By Doug Emerson
My son has been shopping on line for a used pick up truck. He’s narrowed down his selection to make, model, year and mileage. There are plenty of online resources for establishing values of used vehicles. You probably use these resources as price guides, too. With printed guides, price is well defined within a range of evaluation factors. It’s fast and EASY. Best of all, it educates buyers not familiar with values and makes negotiation comfortable.
If establishing prices in your horse business is a struggle, you’re not alone. Often, professional horsemen are selling to customers not fully educated on current value.
Horse trainers, from colt starters to show-ring ready finishers, have no blue book reference guide for easy pricing.
Breeders who are selling weanlings, yearlings and two-year olds can only rely on historical sale prices to support their personal assessment of the present value of a young horse.
Riding Instructors, with decades of experience resulting in hundreds of accomplished students, struggle with establishing their value over less experienced instructors.
No doubt that you’ve found naming your price is a challenge at times. (maybe all the time) It may be because of the following reasons:
- You are uncomfortable talking about, you know, shhh . . money.
- You worry that the customer may object to the fee and you won’t know what to say.
- You feel you don’t have the experience or correct qualifications to charge that kind of fee.
- You have a fear of rejection over price.
- You think your fees are too high compared to your perceived competition.
Don’t feel like you are only person challenged with naming your price. Everyone has tripped over naming the price at one time or another. And everyone includes me.
So here are some tips for getting through the money talk with your customers:
1. Have a pricing strategy. Know what the competition charges. Raise your fee if you have more to offer.
2. Make a “Standard Fees and Prices Sheet.” Start with a single sheet of paper. At the top, print your business name and directly underneath print “Standard Fees and Prices.” Then list all of the services and products you offer and the fee you ought to charge. Congratulations. You now can say, “My standard fee for a private one hour lesson is____, My standard fee for trucking horses is____, My standard fee for schooling at a horse show is___”
Once you have standard fees on your price sheet, it will be much more professional than saying, “How does one hundred bucks sound, is that fair?”
3. Talk with your customer or prospect about what her expectations are before quoting your fee. Suggest to the customer that before you talk about money, the two of you should see if you can deliver what she needs. This allows you to more fully understand what the customer wants and needs. Then, charge appropriately.
Answering the question, How much do you charge for . . .? without knowing the details can be a nightmare.
4. Be confident. Deliver the price, and then stop talking. That means don’t talk even if there is a long uncomfortable period of “dead air”. As the seasoned salesperson knows, he who speaks first, loses.
5. Avoid discounts, they just lead to more negotiation. Instead, offer different levels of service if possible.
These tips will help you get through the money talk easily and cause your customers to respect you even more for being the professional that you are.
If the money talk and your standard fees scare off some prospects, don’t be discouraged. Be thankful that those prospects were quickly culled allowing you to concentrate on your real customers.
Doug Emerson helps professional horsemen struggling with the business half of the horse business. Find more articles about the horse business like this one at www.ProfitableHorseman.com