Today's FFL Business

Published on March 30th, 2015 | by Laurie Dovey

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Spring Training Resources For Your Team

Your customers both on GunBroker.com and in your store are more knowledgeable and demanding than ever before. Consequently, sales and service staffs must be better informed to engage buyers, garner consumer trust, and close sales. Training on products, however, isn’t enough. The uber-competitive retail environment requires high-level product and technical knowledge, people skills, top-level customer service, an understanding of what makes a successful sales environment, motivation, marketing skills, and website and social media involvement.

In the late spring and summer, brick-and-mortar firearm retail sales traditionally tend to slow providing excellent opportunities to train the sales troops, hone people and product skills, and set forth a blueprint for success in the “hot” seasons ahead. Increased sales, satisfied customers, return business, and an elevated bottom line are just a few of the rewards of highly trained and motivated retailers and associates. A wide range of tools necessary to adequately train a sales force are easily available to you and your employees – online. From general sales and marketing training programs that offer progress tracking and certification to in-depth product overviews and technical info, ongoing training has never been easier or more affordable.

Why is Retail Associate Training Critical?

Look at the facts reported by Experticity.com. Sales associates who know their stuff engage consumers 30 percent more often than their co-workers, and sell 50 percent more. Findings from a recent study show: 1) Sales increased 200 percent with a focused sales-associate education effort. 2) Associates who trained on a brand were three times more productive.  3) Top-selling associates are up to 17 times more productive and train eight times as much.

General Retail Sales Training Outlets

While training front-line associates is critical, ignoring the business infrastructure and sales support system spells disaster. Here are a few resources for back-end training and assessment.

  • ProfitsPlus.org: Small-business guru Tom Shay offers a variety of tools for retailers through this site. A group of calculators assist in determining the bottom lines related to marketing, advertising, pricing, cash-flow projections and other key business components. In addition, hundreds of articles authored by Shay for scores of trade magazines offer proven retailing advice.
  • National Retail Federation (NRF): Dedicated wholly to the retail industry, NRF offers a wide range of resources. The Retail Insight Center provides data on all aspects of retail. See what’s trending. Compare your business stats to overall averages. The Retail Library provides scores of articles and information including a State of Retailing Online NRF’s mission is to advance the interests of the retail industry through advocacy, communications and education.
  • Lynda.com: A phenomenal source of online education on just about everything related to business. Online courses last from a few to several hours. Sales fundamentals, software, small-biz secrets, social media, IT – Lynda.com covers it all and much more. Additionally, the Lynda.com app (Mac and Android) allows for learning anywhere, anytime.

Gun Retail Specific Training Opportunities

  • National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF): The go-to resource for all things related to the shooting sports industry, from best business practices to research, literature and training. Visit the retailer resources section of the NSSF website.
    • Retailer Webinars, Seminars and YouTube Channel: Brief webinars and videos cover a wide range of subjects from ATF compliance to retailing practices and tips, and product information.
    • SHOT University is an unparalleled opportunity for you and your sales team to receive intensive and inspirational training.SHOT Show University: This premier educational event focused on firearms retailers is an annual sell-out. It’s a day-long session held the day before the official opening of the SHOT Show. Keynote speakers, interactive sessions and a lineup of classes offer unparalleled training and education so you may operate business more effectively. Specialty tracks allow attendees to quickly identify needed session study such as ATF compliance, driving sales, and operations for the veteran retailer or retailing 101. SHOT Show University at the 2016 SHOT Show is slated for Jan. 18, 2016 at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nev. Register online at the SHOT Show website.

 

  • Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 2.50.06 PMExperticity.com: Sales focused, period. This site is for information seekers, people pleasers and the humble yet bona-fide sales pros. It’s for the everyday teachers whose classroom is the sales floor, range or hunting lands — because that’s where their hard-earned knowledge helps people decide what to buy. One of the key offerings of ExpertiCity is 3point5.com. It offers retail sales associates tailored product knowledge on the brands they sell. It also rewards associates’ expertise with better access to the products they know and love. In turn, associates sell more because they truly understand the value of what they’re selling.

 

Reading is Fundamental to Training and Performance

Keeping up with industry and product news is vital to salespeople understanding the industry and thus the customer. These three outlets provide tons of information:

  • SHOTBusiness.com: A key information source, Shot Business is the magazine of the shooting sports industry and is produced by NSSF. It’s designed to equip retailers, manufacturers and sales representatives with expert real-time information to help you run a better, more profitable business. It offers new-product and industry news and columns like What’s Selling and The Undercover Shopper.
  • ShootingWire.com and TheOutdoorWire.com: The wires are subscription based and delivered daily to e-mail in boxes. New products, events, and company news are covered.
  • ShootingIndustry.com: Since 1955 Shooting Industry trade magazine has helped dealers make everyday business decisions easier by offering information such as what to stock and how to sell it, along with tips on how to keep customers coming back for more.

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About the Author

Laurie Lee Dovey, is a highly awarded, veteran shooting-sports-industry journalist. For 30-plus years, she's covered all aspects of the traditional outdoor sports with a heavy focus on trade and business. In addition, Dovey is a media and marketing consultant and owner of LLD INK, lldink.com.



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