Maximize handgun accessory sales: use face time with customers to create additional opportunities.

Author:Kakkuri, Mark

Ask any gun store regulars what constitutes their every day carry (EDC). Or, ask them to do a "pocket dump." You'll quickly confirm what you probably suspect about those who carry a gun or shoot on a regular basis--namely, accessories abound.

EDC for many shooters includes a spare magazine or a reload of some kind, a tactical flashlight, and of course a folding knife. Maybe even a tactical pen. And this is in addition to a set of keys and a cellphone! As a dealer, the key idea is this: Gun sales, and especially for handguns in particular, bring a prime opportunity for sales of accessories.

Brian Tatti, a sales associate at Michigan Shooting Centers Inc. in Lake Orion, Mich., adds cleaning kits and ammunition to the list of popular handgun accessories. "Ammo is huge --very popular with all the technology it has available today." And if a customer is buying a gun for concealed carry, they'll of course need ammo for practice and ammo for self-defense.

Besides ammunition and cleaning kits, probably the easiest accessory to sell with a handgun is a holster. In all likelihood, the customer purchasing the handgun intends to use it for self-defense--perhaps even for concealed carry. But even if the customer plans to just use the gun as a "house gun" or a "truck gun," they'll still need a holster. Always encourage the proper use of a holster in accordance with gun safety rules and explain how a holster benefits not just concealed carry on a person but also use inside a house or vehicle. Holster fits abound as do holster styles and materials. Most affix to a person's belt--they'll need a real gun belt, yes--in just a few seconds and provide a secure and stable platform.

The advantage for the clients of Michigan Shooting Centers is the personal attention they can receive from knowledgeable and kind sales staff.

Customers will often show up in gun stores looking for the latest and greatest offering from this or that manufacturer. In the past, holster manufacturers wouldn't have advanced knowledge about a new gun and had to catch up with the gun manufacturers. And so customers often left a gun store with a gun but without a holster--because it didn't yet exist. Nowadays, some gun manufacturers are coordinating the launch of a new gun with select holster manufacturers already in the know and ready to ship and sell holsters for the new gun.

Ruger's recent launch of the Ruger American Pistol must have included a pre-coordinated effort for some holster...

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