Become a Specialist

Fishing and baseball, is there anything that says summertime in America like these two sports? As a business owner, your time to watch a complete baseball game may be limited, or maybe baseball is not your sport of choice. Either way you more than likely know about pitching specialists in baseball. These are the men they bring in for certain situations: to face a certain batter, or to close out the game, or just get the team out of a tight spot. These men are known for their specific skill and when they are needed they are expected to deliver for the team. If they consistently fail in this task they are traded to make room for a pitcher who will deliver.

Businesses are much like specialty pitchers in Major League Baseball. In your area there are certain restaurants you go to because they are known to be the best at making a certain dish. When you are hungry for something specific you go there and only there. Fishing tackle retailers are the same; many just do not capitalize on their specialty.

Your specialty could be any number of traits your business has, either by its history, its location, maybe it is your knowledge or your employees knowledge, or you are just known for great pricing and selection. No matter what you are known for, as long as it is positive and real, capitalize on it.

Many years ago while working with an advertising group, a local electronics store wanted to do a run of advertising. A meeting was held and he announce he wanted to call himself the King of All Electronics, much like Howard Stern calls himself the King of All Media. This is a bold statement and one that needed researched to ensure it was applicable to his store. Everyone realized he was not a king of electronics, but he wanted to let customers know he was the best in the area. After market research was conducted, it was discovered he was one of the least likely places someone would go for electronics due to his limited selection. Another fact discovered was the only regal thought to his business was that he charged a king’s ransom for most of his products from his limited selection. Needless to say this advertising plan was scratched and a new one was conceived.

If you are going to base your advertising on what makes your store unique and special, you need to make sure it is true.

So what makes your store special?
First, the fact that you have remained opened during the past few years of economic turmoil proves you are doing more than one thing correct. That fact alone though will not pull in many customers, unless you are the last tackle shop standing in your area. If you are the last, or only local tackle store then by all means advertise that, but perhaps point out the fact that you are the favorite local tackle shop. It is not a stretch of the truth at all; just make sure if you have competition you are the favorite.

Your location could be your specialty as well. If you are located close to a special piece of water, let anglers know that fact. This time of year many anglers travel to fish new waters or well-known areas. Cash in on their travel by highlighting how close you are to this stretch of water. Many may have never fished the area before and may look for a local store to stock up on fresh baits, a local license or just to find out what the local fish tend to hit. Your location could be the key to pulling in these wandering anglers – just make sure they know you are there before they stop at your competition.

Another specialty you could have is your selection of fish-specific lures, or live bait for that species. If your local waters are known to hold big walleye, bass or crappie and your store specializes in having the best selection of lures and baits for them, advertise it. Let your customers and future customers know you are the go-to place to get the lures that work locally. On this subject, if you carry a large selection of baits and lures for a specific species, then there is a great chance you are a local authority, or one of your employees is at least, on how to catch the big fish. Showcase this knowledge and let others know of your knowledge. Many who come in to ask questions will of course need more than a few lures or rigs to fish with. While they will not pay you directly for your knowledge, you can still cash in on their need to buy the right lures and rigs.

Many stores are known not for specializing in anything other than having a great selection of everything an angler needs. Baseball has pitchers just like this as well, someone who does just about everything right and excels in all areas. Pitchers that possess these skills are called starters; they are highly coveted by teams and tend to earn the most money. Businesses that posses these same skill sets should expect to also earn top dollar over their competitors.

The final specialty that you may be able to tout is your longevity in the community and your store’s rich past. Many fishing tackle stores have been handed down through at least one generation, if not more. Share your history with your customers; any store that has survived multiple economic downturns, vast advances and changes within the fishing tackle industry and still earns a profit is doing something right. Customers and future customers will realize this and come see what makes your store so special.

No matter what your specialty is, you need to cash in on every one of these interactions. Your bread-and-butter customers will always be there; you need to maximize the new customers that are brought in by the lure of shopping at the area’s best tackle retailer for (insert your specialty here). They may only come in once and if your specialty is your knowledge, customer service or wide selection they may not notice this without interaction with you or your sales staff. You only get one chance to make a first impression, so make sure your first impression with these new customers is a great one. Accentuate the positive in your store and your employees and watch the customers respond.

Have you ever run advertising based solely on your specialty? How was your return – did you notice new customers responding to your specialty? Share with us your results, or questions you may have about this unique way to highlight your good qualities on our Facebook page and on our LinkedIn group.