Serving the Self-Defense Minded Consumer
Quick Fire Cases
One of the single best opportunities that gun shops have to attract new customers and generate repeat business has to do with those individuals who are interested in buying a firearm for the purposes of self-defense. Gun enthusiasts in general are a market that will essentially always exist. These are people who enjoy guns from a collectors standpoint and, as a result, will always be searching for more information about the latest models and accessories. They're not necessarily a market that you have to go out of your way to attract, as generally speaking collectors are repeat customers by their very nature.
Self-defense minded customers, on the other hand, are ones who aren't necessarily walking into a store armed with information about what they plan on purchasing. They may not even know exactly which types of firearms they should be buying in the first place. If you want to properly serve the self-defense minded customer, you'll need to keep a few key things in mind.
Purchasing a Firearm
When someone walks into a gun shop for the first time with the intention of protecting themselves and their family from harm in the future, as a responsible business owner your first objective should always be in helping the customer achieve that goal. The most important thing to remember, however, is that no two people are created equally. The term "self-defense" is one that can have many different definitions depending on who you're talking to, so you should always begin a new customer interaction by discussing the reasons a customer has made the decision to purchase a firearm in the first place.
Remember that not every firearm is going to be right for every type of person. Some people will be looking for something small and compact, while others may be comfortable with an item that is a little larger and more powerful. Only by creating a friendly environment where the customer feels comfortable asking questions, and only by tailoring your own recommendations towards the needs of each unique individual, will you be able to provide them with the service they're looking for.
Long Term Gun Ownership
When dealing with an inexperienced buyer who is only looking for a firearm for the purposes of self-defense, your relationship with that person should not end immediately after the transaction is finalized. Remember that a first time buyer is also going to lack certain skills and even a certain level of respect for the firearm that more seasoned individuals will already have.
As a result, you should be encouraging classes to help them gain a better understanding regarding safety and other considerations. Confidence is an important requirement for being a responsible gun owner, but it isn't necessarily something that the first time buyer will naturally have. It has to be taught and earned, which is why classes are so important.
You can also take things a step further by making sure these first time customers are aware of their options regarding storage. Storage rules for firearms will vary based on the area you're located in, which can quickly make for an overwhelming situation for someone so inexperienced. As the expert, you're in a unique position to make sure that the customer not only has the right type of storage solution for their area, but that it is also easily accessible in the event that a self-defense situation should happen to arise.
The world doesn't necessarily need more gun owners in general. What it needs is more responsible gun owners. By taking the first time buyer under your wing and educating them regarding which guns are ideal for which situations, encouraging safety and training classes and even making sure they're aware of their options regarding things like safe-but-accessible storage solutions, you'll be doing your part in creating a customer who both respects his or her firearm and also has the confidence required to properly wield it. Doing so is a major benefit for not only your store, but for your community in general.
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