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Sharpening dealers' skills for the archery sale.

The pressure's on. Archery is becoming a major player in the shooting sports industry, and you want in. But there's one minor detail holding you back -- you know absolutely nothing about archery or how to even begin selling the sport.

SI suspects this is far more common than gun retailers who can also trade war stories with customers about their last big bowhunt. So where does a gun dealer go to learn how to also be an archery dealer? To archery dealers school, of course!

Yes, there actually are at least two such schools that teach gun and sporting goods dealers the tricks of the archery trade -- one is offered by Precision Shooting Equipment, Inc., (PSE) in Tucson, the other by Hoyt U.S.A. in Salt Lake City.

PSE offers a five-day intensive session which is free to any authorized PSE dealer. Non-PSE dealers can attend for a $500 fee, with no obligation to PSE. If a dealer is set up to sell archery within six months after completing the course, Precision will credit that fee to an opening order with the company.

Back to Basics

Eight hours a day, PSE's executive staff go to the head of the class to instruct 25 or 30 dealers from around the country (and some from other countries) on every aspect of selling archery products.

Here they teach the basics of how to tune a bow, determine profit margin, and attract customers and turn them into repeat sales. A guest from Easton Aluminum comes in to lecture on arrows and shafts. Some of the other topics include:

* Arrow fletching

* How to serve strings, tie in peeps

* How to paper tune bows

* The use of videos in the archery shop

* Everything you wanted to know about compound bows

* The do's and don'ts of placing orders

* What you can do about anti-hunting movements

Dealers even learn to assemble a bow from the ground up. Additionally, they are given pointers on competing in the current archery marketplace, sales and merchandising strategies, and making the most of their advertising dollars.

Classes are held one week each month, except October and December.

Since PSE's first class three and a half years ago, more than 1,000 dealers have "graduated."

According to PSE Special Projects Secretary Laura Howard, the majority of those who have attended the school have shown at least a 200 percent increase in archery profits after the first year. If that isn't reason enough to hit the books again, than I don't know what is.

Positive Signs

Graduates of the Hoyt U.S.A. school have also shown similar success, says Kris Facer, dealer school coordinator. Although the Hoyt school is only in its second year of operation, Facer says it is already obvious that the dealers are applying the things they learned during the classes.

"Follow-up monitoring has shown that they have all had an increase in sales," she says.

Hoyt's school is also a five-day course, however only authorized Hoyt dealers can attend. Tuition is $350, which includes five night's lodging, meals, and a bow of their choice (excluding Hoyt's Carbon Plus), which they will assemble during class.

There are no trends when examining who makes up the majority of the students. They run the gamut of novice sporting goods dealers to archery experts who want to learn more about the business end of the sport. Facer says every dealer has a strong and weak area. "Even those who have been selling archery products for many years are very impressed with how valuable the information is to them," she says. "The value of their class far exceeds what they've paid for tuition." When students leave the school, they know everything they'll need to be a successful archery dealer.

Testimonial

Bruce Batterton of Lincoln Archery in Lincoln, Neb., completed the course in February, and says the school has been extremely beneficial, even though he's been selling archery for 13 years. "Basic ideas were taught that anybody in business could profit from," he says. Much of what was taught were things Batterton says he learned through the school of hard knocks over the years. Since completing the course, archery sales have shown a marked improvement, although it is too early to determine to what degree.

Batterton says he highly recommends the course to even long-time dealers because they can share ideas and receive a lot of feedback from the other dealers from other states who are attending the school, as well as the knowledgeable instructors.

Hoyt executives, including the president, three vice presidents, and national sales manager teach the classes. An Easton Aluminum professional teaches a class as well.

Facer says classes are filling up quickly, and so far they've already added an extra three classes this year to compensate for increasing demand.

For information on attending the Hoyt U.S.A. dealers school, contact Kris Facer at (800) 366-4698. At PSE, contact Laura Howard at (602) 884-9065.
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Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:Archery Aisle
Author:Smith, Ann Y.
Publication:Shooting Industry
Article Type:Column
Date:Apr 1, 1993
Words:823
Previous Article:Selling the silent hunt: the archery market of 1993.
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