Why Your Customers Should Upgrade to Custom Bowstrings

Here are some proven selling points you can use to sell more custom bowstrings.

Why Your Customers Should Upgrade to Custom Bowstrings

Not enough people realize that a bowstring and cable(s) have perhaps the most important jobs of any component on a bow setup. If they fail, the entire bow fails. Period. For that reason, we must give them their due importance. In some cases, that means maintaining them with a cleaner and some wax. In other cases, it’s recognizing fraying or other deterioration and then replacing them with new ones.

Another increasingly common move, though, is to remove the standard set that comes on a new bow, and then install a custom set prior to setting the bow up for the first time. It might seem reasonless to some of your customers, but, in fact, it makes great sense for those looking to build the deadliest (hunting) or winningest (target archery) bow setups possible. Not only that, but it gives you the opportunity to make a complementing sale each time you sell a new bow. You win. The customer wins. Everyone’s happy. But, to make that sale, you must have some selling points that you can articulate to the customer.

Recently, I spoke with Jerry Mullet of America’s Best Bowstrings and also two different dealers on the topic of custom bowstrings. We discussed the benefits, which you can use as selling points when speaking with your customers, as well as ways to build your business. Let’s review several highlights from our discussions.


Optimized Bow Performance

Mullet believes there are some misconceptions about the identity of custom bowstrings and cables. He said, “Some folks think, Hey, I can get a blue and pink string for my bow. They see the color charts and think that alone makes a bowstring and cable set ‘custom’. That’s certainly part of the customization, but there’s so much more.”

Most important, Mullet believes, is the knowledge that custom-string manufacturers have of the bow.

“We have relationships with the bow manufacturers, so we’re informed as to all specs, including lengths, strand counts, serving locations and outside diameters of the finished product,” he explained. “We’ll even go buy new bows as soon as they launch so that we can make sure we have everything down before we start selling bowstrings and cables for each specific bow. Knowing those little nuances helps us build bowstrings and cables that optimize a bow’s performance potential. That is a point you can articulate to your customers when discussing benefits of custom strings and cables. We build strings to exact specs that will optimize the bow’s performance. In my opinion, that is the top benefit to the consumer.”

While color options are notable attributes of custom bowstrings, it’s the technical attributes that are most beneficial to your customers.
While color options are notable attributes of custom bowstrings, it’s the technical attributes that are most beneficial to your customers.

Color Customization

Again, the first thing most consumers think of when the words “custom bowstrings” come up is color. Though less important than the business end of the strings, which we just discussed, let’s not ignore its allure to customers.

“Color customization is somewhat of an afterthought for me because the most important aspect is the technical end involving the specs,” Mullet shared. “But, since end users like it so much, you might as well talk that point up, too. Not only do we offer custom colors for the strands, but we can also customize the serving colors and heat shrink around the speed buttons. Those are nice little perks of buying a custom string, especially for customers who value color coordination.”

If you shoot custom bowstrings and believe in them, they’ll sell naturally to your customers. You’re the expert in the customer’s mind, so he or she will trust your opinion.
If you shoot custom bowstrings and believe in them, they’ll sell naturally to your customers. You’re the expert in the customer’s mind, so he or she will trust your opinion.

Higher Quality

While some news bows are equipped with good-quality strings and cables, some aren’t.

“When you look at many bowstrings and cables that come stock on new bows, I believe the testing we do proves that our strings offer superior quality,” Mullet said. “Specifically, this is in regard to creep, serving separation and peep-sight rotation. We have equipment to cycle-test bows 30,000 times within a few days, so we know what our products are capable of. For that reason, our high-end Platinum series strings and cables have a two-year warranty.

“Consistency hugely affects bow performance. When strings and cables don’t creep or twist, the bow will stay timed and tuned. There are no variations, which means your bow will shoot better. As a bowhunter or target archer, that replaces worry with confidence each time you need to make a shot.”

Derek Vaughn of SunRy’s Archery in Fenton, Michigan, agreed.

“I tell my customers about the peace of mind that shooting with custom strings develops,” he said. “It’s not just another bowstring being mass produced. You’re getting strings built on a case-by-case basis, which yields a far better end product. Custom strings help the bow stay tuned throughout the life of the string. Peep rotation is another big one. Stock strings are prone to rotation, and we just don’t see that with quality custom bowstrings.”

Vaughn also said that many of his customers have new custom bowstrings installed before they even fire an arrow through the new bow.

“It’s a given that most of our repeat bow customers who buy the latest bow model each year will have new custom strings installed right out of the gate,” he said. “It’s almost engrained in their mind that they have to, and it’s because they see the difference in performance. Plus, that’s what we do with our personal bows. Customers see that we do it, which gives us the opportunity to tell them why we do it, often leading to a sale.”

Hans Olufs of West Coast Archery in California said that peep rotation —  common with stock bowstrings — is a top selling point he uses when talking custom bowstrings with his customers.

“Custom string makers build better strings,” he said. “That alleviates certain problems such as peep rotation, serving separation and string wear. Better materials and processes are used to build better bowstrings, and those are huge benefits.”


Believe in It

“To sell more custom bowstrings, you have to use them yourself and believe in them,” Olufs said. “You must believe in every product you offer in order to effectively sell it. This positions you to tell your customers the benefits so that they want to upgrade, too.”

There are dozens and dozens of archery products that promise to make archers reach their accuracy potential. None, I’ll argue, have a greater impact than custom bowstrings. When a bowstring is designed to exact specs needed to optimize an individual bow’s performance, and it is designed not to creep, twist or separate, the bow can remain tuned and the archer can shoot more consistently. That’s the edge you can offer your customers by selling them custom bowstrings, and it will also help you build your business. What’s not to love about that?

Sidebar: Ways to Build Your Business With Custom Bowstring Sales



“I believe that offering custom bowstrings gives a shop credibility,” said Jerry Mullet of America’s Best Bowstrings. “When you install a great set of custom strings on a customer’s bow, they get to experience how that bow performs, and then the shop becomes the “expert” in the customer’s mind. It helps establish trust between customer and pro shop. They know that you weren’t just trying to sell them something, but that you truly want to help them by optimizing their bow’s performance. That is a huge benefit for pro shops.”


Profit Margins

“Most custom bowstrings offer great margins,” Mullet said. “With America’s Best Bowstrings, the more bowstrings you sell, the better your margins become. It’s smart business for pro shops to seek out high-margin products that also benefit the end consumer. Such items sell naturally and substantially increase your sales. Not only do you make great margins on the bowstrings themselves, but you should be charging for the installation, too.”

Derek Vaughn of SunRy’s Archery said that selling custom bowstrings also has a notable add-on benefit.

“Each time you sell a custom bowstring, you have the opportunity to sell a peep, kisser button and silencers,” he told. “Those, much like the bowstrings and cables, have high profit margins that you can capitalize on.”

Hans Olufs of West Coast Archery said that selling custom bowstrings is a great way to build a business.

“I started pushing really hard on it about 3 years ago,” he said. “America’s Best Platinum Bowstrings are add-on sales on approximately 50 percent of my new-bow sales. At the end of the year, that substantially increases my numbers.”


Marketing Tips

To sell more custom bowstrings, you must educate consumers about them.

“As a dealer, you must educate your customers on why a custom bowstring is beneficial,” Mullet said. “They must understand the benefits before they commit to spending the money on a set. The more you educate, the better your custom-bowstring sales will become. There is always positive reinforcement when you have customers in your store at any given time who’re already shooting custom strings. You can actually use them as part of your selling strategy because they can talk about the benefits they’ve already experienced. Happy customers also naturally create word-of-mouth advertising for you.”

Vaughn shared similar thoughts: “As a dealer, you need to know and understand the advantages of custom bowstrings so that you can effectively convey them to your customers.”


Be Conservative

When it comes to stocking custom bowstrings and cables, don’t try to carry multiple bowstrings for every bow model out there. Determine which are your top-selling bows and then have a few sets on hand with the option to order more, as needed.

Vaughn said that SunRy’s Archery stocks custom bowstrings very conservatively.

“We stock some,” he said, “but we choose which ones to stock by overviewing our best-selling bows over the last several years. For us, that means every Mathews flagship bow model dating back to 2002. We also stock custom strings for the very popular crossbow models. Then, we special-order everything else. From America’s Best Bowstrings, we receive orders within a week or less, regardless of the time of year. The bottom line is don’t get too carried away with stocking custom bowstrings. Be attentive to your best-selling bows and then focus on stocking strings for those models.”

Olufs uses the same approach. “I identify my top-selling bows and then stock about four sets of custom strings for those models,” he said. “Then, I order once a week for special orders that don’t match what’s on my shelf. I order every Saturday, and I receive the order by the following Friday.”


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