with equipment that is totally mismatched with their needs -- equipment they bought in good faith from a dealer they'll probably never do business with again. Consider the following examples, just from the classes I've taught in the past few months.

* The petite lady who bought a 12 gauge pump shotgun with a stock long enough for a professional basketball player. The only way she could even hold it was to cantilever her shoulders backward, and every shot kicked her a step to the rear. With the gun, her dealer had sold her 100 rounds of 3-inch magnum combat ammo -- suddenly she was using a gun with more recoil than the .375 H&H Magnum rifles some of your customers hunt elephants with.

* The 6 foot, 6 inch behemoth whose local firearms purveyor had linked with an S&W Chief's Special J-frame with a tiny round butt and splinter grips. His sausage-size finger went through the trigger guard to the second joint and the tip of the trigger finger hit his thumb and stopped the stroke before he could break the shot. When the gun finally went off, it twisted so violently in the hollow of his hand that the hammer spur caught on the web of this thumb and he had to reposition the revolver before the next shot.

* The delicate lady with slight arthritis whose dealer had thoughtfully sold her a Glock 19 -- a wonderful gun, but any factory-trained instructor will tell you that a locked wrist and firm grip are critical if you want this gun to cycle reliably. In the firing of perhaps 500 rounds she had to clear probably 50 stoppages. The gun worked perfectly for her husband; he could grip it, she could not.

* The muscular Terminator look-alike guy who went to the sporting goods store and asked for a "good defensive handgun." Some sleazy salesperson saw that guy coming and sold him a .44 Magnum IMI Desert Eagle. The Eagle is a splendid pistol for its purpose, which does not happen to be rapid defensive fire on multiple targets. He was a competitive guy accustomed to applying himself to any discipline, but he was frustrated that he couldn't draw, shoot, or reload as fast as other students.

* The lady who had a well-suited gun -- a SIG P-225 -- but a terrible holster. The SIG fit her hand well and she shot well with it ... after she finally managed to clear leather. The holster undoubtedly worked well for the man who sold it to her, but the high-ride hip carry that works for men positions the gun butt around the shoulder blade of a short-waisted woman.

The Dealers' Job

You see where we're going here. People who buy things that don't fit them don't go back to the dealers who sold them those products -- and they probably never buy those products again either.

All of these students now have equipment that works. The lady with the weak joints shoots a 9mm that always cycles for her. The guy with the sausage finger has a 3-inch K-frame .357 with Uncle Mike's round-butt grips -- easy concealment, perfect fit, and more power to boot. The lady with the monster shotgun now has a 20-gauge of the same make and model with a stock that fits her, and she's deadly with it. The SIG lady crossdraws these days -- at high speed, thank you. And the Desert Eagle man bought a modern 9mm and swiftly and surely became, well, swift and sure.

All are buying more guns, ammo, and accessories than ever -- but I doubt that any of them are shopping at the places where they were poorly fitted the first time.

In the next few "Lethal Force" columns, I'll share some quick, easy tips that you can in turn share with every member of your staff. Tips that allow a "custom fit" off the rack often make "in-house custom tailoring" an option suddenly desirable to the customer and profitable to you ... and, most important, it creates satisfied customers who become loyal to you for their defensive firearms needs.
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Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Lethal Force
Author:Ayoob, Massad
Publication:Shooting Industry
Date:Jun 1, 1993
Previous Article:100 days to bowhunting season - is your gunshop ready?
Next Article:The spring handgun review!

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