Tapping Into Smith & Wesson Performance Center Sales

The Performance Center Model 642 Enhanced Action represents a capable option for concealed carry/personal
protection customers. Double-action only, it’s chambered in .38 Spl. +P with a capacity of five rounds.

By Jade Moldae

When in a downturn, it’s important for businesses to evaluate whether or not there are untapped profit centers and then develop a plan of action.

As discussed earlier this year in Shooting Industry, retailers who stock a mix of entry-level and premium products will appeal to a wider cross-section of customers (see “Good, Better, Best,” from the May 2017 issue) — which, in principle, should also increase the odds of more people stopping by to see what’s “new.” And whether they’re hunters, competition shooters or interested in self-defense, there will be a segment of your customer base that holds an interest in high-quality, high-performance firearms. One brand has cultivated a strong following among these consumers with its feature-rich handguns, revolvers and rifles, while also developing a revenue stream for dealers to tap into: the Smith & Wesson Performance Center.

An In-Store Boost

Several Smith & Wesson Performance Center Dealers shared their success stories with SI in how becoming a Performance Center Dealer not only improved their bottom line, but also helped them cast a wider net for potential customers.

“We’ve been a Performance Center dealer for more than a decade,” said Justin Anderson, Hyatt Gun Shop (Charlotte, N.C.) director of marketing. “The reason why is simple: customer demand. Performance Center firearms are always in demand because of the high quality and features of the line — they give the customer unmatched out-of-the-box features.”

Hannah Hopkins, of Perry’s Gunshop in Wendell, N.C., shared her store couldn’t afford to not be a Performance Center dealer.

“Not becoming a PC dealer was never an option for us! Having Performance Center guns sets us apart from competitors and big-box stores. They bring in a different clientele — including collectors and experienced marksmen,” she said.

“Being a Performance Center Dealer helps set us apart from our competition,” Anderson affirmed. “We carry the Performance Center line because it creates great foot traffic and higher-than-average profit margins.”

For some dealers, becoming a Performance Center Dealer represented a natural next step due to the experience of selling other Smith & Wesson firearms.

“We became a Smith & Wesson Performance Center Dealer because we were selling a lot of S&W handguns and felt it would benefit our sales if we became a Performance Center Dealer,” stated Butch Fjoser, owner of Butch’s Guns, which has locations in Woodward, Okla., Albuquerque, N.M. and Vernon, Texas.

Furthermore, Fjoser attributes this decision has brought several other benefits to his business.

“As we had hoped in becoming a Performance Center dealer, our sales have improved. But not only in sales of Smith & Wesson firearms, but also in all items we carry: holsters, gun bags — even our shooting range,” he relayed.

Hand-tuned quality on display at the Smith & Wesson Performance Center.

Upsell Opportunities

As an S&W Performance Center Dealer, your store would be able to meet the needs of your customers instantly — satisfying the instant gratification that has become increasingly prevalent in today’s consumers. According to Tony Miele, general manager of the Smith & Wesson Performance Center, this also alleviates the (often painful) burden of a customer having to wait months for a special-order product.

“Performance Center products aren’t carried by all retailers — and in a lot of cases they’re special ordered. This means the customer may have to wait months to get it in their hands,” Miele said. “If you stock Performance Center products and your customers know it, they’ll be more likely to come to you than to someone who has to put it on order.”

Ben Romanoff, general manager of Ace Sporting Goods in Washington, Pa., shared his store has benefitted significantly since stocking a full lineup of Performance Center firearms.

“Having the Performance Center guns in the cases extends our product offering and increases our profitability,” he said. “It’s great to hear customers say, ‘I’ve only seen that 627 PC in a magazine!’”

Simply offering S&W Performance Center firearms will bring in high-end customers, according to Hopkins.

“Anytime you’re able to offer a customer a ‘nicer version’ of something, you have the opportunity to upsell. And upselling your customer means more money in your register,” Hopkins said. “The clientele seeking Performance Center guns can often spot the added quality/machining. Without the higher end of any line or a standalone high-end line, this particular customer may not otherwise frequently shop at your store.”

At Guns N Gear, located in Idaho Falls, Idaho, Firearms Safety Instructor AJ Grytness says stocking Performance Center guns enables the store to reach more enthusiasts.
“Customers can come into our store and witness the breadth of the Smith & Wesson line. Stocking all the models shows we’re the go-to place for Smith & Wesson products in our area,” he added.

Performance Center Ported M&P 9 Shield Night Sights

Ben Romanoff, Ace Sporting Goods GM, says the Performance Center Model 629 .44 Magnum Hunter (pictured here)
is a popular option among his high-end handgun hunters. A PC-tuned action, two-tone finish and custom muzzle
brake are bona fide selling points

Promotional Help

Not only have Smith & Wesson Performance Center Dealers confirmed the additional profits and interest from consumers, they also revealed the considerable support they receive from the firearms manufacturer.

“Smith & Wesson supplies us with PC promotional items to give away during our promotions,” Romanoff stated. “They support dealers who support them, and make sure the hard-to-find Performance Center guns are in their stores. The support we receive from them is second to none.”

The company provides Performance Center Dealers with several other resources, including: territory sales reps who will visit to train and educate counter staff, POP and promotional materials to help highlight the products in-store and specification sheets to show the selling points on each product.

“S&W has offered some online training in the past and several of our staff members have attended the local training sessions offered nearby,” Hopkins said. “Anytime our great S&W factory representatives come by for a store visit, additional information is always gleaned — whether it’s a new product coming out or manufacturing changes.”

“Smith & Wesson helps us with banners, shelf identifiers and stickers,” Grytness added. “They also send the district sales manager to our events; he’ll help answer questions and demonstrate the appeal of these firearms for customers.”

This continued support enables retailers to effectively meet the needs of their customers, Fjoser of Butch’s Guns relayed.

“One of the greatest benefits of being a dealer of Performance Center firearms has been the in-store training for our staff to work on the firearms, providing another service and market for our customers,” Fjoser concluded.

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