Douglas Emerson Profitable Horseman
Profitable Horseman Newsletter
Sept. 15, 2008 
You'll Rope More Customers When You Tie the Lariat to the Horn

Here's a story from my friend, Paul, who lives about 100 miles from me.  His eight year old son, a student in a Montessori School, had been thrilled with the idea of learning how to ride after several school outings to a local stable.
Paul's wife called the stable and left six (yep, count 'em, six) voice mails requesting a return call about lessons.  
Communication silence followed.  No return call.   Paul was aggravated and ready to try another lesson barn, but his son was set on learning to ride at this stable where two of his friends were already taking lessons.

The family drove to the stable on the weekend.  They spotted three teenage girls mucking stalls as they drove in the driveway.  By the time Paul had gotten out of the car, the three girls had disappeared. Perhaps they were hiding under cover or had been abducted by aliens.

Luck finally joined Paul's team and he found another employee in a different barn and inquired about lessons.
Paul:  "Can you help me with information about lessons?"
Employee: "You'll have to talk to the owner and she's not here"
Paul:  "When will she return?"
Employee: "I dunno, she's out hunting, you can leave a message on the phone"
Paul:  "We've done that, six times"
Employee:  "Send her an e-mail"
Paul: "What's the e-mail address?"
Employee: "I dunno, look on the website"
Paul:  "What's the website address?"
Employee:  "I dunno, search for it"
Upon leaving, Paul took note of the attractive sign at the road with stable name and phone number.  No website address to be found on the sign.
Paul's wife, dedicated to her goal, searched the Internet and found the website of the stable and an "info@" email address. She launched an email that eventually brought a reply.
Overcoming a poor start and first impression, the stable owner sold a prepaid package of four private introductory lessons to Paul and family.
I couldn't make up a better story than this true experience.  In spite of the lack of a system to capture new business, this owner made a sale anyway.  But, you have to wonder about all of the $ales that got away.
How could the owner handle this situation better?
1.  Return your phone calls.  As soon as you can.  If you're giving lessons, training horses or managing employees most of the day like most professional horsemen, you'll have to return calls when you have a break in action or in the evening.   
2.  Customize your voice mail message for inbound calls to say you're working with people and horses most of the day and you return phone calls after 6:00 P.M.  Direct the caller to the website if he or she is looking for more information about boarding, lessons and training for instant information.  
3.  Include your website address on your signs, business cards and advertising.  
4.  Write a short script for employees for what to say to visitors who inquire about services.  This may sound silly, but what comes easy for you to say as an experienced owner is harder than an organic chemistry final exam for young help. They get tongue tied or speak teentalk, like, you know, whatever. . . !  
5.  Have brochures and business cards available to hand out to visitors. Paper is still cheap; the fuel the visitor bought to drive to your location isn't. Don't let them drive away empty handed. 

This is all easy stuff.  Some owners may have a good reason for not doing it . . . like they don't need the money. 
But, there is no good reason for not doing it for the Profitable Horseman.

Others Have Said 
" Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning."  --   Bill Gates 

"Quality in a product or service is not what the supplier puts in. It is what the customer gets out and is willing to pay for. A product is not quality because it is hard to make and costs a lot of money, as manufacturers typically believe. This is incompetence. Customers pay only for what is of use to them and gives them value. Nothing else constitutes quality."  --   Peter Drucker

"For three days after death hair and fingernails continue to grow, but phone calls taper off."  --   Johnny Carson


Back At The Barn

The sweet smell of second cutting hay recently put in our hay loft  must be like the aroma of fresh baked cookies to the horses below.  It smells good enough to eat to me, too.  A wet summer produced a bumper crop of second and third hay cuttings and local barns are full.
It also produced record height golden rod and a fine growth of ragweed.  Ragweed was never a problem for me in my youth, but now I look at a picture of the stuff and want to sneeze.
I got a reminder of what parents experience as they outfit children for new sports.  My sticker shocking trip to the sporting goods store(s) to get roller hockey equipment for Charles and Phillip must have been like what first time riding student's parents feel when they show up at the tack shop. "All this stuff costs how much?"
Ouch.  Nothing inexpensive about playing sports today.
I enjoyed watching their fist practice.  The pace is fast and thankfully, to the players' and parents' delight, there is no outfield.
 I'll Be Speaking At the Certified Horsemanship Association's International Convention In Lexington, KY on October 30, 2008.


cha intl convention Be Speaking In Lexington, KY at the Certified ctober 30, 2008.  

Click here for the CHA details
Maureen Gallatin and I will be presenting an Equine Business Workshop in the morning of October 30 prior to the 12:00 start of the convention.  
I help professional horsemen and horsewomen struggling with the busines half of the horse business.
Phone or e-mail me to discuss your situation and the possibilities for improvement.  The only thing that holds you from success is you.
Until next time,

Doug Emerson
Profitable Horseman Deewochagall
Quick Links
Join Our Mailing List