Forging Partnerships

SIG Rewards Dealers, Distributors With Lavish Vacation

By Russ Thurman

Incredible. Impressive. Generous. Awesome. Those were among the words firearm dealers and distributors used to describe SIG Rewards Week, a luxurious trip to historic Portsmouth, N.H., in June, with all expenses paid by SIG SAUER.

SIG hosted 100 people — 45 dealers and five distributor partners, along with their guests — who enjoyed historical tours, a lobster bake coastal cruise, visits to historical coastal islands, a tour of SIG’s manufacturing facility and a day of shooting at the SIG SAUER Academy.

The week was the final phase of SIG Rewards, a sales incentive program held Aug. 1, 2015 through Dec. 31, 2015. The program rewarded dealers and distributors for selling SIG products. The more products they sold, the more free SIG products — firearms, optics and silencers — dealers, their sales associates and distributor sales associates earned.

The program’s top performers were eligible to win the trip to New Hampshire. And, by all accounts, the program was a stunning success.

“For SIG to hold it during prime months really helped us sell more merchandise, which was good for both them and us,” said Richard Welcher, sales associate at Welcher’s Gunshop in Tacoma, Wash.

“The SIG program was a good driver for our employees. Because the emphasis was there, we had better participation by our employees and created a better end result for our business,” said Rick Hansen, owner of Silver Bullet Firearms in Wyoming, Mich.

“What struck me was how attainable SIG products were [for sales associates]. Selling five guns didn’t just net you a hat, shirt or a discount on something — it yielded the same things you were selling,” said Brandon Light, Thunderbird Firearms Academy director of retail operations in Wichita, Kan.

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Ron Cohen, SIG SAUER president and CEO, welcomes dealers to his
office during SIG Rewards week. “This is not just business, this
is personal,” he says.

Not Just Business

“There’s a saying: ‘It’s just business.’ I never understood that. I think business is personal. And you being here is not just business,” said Ron Cohen, SIG SAUER president and CEO, as he welcomed dealers and distributors to SIG Rewards Week in June.

“There is no better way for you to see SIG but to see the people of SIG. This week you’re going to see a lot of passion — people who are committed to quality, to innovation, to this industry we love, to the growth of SIG. This is not just business, this is personal,” Cohen said.

Cohen acknowledged a misstep by SIG.

“An area we have completely botched is the connection to you. We were so focused on quality, on the factory, on engineering, on winning military and police contracts that we forgot you. Tom [Taylor] and his team have changed that. To better listen. To create an attitude that you are partners. To treat you with the respect you deserve. Without you, SIG doesn’t exist. We understand this,” Cohen added.
At the end of SIG Rewards Week, dealers and distributors affirmed they understood the “passion” of SIG.

“It’s been a really positive experience, a chance to connect with the corporate execs at SIG and hear what they’re passionate about. I don’t think you have that kind of connection in the gun industry very often, especially at the dealer level,” said Scott Harrison, Nashville Armory sales associate from Nashville, Tenn.

“I learned a lot about their manufacturing, the care they put into the product, the testing: It made me even more confident in the product. I was impressed with Ron and his views,” said Rich Conley, co-owner and president, The White Elephant, Spokane, Wash., who enjoyed the week with his wife, Mary.

“I’ve been very impressed. Today at the SIG Academy, to be given training by those who train SEALs and SWAT teams; it was pretty incredible. SIG spent a lot of time putting this all together and they have done it with grace,” said Mary Conley.

“SIG Rewards Week was totally awesome! Phenomenal food, a history-rich destination, well-planned activities, the SIG Academy and an incredible group of the finest people you will ever meet,” said Ronnie Whitten, Sports South VP of sales and marketing.

“I was very impressed with SIG, especially going to their factory and seeing their passion for their product, their attention to detail at the factory; all the employees seem to enjoy their work,” said Randy Powell, owner of Bulls-Eye Indoor Range & Gun Shop in Lawrenceville, Ga.

“It wasn’t a sales pitch, which many of these events turn into. It truly was about building a relationship and partnering with people in the industry, to say, ‘We care about you, we value you and we’re going to show you by investing in you.’ I was very impressed,” said Kevin Harris, president of Dominion Outdoors, located in Fishersville, Va.

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Just before docking at Portsmouth, N.H., dealers, distributors and SIG
employees toast a day of visiting coastal islands and historical sites.

Retail Partners Valued

“I can’t imagine it having gone much better,” said Tom Taylor, SIG SAUGER chief marketing officer and executive VP, commercial sales, in evaluating SIG Rewards. “From a productivity standpoint, a good time, the tour of the factory, shooting at the academy and having a nice time in a nice location.”

The program had a positive impact on the company’s commercial sales, according to Taylor, “SIG Rewards drove a tremendous amount of business and created new focus on all of SIG’s new product lines. SIG customers said the program increased SIG’s market share.”

Taylor also reports the response to SIG Rewards was significant, the number of dealers and sales associates who took part in the program was far greater than we anticipated. For their efforts, dealers and distributors earned over 3,000 guns, 150 electro-optics, 100 silencers, 100 ammo packages and other SIG products as part of the program.

Taylor reinforced SIG’s commitment to dealers, “SIG for so long has been an unapproachable company, and we’re showing that isn’t us anymore. We are showing people we’re willing to listen, take their feedback and be consistent. We value our local retail partners. We value what they bring to our company and our brand. We want to continue to value them and recognize them one person at a time.”

SIG Rewards 2016 SIG has launched this year’s SIG Rewards program, which began Aug. 1. For full details, visit www.sigrewards.com.

Extra Photos

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During a visit to the Atlantic coast at York, Maine, dealers, distributors
and their spouses gather for a “class photo” at SIG Rewards week.

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Just before docking at Portsmouth, N.H., dealers, distributors and SIG employees
toast a day of visiting coastal islands and historical sites.

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A guided tour of Star Island, 10 miles off the coast of New Hampshire,
includes the history of the Oceanic House — a hotel that’s over 100 years old.

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As part of SIG Rewards week, dealers and distributors enjoy all-expense-paid
fine dining.

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There was plenty of time to relax during SIG Rewards week, with casual dining
while enjoying the New Hampshire countryside.

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Dealers and distributors, along with their spouses, took part in historical tours,
including a visit to the Nubble Lighthouse.

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Dealers, distributors and their spouses receive shooting tips while spending
a day at SIG SAUER Academy.

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Dealers and distributors view SIG’s manufacturing operation from an observation
room, while another group tours the factory floor.

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Dealers examine in-production firearm parts during a tour of SIG’s 200,000-square-
foot manufacturing facility.

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