Metal detecting is usually perceived as a domain of interest, a hobby or even a passion. But what about turning that into a profitable business? How good does it sound?!
In this comprehensive guide I walk you through some important steps that you may want to consider as a blueprint to become a metal detector dealer …
I try to address the most common questions and concerns that new dealers have like establishing relationships with manufacturers & suppliers, tips to develop a bulletproof business plan, as well as some interesting marketing strategies that you may want to apply.
Let’s dive in!
- To become a metal detector dealer, you need a well-crafted business plan covering things like market analysis, products & services as well as your daily operations marketing strategy.
- Both online & offline presence is crucial to reach a broader customer base.
- Value-added services as well as a strong relationship with different manufacturers & suppliers is the secret sauce to any metal detector dealer!
Try to understand the metal detecting market …
You can not (should not) start such a business with having a prior understanding of how the market works. This will ensure success and sustainability in your business endeavors. Bellow are the most important elements you should consider:
- Product selection: There are hundreds or models and brands out there, and going after all of them is a formula for disaster. You should identify the most sought-after models & brands (Check this Example of Quality Metal Detector Here at Amazon). This won’t only help increase your sales, but also build your reputation in the market.
- Pricing Strategies: You should stay up-to-date not only with the pricing of your product selections, but also with the price fluctuations in the market. This will allow you to keep suggesting competitive pricing to your customers. Thus, you will keep attracting more customers and keep healthy profit margins.
- Targeted marketing: You need to understand the demographics and preferences of metal detecting hobbyists and professionals. For example, a hobbyist will look for different models than a pro who actually metal detect for a living. Both of their needs is completely different from a gold prospector who only can use some specific models (PI metal detecting machines).
- Adaptability: Metal detecting is a market that has dramatically changed in the last 3 to 5 years and will continue to do so due to the exponential technological advancements. That’s why adaptability is crucial so you can stay competitive and always stay ahead of the curve by responding to current & future customer expectations.
How important is building relationships with manufacturers and suppliers?
Having a deal with metal detector manufactures (like Minelab, Garrett Electronics …) is obviously important to get your product selections. However, you should aim for more than that …
You should aim for building long term relationships with those manufacturers & suppliers as this could directly positively impact your business and growth potential.
Below is what you will earn from that:
- Product availability & exclusivity: A solid relationship with manufacturers will ensure a consistent access to high demand products which will help you avoid stock shortages. This could even grant you exclusive rights to new models and limited products … This will give you a strong competitive edge over the competition.
- Negotiation power: With a good relationship with manufacturers, you will be able to negotiate better deals, better prices, better payment terms & delivery schedules. This will significantly increase your profit margins.
- Early access to new models: When the Minelab Vanquish (Check it Here at Amazon) was released couple of years ago, dealers who were able to access it early were the ones to make the most money out of this anticipated model at the time. They were able to do so because they had a great relationship with Minelab.
- Better Support: It is not only about having your inventory full of products. You also need to have a technical, marketing as well as sales support. This will make life much easier for you when it comes to dealing with customer inquiries and troubleshooting issues.
- Access to more collaborative opportunities: a Better relationships with suppliers can leave the door wide open for things like marketing initiatives, new product training sessions alongside with co-hosted events with high qualified professionals!
Should Metal Detector Dealers Develop a business plan?
If you want to become a successful metal detector dealer, then you must develop a solid business plan. It is the roadmap of your business where you can clearly outline your goals, strategies and potential challenges …
It will also make your decision-making process much easier!
Below some actionable tips to develop a business plan:
- Executive summary: Start with a clear overview of your business. What’s your mission? Your vision? Your key objectives? This is the foundation of everything that will come after …
- Analyze the market: To be able to analyze the market, you should identify the market trends, the different types of potential customers as well as what the competition looks like. This part should help you define a clear and unique selling proposition angle that should be different from what customers are used to hear and be compelling enough for them. Example: When Appel first introduced their iPod, instead, of telling their customers about how great their product was from a technological standpoint (speed, processing, features …) they simply let their customers know that with an iPod they now can have 1000s of songs in their pocket. This message was incredibly compelling to customers and they have managed to make a Ton of sales!
- Products & services: Clearly describe the range of metal detectors and other accessories (pinpointers, knee pads, boots …) that you want to offer. You can even offer services to your customers by suggesting things like specialized training for a specific metal detector model as an upsell or as a bonus to boost your sales. For each product and service manage to outline the benefits that would set you apart from the competition.
- Marketing Strategy: How are you going to promote your products to generate consistent sales? Identify advertising channels, target audience and sales techniques. Consider partnering with manufacturers to seek for co-marketing opportunities.
- Operations & management: Your organizational structure, key personnel and daily operations should be well detailed & documented. You can (should) also include detail things related to your inventory management and customer service policy.
- Milestones & timelines: You should (must) establish your business milestones & related timelines. This will help you track and objectively measure your progress. Examples of milestones could be something related to a minimum of monthly sales, a minimum of monthly revenue, having a deal with a top metal detectors manufacturer … Sky is the limit!
Hopefully I’ve made that clear for you.
Should dealers create both online and offline presence?
These days, having both an online and offline presence is not a luxury, it is rather a must! That’s crucial to maximize reach to a bigger customer base …
Having a website and social media platforms are the core of your online presence. This is how you can showcase your product in an engaging way to make more sales.
Offline presence, such as brick-and-mortar store is also critical for the kind of customers who want to have a hands-on experience and a personalized service.
By combining those 2 you will appeal to various customer preferences which will boost your visibility! This will also make you more immune to shifting consumer behavior and market fluctuations. That’s the formula for long-term success!
Offering value-added services and support …
Offering value-added services is essential to enhance your customer experience. Below I share couple tips:
- Provide Expert Advice: Always provide knowledgeable guidance to your customers. These could be educating them about how they can select the right metal detector or by choosing some additional accessories based on their needs.
- Product demos: You can offer an in-store or virtual demos to showcase the most important features of your products. This will help your customers make more informed decisions.
- Trainings & workshops: You can organize training sessions (online or offline) to teach customers & potential customers on how they can become successful in this hobby. Or on how they can use a specific model.
- Exclusive promotions: You can from time to time offer special deals, discounts or even bundled packages to customers. This will add more value to their purchases which will incentivize them to come back
Staying up to date with industry trends and advancements …
You can’t survive in this difficult industry unless you stay in constant touch with the trends and advancements. Couple of things you should do include:
- Follow leading manufacturers: Especially Garrett Electronics and Minelab. These guys are the most active and consistent when it comes to new product releases and to new technologies introductions.
- Industry publications: Subscribe to dozens of relevant industry-specific magazines, newsletters and online resources. This will keep you up-to-date with the news in the metal detecting world.
- Attend trade shows and conferences: Try not to miss events that gather manufactures, other dealers and enthusiasts. This is a great opportunity to network with like-minded people which would give you even more insights.
- Online forums & facebook groups: I’ve personally learnt a LOT just from facebook groups. You probably should do the same!
Final Thoughts …
Hopefully, you’ve understood the importance of careful planning, dedication and deep understanding of the market to become a successful metal detector dealer!
In addition to the info I’ve shared in this article, I hope that I’ve also made you a little bit excited to start your journey as soon as possible!