Q&A at 30k: Eagle Claw

In a new feature to FishingTackleRetailer.com, we’re networking with key players in the fishing industry to put you in the pilot seat of a series we call Q&A at 30k. We are breaking down the distance barriers from your store to the source so you don’t have to. This week, we jet you to Denver, Colorado for a chat with Eagle Claw.

Eagle Claw needs no introduction. The iconic hook manufacturer has been supplying anglers across the globe with the most essential part of any lure for decades. And the proudly American-made brand has invested big-time into staying on top of the hook game.

Milt Poffel started working at the company’s Denver headquarters seven years ago as a customer service supervisor; he’s the go-to guy for dealer relations, and he’s also our first Q&A at 30k.

What are your top retailers doing to move more product?

“For a couple years now the winters have been pretty excessive temperature wise. There’s always been a lot of spring sales and stuff like that, but it’s really important now for the retailers to come out in spring and really focus on the cabin fever effect, so they can get consumers into there stores and eventually into the lakes and streams out there.

The larger retailers are participating in consumers shows, and that’s a really big deal to try to get new product out and maybe special pricing with it.”

How has Eagle Claw tried to innovate to help retailers lately?

“A few years ago we started a dedicated, regional sales manager program. That began with a salt water sales manager in Florida. He’s stationed in Florida and part of his function is to operate with the retailers and find out what their needs are.

There are products that are simply not available in every area, and maybe what is available isn’t quite right and needs some tweaking. He’s been very successful about bringing retailers into the mold, and producing new lines of terminal items, new hooks in that area. Some of that stuff will spread up and down the coast.

A year and year and a half ago, we created a similar situation in Pacific Northwest to tie in the northern side. He’s done an excellent job of bringing the retailers into the mold and helping to design new kinds of hooks specific to that area.”

What incentives are you offering retailers to sell Eagle Claw products?

I think what we offer—even though it’s been as such for some time now—is three distinctly different lines of American made fishing hooks. I think there’s a driving force out there for that. We’re trying to program the dealers to focus on that. The old classic red white and blue eagle claw hooks that many people grew up with are still around, but they’ve been upgraded to lazer point hooks that are still American made. Trokar is the best hook there is on the planet for that matter. 

What sort of display products does Eagle Claw offer to retailers?

We have a few different kinds of display boards that can set focus on hooks and terminal. We also have banners, stickers, patches, and programs to get rod racks to dealers. We actually have fish hooks that are completely formed to wrap around a baseball cap. We sell them, dealers can sell them. And we offer some help here and there to get them into your hands. We also work with distributors to help get information out. Dealers can call us or their distributor. Some of the programs, like the rods racks, we have a small fee or program for. If you buy x amount of rods and combos we’ll give ’em a rack, for example.

Tell us about Eagle Claw’s warranty program

For most manufactures, warranty is probably a little bit of a struggle. It was with ours. But, we created a program a few years ago to encourage the consumer to return products directly to Eagle Claw or Wright McGill. We began enforcing it last year. You can print a label online and send the product back to us. 

Our warranty program takes handling that function out of the dealer’s hands. They no longer have to handle that. We are forcing our employees here to handle that, and we’ve gotten a lot of good comments on it from around the country.

Where is your biggest disconnect with retailers? And what are you doing to fix that.

I think sometimes the dealer looks at his territory, and as manufacturers we are looking at the whole country. I think we sometimes miss the boat on a few things because we produce something that we think might sell really well all around and it gets regionalized. Our catalog is 300 pages, and it takes a while to get through that. We probably pay so much attention to our catalog that we maybe should pay some attention to these guys that are in their locations.

Retailers can give us a call any time. I would bet that about 95% of the time a live human at the office will be able to pick up. There are several people, including myself, that will pick up the 800 line or any of the other lines. If they have a question, we will answer it for them. If we can’t answer it. we will find someone who can. If a retailers calls and says, ‘Hey, I can see that that hook might be something that I’d like to try.’ We will send them some samples. 

What is Eagle Claw doing to up your digital game?

We’ve just added two new staff members to EagleClaw.com, and one of the things they are tasked with is rebuilding the website. We want to have a stronger focus there to help better serve people.

What would you like every retailer to know about Eagle Claw?

I’d like every retailer to think about our hooks are Made in America. They are made about 100 yards from my desk. I think that’s awesome. There is still something to be said about products that are made right here in the USA. Let’s focus on that together and score a touchdown.

Have your own question for Eagle Claw? Fire away in the comments section below.