Razor Sharp Sales

How Savvy Firearms Retailers Are Cashing In On Knives

Taking advantage of secondary sales has always made good business sense, whether the economy is up or down. Many firearms retailers have already added knives to their inventory as a way to bolster profits. If you haven’t infused your stock with this hot-selling category, make it part of your 2012 plan.

There is somewhat of a current misconception that only tactical knives are selling. While it’s true that tactical knives have been popular for over a decade, there are plenty of knives available for outdoorsmen, and the traditional pocketknife segment is also booming. Such a wide selection allows you to tailor your inventory to your customer base.

Knowledge Is Paramount

The key to selling knives is two-fold: Know your customer, and know your knives.

Most customers can be divided into military/tactical, personal defense users, hunting/sporting enthusiasts, and collectors of both modern and vintage. Knives are available for all of these categories, and some folders and fixed blades are crossover cutters that appeal to customers of different groups, allowing you to nab two sales with one customer.

Also, you are likely aware of your customers’ budget preferences and, therefore, are able to buy knives to fit their restraints or indulgences. The bottom line? Buy for your consumer base and their budget considerations.
Mark’s Outdoor Sports, located in Birmingham, Ala., is one of the largest independent outdoors retailers in the Southeast, with a special emphasis on firearms and knives. Randy Yerkes, knife department manager, said during the height of the Christmas shopping season, Mark’s was selling over 100 knives a day. What does he think is the most important thing about selling a knife?

“Know your knives,” Yerkes said. “You need to know your blade steel, know the various functions of a knife, and know its purpose. It’s all about helping your customer make a wise decision.”

Mark’s Outdoor carries all the well-known knife brands, including Benchmade, Spyderco, SOG, Buck, CRKT, Case, Kershaw, Ka-Bar and more. Yerkes explains that approximately 60 percent of the knives they sell are tactical/personal defense knives, because they’re non-seasonal. The other 40 percent sold are sporting/hunting knives — because they are seasonal.
Story and Photos By Pat Covert

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