In the mid 1980′s, most police forces and the FBI carried the old standby Smith & Wesson revolver as their service weapon, but that was all about to change. Over the past twenty years, the Smith & Wesson revolver has been all but eliminated from police forces around the county while the Austrian Glock handgun has been adopted as a standard by fully two thirds of all U.S. police departments. How did Glock go from obscure to dominant in such a short period of time? They took marketing to the customer in the form of training. Now, it didn’t happen overnight, but Glock’s methodology can teach marketers a thing or two about helping your customers to make the decision to adopt your product. Let’s look at how they did it.
The Glock’s rise to prominence in the US was the result of one clever salesman by the name of Karl Walter who had the idea of reversing the traditional training model for Glock and building a core group of evangelists comprised of some of the country’s top shooting instructors. Karl first sought out contracts with the shooting instructors and got them to add the Glock to their training regiment.
Once the instructors were in place, Walter, then the lead for Glock’s U.S. sales effort, would dispatch one of the trainers at a moments notice to any law enforcement organization evaluating their current handgun standard. Rather then drop in a sales person for a hard sell, Walter would simply send a shooting instructor to inform the department about the Glock while delivering some shooting tips in the process. Often times other shooting instructors and heads of neighboring agencies would attend the Glock session just out of curiosity, further spreading the positive word of mouth about the brand.
Marketing Action Item:
Think about your own business. What forms of training, education or “value-forward” content could you offer to a prospect before you ever enter the sales process?