In no other business, short of a yard sale or used car lot, have I encountered the art of negotiation like I have in the gun world.
I would never walk into a clothing store, pick out a blouse and go to the casher and say, “I’ll take this blouse if you throw in the skirt and a pair of matching earrings.” I would probably be laughed out of the store, but in the gun world, it happens all the time.
But to be the perfect customer you must understand some simple facts.
First, your conduct makes all the difference. If you come into a shop and demand unrealistic discounts, you most likely will not get it.
If you come prepared with options, perhaps flexible with the caliber, and are willing to work with the salesperson to find the right gun for you at the right price, you should leave a happy, satisfied customer.
Don’t come into a shop expecting to buy a $1,200 Kimber for $400. It’s not going to happen. If you are not realistic, you will not be happy in the end. It’s the same thing when you are buying a home and your budget is $125,000 and you want to see everything in the $300,000 range. You are setting yourself up for failure. Be practical.
It is perfectly fine to admit that you (or a family member) are just beginning or are not an expert and could use some advice. This is where a good salesperson comes into play. Make sure you make yourself clear and make sure the salesperson understands your needs.
If you and your salesperson don’t click, find a different one. When a customer comes into our shop with a specific need, we make sure the best qualified salesperson is helping them.
Don’t feel bullied into a purchase. If you came to buy a .22 rifle, you probably didn’t need to buy a .308 tactical rifle. If you want a small conceal and carry pistol, you may not need to buy a 16-round shotgun.
If your plan is to ask for price matching, remember that small stores usually don’t have the buying power of big box stores (This is a common problem during black Friday sales), but the trade-off should be customer service.
There will always be items where the price is the price. These are usually incredibly hard to find products that have a high demand.
If you are prepared to purchase that day, let the salesman know that you have your permit and funds ready to go if the price is right.
The worst thing a person can do is beat up a salesperson for the best price or deal and then say, “Oh, I wasn’t interested in buying today, I don’t even have a permit and I don’t think my wife would let me.”
Remember, knowledge is power and there is a lot of information out there about all types of things.
Be prepared and be a good customer and you should have a win/win situation.
Dorothy Royal is the owner of Surf City Guns and Ammo, mother of two wonderful children, ringmaster of a herd of miniature ponies and an avid member of the Surf City Writers Group and Topsail Book Club.
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