Photo Credit: WPIPC. To visit their website, click HERE.
The committee of the Western Australian Pistol Association (WAPA) held their Annual General Meeting at the Whiteman Park Pistol Club in April 2017. Several presentations were given at the event, including a talk by myself on Supporting Local Business.
Supporting Local Firearm Dealers
I am the manager of one of WA’s largest firearm dealerships, I’m also a member of the SSAA, the WAFTA, and after a 10 year hiatus, I’m again a member of the WAPA. But I’m not here formally representing any particular group. I’m not peddling the interests on an association and I’m certainly not getting paid. I’m here today because I genuinely have an interest in the future of the sport of shooting in Western Australia.
I was asked to present today and talk about the benefits of shopping local and supporting Western Australian firearm dealerships. While I’ve got all the credentials for someone who would give this talk, it’s incredibly difficult for someone in my position, with my conflicts of interest, to give this speech. No matter what I say it’s going to appear as if I’m trying to sell you something. Other people are going to see it as a guilt trip. I honestly don’t want this – I want to give a credible and genuine presentation. Those who know me know I say what I think, but I also think what I say and I believe in everything in this presentation.
So I’m going to try and different tact – a good portion of my talk I’m going to try and arm you (metaphorically speaking) with tools that will make you want to shop local.
I’m going to break my talk up into two areas
- the first section I will be giving you 4 things you can do to get a better deal at your local gun shop
- The second will be talking about how investing in your local gun shop benefits you.
‘Shopping local’ is something we’ve all heard before. It’s not a new concept – we all understand the benefits of shopping local. I don’t think anyone disputes this.
While many of us may not have shopped online, there are plenty of us that do – there is almost certainly someone close to you who shops online and who will benefit from the information in this presentation.
Shopping online is becoming more and more common and is primarily driven by price. Consumers have always been driven by price, but now more than ever they can check and compare pricing across a huge area with ease. This isn’t good for consumers
- Let me explain why.
In this huge online market, to get sales companies compete primarily on price. There is a huge downward spiral – everyone is going for the bottom and hoping they get volume to keep them afloat.. But something else must give, if a company is cutting profits they must cut their costs somewhere else. The quality of products continues to deteriorate. A larger area of cost cutting is service offered.
An Example – when was the last time you phoned up a customer service hotline and got someone who’s native language is English? This isn’t a race thing, but the simple fact is that wages in Australia are too high for organizations to employ Australians to man phones. This is cost cutting and results in a diminished service.
Who’s noticed products getting smaller? Lots of common, every day products. Instead of a 200g mars bar, you’re buying a 180g mars bar for the same price, and usually in the same size packaging. It looks cheaper by comparison to the 200g snickers bar, but you’re getting less value. But Gen Y and later generations don’t have time to read the wrappers. Big organizations know this and prey on it – they are offering a cheap product but with less value.
Who here has ever walked into a gun store? Seen the bright lights illuminating the products on display? Given a nod to the salesperson smiling at you across the counter, maybe shook their hand? Smell the gun oil on the guns. Who’s done this in an online store?
Online stores try and replicate this – who’s been to an insurance companies’ website lately to be greeted by some holographic employee? Or have an automated bot message you that they are a real person, but when you try to talk to this person it comes back with a communication error.
By having a store ‘online only’ there are huge savings to companies – no sales staff, no phones, less stock, less electricity. Less service, less value. Local shop fronts cannot compete with these online stores on price. But they can compete on value.
And shouldn’t value be more important than price? Many people who shop online do so because of price, without considering the value of shopping local.
I teach a Salesmanship program. I usually run it over 8 weeks. Many of the concepts that I teach focus on providing value to the clients – I’m going to share with you 4 points from this program so next time you go to your local gun dealer you can get the best value for money.
1. Buy from Someone You Like
Now this may seem obvious, but something we often encounter is a client who has given up on shopping local because they don’t like the person who serves them at their local gun store. Don’t give up hope – try another local gun store.
We can’t all get along, but shopping somewhere you enjoy spending time because you like the people there, is a rewarding experience. Get to know them, build a relationship, shopping should be enjoyable. Firearm dealerships look after the clients they like and who show loyalty – The bigger the relationship with your local gun shop, the bigger the discounts you’ll get! Relationships and value go hand in hand.
2. Get Your Dealer Working for YOU
Most people who work in the Firearms industry love shooting. They love the sport, they love guns, they love the smell. They are enthusiasts. They spend their days reading catalogues about guns. They get sent samples and demo products from wholesalers. They go to gun trade shows. Your local dealer is a wealth of knowledge and chances are they have done the type of shooting you do.
When you look online at forums, online stores and even talk to interstate dealers, there isn’t that connection because they don’t know you – they don’t know what you shoot, what club you shoot at and, in the instance of online stores, they can’t really offer any meaningful advice.
So, this is where you need to talk to your local dealer – and if they don’t know the answers, get them to do the research for you. Put them to work. In the case of a big-ticket item, get your local dealer to talk to the wholesaler about getting a demo product over for you to look at in the flesh. Can everyone see the value in that? That’s service! This is the value is shopping local.
3. Negotiate Deals in Good Faith
Negotiation is a skill and we all know how to do it. We do it every day, with our co-workers, with our family.
Who’s heard something like this before;
“If you re-stack the dishwasher I’ll buy you beer while I’m out”
“Ok, you can have a big shed, but I want blue vertical blinds in the lounge room!”
Everyone negotiates all the time – positive negotiation works. Negative negotiation does not.
“Clean your room or I’m going to give you a hiding” – This will achieve immediate results, but it’s not a good way to build a long term relationship.
Negotiators get the deals. Negotiation at the gun store is a legitimate way to get a good deal, so long as you remember a few golden rules;
Always Negotiate for a WIN/WIN
Dealers will advertise their products at a reasonable price given their buy price. If you negotiate a cheaper price, their buy price doesn’t go down. Neither does the rate of GST. Any discount they offer comes straight off their profit margin. Negotiating all the profit out of a deal is negotiating a WIN/LOSE scenario. Trying to get these sorts of deals tends to leave a bitter taste in the Dealer’s mouth – you’re unlikely to get looked after in other areas, such as when it comes time to buy ammo, require warranty work.
On the flip side, if the dealer has a good amount in profit in a product, how likely are they to look after you in other areas? So how can we negotiate a position that we get a good deal, but the dealer makes a win too? Which brings me to my next sub-point;
When you buy a high ticket item, which the dealer may not have a huge markup on, try and negotiate better value rather than price. You’re going to need other stuff – ammunition, a safe, a soft bag, cleaning gear and a range of other stuff. Instead of a discount, try and get something chucked in instead!
Example – $80 discount vs $80 of free stuff.
If a dealer buys something for $1000, puts $150 profit on it, plus GST, sells it for $1265.00
If you want an $80 discount on this price you are essentially asking for that dealer to half his profit margin, which he would be unlikely to do.
However, If a dealer buys something for $50 he’s probably going to have a 50% markup on it, so by the time it gets on the shelf it’s $82. If he gives this to you for free, you’re getting an even better deal, but it’s only cutting a third of his profit margin away. Everyone wins. This is why it’s important to negotiate value, not price.
Polite and Emotionless
If you upset sales staff you’re not going to get a deal. Getting emotional doesn’t work. When you’re told the price, don’t feign a heart attack, gasp for breath, get angry or touch the sales staff. Keep your emotions to yourself, remain polite and courteous and you’ll get the best price. You need a good relationship to negotiate – getting emotional often deteriorates a relationship.
Don’t bottom line yourself or tell people what they have to sell product for to get your business. This is a good way to abruptly end a relationship. Keep an open mind – ask them what they can do the product for, what they can chuck in. They may not be able to meet the price you can get it elsewhere, but they will try for someone who is polite.
4. Give and Take
When negotiating, as a consumer we expect a lot from sales staff. We want a deal! But getting that Win/Win scenario can be difficult sometimes. Big ticket items have tight margins, so perhaps we as consumers can offer something in return?
Salespeople like certainty. Giving quotes doesn’t pay the bills. If you order something that must be ordered in, normally you would pay a deposit. But you’ve got to pay for it anyway – if you’ve got the money burning a hole in your pocket, why not pay for the product up front? Can you negotiate a better deal if you offer to pay up front? Of course you can! It’s certainty for the salesperson – it goes right down on their sales figures for the day. The business owner likes it to – if they are getting terms on the products they order they can re-invest that money for the period of term. If you’ve got the money then and there the salesperson knows you’re serious and is more likely to want to seal the deal.
Alternatively, being patient can also be a give-and-take. Some dealers prefer to order early in the month – this gives them extra terms. If a Western Australian dealer orders product late in the month they usually have to pay for it the week after it arrives on a 30 day term account. If you’re patient and say ‘I’ll pay today, but you can order this early next month’ that dealer may be able to look after you a little better.
Give and Take is all about being flexible. It’s working with your local dealer so you both come out on top.
So they are the four main points I wanted to cover to try and get a better deal from your local dealer.
- Buy from someone you like
- Put the dealer to work for you
- Negotiate in good faith
- Give and Take
Using these four points you can go into your local dealership and negotiate a better deal that you can get on the internet – it may not be the best price but it will be the best value and a much more enjoyable experience!
Which brings me to the second part of my presentation –
How investing in your local gun shop benefits you!
Like any sport, firearm dealers are usually made up of enthusiasts. They love shooting. They invest in a business attached to the sport. Their families get involved in the sport – they have both an emotional and fiscal attachment. They want to see the sport grow.
It makes sense for many dealers to re-invest back in the sport.
I remember growing up as a junior, going to competitions all over the state with my old man. I always remember helping set out the prizes that we donated – there would be a trophy and a couple of packets of bullets for first place. A packet of bullets for second place, and down the bench it would go. Two packets, one packet, two packets. It was Federal Gold Medal Match in the early days. SK later on. Sometimes CCI. I never really understood in those early days why he did it. It’s not until I was an adult and I looked back and remembered the faces of the winners, their smiles. How they would hold their prizes up, shake the hand of the captain handing out the prizes and pose for a photo. I knew the importance of what my father was doing. The support. The sponsorship he provided was helping build the sport.
And this isn’t limited to Bill Beaton – Bevan Steel, who owns Steelo’s Guns and Outdoors from Narrogin donated almost $20,000 of his businesses profit into his local community just last year. Roy Alexander and Son’s in Maylands sponsored the 2016 ISSF/PA National championships. Held at this club I believe. More recently they have sponsored the IPSC and iCore opens. So it’s easy to see – when you buy from a local dealer, that money stays in Western Australia.
Dealers also work together when tackling legislation issues –by pooling their funds the West Australian Firearms Traders Association have tackled some important issues, all for the future of the sport in Western Australia.
I can appreciate that it’s very tempting to buy online, at discounted prices, but you don’t save when you buys online – everyone else loses.
In closing, I wanted to try and think up some clever slogan or catchy rhyme to try and keep the idea of buying local in your mind. But everything we came up with at work in regards to supporting your local dealer had drug connotations to it.
“Support your local dealer”
“Have you had your shooting fix? Your local dealer is only a phone call away”
I did come up with one rhyme though
“When you’re thinking of having some fun
Why not try shooting a gun?
And if you want to compete at the top
Buy it from your local gun shop”
It’s a lot of fun, but there is a serious side to everything I’ve spoken about today. As a sport in this state, we are going to have some serious issues to tackle in the years ahead. Political victimization, legislative restriction, shrinking demographics. We need a firearms industry invested in the future of the sport, so please, encourage people to shop local gun store, use my 4 steps to getting a better deal at your local gun shop and lets all continue to enjoy this wonderful sport for many more decades to come.