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Use these dealer-proven tips to sell more SIG pistols.

Handguns, like automobiles, tend to have a certain market. With the SIG Sauer pistols offered in the United States by Sigarms of Exeter, N.H., it's the BMW market--quality plus performance are the key themes for the company's handguns.

"The SIG is the second best-selling brand of firearm in this store," said Carl Ingrao. who runs the bustling Four Seasons Gun Shop in Woburn. Mass. Ingrao explains that SIG is only outpaced by Smith & Wesson because S & W's much broader line includes revolvers.

Sigarms has learned the importance of a broader product line and has taken steps to improve its position in the market. The company has had success with the introduction of the SIG Hammerli Trailside .22 in 1999 and the GSR (Granite State Rail) 1911 in 2003.

The GSR received the prestigious 2004 Handgun of the Year award from the Shooting Industry Academy of Excellence. The pistol, made exclusively in the U.S., includes a number of modern touches, including an accessory rail for mounting a flashlight and/or laser sight.

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Sales Tip #1: Follow the Academy of Excellence awards as they appear in Shooting Industry magazine. The academy's 460 gun dealers, industry leaders and writers determine who will receive the awards, not the magazine's editors. A lot of potential buyers take the awards as seriously as the Car of the Year Award from Motor Trend. Automobile dealers include that sort of accolade in their advertising. Shouldn't you?

Sell High Reliability, Superior Accuracy

In 1998, Sigarms extended its line vertically with a new service pistol, the sig pro. It offers a conventional double-action, first-shot autoloader in a lightweight polymer frame at a dramatically lower cost than the standard aluminum-frame SIG Sauer.

If sales have been below expectation, it is largely because the public identifies polymer-frame pistols with the Glock and other handguns of less traditional design. The recent polymer-frame 9000 series pistol from Beretta had the same perception problem. Buyers may be missing a bet.

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Sales Tip #2: Remind your customers that in Europe, home of the most radical new post-modern handgun designs, SIG won the largest contract in memory when the French national police adopted the sig pro for their gendarmes. Also, remind them that the sig pro provides SIG's high reliability and superior accuracy for less money. In my experience, the sig pro will outshoot the classic line SIG Sauer P229 in .40 S & W, and stay even with it in .357 SIG.

At Ingrao's shop, Four Seasons employees often wear Sigarms caps and polo shirts. It's an unspoken endorsement that helps sell product. Ingrao's staff also wears the Sigarms sports-wear during special events, such as the SIG Day the shop sponsored this past March. Held at a local range, the SIG Day offered customers a chance to shoot a number of SIG pistols.

Sales Tip #3: Sponsor a SIG Day to draw in additional business. Arrange to have SIG factory reps present to demonstrate the company's latest and greatest and answer your customers' questions.

These events bring in a lot of customer traffic and sow the seeds for future purchases. Ingrao and others have had great success with these events. Call Sigarms and they'll put you in touch with your local sales rep.

Offer A Test Drive

Jim McLoud, owner of the Manchester Indoor Firing Line in Manchester, N.H., has benefited from SIG's range gunrental program. McLoud keeps a substantial stock of SIGs on hand. New models are displayed in one showcase, and rental guns are offered in another. The rental showcase often leads the customer directly to the new handguns immediately after the first test drive.

Sales Tip #4: The good handling and famous accuracy of the SIG sells best when the customer can experience it. If you have a range on the premises or a deal with a local range, talk to SIG about their range gun-rental program.

Sales Tip #5: Selling gun magazines in a gun shop helps you sells guns. SIGs are popular and get a lot of play in gun magazines.

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"It was the raves in the gun magazines that make it impossible for us to keep a SIG GSR in stock," said Ingrao, pointing to a copy of GUNS Magazine on prominent display. The magazine's banner headline reads "New SIG GSR Pistol Profiled."

Krause Publications just released The Gun Digest Book of SIG Sauer Pistols, which I wrote. If you don't have time to explain all the advantages of a given pistol brand, a book about it certainly does.

Sales Tip #6: Don't ignore the .22 end of the market. I wouldn't be surprised to see Sigarms come out with something resembling the Walther P-22, a scaled-down, low-price, cute-as-a-button .22 semi-auto for plinkers. Many dealers find the P-22 to be the fastest moving handgun in their shop.

While we wait for the similar-designed SIG, you may find the company's Hammerli Trailside will go neck and neck in sales with a P-22 when marketed correctly. Shoot one and you discover that it combines target pistol accuracy with lightweight and easy manipulation, a combo we haven't seen since the late, lamented Colt Woodsman.

Though just as nicely made, the Trailside costs proportionally less than the Woodsman did, and its surprisingly low price lets you tap into a vein the Walther P-22 has already successfully mined.

Dealer-Proven Tips

SIG makes excellent pistols. You likely already move a number of them through your shop. However, by applying some of these dealer-proven tips, you'll increase the sale of this already best seller.

Sigarms Inc.

(603) 772-2302

www.sigarms.com

Academy of Excellence

www.shootingindustry.com

GUNS Magazine Sales

1-800-597-8065

www.gunsmagazine.com
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Title Annotation:Lethal Force
Author:Ayoob, Massad
Publication:Shooting Industry
Date:Oct 1, 2004
Words:945
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