Promoting your Firearms Training Business

Promoting your Firearms Training Business

Promotion

Promote your Firearms Training Business

Promotion is the key element for the local firearm instructor. As a firearm instructor, you are always promoting your business. The firearm instructor is a locally owned and operated business. Sure, there are a few well known facilities where folks will travel hundreds of miles to attend a class, but these are far and few in between. Why do folks travel for these facilities? There are a lot of reasons. The number one reason is promotion!

During our “Business Builder” seminar, I ask the question “How many of you are promoters?” A few hands will go up and I ask them to keep their hands raised. I’ll continue to ask questions “How many of you do intelligent advertising?” “Have posters at local gun stores and ranges?” “Attend business luncheons?” “Have booths at home show events?” “Use social media to promote events?” Eventually, everyone has their hands raised – why? Because everyone promotes their firearms training business in some fashion.

 

Those who Don’t Promote

One instructor I’ve recently made an acquaintance with proclaimed:

“I never run specials. I’ve never cut my prices. I’ve never given a complimentary lesson nor have I ever asked for business in any way. If they want to learn from the best, they have to find the best. Since I’m the best, they always find me.”

I had to ask myself why he was attending our seminar? Our seminar is about the business of promoting firearms training. Why would someone who is so successful attend our seminar? I’ve never quite answered this question. Perhaps he was interested in the operations portion, or the accounting portion – go figure?

Those Who Do Promote

Our firearms training business continues to grow because we continue to promote; it’s kind of a no-brainier. In Idaho, we promoted conceal carry classes at every opportunity. As a national training academy, we promote our services and even created unique classes. Hell Week™ has become our trademark. Make no mistake about it – promotion is what it is all about.

When we promote training in the National arena, we promote how to run a profitable firearm’s training business. The company next to us might be promoting how to get a perfect site picture. Both events are equally important for the firearm instructor. Very few firearm trainers are interested in how to promote their business. Instead, getting a perfect site picture is most prevalent in their minds.

While it is important to learn how to get a perfect site picture, it is more important to know how to put food on the table. Firearm training instructors realize this fact and run their business as a business. They are attending seminars like ours. Reality has set in. Instructors spend thousands of dollars on the certification process. Eventually, the spouse asks “What are you doing?” The individual asks himself, “What am I doing?” In the interim, they are burning through their life savings. They are excellent firearm instructors, but they are not excellent promoters nor business owners.

Why do we Teach?

Teach Today for Tomorrows Success

Most, if not all of us became professional firearm instructors for a reason. The most common reasons we have heard over the years include:

  1. They are retiring our want a change in their job.
  2. They want financial independence.
  3. It was a result of a job loss.
  4. They served our Country and were left with no transferable skills into our society (we see a lot of this).
  5. They taught their children, grandchildren, and friends how to be safe and respect the firearm.

It is a fact that fifty-two percent of firearm instructors will fail in their first year. The other forty-eight will fail in their second year. Instructors fail because they don’t know how to run a business. They are in awe of themselves waiting for the day someone picks up the phone and calls them.

I believe promotion of your firearm training business should be narrowed, explicate, focused. Every step we make to promote ourselves in our community should improve our community and promote our business.

Promotions are:

  1. Any Excuse to shoot a firearm.
  2. A way to fill valley’s when business is slow.
  3. A means to continue paying your staff – your most important asset.
  4. Making each event equal another event.
  5. Attaining references to promote future events.
  6. Keeping yourself in front of prospective clients.
  7. Knowing your name is in the the community. In other words, the media will contact you whenever a controversial subject or training subject is raised.
  8. Will increase revenues.

You must remain promotion orientated. People need a reason to shoot a gun – why not give them one? Make it a fun and enjoyable activity. Know your audience. Not everyone wants to shoot like a Ranger, Seal, or a Marine. Come back to reality. If you know someone who has not shot their 1911 in twenty years, give them a reason to dust it off! Otherwise, it’ll be another twenty years before they decide to do so.

Back in Idaho, I had a good neighbor who ended up being a good friend. For years, our families would get together during holidays, lighting firecrackers, decorating for Christmas, and celebrating the New Year. One day he asked me “Dave, why don’t you buy insurance from me?” I had to think for a minute or two and then I said “Well Bill, you never asked.”

Ask for Business

Ask for Business

If you don’t promote, you’re shooting yourself in the foot (pun intended). Promotion is asking for business, seeking opportunities to teach and literally knocking on doors. Ask yourself:

  1. Does my promotion bring in more business?
  2. Is it profitable? Money is not the only profitable item, exposure and recognition also has value.
  3. Does it create new customers?
  4. Does it hurt your image? Being the lowest guy in town means you have valued yourself as being less effective than your competitors.

I’m sure you’ve heard of the thought process that if you take good care of your customer, the customer will take care of you. It is obvious if every student we teach were to tell his friends and family to come to us, we would have all the business we can handle. Referrals are the best promotional item in the world, but it’s not realistic. Another thought process is if we do everything we know how to do perfectly, we would never have a lack of business; another false reality.

Discounts

If you’re going to give a discount, be sure it has value and it’s for a limited time. This encourages more participation in future classes while generating additional income. We don’t provide discounts, instead, we provide value-added incentives. Purchase our next class today and you’ll receive a free T-shirt, gift certificate, or day at the range.

For the rest of us, promotion and local community involvement is tantamount for our success as a local business. Running your business “part-time” is a bad idea. Ask yourself: When would you have time to promote your business on the weekends if you only have 2 days to do so? Promotion is not advertising. Promotion is where the business reaches out to strangers on a personal level to tell them you are the local professional to go too.

Think of promotion as any action, event, or process where the consumer has the opportunity to meet your company or its representatives. Direct promotion is the opportunity for you, your company, and your employees to meet the public. Promotion is about making “first hand impressions” and passing those impressions along to potential customers.

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