The National Shooting Sports Federation (NSSF) is the firearms industry lobby group. The NSSF does some stellar work, both in terms of legislative campaigning and dealer education. The NSSF’s “Don’t Lie for the Other Guy” campaign has done more to eliminate “straw purchasing” than the $2b-per-year ATF (which instigated the practice through Operation Fast and Furious). The video above is designed to help gun dealers sell professionally and effectively. With all due respect, as a former sales trainer whose gun blog is read by hundreds of gun dealers and salespeople, I offer the following as an addendum to the techniques described above. In other words, here’s how I think dealers should sell a gun . . .
If we set aside the meet and greet (I’m in favor of closed questions like “Welcome to BFF Guns. What’s your favorite caliber?”), sales is a three-part process: qualify, present, close.
You can sell any given firearm based on a wide range of features/benefits: brand rep, ergonomics, price, reliability, etc. How do you know which gun has the features/benefits the customer wants? How do you know how to sell it to them?
Ask the customer to list the three things they like about their current gun, any gun. That’s what they want in a new gun, in order of preference. Period. Seriously. That’s it. Nothing else. You’re done.
[NB: If they don’t own a gun, ask them what they like about guns. If they don’t like anything about guns, don’t sell them one.]
Make sure the firearm they’ve chosen, or you’ve chosen, satisfies their three stated preferences. If it doesn’t, don’t sell it to them. Help them select a more appropriate firearm.
SHOW the customer that the gun meets their three preferences. If they want accuracy, punch up accuracy stats or YouTube vids from the net. If it’s price, show them the price of the gun vs. alternatives. If they’re looking for a smooth trigger, have them dry fire the gun and its competitors.
As you demonstrate that the gun meets their needs, make sure they agree. Is that the kind of accuracy you’re looking for? Do you agree that this gun is the best value? Does this firearm have a smooth enough trigger for you?
You’ve established the customer’s preferences, shown them that the product has the benefits/features they want, and made sure that they agree. Now ask for the money—any damn way you like. Just do it.
If the customer raises objections, if > then close them.
Establish the objection (e.g. “it’s a bit pricey for me”). Ask the customer if they’d buy the gun if you can answer their objections: “If the gun was less money would you buy it?” If the customer raises new objections, add them to your if > then close (e.g. “If the gun was less money and you didn’t have one in the same caliber, would you buy it?”)
Then overcome all of the objections (if possible) and ask for the sale, again. If it doesn’t work, stop selling, shake hands, move on.
There’s a lot more to gun sales than that. Feel free to chime in, to help gun salesmen meet their customers’ needs with the right attitude, product knowledge and sales techniques.