Hospitality and firearms may sound like they don’t go together, but hospitality is key to retaining and growing your business. Hospitality involves showing respect for your guests, providing for their needs and treating them as equals.
Most of us are lucky enough to know a host or hostess who does an amazing job of making us feel welcome in their home. They are the type of hosts who throw interesting events and go out of their way to ensure their guests are enjoying themselves. If you can apply some of the methods used by fantastic party hosts to your business, the reward will be eager customers who look forward to returning to your store.
Like an invitation to a party, your advertisements should let potential customers know what to expect when they come in. When women are the target audience, the most important message to get across is you stock products designed for them. If you want to reach them, consider a newspaper ad in a lifestyle section of the newspaper rather than the sports section. Facebook, your website or direct emails are another great way to reach out to them. All advertising should have your address and phone number prominently displayed, and, if it’s a special event you’re promoting, it’s essential to include the time and a person to contact.
Hosting special events, like this Valentine’s date night at H&H Shooting Sports in
Oklahoma City, Okla., is a great way to market to women customers and increase profits.
A party invitation will often let guests know about an event’s theme, and this is where dealers can really zero in on potential customers. Try running an ad that focuses solely on women’s products and, if possible, a specific shooting sport like hunting. Men won’t be offended if the ad is geared toward women; on the contrary, they’re likely to show it to the women in their life and suggest a visit to your store.
EAA Witness Pavona Polymer Compact
Show Off New Products
This time of year, many new products introduced at the SHOT Show are beginning to find their way onto dealers’ shelves, so it’s a perfect time to share information about the latest offerings. A number of new guns with female-friendly touches are available, including one from European American Armory Corp. (EAA) called the Witness Pavona Polymer Compact.
The most outstanding cosmetic feature of this Italian firearm built by Tanfoglio is its sparkling polymer frame with integral checkering and sculptured, contoured lines. This polymer pistol comes in a variety of colors, ranging from black with gold flakes to a color they call “Fandango” which is a purple-pink with silver flakes. As a final custom option, the slide assembly is available in chrome or blue.
The Pavona weighs in at 1.9 pounds and has an overall length of 7.3 inches. Available in 9mm, .380 ACP and .40 S&W, it sports a traditional external hammer and fully adjustable sights. Improved slide gripping areas, fine-tuned recoil and hammer springs and the ability to keep the hammer cocked with the safety “on” to reduce hammer pressure make it easier for women to operate the slide. EAA is also working on a purse holster to be sold as a companion piece for the Pavona.
Taurus has introduced a new 5-shot revolver called the View. It gets its name from the translucent slide plate on the right side of the revolver that shows the interior mechanism of the gun. The .38 Special is based on the Taurus 85, but is more concealable with its contoured grip and grip frame, designed to minimize printing. Another perk of the new grip design is how it makes the grip sit further back in the palm, thus reducing muzzle lift.
The View weighs 17 ounces fully loaded and has an overall length of 3.5 inches. Other features include a titanium cylinder and snub nose barrel, a shortened stainless steel ejector rod, 10-pound trigger, non-adjustable sights and Taurus key-operated security system. The ladies’ version of the View is model number 85VTAP and comes with a pink aluminum finish.
A new gun isn’t complete without a stylish carry method; so let women know about the latest purse holsters on the market. Purse holsters from Everyday Tactical Gear are gaining a loyal following because of their style and affordable price point. Designed by owner Kim Klein, who is also a professional firearm instructor, the handbags feature a hidden, lockable zippered gun compartment with a holster secured by hook and loop fasteners. The line includes bags that can accommodate full-sized 1911s while still looking stylish.
Continue Hosting Throughout The Sale
Just as there is usually a reason for a party, you should give women a logical reason to come in. For instance, if you receive a new shipment of women’s hunting apparel or deer rifles sized for women, invite them in to check the new gear or hold an exclusive preview. If you’ve recently hired a new woman firearm instructor, invite ladies to a special Q&A session to meet her and get tips on women-specific firearm issues.
At most parties, the host will have a tour to update guests on home improvements or new furniture. Encourage employees to put this into practice in your store — so they’ll guide customers to new products, show them additions to the store and let them know what may have changed since they last visited.
When women come into your store, make sure they feel as welcome as if they were a guest in your home. Greet each customer and ask her if she wants help. Even if you get the classic, “Just looking!” answer, let her know about the women’s products you carry and about any new products or upcoming ladies events. If you’ve made any improvements to your range or you have a new promotion, inform your customer — she might not act on the information right away, but it lets her know you’re interested in retaining her business.
Complete your hosting duties by warmly thanking your customer for visiting your store and consider handing out an inexpensive “party favor” to anyone who visits. Ideally, your favor would be a small useful item that promotes your store. Obvious examples are pens, key chains or magnets, but a shooting-related item like custom printed earplugs or targets with your logo would be highly appreciated.
Applying the principles of hospitality to your business will keep your customers happy and improve your bottom line.
By Lisa Parsons-Wraith
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