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What to Say When People in the Horse Industry Tell You, “I Can’t Afford That!”

Filed under: Health & Training |     

By: Doug Emerson, The Profitable Horseman

You just started your horse business yesterday if you haven’t heard the cry from a prospect or customer, “I can’t afford that!”

From a non-horseman mom inquiring about her child’s riding lessons to a ten-year horse owner considering investing in a competitive show horse, the confusion over price and value never ends.

Ranging from $100 to $10,000 and more, every buyer has a different price threshold or I.C.A.T. (I Can’t Afford That). Once the I.C.A.T threshold is surpassed, any price is too much.

Price threshold is an involuntary reflex. Programmed early in life, it’s a knee jerk, neck spasm, and tic all rolled into one. Perhaps I. C. A. T. is etched in your students’ minds by mothers and fathers responding to their requests for the latest expensive toy. Possibly your prospect or customer uses the same tone of voice and mannerism as her parents did with her.  I.C.A.T. is a customer’s emergency brake for a screeching, sliding stop to prevent perceived financial disaster.

While it may seem a sale is dead once the prospect declares poverty, be encouraged that disengaging I.C.A.T. is possible with a good sales strategy.

Your sales strategy includes having the money talk early about investments. You might start the money talk by explaining that a cup of coffee, a cell phone bill, and an electric bill are costs. Shares of stock, an apartment building, and gold are investments and so is a college degree, a trip to Disney World, or a country club membership. Point out, during the money talk, that the first three investments mentioned above are made in anticipation of a financial gain, while the latter are made in anticipation of enrichment, recreation, and relaxation. They’re all important in maintaining a happy and balanced life.

As examples in connection with horses, money is invested in:

  • Riding lessons
  • Training
  • A more advanced and talented horse to ride

There is no denying that horses are an expensive sport and require a decision to commit to a significant investment over time, just like many other sports. Help your customers and prospects remember that truth. Expectations of participating in the sport of horses for a lifetime, on a shoestring budget, or anticipating a profit on the resale of a horse are unrealistic and steal the joy and personal satisfaction that come from the sport.

In your money talks with prospects and customers, re-frame their thinking about spending money to include value in the present and future. Here are some things to say that will help you get the point across.

Boarding

In this industry, it’s impossible to charge less and offer more. The question your customer must answer is, “With the limited amount of time I have to spend with my horse, do I want to tolerate inferior facilities, put my horse at risk with substandard care, and jeopardize my ability to ride a healthy horse whenever I visit?”

Riding Lessons

A $45 riding lesson once a week may sound like a self indulgent luxury. But, without coaching on a regular basis, even the best professional athletes admit their performances begin to deteriorate. At an amateur level, your investment in riding lessons will create personal joy and yield measurable progress in your goal to become the best rider and horseman you can be. Isn’t that what you expect?

Purchasing a New Horse

A horse with poor behavior, an aloof attitude, or that has plateaued for advancement is a draining experience. An owner with the wrong horse pays a huge emotional price in the form of disappointment, frustration, and a damaged ego. The board, health care and farrier expense are about the same for all horses. The question that screams for an answer is, “If horse ownership is for my fun, recreation and personal growth, why don’t I make the right investment to put the joy back into my experience?”

You can work on your own responses to I.C.A.T. price challenges. They’ll begin to flow easily in your conversations with practice.

  • Sell on value instead of price.
  • Let your competitors be the discounters.

Horse Business Workshop

You invest in horses, tack, equipment, trucks and trailers. Do you ever make an investment in yourself? At a Profitable Horseman horse business workshop, you can learn about raising prices in your business and strategies and daily practices that will make 2019 your best year yet.. Now is the time to begin to get your year in gear! If you’re interested in hosting or attending a one day workshop, email here: doug@profitablehorseman.com or call 716-434-5371.

Doug Emerson helps professional horsemen struggling with the business half of the horse business.

Visit his website: www.ProfitableHorseman.com for more articles like this one and to subscribe to his free electronic newsletter about being profitable in the horse business.