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Special intelligence; overselling can be hazardous to your business.

The the day while speaking with a friend owns a successful gun shop, I asked, "What is the biggest mistake the typical rifle buyer makes?" His answer was surprising, but only because it was so close to what I've always conjectured.

Disregarding the customer who comes into the store knowing exactly what he wants, my buddy proceeded to tell me that too many would-be hunters want to buy a rifle and scope combination for hunting they want to do rather than hunting they are doing.

He explained, "They'll come in here and say: 'I want a rifle for deer here in Pennsylvania, but one of these years I plan to go out west and hunt mule deer, antelope or elk, so I want something that I can use for that, too.'"

Everyone likes to think he's a smart shopper, but choosing a rifle based on what might happen in the future usually means compromising for the present. My friend went on to say, "What a lot of these fellas' do, Jon, is end up buying a bolt-action 7mm Remington or .300 Winchester Magnum and a 3.5-10X scope to hunt whitetails here in Pennsylvania on the chance that three or five years down the road they're going go elk hunting."

The truth of the matter is that only one in four or five ever gets to make that hunt they dream about. Even if they do, all their other hunting is done with a rifle that's too long, too heavy and too powerful for the job at hand.

I couldn't help but think of the customer who buys his first hunting rifle and decides to scope it using see-thru mounts. I describe him as a first-rifle buyer because generally these are the folks who buy see-thrus.

The idea of being able to use open sights in case a scope goes haywire or is otherwise rendered unusable appeals to those with more enthusiasm than experience. What they end up with is a scope that's always mounted too high on the chance that some day a shot will have to be taken in a blizzard. Every time they raise that rifle to their shoulder they're compromising for the sake of an event that almost never happens in the real world.

Of course, you can only be so forceful; it's the customer's money, and his decision. Just remember, as the guy behind the counter, your opinion is highly valued. According to my dealer friend, you're better off trying to steer the customer to a rig that's suited for the kind of hunting he's doing, not the kind he hopes to do.

Planning For the Hunt

As your customer's interest and involvement in hunting grows, so too does his desire to upgrade his equipment and to own more guns. One of life's great pleasures is the anticipation and preparation for a long-planned hunt. Much of that planning centers around a customer's choice of rifle and load.

When a customer prepares for a hunt, whether it be their first or 50th out-of-state venture, it's pretty safe to say that he's aching to buy another gun. I've seen it time and again: even if a fellow has a perfectly suitable rifle and scope, he'll buy another just for the occasion.

It's all part of that sweet anticipation, the adventure, the mystique of a far-off hunt. It's difficult to get all these thoughts across to a customer without appearing to be steering him, but according to my friend, the better served a customer feels about his immediate needs, the better the chance he'll be back for his future ones.
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Title Annotation:gun owners tend to buy things they never get to use
Author:Sundra, Jon R.
Publication:Shooting Industry
Date:Apr 1, 1992
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Next Article:Lethal force.

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