The Follow UpBy Tami Johnson
Probably the number one most important action that leads to the successful sale of a horse is The Follow Up. If the inquiries come in, but you’re too slow to answer—or give the wrong answer—your potential buyer may have just crossed your horse’s name off their list. Here are a few pointers on handling inquiries when they begin to roll in.
- Answer your emails or return your phone calls promptly. A horse is an emotional purchase. If they inquire, there was something about your listing that spoke to them. Answer within 24 hours or less, before their attention is diverted to another horse.
- Check your spam folder for stray emails. Many mail programs are heavily filtered by mail servers. A strange email from a sales inquiry may show up in your junk mail or spam folder. Scan your folder every day to make sure there isn’t a stray inquiry in there.
- Listen to what your inquiries are saying. Are they all asking for video, and you still don’t have video up on your ad? Better get with the program! Are more than two of them questioning your use of draw reins? Better reshoot your photos and video without them.
- Be ready for visitors. If your horse is a prospect, they should be in good order, clean, clipped, muscled up (with daily turnout if too young to work), vaccinated, dewormed and sporting freshly trimmed or shod feet. Is your barn clean and in good working order? Do you have fenceboards that need replacing? All of these little details tell a buyer that you are a conscientious seller who takes good care of their horses.
- If you say they’re trained to do something, be ready to show it. If this is a kid safe horse (or was back in 2002 before your kids went off to college), better put it back to work and make sure it really is. If your horse is with a trainer, hopefully they are the seller contact and will do their homework for buyer preparation.
- Avoid dismissing people as “tire kickers”. Many sellers have made this mistake. Just because a person asks a lot of questions, but doesn’t arrange a visit right away, does not mean they’re just a tire kicker. Just because they came to see your horse, but didn’t leave a deposit check, doesn’t mean they’re not still interested. Answer their calls, their questions, and their emails promptly.
- Offer good references for yourself or your horse if you have them. Is your horse a favorite of your trainer or a young rider in your barn? Say so! Does the person inquiring live near a professional or breeder or other known horse entity that you know would give you a good reference? Feel free to name drop! It never hurts to let people know your horse has a fan club.
It should go without saying that courtesy should always be extended to any inquiry, no matter how brief, or ignorant it may sound. Some people are not gifted writers and they may not come across as they intend in a written inquiry. Being kind and polite to every prospective buyer can go a long way toward creating goodwill, even if they don’t buy THIS horse from you.
Time is always of the essence, stay on your toes for a successful sale!