Here's an interesting story from author and horseman, Don Blazer...
When selling horses don’t talk too much - let the customer tell you what is good or bad about the horse. Just agree, and let the customer talk. If you don’t violate the rule, you won’t ruin the sale.
I was shoeing a black mare for Slim, and we’re doing a little jawin’ about the world and how we think it should be, when the mare jerks her foot loose and nearly takes my kneecap off.
I would have given her a good schoolin’, but it hurts too bad to bop her, so I sit and try to regain my composure. Slim just shakes his head and says, “She ain’t too much.”
“What is she?” I ask.
“A cranky, bad movin’, piece of trash, in my opinion,” replies Slim. “But there are those who never cared for my opinion.”
I had just got back to shoeing the mare when this fancy car pulls up and this urban-cowboy gets out. He starts to complain about the road, the dust and the heat. He finally says he wants to buy a good horse, and asks to see the stable manager. Slim replies that he can help.
“Look,” the guy says, “I’m fairly new in the horse business, but I’m no dummy. I know a good horse when I see one. I have a sixth sense about it. I do a little selling myself, so I know there are prices, and there are prices. Don’t try to show me anything that is overpriced.”
Slim starts through the barn with the guy following, and I can hear the dude say, “I need a big horse, about 16 hands. It’s got to be a man’s horse, all the way.”
All the time they are going stall to stall I can hear the guy telling Slim what is wrong with each horse. Several have bad conformation; some are over-priced, etc., etc., and so on. Slim isn’t saying anything.
I get done with the mare, and lead her back to her stall, when the guy says, “Now, that’s a good looking horse.”
Slim agrees with him and says, “But, she’s a bit overpriced.”
“I want to ride her,” the guy demands. And in a few minutes he’s aboard. It’s pretty easy to see the guy’s riding experience is limited as he hasn’t caught on to the fact the mare is wringing her tail and starting to rear. He thinks she is trying to respond to his quick “cues”.
“This mare is all right,” he says.
Slim just smiles and nods in agreement.
Pretty soon the guy is telling Slim all about the mare, and Slim, he just nods, says, “Yes, sir”, or “I agree”, or “You’re right.”
“What’s the price?”
“Thirty-five hundred,” says Slim real casual. I kind of gulp, because I know Slim would be elated if he gets $1000 for her.
“That’s terrible,” replies the buyer.
“You’re right,” agrees Slim. “But I don’t think the owner will take less.”
“Boy, I’ll tell you, you wouldn’t be selling for me. You don’t even know how to sell. Get on the phone and make an offer of $2000. Not a penny more. Tell the owner it’s cash – now.”
Slim puts up a little argument about how the owner might not be home, and how he won’t come down that low. Finally, after being ordered by the guy to do as he’s told, Slim shuffles to the office.
When Slim comes back he says, “I can’t believe it. You bought the horse for $2500.”
I can’t believe it.
And the buyer smirks and says, “I told you I know a little.”
And Slim just stays quiet and nods.
By Don Blazer
Take the online course “The Business of Making Money with Horses”, written by Don Blazer. Earn a certificate of completion. Go to www.equinestudiesinstitute.com and work towards a Professional Certification as Horse Trainer, Riding Instructor or Stable Manager.
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