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Shooting Industry February 2010 - Page 18
Lethal Lethal force Selling Knives In Lean Times Massad Ayoob R ecent buying trends have moved dollars away from knives, but edged tools are perennial sellers in gun shops — and there are ways to amp up sales. In a time when buyers’ interests and budgets have been diverted elsewhere, how does a dealer get those good knives he has in stock out of the showcase and over to the cash register? The folks who make the product are your best resource on what items in a given line are selling. So why not just pick up the phone when you have a slow moment in the shop, call the knife manufacturer you happen to be interested in and ask to speak to someone in marketing. (Search the company online and you’ll probably find a toll-free phone number under “Contact Us.”) Tell them you’re one of the dealers who sell their fine product, and simply ask them what they find to be selling best, so you can tailor your next order for their product. It’s amazing how many retailers don’t do this! Do not be surprised if you get a marketing director who tells the secretary to hold other calls until yours is over, because the person is so pleasantly surprised someone on the business Stock What Customers Are Buying Spyderco’s hugely popular Endura measures just short of 4" in blade length, and has all the trademark Spyderco features at a relatively low price-point. end finally asked them! Shooting Industry recently called blademaking giant Spyderco, and the next day got a call back from CEO Sal Glesser. “We’re seeing more sales of assistedopening knives, using a variety of bushings and bearings that will flip a folder’s blade open like an automatic, but without being a switchblade,” Glesser said. That said, though, “the Endura and Delica continue to be our most popular knives by far.” The Endura and Delica knives combine light, synthetic-bodied handles with high- quality blades and integral pocket clips. They are relatively low-priced modern classics that have stood the test of time. The Endura’s blade is 1/16" short of 4", which is the maximum allowable blade length in many jurisdictions. The Delica is essentially the same knife scaled down to an 1/8" short of 3" in blade length, for the more restrictive jurisdictions. Which brings us to our next point: It’s beneficial to you as a dealer to know what your customers can carry legally in your area. Know What’s Legal In Knife Carry f you are located in or near a city that has particularly restrictive local ordinances on knife carry, write to the chief prosecutor for that jurisdiction and ask if they can give you an explicit statement as to what is and is not legal. Ask for a hard copy on letterhead, and when it comes in, frame the letter and display it prominently at your knife sales counter. Then, no matter where you live, write a letter to the State Attorney General in the Capitol, and ask the same question: “What knives are legal for my customers to carry concealed in their pocket in this state?” And when that letter comes back, frame it and display it just as prominently. You might also want to do an Internet search of local and I “ By taking the time to find out what’s the real deal and posting it conspicuously, you establish yourself as the go-to dealer who can sell knives that won’t get customers in trouble. state laws as to what is legal and what is prohibited in regard to knife possession and carry in your jurisdiction, and display that, too. Gun shop owners tend to be very knowledgeable as to what is and is not legal in terms of firearms and ammunition where they do business, but state knife laws are less well known, and local village/ town/city ordinances tend to get passed without anyone noticing, which can cause problems for you and your customers. By taking the time to find out what’s the real deal and posting it conspicuously, you establish yourself as the goto dealer who can sell knives that won’t get customers and their family members and friends in trouble. And that means a lot. Additionally, once you’re established as the local authority on anything you sell, it means a lot of sales. 18 FEBRUARY 2010 ” Read SI DIGITAL www.shootingindustry.com