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What makes a customer a buyer?


If there were more shooters in this country, we would have more clout in the political arena and at the bank. One of the things we can do to get that clout is to promote airguns to prospective new shooters.

Why airguns? With all of the negative TV influence, the best kind of gun to promote is the quiet, low powered, single shot airgun. Further, it is the least expensive to shoot of all guns. With a suitable pellet trap, it can be used safely in the living room, garage, or backyard. Most folks now live in town and don't have access to a convenient place to shoot anything else, which is another reason.

You'll find it useful to have a place where you can shoot for demonstration purposes. If this can't be, you can at least have a bunch of targets to show people when you are talking about accuracy and pellet performance.

Your airgun prospects can be quickly divided into two groups, those who just want free information, and those who might become customers. The freeloaders want to handle and price your guns so they can decide which mail order house has the best deal. The more you tell them, the better they like it, but they'll never get so grateful that they'll spend any money with you.

A prospective customer (PC) is apt to ask what gun will perform the task he has in mind -- keeping sparrows out of his martin house, etc. The freeloader (FL) has been reading ads in Shotgun News or Cabella's catalog. He knows the names of the guns and will ask questions about performance and features of several models. The PC will usually decide fairly quickly which gun he wants, while the FL will keep pumping you for more details as long as you'll let him.

If a PC calls on the phone he may ask the price range of guns that'll do his job. The FL will want prices for specific guns. Telephone price quotes seldom produce sales, or even store visits. The guy who gets mad and says he isn't going to drive 20 miles to get your price, wouldn't drive the 20 miles to buy from you anyhow.

There will be times when you'll think it's worthwhile to quote a price on the phone, so do it. A good way to handle the question generally, is to ask the caller to give you his name and phone number and you'll call him back. Most of the FL types won't give you their names and numbers.

Every PC won't buy the first time in, and you'll sometimes have trouble deciding whether the person is a PC or a FL. If he starts to leave without buying, ask for his name and address, which you'll add to your 10 Most Wanted List. Tell him that if he comes back and buys the item he was looking at, you'll have a gift for him. The gift should be of nominal but real value. It might be a box of pellets, a package of targets, or other small item. If he buys a more expensive gun than the one he looked at before, you can give him a larger gift.

This program serves several purposes. It gives you a name, address, and area of interest of a person. If he comes back and buys, it gives you a measure of what you are doing right. If he doesn't come back, or won't give you his name, you have a failure to analyze. Did you just guess wrong? Was he a FL and not a PC? Or did you not do a good enough job of selling?

The same technique can be used on people who phone in to ask if you have a certain item. Tell them that if they come in and buy it, you'll give them an extra gift. Again, record the name, address, and item. Useful data.

What you have to offer that sets you apart from the catalog houses, is that you know the answers and can help your customers. But you have to guard your knowledge. You don't want to alienate a possible customer, but you can't afford to give your time and expertise to freeloaders.

After you decide that the guy you're talking with is probably a FL and not a PC, what you do depends on the situation. If he says he'd like to shoot a couple of guns and asks if you have a place, you might say that you let customers shoot. If he's ready to buy, you'll let him shoot his gun before he leaves the store. It's tough to establish hard and fast rules in this area. If you have any ideas on the subject, we'd like to know about them.
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Title Annotation:firearms retailers
Author:Reynolds, Dave
Publication:Shooting Industry
Date:Aug 1, 1990
Previous Article:Camp Perry & the National Matches.
Next Article:Air guns: what's new & how you can profit.

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