To keep it all fair, following up to my Be A Good Buyer post, let’s talk seller.
One of my favourite podcasts, Horses In The Morning, does a weekly feature called Really Bad Ads, where people send in horse ads they find on Craigs List or Facebook and they read them on air and laugh a lot.
Based on listening to Really Bad Ads, the first thing that a horse seller can do, is realize that spelling and grammar matter. They just do. If your ad is hard to read, or you sound like you don’t know what you’re talking about, that isn’t going to convince anyone that your horse is any good. That means not just using spell check and punctuation, but also knowing the difference between conformation and confirmation, and that a gelding isn’t the same thing as gilding.
The other thing? Basic horsemanship and husbandry matters. Geld colts and stallions, teach your horse to be a good equine citizen, and just practice responsible horse ownership. Yes, it’ll cost more, more time and more money. But it will make your horse more valuable as well.
If you’re advertising your horse for sale, good photos make a big difference. Give your horse’s basic information: gender, age, height, registration, training. Personally, I don’t like ads with a long, over the top description of how amazing the horse is, but that could be my natural contrariness – don’t tell me what to think, give me the information and let me make my own decisions! But I guess overuse of all caps and superlatives must work for some people, because there are sure a lot of GORGEOUS, STUNNING horses for sale out there.
Be polite and helpful to people who inquire, whether or not they’re actually going to buy a horse from you. A lady told me once about the time she contacted a breeder in her area to ask about local farrier and veterinary options, and was told, “I give excellent support to my buyers.” That is to say, she wasn’t willing to share the simple – and potentially lifesaving – information of who her was veterinarian with anyone unless they bought a horse from her. All that did was make sure that person never bought a horse from her – and went out of her way to share the story, so I suspect other people made the same decision.
Imagine if instead she’d gotten a friendly note back, with the info she’d asked for and a congratulations on her first Miniature Horses! A little goodwill goes a long way, and if you’re a breeder especially, goodwill translates into future sales, no question about it.
Be honest with those that inquire. It’s your job as a seller to get your horse in a good home that is going to suit them. You’re responsible for them, and even if they aren’t in your care anymore, choosing their next guardian is a big deal – at least, it is to me.
And misleading a buyer – whether actively, or passively by choosing not to disclose something – might let you sell that horse, but it’s a small world (no pun intended) and word will get around. Same goes for standing by a horse; refusing to give the money back or take the horse back if it isn’t what the buyer thought might keep that money in your pocket, but working with them and coming to a compromise is going to get you an advocate. Word of mouth is still of great importance in selling horses. Do what you can – within reason of course – to keep the word good.
If you’re selling a registered horse, have their paperwork in order, or if it isn’t, say so up front. And make sure you and the buyer are clear on what registry the horse has papers with.
Remember, as a breeder or seller, you are often the first person that a new Miniature Horse enthusiast has contact with. You are the ambassador of our whole industry. Taking a little time to answer an email for someone who doesn’t realize how little they know, answering an enthusiastic teenager’s million questions, or simply passing on the names of other breeders who might have what they’re looking for, could mean the difference between a new member of our community, or someone who walks away, tells everyone about their bad experience, and decides to show poultry instead.
It’s okay, I show chickens, I can make that joke.
Did I miss anything that a seller can do to make a great buying experience? Let me know if the comments!