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When you're buying at the SHOT Show.

Travel agents have a standard response when their clients ask for advice before embarking on an excursion overseas: Take half as many clothes and twice as much money as you planned."

The axiom takes a different twist when your destination is the SHOT Show: "Plan twice as much before you leave and expect to return with three bags of sales literature ,,

Admit it, many of you approach the SHOT Show as if it were a holiday shopping spree. If only our mates could see thousands of normally mature, responsible businessmen thundering through a crazed convention center exhibition hall, feverishly stuffing plastic bags with colorful literature expounding the virtues of battery heated socks,portable fish smokers and camouflaged toilet paper.

Hey, the SHOT Show is an event, a happening and a once a year opportunity to renew friendships, make new ones and generally celebrate this great industry that we find so challenging and rewarding.

The serious business of the SHOT Show can be easily overshadowed by the joyous distractions. Dallas and Las Vegas are vibrant, exciting towns. Our hosts are gracious and lavish us with attention. Industry leaders host every variety of social event, from western-style cookouts to formal award banquets. These events are worthwhile and serve an important function in the modern business tradition.

A note of caution in this atmosphere of merriment - remember your mission. As a prospective buyer much of your work should be accomplished prior to packing your suitcase. Your preparation should focus on inventory. Ask yourself, what has sold, what has not and what might? Careful accounting should answer the first two questions, leaving the third to be researched at the SHOT Show.

Arrive in Dallas with a plan, one that is flexible to opportunities that might arise or adjustments that must be made If rifle and handgun ammunition sold well in your store, then placing orders for more is a priority. Make a list of the companies you want to visit. If possible, determine who you should ask for at the booth. The sates representative who calls on your store is an excellent resource. He can supply you with a name and possibly set up an appointment. Use the year's worth of information you have compiled since the last SHOT Show to assist you in setting an agenda. Four days seem to zip by in a heartbeat. Remember the reaction you had when you walked into the exhibition hall last year in Las Vegas. The vastness of the facility and the lightening pace of activity was nearly overwhelming.

Preparation will give you a focus, the chance to manage and maximize your time. You may wish to roam the hall during the first day, familiarizing yourself with the locations of the company exhibits you will visit later.

Some buyers are more comfortable meeting with company representatives in the morning, leaving the afternoon for prospecting potential new products.

Remember, your well thought out schedule may be victimized by circumstance. Your 9 a.m. meeting with the regional sales representative from ABC Firearms Company might be postponed when Mr. Bigtime, the new Vice President of Marketing, calls an emergency training seminar.

Leaving the afternoon open may allow the meeting to be rescheduled later in the day The apologetic sales rep will gladly pull out the company credit card and talk business over lunch.

Let's say you are investigating the profitability of expanding your store's line to include outdoor apparel and footwear. Find out if any of your local competitors are carrying clothing. Tell your sates rep the brand names that appear to be moving and add these companies and a contact name to your SHOT Show "hit list."

Visit all the apparel exhibits before you place an order. Listening to sales pitches, gathering dealer price lists and kicking tires" will give you a better feel for the marketplace.

An organized, planned strategy will make your SHOT Show experience valuable and profitable, allowing you to accomplish your mission and still enjoy all the entertainment that this great even offers.
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Title Annotation:Shooting Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show
Author:Fallon, Denny
Publication:Shooting Industry
Date:Dec 1, 1990
Previous Article:Buying shotshells: buy smart and sell more in the new year.
Next Article:When you're selling at the SHOT Show.

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