Appealing to the first time buyer
Quick Fire Cases
Whether he – or she – is concerned about personal protection and home safety or simply wants to take up shooting as a hobby, most new gun owners (and potential owners) share similar concerns about making that important first purchase. According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), more than half of first time gun buyers purchase because they enjoy shooting activities; the next largest group of buyers is women concerned about self-defense.
Make it easy for new gun owners to buy by walking them through everything they need to know, from basic gun safety to how to use, clean and care for their chosen weapon. Every potential customer is unique but keeping these general buying reasons and personas in mind can help you reach out to the first time buyer.
Choosing the Right Gun
According to American Rifleman, a buyer seeking a protection gun for home security may be best off with a reliable, high caliber revolver that is easily understood and can be packed away until needed. This buyer is likely looking for a piece that is easy to use and care for, that stops an intruder in his tracks and that uses a standard, easy to find ammunition. You likely already have a favorite piece for home defense - make sure it covers all of these bases for your personal protection buyers.
The new shooting enthusiast will likely have some features in mind, and may already know the difference between a revolver and semi-automatic, and have a preference. Education is key for this consumer as well, since they are going to be using their chosen gun much more frequently and will likely be back for more.
No matter why they purchase a new gun, your first time buyers are concerned about gun safety, from safe handling and shooting to securely storing their new firearm away from children and unauthorized persons. According to the NSSF, the average first time gun owner spends almost as much on accessories ($504) as he does on his firearm ($515); if you are already selling a gun, this is an ideal time to sell a safety case or safe, too.
Care and Cleaning
A new buyer will need to learn how to care for and clean their new firearm. In person demos or a formal class are a must; creating your own video or piece on online content that customers can refer to can help with education as well. Outfitting a new owner with practice and defense ammo, ear and eye protection and cleaning supplies makes it easy for them to safely clean, store and use their new weapon.
First time buyers are concerned about the legalities of their purchase; consider creating an easy to follow guide that outlines any laws that would apply to a gun owner in your state and sharing it on your site and in your shop.
Professional Staff, Professional Setting
Many first time buyers have never been inside a gun shop or been to a show – the image they have of buying a gun is from television -- where gun sellers may be portrayed as the bad guys. Feeling out of place, or fearing the seedy image presented by TV may prevent customers from seeking you out. Make sure your brick and mortar shop is well lit, spotlessly clean and that every salesperson is professional, willing to educate and nurture those clients that reach out to you. Including excellent interior shots of your store or facility and professional staff on your website and in promotional materials can instill confidence and alleviate any customer anxiety.
The In Person Advantage
If you own a brick and mortar store, the ability to engage and educate your customers in person is a huge benefit and will help you convert lookers into buyers. A first time buyer looking for expert help selecting a firearm and learning to use it can benefit from hands on instruction and will feel more secure in your environment than making a blind purchase from a big box store or online retailer.
Comprehensive and Ongoing Education
Offering educational opportunities to your potential and current customers is a must, whether you offer in person clinics, information blog posts or online videos that new owners can refer to again and again. Teaching does more than just responsibly educate the first time gun owner; it positions you and your staff as experts in your field and as the “go to” place for merchandise and advice.
Reaching out to new gun owners allows you to build your client base and offers an excellent return on your investment, since most newbies need not only the firearm and ammo, but all of the accessories, safety equipment and gear that go along with gun ownership. Cultivating a safe and comfortable place for prospective buyers to visit will pay off for that big first sale and beyond.
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