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Shooting Industry March 2011 - Page 6

Letters Letters to the editor Like many dealers, I attended the SHOT Show in Las Vegas. I came away extremely disappointed. The venue issues seemed little improved, although I did notice a degree of consolidation of booth space. This was particularly evident with the Freedom Group’s manufacturing lines. The lower level still maintained the look and feel of a flea market. Those issues aside, the disappointment came from the service at the booths. I remember not too long ago when manufacturers could display their pricing and programs without great concern over large numbers of consumers having access. Understandably, this practice has changed. What was not acceptable were the large number of exhibitors present that had not completed and brought their 2011 programs and pricing. Beyond discussing the technical features of their products, many were unable to take orders. What, then, is the point of attending SHOT? As I spoke with several other dealers, this was a common theme of frustration. E-mail the Editor SHOT Show Frustration Furthering this frustration was the weak presence of sales teams at many of the exhibitors that did, at least, have their programs and pricing together. Production and service staff, and, in some instances, manufacturers’ reps, were little more than useless when the time came to clarify program issues, discuss terms or wrap-up the sale. SHOT is too large a venue to waste large blocks of time waiting while the limited sales force is tied up, in many cases with the consumers mentioned previously. My conversations were frequent with dealers who find SHOT to be evolving into an annual vacation opportunity, since many view the travel and accommodations expense to be unjustified for the amount of “business” actually accomplished. As there are still contacts to be made, networking to be done and sales opportunities available with those exhibitors who properly value the venue, my attendance at SHOT will continue. For several years, I have taught firstgrade students through Junior Achievement. The basis of the curriculum is defining economic “needs and wants.” Unfortunately, the number of dealers who believe they “need” to attend SHOT to be successful appears to be declining. For both exhibitors and attendees, success should be measured in the quality of those participating. Ron Buschmann, Owner Shooter’s Supply & Law Enforcement Equipment Louisville, Ky. I recently needed assistance from Leupold with one of their products that is long out of production. Product Specialist Sharon Stephen provided patient and personalized service to find and replace the needed part at — you guessed it — no cost. Another example of “above and beyond the call” customer service that is so often found in shooting-related companies. Leupold is, indeed, a worthwhile longterm investment. Michael Hammond Murfreesboro, Tenn. 9 Leupold Investment 6 MARCH 2011 Read SI DIGITAL

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