Gun store consultant


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PershingRiflesC-7
March 19, 2005, 11:08 PM
Furious Styles' thread on Gunshop Attitude... (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=130840) caused me to think that members of the forum might like to provide some positive insight on gun store customer needs.

I am a business consultant that specializes in quality and performance improvement in organizations. I have been an Examiner for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and my state level quality award. As such, I use the criteria from these programs to assist organizations I work with as a consultant. Next week, I will begin consulting with a gun dealer/range that wants to apply for the state level award as well as learn how to improve as an organization.

As an example, here is the key criteria concept statement concerning customer-driven excellence: "Quality and performance are judged by an organization’s customers. Your organization must take into account all product and service features and characteristics and all modes of customer access that contribute value to your customers and lead to customer acquisition, satisfaction, preference, referral, and loyalty and to business expansion. Customer-driven excellence has both current and future components: understanding today’s customer desires and anticipating future customer desires and marketplace offerings."

Feel free to respond via PM or in the forum.

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Bob F.
March 19, 2005, 11:14 PM
C-7: have you ever seen "In Pursuit of Excellence"? Anyone interested in customer service should see that one.

Wildalaska
March 19, 2005, 11:34 PM
All well and good Pershing but the fact remains that a lot of people are jerkoffs who ya cant please no matter what


:neener:

Wildmya**holefactorisdirectlycorrelatedtoyoursifyouaintonetheniainteitherAlaska

PershingRiflesC-7
March 20, 2005, 08:04 AM
Thanks for the replies, gentlemen.

Bob, I have read In Search of Excellence (I think that is the one you meant :) ) -- the themes presented are included in the approach I use. Other books with similar themes that I use are Built to Last and Good to Great. I have access to a video library and will check to see if it is available. Thanks for the suggestion.

In my considerable time lurking here, I have read many of your posts, Ken. Because of that, I want to make sure I understand your point concerning "jerkoffs". Are there specialized factors of the consumer or product that makes satisfaction with a retail transaction more challenging for a gun store?

I ask this so I can connect your response to the second sentence in the criteria statement: "Your organization must take into account all product and service features and characteristics and all modes of customer access that contribute value to your customers and lead to customer acquisition, satisfaction, preference, referral, and loyalty and to business expansion."

wundudnee
March 20, 2005, 08:41 AM
:scrutiny:

logical
March 20, 2005, 09:15 AM
This thread seems destined to capsize into the same waters as the other thread but maybe I can get the ship righted again.

It is probably fair to say that there is a fairly high percentage of social misfits in the population of gun shop customers. I can't explain why, and I mean no insult to anyone here, but let's face it..there are a lot of mumbling, shuffling, wild-eyed freaks among us.

If you are really interested in offering training to gun shop owners (although the ones that need it most would sooner sign up for new age yoga classes) then probably the best place to start is to just get them to approach a customer with a positive open attitude. Regardless of how somebody looks or is dresse, assume he has money, assume he plans to purchase, assume he is knowlegable, assume he is intelligent. Then, as you find one or all of those to not be good assumptions, by all means go back to being an A-hole.

Nathanael_Greene
March 20, 2005, 09:34 AM
I would say that even rudimentary customer-service training would go a long way to improving gun shops' reputation.

I've been in gun stores that had simply terrible service--surly, incompetent, rude, etc.

There have been a lot of threads on various firearms forums that Wal-Mart is killing small gun shops through predatory pricing, and we should all support the good ol' mom-n-pop. If mom-n-pop are a couple of jerks, they're not getting my money. I see no reason to patronize stores that don't want my business and act like they're doing me a favor by letting me in the door.

My patronage goes to the places that earn my business, not to those who are willing to condescend to relieve me of my money. (And this is true regardless of the type of business.)

So in terms of a list of needs when I go into a store, here's what I expect:

Courtesy. Knowledge of product. Willingness to listen. Willingness to help. Give me some credit for knowing a thing or two myself. Professionalism. Reasonable pricing (I can scan gunbroker.com as easily as they can). Honesty--it's better to say "I don't know" than to lie; if I want to be lied to, I'll go car shopping.

In other words, I expect the same from a gun store that I do from any store.

spartacus2002
March 20, 2005, 09:36 AM
here's a tip: when a lady walks into a gunstore and wants to buy a gun, don't automatically start pulling out LadySmith .38 revolvers.

ESPECIALLY when she says "no, I'd rather look at the CZ-75s."

Werewolf
March 20, 2005, 11:43 AM
Wild Alaska in his own very special way let us all know that:All well and good Pershing but the fact remains that a lot of people are jerkoffs who ya cant please no matter whatWhich just goes to show that some business owners know jack about customer service.

It is exactly those types of customers that the business must bend over backwards to - if not please - at least treat civily. Businesses that do that occasionaly end up with those jerkoffs as new customers. Giving the jerkoff the bums rush or the finger does nothing to create new sales. Treating them with respect - even if you're upchucking silently while doing it - at least gives the business the potential for making a sale. 1% possibility of a sale is way better than ZERO % possibility of a sale. It seems like a great many gunshop owners and employees either don't know or more likely don't care that they are in business to make money and you don't make money by pissing off potential customers.

THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT - PERIOD - EVEN WHEN HE'S WRONG.

If more local gunshops acted that way then fewer folks might be buying there guns at Wally World or Bass Pro - but then maybe there aren't any WW's or BP's in Alaska.

bogie
March 20, 2005, 11:48 AM
Yeah - the folks that the jerkoff know probably know that he's a jerkoff. And if he's impressed with a business, they know that they must really take care of you.

If I was running a gun store...

I'd hire non-gun people, and educate the heck out of 'em. Too many people in gun stores are HOBBYISTS, and not business people.

Consulting... Been there, done that, got a closet full of dark grey/black suits, braces, white shirts, ties, etc...

That I won't wear anymore.

itgoesboom
March 20, 2005, 12:56 PM
So far, I have been to very few good gun stores, some have been better than other.

Now, I realize that many customers are not very good at the gunstores, that you guys have to put up with people that don't know the safety rules, or don't follow them, people that are ignorant and are just plain annoying.

But many people are in the store for the very first time, possibly buying a 1st firearm, that they never expected they would buy.

With that, here is my list.

Criteria for a good gun store:

The employees are knowledgable, friendly, helpful, and are willing to actually talk to a customer. They will be willing to show a purchaser how to tear down and put together the firearm. One store I bought a 22/45 at refused to show me how to field strip the pistol, since, in their words "you will just end up bringing the pistol in with the parts in a ziplock bag wanting us to put it back together for you". Gee, thanks for the vote of confidence.

They will actually help the customer with what the customer *wants* rather than what they want to sell. If a customer comes in looking for a CCW, they will show them a piece suitable for that purpose, not a Glock 21.

They will not criticize the choice of firearms that a customer wants. There is, or at least was, I don't know if they are still in business, here in Oregon, a shop that would criticize anyone buying Glocks, telling them that they will all blow up eventually. :rolleyes:

They will actually show solid firearm safety, and encourage customers to do the same. Please clear the firearm before you hand it to the customer, and after he returns it to you. (I will show the same courtesy, and clear it before I hand it back).

They will have a solid inventory of firearms. I know, I know, inventory is expensive. But I would prefer to have the brand new pistol I just bought be brand new, not the one everyone else has been handling that is on the shelf.

They will have a solid selection of accessories. Lots of cleaning supplies, by different manufacters.

They will stock lots of ammo, in various calibers, and have it priced reasonably. $7 for a box of 20 7.62x39 shells made by Wolf is not priced reasonably.

They won't forbid customers with CHLs from coming in the store with their firearms concealed.

They will actually encourage gun rights, not encourage the grabbers. Telling customers when the AWB sunset that "no civilian needs more than 10 rounds" is not encouraging gun rights.

They won't walk away from a customer after a customer has looked at couple of firearms, and then ignore that customer. Had that happen while I am sitting there with cash in my pocket, ready to buy, and the salesperson goes over to talk to one of his buddies, and was almost impossible to get him to come let me buy something.

Will dress professionally, and look like they are actually working. One gun store did this, and it looked really good, except the tan uniforms they wore, combined with the fact that they all looked like skinheads, reminded customers of neo-nazis. So looking professional - Good. Looking like a Neo-nazi - Bad. Find a way to look professional without creeping people out.

Will understand that many of the customers coming in are first time buyers, and are already intimidated at the thought of buying a gun. So the employees will help these customers not only purchase a firearm for their specific use, but also help them feel more comfortable in the store.

Another thing, the employees should encourage people to stay in the store, talk and browse. Not only does that make the store seem more friendly, but also provides extra sales.

Just my opinion.

I.G.B.

308win
March 20, 2005, 01:08 PM
Know your merchandise and present it fairly. Know your policies, disclose them prominently, and enforce them fairly. Educate the customer respectfully if he needs it, learn from him if you have the opportunity. Spend the time to learn the customer's buying drivers, needs, and ability to afford/execute same. If the customer purchases a $400 pistol give him a $6 box of ammo for cristsakes.

PershingRiflesC-7
March 20, 2005, 01:21 PM
Thanks to all of the recent posters for your responses. I especially appreciate the efforts of logical in keeping the thread on track :D . Your list (and Nathanael, Spartacus, bogie, Werewof, & igb) of assumptions/requirements is exactly the type of customer needs I was looking for.

Thankfully, bogie, my type of consulting requires very little use of the wardrobe you describe. I tend toward a polo shirt and khakis, down in the trenches, approach because that is the type of wardrobe I find most of my small business clients wearing. I have found that helps me connect to find out more about what is really going on in the business. That and avoiding corporate double-speak :cool: .

jeff-10
March 20, 2005, 01:40 PM
I'd hire non-gun people, and educate the heck out of 'em. Too many people in gun stores are HOBBYISTS, and not business people.

I agree, the problem is gun stores should be a sales enviroment not a an extension of a gun magazine or gun forum. Having people who are there to make money by selling you their products would go along way to curing a lot of problems gun stores seem to have. The gun store I frequent is a small one but the owner/operator is a business man and understands what it takes to keep a business operating.

MikeJ
March 20, 2005, 02:02 PM
Very interesting thread and it really all boils down to the basics of good salesmanship. A good salesperson is not a huckster, slickster, liar etc., a good salesperson knows their product, knows how to present it and most importantly knows how to listen to the customer. In every pleasant buying situation I have ever been in, regardless of the product, these basic tenets were adhered to. Examine any truly successful retail establishment where price is not the sole factor for shopping there nor do they have a monopoly and these principals will hold true.

I believe that because of the nature of gun enthusiasts, gun shops do get a greater amount of browsers than many other types of shops. I myself have been guilty of this more than once where I went in just to look with no intention of buying at the time. How I was treated certainly made a difference when it came to make a purchase. I went back to the places that treated me well and stayed away from those that didn't. With the right approach a good salesperson should be able size up a potential customer in short order by simply asking the right questions and really listening to what they say.

Onmilo
March 20, 2005, 02:24 PM
We follow itgoesbooms advice on customer service to the letter in our shop and still get reponses that mirror WildAlaska's.

Customer service goes both ways, if you want excellent service as a customer then act like a gentleman when you patronize the store.

moby clarke
March 20, 2005, 02:31 PM
I would add two things to what itgoesboom said. That salespersons treat every question the same. I have heard salespeople openly laugh at questions asked by an obvious first time buyer. And finally, act like they like their job. At one of the stores I frequent, there was an old timer there who acted like he was going to fall asleep any moment. Have some energy and enthusiasm for your work or find another job.

Preacherman
March 20, 2005, 02:40 PM
Pershing, although it's no longer my field, I've worked in your area - in fact, my MBA dissertation was on service quality!

I've been in business for many years, and been a shooter for many years. I don't know that the shooting industry (at least at the retail level) is really suitable for the standard business descriptions with which we're all familiar. Oh, sure, some of the "superstores" such as Bass Pro, etc. fall into that category: but most of the gunshops I know are owned and staffed by shooters rather than businessmen. In other words, their enthusiasm for the shooting sports is what drew them into the business, rather than their making a business decision that the shooting sports offered a good opportunity for profit.

As a result, there is (IMHO) a relative lack of business skills, and a businesslike approach, in the retail side of the firearms industry. I would suspect that if you examined a representative sample of retail shooting establishments, less than 25% would be owned and/or staffed by a person or persons with any formal business training or executive experience. This tends to show up in their treatment of customers, happy-go-lucky approach to finances, stocks, etc., and general ignorance of the importance of economics as opposed to enthusiasm when operating their business.

Of course, there are many exceptions to this: but I think one of the chief reasons for the decline in FFL distribution is precisely the lack of economic skills and knowledge to make such a business worthwhile.

Wildalaska
March 20, 2005, 02:40 PM
It is probably fair to say that there is a fairly high percentage of social misfits in the population of gun shop customers. I can't explain why, and I mean no insult to anyone here, but let's face it..there are a lot of mumbling, shuffling, wild-eyed freaks among us.

Bingo!

THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT - PERIOD - EVEN WHEN HE'S WRONG.

Bull pucky...normal customers want to hear the truth, and if they cant handle the truth, well ta ta...

I boot jerkoffss..I call em...air stealers...

And we got a Wally World and a Sportsman Warehouse up the street...guess where those employees shop :)

Bottom line for us is that we have customers all over the world who ARE buying stuff...stuff that needs to be processed, shipped, inventoried whatever. Y'all want to argue with me becuse you think the 30-30 is adequate for 300 yard shots on grizzly bears, or you want to convice me that we should sell Bersa, or you dont want to give me a phone number when you leave a gun for repair becasue "I dont give out my phone number", or if you want to try to convince me that the steel in your turkish mauser is good enough to handle the 300 Ultra mag, or whatever other sad sad freakazoid idea ya have, buy me a beer and do it on my time, not the comapnies, bye bye, bye bye your stealing my air...

And to be brutally frank, there is a distinct correltaion between freakazoidness and the ability to pay...so Mr Froth at The Mouth who gets all hyped up becasue I dont wanna fix his rifle that looks like it went through Flanders probably hangs with (hell definately, I see these guys at the range) guys who cant afford a screw that we sell. Percentagewise, I lose nothing in present or future sales.

Meanwhile, our customer base keeps growing becasue when we sell something, we sell it at a fair price and it gets in the hands of the customer quickly. Speed, efficiency and fair prices are the key as well as a can do customer service attitude to those who deserve it. Time is money, non deservers are time wasters.

Mind ya now, we dont discourage tire kickers. They come in and hang around in my office for gods sake. many of these tire kikers have, what I call, Border crossing proivliges...ie they can walk in, say hi, and go right to the racks and the handgun counter and play with what they want (not have us wait on them). Newbies coming in get treated nicely, with respect, and we try to help em (we have a good bunch)...however, the hard core jerkoffs...well most of em are stealing the air, and not buying anything either, up at Sportsmans warehouse.

By the way, me myself, arrogant, curmudgeonly and intolerant as I am, pride myself in good customer service...anybody here that bought from us not got their product fast, as represented and at a fair price? :D


WilddontneedaconsultanttoteachthebasicsAlaska

pax
March 20, 2005, 02:43 PM
Customer service goes both ways, if you want excellent service as a customer then act like a gentleman when you patronize the store.
Unless you're female?? ;)

Seriously, what Spartacus2002 said was right on. Was reminded of this again talking to a friend of mine this morning. She is in the market for a new .45 semi-auto. Yesterday, she decided to go kick a few tires at a shop local to her. When the guy came over to help her, he kept pulling out .38s and 9mms. She doesn't have anything against those calibers, but she greatly prefers .45 and told him so. The guy flatly refused to believe her.

Finally, she told him, "Okay. I'm looking for a gun for my husband to shoot. Can you show me a .45 he might like?" :D

The thing that gets me about such tales is that I hear so many of them, from one place or another. Of course I'm in touch with more women who shoot than the average person is, but it still amazes me.

Pershing, will you please pass along to your clients that women make up roughly 50% of the population, and that it behoves shop owners to treat 'em like the adults they are?

pax

I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is; I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat. -- Rebecca West

MikeJ
March 20, 2005, 03:26 PM
I think what Preacherman said is entirely correct regarding the type of person that decides they want to work in a gun store. I also think that is the very reason they need formal customer service and sales training. Look at some of the better run fast food joints and the kids that staff them. They go through an in depth training program on customer service and for the most part it shows on the ones that stick with it for a while. No reason why an adult can't also learn a few of these basics as well.

To WildtheirstealingmyairAlaska, I agree with you as well in that I too have seen numerous bozos hanging out in gun shops but once again a well trained salesperson can identify them quickly and deal with them appropriately. I have a feeling that you do offer excellent service and that you take pride in your work, unfortunately too many folks don't. BTW, I have dealt with some wonderful salespeople at gun shops as well. I think the issue is that we need more of those types and less of the others.

itgoesboom
March 20, 2005, 03:50 PM
There has been some good points in this thread.

I wouldn't hesitate to buy from Wild Alaska, just because I know that he gives good prices, and some of the online converstations I have had with him he has impressed me. He is brutally honest, but that isn't all bad. I hope he is a little more gentle on new shooters though.

Onmilo,

You come open a shop here in Oregon and you will get all my business. Seriously, you can do everything right, and some people will still get pissed off.

I find myself stuck between a rock and a hard place right now in Oregon. There is one shop that has mostly good customer service, doesn't restrict CCW in their store, but they have no inventory, and their ammo prices are outrageous. I have bought 2 pistols and a rifle there, and traded in 2 rifles there. But I avoid the place now because of their inventory problem and their prices.

Or I can go to another shop that usually has good prices, has a huge amount of inventory, good prices on ammo, but doesn't let anyone CCW, and where one salesperson made a similar comment about high caps that I posted in my above reply (it was actually made to a member over at Glocktalk, but that thread has been removed). Also, sometimes their prices are a little out of whack, even though they advertise that they sell at 10% over cost. I bought a CETME from them, should have cost me from $330-$380 if that was true, instead it cost me $429. I would have bought elsewhere, but since I drove 30 miles one way, and I didn't want to dick around, I just got it there. Ofcourse, thats probably the last purchase I will make there. I have also purchased a pistol from them, as well as a bunch of ammo and accesories.

I just wish there was a good gun shop somewhere aroundhere.

I.G.B.

GreenFurniture
March 20, 2005, 04:08 PM
It's not rocket science. It's retail. If you can't hire people who can sell the product, and don't advertise, you're going to fail.

Ok. That's my consulting for today. Where can I collect my fee?

PershingRiflesC-7
March 20, 2005, 04:36 PM
Catching up on the posts during halftime of the Oklahoma State game of March Madness, I am pleased with the posts and perspectives presented -- thanks to all. I am soaking all this in like a sponge and believe it will help me ask good questions during my initial interview with the client next week.

A little further information: I have been shooting at this range and buying various items (never a firearm, so far) since this place has been in business (over 10 years). The owner approached me because of an interest in applying for the state level quality award and saw my name on the website as an examiner. The customer service excellence criteria are just one part of the process that also looks at strategic planning, leadership, information management, human resources, process/procedure, and results in all of the mentioned areas. But since any business requires customers in order to survive, customer focus is a key part of the application as is gathering the information on customer needs.

By asking the forum for input, I want to broaden the base for my inquiry beyond my own experiences as a gun shop consumer. This will allow me to be more help to the owner as he seeks to take his business to another level of performance excellence.

Halftime is over -- back to the tube for a while!! Go Cowboys!! :) :)

Wildalaska
March 20, 2005, 05:13 PM
I hope he is a little more gentle on new shooters though.

If a new shooter comes in and is willing to learn, we are willing to teach.

Prohb is many new shooters come in filled with some of the crap ya see in gun mags and on the internet and get their panties in a bunch when ya try to nicely correct them.

To paraphrase that learned sage, tamara: I dont take kindly to being told how things are by someone who wasnt even a stain on the sheets when I shot my first 45.

WildheyimBRUTALLY:)honestAlaska

Byron Quick
March 20, 2005, 06:11 PM
People have good days and bad days. Even gun store owners. I was over at my usual gun store. Place was hopping. I had a question for the owner. Got his attention and he asked me to wait as he was helping two people at once...or trying to. No biggie. They were there before me. So I'm drooling over a cherry Winchester Model 63 and notice he's finished. And discussing a recent golf game with someone. Well, I listened to the drama of the 1st hole. The 2nd hole. When he started in on the third hole, I left. Didn't feel the need to find out what happened on the 18th hole. I shoot, I don't play golf.
I've been doing business with him for over 20 years and have spent over 10K with him in the past six years. Maybe I was unreasonable, but I felt I deserved just a wee bit more timely service. But I stayed away until my desire to tell him what to eat and then die faded. Took about three weeks. Then I walked in again. Found a used S&W 66 for a good price. Asked him what was his best price. He knocked off a hundred bucks. I think he realized that he had angered a very good customer and was trying to make up for it.

John Ross
March 20, 2005, 06:18 PM
I have had an FFL for 29 years and SOT status for 22. I deal in mostly high-end stuff (Gatlings, double rifles, MGs, etc.) with other dealers and don't have a storefront with display cases full of "normal" guns for sale, so my advice may not carry the weight of a guy with a typical shop.

For the last year I've been doing ever-increasing weekly business teaching CCW classes, as I have my own range and a lot of interesting guns for students to shoot. I realize that people who sign up for a CCW class and show up with the class fee in hand are by definition NOT "air stealers", but some observations I've made might still translate to the retail gun trade with walk-in traffic.

1. When dealing with someone new, give generic (rather than specific) advice, and be up front about your own prejudices.

When asked for advice about a gun for CCW, I say "Handle a lot of guns. Narrow your choices down to guns that just 'feel right' in your hands. Then look at the way you dress and the things you do every day, and select a gun and carry method that will not disrupt your life.

"Your gun should be one you have absolute confidence in as to reliability and your ability to shoot it well. I prefer revolvers because nothing feels more like an extension of my arm than a S&W revolver with the right grips. However, autoloaders have several advantages and that's why I've got a dozen different ones for you to shoot and see what feels best."

2. If someone asks a really stupid question, laugh if you must, but don't take the person's dignity. A month ago, a guy asked in class "What about shooting rubber bullets for self-defense?"

Me, chuckling: "I see a lot of the others snickering, but the fact is your suggestion has been tried by some major companies. Thirty years ago, Remington had a 12-gauge police load that fired plastic pellets that wouldn't penetrate. At five feet they'd knock a man down like a Nolan Ryan fastball, but at 50 feet did next to nothing. The problem they discovered was twofold: People tend to be quick to use non-lethal weapons, which is bad police training if that weapon is a 12 gauge shotgun that might someday be loaded with regular shot or slugs. Second, we shoot defensively to immediately incapacitate. Given that there are many cases of bad guys taking multiple torso hits from regular ammo and continuing to fight, rubber bullets are a step in the wrong direction. If you're being attacked, chances are your attacker has more in common with a wild animal than he does with you. You don't want ammo that might just make him madder."

3. Some questionable-looking people may become your most loyal customers and advocates. This has been especially true for me with black customers. A guy was in my class three weeks ago with dreadlocks, sagging baggy pants, a gold tooth, and gold chains. THIS IS JUST A FASHION STATEMENT. He would be the same person if he cut his hair, ditched the chains, and wore khakis and a polo shirt.

After I had coached several students one-on-one at the range, this guy came up to me with a fixed-sight 9mm CZ-75 clone. He confessed he couldn't hit anything with it (we were at the stage where we were shooting reactive targets such as metal swingers, tin cans, golf balls, etc.) and might there be something wrong with the gun? I fired the gun twice at a water bottle about 40 feet away and both shots hit way low, though windage was perfect. The man said something like "It's no good, huh?" I smiled.

"Throw out three golf balls." He did. Then, holding 2/3 of the front sight above the rear notch, I proceeded to drive all three golf balls far downrange with three shots. His jaw dropped. "Gun's fine--the front sight is too high. That's why you were missing--always shooting low. Here, let me explain." And I took a piece of paper and explained trajectory and what happens when the front sight is too high. He asked what to do about it.

"Some people hate the idea of sawing on a gun, and would pay a lot of money to have a professional remove the sight and refit a shorter one. That might involve refinishing the slide, as the sight looks like it's brazed on. If it were mine, though, I'd just file off half the front sight. The white dot will become half a dot, or less, but it won't be any harder to line up." He asked would I do that for him. I put the gun in the vise, covered all but the front with a rag to prevent filings from getting in the action, and had the front sight shorter in a few minutes. I tossed out another golf ball, loaded the gun, and handed it to him after a very brief lecture on sight picture, grip, and stance. His first shot sent the ball flyng to the far end of the range. You couldn't get the grin off his face with a crowbar.

The next week, SEVEN of this guy's friends showed up for class!



Finally, in threads like this one, people regularly mention that they want to patronize their local gunshop instead of "Wally World" (Wal-Mart.)

I cannot fathom why any struggling gun store owner would EVER stock ANY of the same items as Wal-Mart. Let your customers buy their 10/22s and M94s at Wal-Mart. Let them buy Winchester white box ammo. Does Wal-Mart sell concealment holsters? Surplus ammo? Premium self-defense ammo like Cor-Bon or MagSafe? Police trade-in semiautos? Milsurp guns? No? Then stock that stuff.

The guy who made the comment about wanting a gun store owner with a business background was dead on.

JR

Outbacker
March 20, 2005, 06:18 PM
Here's a few of my observations of the local gunshop:

1) Too many half-cocked guys behind the counter who never return a smile and friendly, "Hello", because they assume that everyone who comes in the door is deserving of their derision.

2) If the guy behind the counter realizes that you actually know what you are doing when it comes to firearms, he is often far too eager to inflict his supposedly superior erudition upon you by "correcting" things you said correctly in the first place. He just wasn't listening, or didn't LIKE what you said;

"Glocks are WAY better than Sigs, Sir...".

Yeah, right! :rolleyes:

It's because he carries lots of cheap plastic guns and can't afford to carry Sigs and HKs that he says stuff like that, not because he's RIGHT or knows what he's talking about. :cuss: (my local shop has about 20 brand new Glocks and only one Sig and one HK which are both USED. Oh, they have one brand new Beretta, so they are not TOTALLY lost...)

And they wonder why they are probably going to go out of business?!?

3) FOX News Channel is blaring on the overhead television and the shop owner's 12 year-old son is running about the store in his soccer uniform because Mommy had some clothes shopping to do and Daddy's got to watch both Junior and the store this afternoon.

4) Post the rules conspicuously, Sparky. You guys don't get to sit behind the counter like spiders waiting for prey until some unwitting newbie customer who is just learning about guns places his finger inside the trigger guard of one of your long guns on the display rack so that you can then JUMP DOWN HIS THROAT and quote chapter and verse from a policy that you couldn't find anywhere in the store with two hands and a flashlight.

5) Bathe occasionally. Oh, and keep the ugly, "I should be at home cleaning my guns" or "Special Ops, Silent Killer" t-shirts AT HOME where they belong. Dress like you are in business. Try it, you might like it.

P.S. - Gun shop customers are "jerkoffs"? HAH! Most gun shop owners are antisocial miscreants with little formal education or training, yet they act like they are superior to the general public simply because they reek of Hoppes #9, keep a couple of crappy plastic guns under the counter, can repeat what they were told to think by FOX News Channel or Ann Coulter, and know how to point something that was made to be pointed by the human hand.

Ooooohhhhh!!! I'm so impressed with your crappy guns, dirty store, disorganized and paltry stock, dimestore conservativism, filthy indoor shooting range, and your Holier-Than-Thou attitude; you rude, fat, unshaven, pompous, ignorant, lazy, myopic, loudmouthed dirtbag.

Personally, I'll take most gunshop customers any day over the store owners as a group.

Sorry for the rant but, hey, you asked. :)

Wildalaska
March 20, 2005, 07:01 PM
and your Holier-Than-Thou attitude; you rude, fat, unshaven, pompous, ignorant, lazy, myopic, loudmouthed dirtbag.

You bastard, how dare you!!!

Ill have you know I SHAVE twice a week

WildhavekillemallletgodsortemouttshirtstooAlaska

Outbacker
March 20, 2005, 07:41 PM
Wild,

That wasn't directed at you, just SOME gun shop owners. I think you look great with a five o'clock shadow. :)

Outluvyababebacker

spacemanspiff
March 21, 2005, 01:02 AM
Which just goes to show that some business owners know jack about customer service
no kidding!!!

i know a few dozen other shooters around anchorage (none of them are posters though) and they all say they hate going to wild west guns because they get treated like crap.

that was the entire reason i stopped in there one day, to see if i would get treated like scum. i needed to replace the plunger on my kimber. introduced myself to the one guy in the shop that looked like he was 'wildalaska' i had seen posting at TFL.

i musta said the magic word or did the secret hand shake, or maybe my drop-dead-gorgeous smile did the trick. cause i have yet to be treated like anything other than an employee.
i've watched the mouthbreathers come in asking for a trade in on a 'customized' rifle that is falling apart at the seams, drooling over the most expensive gun in the shop and then walk out muttering something about 'gotta ask the boss first'.

i've stopped at other gun shops around town and couldnt get the time of day. shops that have employees dressing 'professionally', i might add.

true, i might get ordered to move piles of stuff around, or run this to the guys in the back, or whatever. but i also get handed a colt commando and get told to "do a tac-roll and clear the store while making machine gun noises".

GreenFurniture
March 21, 2005, 01:06 AM
Ok, someone just sent me an email and prompted me to toss my personal hat into the "gun store consultant" ring.

I don't know why though. It's just a hobby for me.

Mikul
March 21, 2005, 01:44 PM
Those difficult customers do not deserve extra effort and attention. They should be kicked in the butt when they enter the city limits. In general, they are immense time sinks. They will come into your shop, ask non-stop questions for two hours, leave, and do it again three days later. After answering all of their questions, showing them two dozen guns, they will call you up and say that they bought the gun at another shop because it was $20 less. These are the same people who buy a gun from you and then complain that it's crap because they can't hit a plate at 25 yards. It must be the gun.

Spending 20 hours on one customer who bought a gun that you made $200 on is not going to make you any money: not in references, not in reputation.

This is true in any business. You want as many easy customers as possible and as few difficult customers as possible. This WILL maximize your profit. A good friend of mine has been in sales for 20+ years. He tells customers directly, "I cannot afford to spend the time with you that you need." Most understand, but some get mad.

Henry Bowman
March 21, 2005, 02:32 PM
They will actually encourage gun rights, not encourage the grabbers. This quality in a gun shop goes miles with me. At least act like you care enough to stay informed. Know the status of pending legislation that directly affects your business. This includes hunting, CCW, AWB, local ranges, LEO issues. Make it your business to be interested. That's all I ask. I agree with what Tamara says most of the time and with what Wild Alaska says very little of the time. But I'd like buying at their shops anytime.

Go surf the internet and some gun boards regularly. Let me repeat that: Go surf the internet and some gun boards regularly. Know what guns are selling for on GunBroker.com. Know what Wal-Mart stocks and what they charge for it. Hunters spend tons of money on their sport, but are the most likely to patonize the "sporting goods" stores for their needs.

This ties in with what John Ross said also. Ditto that. Don't believe everything you read in the gun rags, or in Time and Newsweek either. But be aware of them and that your customers are too.

GreenFurniture
March 23, 2005, 06:54 PM
...and if you don't advertise you won't get any foot traffic.

Also, don't do gunshows. Let them come to you when they've walked up and down the dirt civic center looking for a "deal" only to find there are none. We sit back and let them come to us, and on days when there is a gunshow in town we do about 75% more business than if we had gone to the show.

And we advertise. On TV, in the paper, on radio, bus shelters, billboards and even on the internet.

The Rabbi
March 23, 2005, 07:58 PM
Really there is an easy way for gun store owners to know whether they are getting it right in customer service, stocking, pricing, etc. It does not require hiring an expensive consultant.
If your sales are flat/declining and traffic is diminishing over time then you're not getting it.
I worked at a shop that just went out fo business. The manager was an older ex-military guy who I always liked but admittedly was an a-hole to almost everyone else. He also had trouble standing at the counter.
Sure enough all the regular customers left. The ones who stayed around he would pitch incredible deals to: selling primo guns for less than he had paid. He also decided to scrue every person coming to trade or sell by offering them next to nothing and then marking it up 200%.
That didnt last too long. 24 months and they were gone.

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