You just sold a bow to a first-time customer, but does that customer know where the nearest range is for sighting in or how to connect with other archers or bowhunters for advice? If a customer doesn’t know how to proceed after buying a bow, their archery journey may end abruptly, along with future sales you might have received.
As an archery business, it’s in your best interest to serve as a hub for archery and bowhunting resources and information. Take it upon yourself to know what’s available, including nearby ranges, local clubs, tournament series and other archery sources of information. Then, share those resources with customers so they get started properly or can plug in more deeply. Before a customer leaves your shop, consider suggesting some options like these to help them find a good pathway to an enjoyable archery experience.
If you offer next-step opportunities like lessons, classes or leagues, inviting customers to sign up is a no-brainer. These give participants foundational knowledge for optimal success and bring them back to your shop for additional purchases. The ATA has resources to help its members offer classes, including how-to guides and educational curriculums like Explore Bowhunting and Explore Bowfishing. If your shop is focused on equipment and doesn’t host hands-on learning opportunities, point customers in the right direction.
Newcomers are usually overwhelmed by all the things they must learn. Mentors help new participants learn safe, responsible hunting skills and tactics so they can hunt confidently and independently. Most state wildlife agencies and the National Deer Association have mentoring programs open to the public. Have customers explore these options. If you’re interested in becoming a mentor or hosting a mentoring program, check out the ATA’s Hunting Mentor Guide available in the Resource Library for tips.
Many sportsmen’s organizations, like Bowhunters United, offer tips, advice and support to new and veteran hunters. Ask your customer what interests them most and encourage them to join your recommended organization to receive members-only information and resources.
Many national archery organizations, including Scholastic 3-D Archery, USA Archery, the Archery Shooters Association, the International Bowhunting Organization and the National Field Archery Association, have clubs scattered across the United States. Many clubs host events and tournaments and usually have a strong membership base willing to help new members. Your customers can get as involved as they want or shadow others to learn more.
Many local and state governments have parks and recreation departments that oversee places and facilities dedicated to leisure and recreational pursuits, including archery and bowhunting. Depending on the location, some departments host classes or maintain archery parks for the community. The department is also likely familiar with area clubs and programs, so it’s a great starting point for new archers.
Encourage new archers to participate in tournaments. Photo Credit: Music City Archery
Tournaments are an excellent way for archers to meet other archers, learn shooting techniques and hone their skills through repetition. Many tournaments vary in size and location and use different target types and scoring systems. Educate customers about their options and encourage them to sign up for one that best fits their aspirations.
Connect customers to program contacts for further assistance. The ATA lists the contact information of archery representatives for several archery organizations on the state contacts webpage. Have this list on hand or direct customers to the ATA’s website so they can contact individuals in their state who can direct them to local clubs and events.
Youth programs like the National Archery in the Schools Program, Junior Olympic Archery Development Program and Scholastic 3-D Archery program are great introductory options for kids. Direct parents and kids to talk to the school athletic director, who can confirm the program and share eligibility requirements.
If you can’t specifically help customers along their journey to be a better archery or bowhunter, connect them to people or organizations that can. Establish yourself as the community hub for all things archery and bowhunting and redirect people as needed based on their archery desires. Doing so will help your business create lifelong customers and establish credibility and trust.
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