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Host an Evening at the Shooting Range

Do your clients enjoy hunting? Are they interested in self-defense? Would any of them appreciate some old-fashioned target practice?

Consider hosting an evening at the gun range for about 20 clients and their guests as part of your ongoing series of client marketing events.

Recently, I spoke to one of my writing clients, a financial advisor in Maryland (not exactly a gun rights mecca – at least in some parts). Nevertheless, she told me about hosting a very fun evening for female clients and their friends at a local gun club.

“It was a shooting event for women,” she explained. “And everyone had a blast.”

Hitting the target

Especially if you’re a gun aficionado yourself, this event is a no brainer. Whether you’re shooting clay pigeons or aiming at zombies printed on paper targets – you’re bound to enjoy the fun and comradery of an evening at the shooting range with select guests.

Here are some keys to pulling off a successful shooting event.

Establish goals. You should never plan any client event without first considering what you hope to accomplish. A shooting event can help you build rapport with likeminded clientele and solidify your relationship with people in a position to help you grow your business. Decide how many people you will host, and how many new client relationships you realistically hope to establish through the event. Your budget likely will be around $500-1000 depending on attendance, range fees, gun rental and the cost of dinner, if you provide it.

Choose a location and date. Your favorite gun club is likely to be the best bet. But also consider shooting ranges on private property – especially as clay pigeon-shooting has become extremely popular of late. Make sure your location has a knowledgeable and approachable staff you can engage to instruct your clients. Most gun clubs offer brief but extremely valuable safety lessons before renting firearms. (You may even be able to have a live instructor for your group instead of a video). As for the date of your event, your “evening at the gun range” can be held in the middle of the week as long as you give advance notice. If you’re shooting outdoors, you may need to pick a back-up date scheduled in advance in case of bad weather.

Host a dinner before. If you’re a member of the gun club, you may be able to rent out a private room and cater a meal or appetizers before your event. Or you can treat clients and their guests to a scrumptious dinner at a nearby restaurant. (Be sure to give a short pitch for your firm during dessert.)

Send classy invitations. Send elegant-looking invitations on card stock about a month in advance of the first event. You can have them printed and cut professionally. Clients who RSVP should receive reminders one week before the event, along with more detailed instructions regarding what they should wear to the club, and where to bring their firearms if they have their own. You can also give clients complimentary gun rentals. You can get more people to sign up for your event by sending out a second invitation notifying clients of available slots. If you have a huge response, you may want to consider opening up additional dates. Limit your attendance to 20-25.

Invite centers-of-influence. Be sure to invite friends of your firm, such as CPAs, attorneys, and potential clients. This will be a great way to build good will, and further establish rapport.

Create parallels between shooting accuracy and hitting financial targets. Some of the best client events feature creative themes. In hosting a shooting event, you may wish to discuss the traits required to be successful in shooting and relate that to what it takes to be a successful investor. For instance, in shooting, it’s important to stay focused, and not dwell on the last shot. If you’ve missed your last two shots, that doesn’t have to affect the current shot. The same is true with investing. Obsessing over past mistakes can make us less effective as we go forward.

Hosting a shooting event or clinic can be a fun way to network with your best clients and strategic allies. Even those who have minimal interest in guns likely won’t turn down a chance for free target practice.

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