How to be a better gun store clerk


When you are working at a gun shop , there are a few things you should do to improve the customer‘s experience (and make more sales). I learned these through trial and error while working at NOVA Firearms in Falls Church, VA.

  1. You can’t win over everyone…
    • If a store you are working for has an unpopular policy (such as a percentage charge/fee for using credit cards) there is little you can do to eliminate the customer’s dissatisfaction
  2. Before you show a gun to a customer…
    • Point out the safe direction in which they should hold the gun.
      • This allows you to take control of the conversation, evaluate the customer as a potential gun owner, and guide them to what they would like.
    • If their grip on the gun is messed up, then fix their grip so the gun will feel better in their hand.
      • This improves your odds of making the sale.
  3. DON’T BE A GROUCH!
    • I cannot stand going into a gun store with a clerk who treats customers like they are idiots because they are total newbies or they don’t know the inner workings of some 1918 Browning vest pistol with silver engraving.
    • Smile at and greet everyone who comes into the store WITHOUT FAIL.
    • If the store is busy, just say “We’ll be right with you.”
  4. Phone Skills
    • Politely greet the customer
    • If you are dealing with someone who want to just compulsively check prices, just ask them to come into the store as we are really busy.
  5. Know your material.
    • Know the differences between common pistol and rifle cartridges.
    • Know how hollowpoint bullets work
    • Know how the AR-15 gas system works
    • Know how the AK-47 gas system works
    • Know the differences between a DA/SA Pistol, a single-action pistol, a double-action only pistol, and a striker-fired pistol.
    • Understand some basic tactics.
    • Be able to explain why you carry your gun a particular way
      • If you are going to carry your gun in a Sonny Crockett style shoulder rig, be sure the damn thing is anchored to your belt and not just draped over your shoulders.
      • Better yet, ditch the shoulder rig.
  6. Sell what you like
    • Ask the customer what they are buying the gun for.
      • Most will say for personal security.
      • Ask if it will be for home defense or concealed carry.
        • Ask the customer how they plan to deploy the gun in an emergency and suggest ways to do so in a manner that is safe and efficient.
    • When making a recommendation, be forthright and bold in what you recommend because it is what you would use to defend yourself.
    • If you are trying to talk up something that you wouldn’t carry for yourself, then it will show through to the customer.
  7. Knock off the Walter Mitty BS.
    • Don’t spout junk about the sound of a shotgun racking scaring the bad guy off or “they all fall to .45 hardball”.
      • It turns off new customers and makes you look like an idiot
    • DO NOT LIE about military service.
  8. DON’T SMELL LIKE S**T!
    • Wear a good quality cologne, especially if you are a smoker
    • Wear a clean shirt.
    • Be clean-shaven or have a well groomed beard.
    • Chew any sort of gum.
  9. You are not a lawyer and do not play one on TV
    • Advise customers to check their state’s self-defense laws.
    • Rule of thumb is that lethal force may be merited if you are in a situation in which you are in fear of being murdered or raped, not to defend property.
  10. “It is not about just making the sale”.
    • There is a certain “Zen” to this.
      • The moment all that you think about is “making the sale” or “pushing” a gun is when sales will be much harder to make.
    • The guns will sell themselves, your job is to guide the customer to the right gun.
    • Your goal is to determine what is right for the customer, here is how to do it.
      1. Ask if the gun is for home defense or concealed carry.
      2. If it is for concealed carry, ask how they plan on carrying it and then make your recommendations for carrying it.
      3. If the method of carry they propose is something really stupid, then be able to politely articulate “you might want to consider this way instead”.
  11. If the customer doesn’t have all the IDs needed…
    • If a customer gets grouchy over not having the right IDs on hand, you need to politely emphasize that you do not make the rules, the state/feds make the rules.
    • Offer to have the customer put the gun on account, which means they pay now, then come back with their IDs to fill out the paperwork and get the gun.
  12. Dealing with a prohibited person
    • During the course of conversation with a customer, the customer mentions something about going to jail, smacking his girlfriend around, or getting arrested for dope or  smoking weed, then you need to immediately and politely state “I’m sorry sir, it is nothing personal, but because of what you just told me, I’m not allowed to sell you a gun or ammo or show you anything and it would be best if you leave.”
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Firearms Instructor in the DC Metro Area

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Posted in Critical Thinking Skills, Humor, Just for fun

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