Education to Seal the Deal
At the furniture store where I bought my Queen Size Mattress Set, what sealed the deal was the education I received in mattresses and their construction. Having back issues, I knew that I needed something firm, but not so firm as to forego comfort. The saleswoman showed me spring/coil/foam samples which I could touch and depress with my hand. I then lay on the mattress she recommended. There were two mattresses I tried, one more expensive than the other. When I asked her opinion, she pointed to the least expensive as the best choice based on what I needed for my back support. She could have recommended the more expensive but she didn’t. The mattress fit my back and my pocket book.
When a woman purchases something, she wants to try it out before digging into her purse for payment. If a pair of shoes pinches the toes or the heal rubs, the woman will either try another size of the same style shoe, or try a different style. If she can’t find what fits, she’ll leave the store and go elsewhere. The same applies to the purchase of a handgun where her comfort is most important.
Most handguns however, are purchased without an opportunity to try them at a range. If the customer is unable to “test drive” the pistol, it will be a more difficult sale to make. It will take more time and energy on your part as the salesman to explain what can’t be felt, seen or heard. The woman is reliant upon your expertise, to point out those items which can either make or break the deal.
The first item you should question is “What are you going to use it for?” A house gun/training gun can be larger than a carry gun. Many women use their carry gun for both home protection and personal protection. Some like to buy two pistols which function the same, one for the home and one for her personal carry. The pistols may or may not be the same caliber, but familiarity and comfort will assist the purchase.
Keeping comfort in mind, a basic understanding of chemistry and physics behind recoil will assist her in selecting the right pistol for her. Most of the women I instruct, are concerned about recoil. They believe that it will injure them or they will seriously injure someone else, because of the force created once they pull the trigger. They need to understand that heavy pistols are better than light pistols in the absorption of recoil. The heavier pistols with longer barrels have less recoil vs. the light and short barreled pistols which transfer the recoil to the shooter. Once they understand this, it opens a myriad of possibilities of pistols that they’d totally discounted.
The next item to discuss with her is the grip. If she’s not able to hang on to the handgun while firing and through the recoil, she may not hit her target, may have to adjust her grip prior to your second shot, or she may even drop the handgun. Many times, salesmen believe the most important issue is the weight of the handgun, particularly when they’re talking to a woman. Therefore, when they look at a revolver or semi-automatic they’re looking at the smallest possible which means the length of the grip is short and the width and depth of the grip is thinner. There is very little room for the little finger and possibly the third finger as well. That leaves the thumb, index finger and the middle finger to hold the pistol during firing, recoil and recovery. Without all the fingers in contact with the grip there is no leverage. Rotation sideways of the pistol may occur and the rise of the muzzle may be significant.
The thinner grips don’t fill the palm web between the thumb and the index finger. When fired, the handgun can create tremendous pain and discomfort when the full force of the recoil is concentrated in the center of the web (against your thumb knuckle) rather than even distribution in the palm. One pull of the trigger is enough for some women. The next thing they’ll do is put the pistol down and never pick it up again. The thicker grips will spread the recoil in several directions with more comfort and less chance of pain. Recovery from recoil and target re-acquisition is quicker.
The next item of importance is the sights. The location and configuration of the rear sight will determine the ease of obtaining the sight picture. A milled into the frame (fixed) sight is smaller. A raised (fixed or adjustable) sight that sits on the slide of a semi-automatic or on the frame of the revolver is larger and easier to see especially when you’re under pressure to engage a threat. The front-sight can be painted various colors to make it stand out when viewed through the rear sight. The longer the sight radius (distance between the front and rear sight) the easier she’s able to acquire the sights. The shorter sight radius requires more time to acquire the sight picture.
The last item to discuss is the safety mechanism of the pistol. The revolver has no safety and double and single-action is the only item that needs to be explained. However, the semi-automatic has a variety of safety options available and some women feel overwhelmed by all the possibilities. Some women feel uncomfortable with a trigger safety and nothing more, so it’s necessary to mention the external safeties available on some models. This will alleviate the fear that some women have concerning the potential for an accidental discharge.
With this education under her belt, don’t confuse the issue with discussion of striker-fired vs. firing pin activation, or the endless choices in ammunition. This information is for further research on her part and not of concern now. If she inquires about ammunition, just refer to practice vs. personal protection ammo. That’s all that is necessary.
Hopefully your female customer has made a decision on her preference and can select. Sealing the deal is dependent upon her feeling of comfort with you and the products you’ve shown and the knowledge you’ve demonstrated. Also, remember that many women are accompanied by their husbands or significant others. The salesman may need to educate both with enough information to alleviate her concerns without a “test drive.” Not all men have their facts correct or their information verified. Don’t be surprised if some women ask you for your opinion on the grip, the sights or the safety mechanisms, rather than the opinion of their husband or significant other. If you built a trust with her, if she understands what she learned, she’ll accept your opinion and will buy based on your recommendation. You’ve sealed the deal, and she’ll return because of the great customer service you provided.
Photos #3, #4 courtesy of Western Drug, Springerville, AZ