by Doug Emerson
reprinted with permission
Our oldest son invited us recently to see his new apartment. It’s his third since leaving home. Instantly, memories of the tour of his first apartment flashed through my mind. You may have seen the movie “Animal House” ; the same decorator did his first apartment.
However, apartment number two was a significant improvement in the eyes of this parent. And the optimist in me agreed that it made good sense that the new apartment, number three, would be another upgrade.
And it is; it’s a well appointed upper in a great neighborhood. A handsome horse sculpture on the table sparked this conversation:
“Where did you find that?”
“It was purchased from the apartment stager.”
“Wow! your apartment was professionally staged to help lease it?”
” It helped close the deal.”
If you’ve sold or bought a house recently, you may be familiar with the term “staging”.
It’s the process of removing clutter, adding items to draw attention to features and influencing the visitor’s first impression to be favorable. You might call staging common sense salesmanship by making the product attractive to all to purchase.
But, common sense is as uncommon with many salespeople as it is with many horsemen.
You may disagree, but years of experience have proven to me that, in general, the public has no imagination.
The public sees the reality, not the potential.
The visit to my son’s apartment made me think about how staging is a practice that can be easily adapted for boarding, lessons and training barns.
Is your barn staged for emotionally appealing first impressions?
- Is the farm or ranch roadside sign fresh, professional and landscaped?
- Is the driveway smooth and free of potholes?
- Is it easy to decide where to park?
- Signage to welcome visitors and direct to personnel?
- Swept floors, clean stalls, organized tack room?
- Stalls and doors in good repair?
- Good lighting throughout?
- Uncluttered indoor arena?
- Groomed arena footing?
- Manure management practiced?
- Fences in good repair?
- Farm equipment out of the way in a storage area?
Most of the staging practices are just the application of good horse management practices; they don’t require spending great sums of money.
Do your own first impression evaluation soon with the help of a friend. Mild bribery works best, so take your friend to enjoy a cup of coffee or a cold beverage and relax at your favorite coffee joint. After your break, your friend drives you back to the farm and you sit in the passenger seat with a pad of paper for notes.
Pretend you are a visitor or customer and start taking notes about your impressions the second you drive in the driveway and as you park your car, and enter the barn.
Your friend may also offer objective comments as your tour your facility and observe how well your place is staged for favorable impressions.
Study your notes and make a list of the conditions and situations that you can improve. Do the no-cost and low-cost items first. Your new, fresh look will inspire you to make the investment in the repair items and improvement projects.
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