Monday, August 24, 2009

Cash for Clunkers? How About Guns for Hummers?

Was watching the local 10pm newscast last night and was brought out of my pre monday work list warmup by a story of how a local Hummer car lot is trying to save their business.

The story is simple. Jim Lynch sells Hummers. Take a hurting economy, rising gas prices, and a very popular green movement in the United States and you have a hat trick for a very bad time for selling said Hummers.

So Jim Lynch begins selling guns too, and not just hand guns, but high powered automatic weapons, the top shelf of the gun collecting world's biggest and baddest toys. Jim Lynch, is beginning to see business getting better.

Take all of your personal thoughts and opinions out of this and put on the marketing glasses. Whoa! Jim Lynch may actually have something here.

What we have here is a great example of the "experience". Jim took the sales demographics of hummer buyers and found that a healthy percentage are sportsman and hunting enthusiasts. He stopped seeing himself as a guy who sells Hummers and started seeing himself as something different, an experience dealer.

Did I mention that Jim has built the countries largest Hummer testing and playground behind the dealership? When you go in for a test drive, you won't be taking it out on the highway, but instead you'll be climbing hills and leaping creek beds in the jungles of middle Missouri. Now, they'll throw a couple of high powered rifles in the mix and you can pull over and do some target shooting with the gun of your dreams.

Alot of Jim's sales staff had a lot of experience with guns and gun sales, so the same staff can be kept and utilized to sell both products. This keeps his staff small, qualified and it allows them to work for commissions on each.

A slumping economy turns out to be a very creative environment. Whether this saves Jim's business or not remains to be seen, but the marketer in me appreciates Jim's vision and resilience.

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