Selling Safety: A Combination Of Common Sense And Business Acumen

By Massad Ayoob

We’ve long known there are us “gun folk” on one side and anti-gunners on the other — and a large percentage of undecid-ed fence sitters in the middle. If you ask some of the undecided why they haven’t bought a gun yet, a lot will answer, “I’m afraid it might be too dangerous.” Common sense and business sense combine in selling safety. Let’s talk about it.

GunVault ARVault

Gun safes take up a lot of sales area, but can return a worthwhile profit.

SnapSafe 2-Gun Keypad Vault

Secure Storage Benefits

Yes, they take up a lot of sales floor space. And, yes, delivery issues can be a hassle. The fact is, though, gun safes make up a good deal of the cash flow at many gun shops. They are, after all, fairly big-ticket items. In my travels around the country, I see a firearms retailer every now and then who has moved so many of these items they’ve morphed their business model and altered the name of their store to incorporate “Gun and Safe Shop.”

Today, the big market for new gun buyers isn’t budding hunters or people who’ve decided out of the blue to take up competitive sport shooting. No, you well know personal and family protection is the big driver of first-time gun purchasing. And you know safety is on their minds. While they may have been worried about guns being dangerous before, they’ve matured enough to consider their safety, and for their loved ones, when they explore buying guns in the first place. Safe storage is simply a logical extension of this.

Quick-access storage devices are useful for any armed citizen, and particularly desirable for the first-time purchaser who has S-A-F-E-T-Y in the forefront of his or her mind in block letters.

There are lots of brands on the market. Pick one you’re comfortable with and set it up on display, perhaps with a dummy gun in it. You and your sales staff should be able to show customers how a locked steel box can easily pop open for the authorized user.

A word of caution about the currently popular biometric gun safes: The concept doesn’t yet seem to have reached fail-safe perfection. Some people are simply incompatible with them — unable to successfully open them with their fingerprints for various reasons. There won’t be time for it to fail when a couple of home invaders are kicking down the door and the only tool with which to defend the family is in a lockbox that doesn’t open. It is, really, the same concern we in the firearms industry have with the largely vaporware concept of “smart guns” only able to fire based on fingerprint recognition. There is also the concern of blood on the hands of an injured homeowner filling the whorls of their fingerprints and blocking recognition.

Do yourself and the customer a favor: If they insist on a biometric gun safe, try it with them in the shop and make sure it works. If it doesn’t, they’ll always remember you were the one who saved them and their loved ones from a potentially fatal mistake, and it sure won’t hurt customer loyalty. If you’ve made sure it does work for them, fine. You’ll have a satisfied customer who got extra attention from the dealer. This can’t hurt either.

Hornady RAPiD Safe

ShotLock QuickDrawer 200

Guns In Cars

We all know a significant number of guns used in crimes are stolen. Studies indicate a great many of these are stolen from unattended motor vehicles. The first recorded “save” when Florida went to shall-issue concealed carry in 1987 was a man who later became a friend of mine, taxi driver Mark Yuhr. He had to draw his Colt Government Model .45 from a Milt Sparks Summer Special, and shoot and kill a career criminal who was robbing him with a stolen Smith & Wesson 9mm pistol. You can probably guess how he feels about people who leave loaded guns in unattended motor vehicles. Yuhr’s would-be murderer had stolen the S&W from such a place.

If a customer counters and says, “Yeah, but I always leave my car locked,” remind them of this: cheap body dent-puller meets door lock and voila, the door is open. Or more crudely, rock hits car door window and screwdriver meets locked glove box — and another firearm is circulating in the criminal world.

Let’s talk about another meeting: the juxtaposition of thankfully loosened laws on concealed carry and the proliferation of “gun-free zones.” We have more good men and women than ever carrying guns in public, but they have to leave them in the car when they go into a courthouse, school or other posted zone. Bad guys know this.

All said, a product able to sell itself is an on-board handgun lockbox that can be secured in the vehicle. I use a GunVault unit steel-cabled to the floor under the driver’s seat in my vehicle. It buys some peace of mind.

Bottom Line

Safety and guns go hand in hand. With all those potential customers out there who are holding off on gun buying because of safety concerns, marketing your shop as “Where Safety Comes First” can bring in new business. It’s a natural fit.


Parker Bows Rewards Program

Parker Bows has introduced its 2017 Parker Rewards Program. Kicking off its sixth year, the Rewards Program provides retail sales associates an opportunity to earn a free, personal use Parker bow or crossbow. Sales associates can register sales of new Parker crossbows or bows sold between June 1 and November 30, 2017 to earn Parker Bucks. For selling 15 compound bows or crossbows, associates can earn enough Parker Bucks to receive a free crossbow, including the Challenger or Bushwacker. Selling 10, one can earn a compound bow like the Lightning.

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