Q&A — 01 October 2012

Maximize the SHOT Show Experience

Q. Why do you go? How do you make the most of the SHOT Show?

A. John Monson, Bill’s Gun Shop & Range

The SHOT Show presents an incredible opportunity to meet company representatives, see new products and even cash in on SHOT Show Specials, deals that are only offered at the event. One of the reasons the show presents such an awesome opportunity to the range owner and retailer is, of course, its enormity. A show that big requires a plan, so here’s what I do.

First, I enter having given forethought to what I want to accomplish. For example, this year I went to SHOT with one of my goals being to find about available cleaning agents—learning what is out there and how to dispose of the used cleaning fluids. Another goal was to find out what was available in the category of brass cleanup and polishing aids.

So, the first day I walk every aisle. I want to get an overview of what is on exhibit, I grab literature of those booths that may be of particular interest to me, and I make notes of where they are. It takes me a full day to walk the aisles, not stopping to talk to anyone at any booths if I can avoid it.

Then, back in my room, I look at the categories I have an interest in—such as the cleaning agents and brass cleanup and polishing aids. I prepare my list of targeted exhibitors and the questions I want to ask them—cost, volume, delivery time, availability, etc.

By dealing with categories, I am not overwhelmed by the wide variety of products on display. I can stay focused on my identified needs and interests.

I don’t set appointments, because I find that upsets what I can accomplish by simply stopping by the booths I wish to visit. With my “Attendee” badge that shows I am a range owner/retailer/buyer, I have no problem getting the attention of a representative in the booth.

I typically don’t buy a lot at the show, though I may order products that are in high demand, limited supply or being offered at a special price at the show. What I typically go home with is information on the products in the categories in which I am interested. That allows me to evaluate what I’ve learned and do my ordering from my office.


A. Dennis Rohman, P2K Range

The SHOT Show, being that it comes in January, rejuvenates me for the new year. It is a great opportunity to see all of the new products I can introduce to my store and my range, refresh orders and visit, face to face, with the reps who sell those products. Attending the SHOT Show really gets me pumped up.

I’ve attended every SHOT Show University, the day long sessions held the day before the show floor opens. Ron Rosenberg’s insights on marketing the last two years have been great, and I have been able to apply many of his points to our business. The session on hiring employees last year has really helped us in our prescreening process.

I love to bring staff to the show. Last year I took seven staff members. I assign them to specific manufacturers and products. When we get back to our facility, they are the ones responsible for presenting training sessions to our entire staff on the products they were assigned. When there are concurrent sessions at SHOT Show University, we can divide our forces and cover them both.

I find that bringing new staff members is especially helpful, because it gives them a sense of the scope of our industry. They return to our facility with a new attitude, that is, they have a new appreciation of the size and importance of the industry in which they work.

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