Doug Hutchens, director of marketing for Lone Wolf Knives, has filled virtually every role in the knife-making business, from design and production to marketing and sales.
"I urge dealers to stock knives that have an interesting, exciting display presence--something that reaches out and catches the customer's eye, leading them to say 'Wow, can I take a look at that knife?'" Hutchens said.
At this point, Hutchens says, you're well on your way to a sale.
He explained that even if the usual best sellers are "black, black, tactical black," you still need that initial point of interest, that attention-getting element, to grab customers and get them talking.
"That display presence," he said, "starts the conversation."
Hutchens says to make sure your staff is trained, especially the person who usually waits on the knife counter.
"This person should be a knife enthusiast because this enthusiasm will transfer into sales. High-quality knives have lots of features and benefits to talk about, so this individual should have lots to say when trying to sell these products," he said.
Caution your sales staffer not to become a "one-brand seller" if you stock multiple manufacturers, Hutchens advises.
"Start by telling the customer that all the knives you sell are very good and will provide a lifetime of service and ask, 'So, what would you like to see?' If someone is 70-percent sold because they like a certain brand you stock, don't try to move them away from that brand when you are already close to a sale," Hutchens said.
Creating Customer Goodwill
Offering free sharpening will bring customers back time after time, Hutchens says. For easy future sharpening, provide a business card with the knife purchase listing what they bought--a nice reminder of the...