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Shooting Industry October 2012 - Page 50

Guys who come in and look at guns will spot the bows across the store and look at them. With a lot of customers, all you need to do is have them shoot the bow once and they’re hooked. You’ve planted the seed. Aaron Barton, Nocked & Loaded manager and lead archery tech who’s never shot a bow before.” Top Bow Brands In addition to providing range space for customers to experience shooting a bow firsthand, it’s equally important to stock the right inventory for a dealer’s locale. Nocked & Loaded is a certified dealer for Mathews, Mission, Hoyt and BowTech. In addition to Mathews being one of the leading bow manufacturers in the industry, Barton also appreciates the company’s extensive humanitarian work. All proceeds from Mathews’ Lost Camo pattern go to supporting various charities. “It’s just an advantage that Mathews has a great bow. What they do for the industry and archery is phenomenal,” Barton said. “That’s something I can really get behind.” For customers who are looking for a lower price-point bow, Barton always recommends Mission. It’s a brand he believes is excellent for introducing new bowhunters to the sport, especially those who have a limited budget or are not quite ready to fully commit to bowhunting. “Mission bows carry a lifetime warranty, just like a Mathews bow. It just might not have all the frills, bells and whistles,” Barton said. “It’s like a truck with standard seats and standard radio instead of a truck with leather seats and XM radio. It’s still going to get you from point A to point B.” When it comes to Hoyt, Barton said he’s seen the company’s bows take incredible amounts of wear and tear and still perform perfectly. That level of durability has kept Hoyt extremely competitive with Mathews. Barton said the two bow manufacturers “trade punches every year” when it comes to leading sales at Nocked & Loaded. “We need that type of competition within the industry to keep everything innovative. Both Mathews and Hoyt drive customers into your store,” Barton said. “Without those two companies, we couldn’t make it as a dealer.” While BowTech is a newer bow manufacturer in comparison to the other brands Nocked & Loaded carries, Barton likes the company for its edgy designs. He also appreciates BowTech’s discount for ac50 OCTOBER 2012 tive military personnel, which is great for business since Fort Hood is only about 25 miles from the store. In crossbows, Nocked & Loaded believes so strongly in the quality of Excalibur bows that the shop doesn’t stock any other brand. “Excalibur crossbows are incredibly reliable right out of the box. They also have excellent accuracy,” Barton said. “Out of the 50 or so we’ve sold in the past few years, I’ve never had any customers come back with a problem. They’re just bulletproof.” Creating Lifelong Customers When a new customer walks into Nocked & Loaded — whether that customer is on active duty, a diehard firearms enthusiast or a youngster — Barton said the key to successful sales is in customer service, a topic he is very passionate about. “If you spend quality time with a new archer and share with them what you know, walking through the steps, planting that seed and starting them with good habits, they are very appreciative of your time,” Barton said. This process takes a commitment, but Barton says it has long-term benefits. “I have very limited time, but I don’t rush through anything with a customer, period. I take my time with him, setting up his bow and helping him take that first shot. If you do all of that, I believe you’ll have a customer for life,” Barton said. For firearm dealers who are reluctant to take the plunge into the bowhunting market, Barton has a single message: “It’s a part of shooting sports, whether you like it or not.” When crossbows came onto the market, Barton admits he, too, was wary. But the market has since spawned a symbiotic relationship between firearms and archery. “From an archery standpoint, that crossbow is a transitional tool to get the customer into a compound bow,” Barton said. “And it goes the other way, too. You can put a guy in a crossbow and he could just as easily go to the other side of the store and be looking at the .22s. Everything is encompassed in one; you can’t have one without the other.” 9 Subscribe to SI DIGITAL

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