Newsletter Signup

50 Shades of No

By Kimberly S. Brown



Whether you are a boarding farm seeking specific clients, or a stable looking for that one special trainer, sometimes people tell you no. But all "NOs" are not created equal. Many times if you truly want that person, client, or trainer associated with your equine business, what you do after they say "no" can make the difference in a future "Yes!"

Everyone in sales and marketing has had a current or potential client say no, and if you are in the business of boarding, training, or managing horses, you are in sales and marketing, too! If a potential client or potential business associate (trainer, rider, vet, farrier, etc.) tells you no, too often the relationship gets stagnant or even ended over that one word. And that word might not have even been meant to be as final as you thought.

Too often you are offering a customer a solution to a problem they don’t know they have. That’s like offering a vaccine against a disease no one has heard about. Occasionally you are offering goods and services that your client or potential client needs, but the time is not right for them to make the decision or purchase.

As important as that is making sure YOU understand what the potential customer or business associate's problem is before you try to pound a solution into them that really doesn’t fit.

For example, if you really would like a certain vet to do the dentistry at your barn, but that person has said no, first try to ascertain why no is the initial answer. Is she too busy? Is your barn out of her normal coverage area? Are there not enough horses there to make her trip profitable with normal charges? Do you not have facilities that are conducive to the vet doing a good job?

Once you understand the problem, then you can try to work on a solution so that the veterinarian has an easy time saying yes! Offer to organize all of your clients (and the clients at surrounding barns) so the vet has to only make one stop to set up and can do 10 or more horses in one day (or whatever she is comfortable with), and make sure you have a clean, safe, well-lit area for her to work.

As I have said before, no is a great starting place! It gives you a firm position to work from. At the point of no, you need to translate the "no" to one of the following:

  • Now is not the time to discuss that.
  • I don’t know you well enough to make that decision today.
  • I don’t know your farm/stable well enough to make that decision today.
  • It is not financially feasible for me in my current circumstances.
  • Don’t bring that up again!

There are many shades of gray, and many meanings to the word no. If you got a no via email, call or go visit. If you got a no over the phone, send an email or go visit. If you got a no while visiting, send an email or call.

With each of these tactics you need to have additional information that gives your potential customer or business associate more reasons to hear your reasons. Don’t just repeat the same thing in a different medium. Use audio, video, graphics, online or in-person meetings, PowerPoint presentations, facts and figures…whatever it takes to get them to stop and hear what you are trying to say.

Do you think that equine vet who specializes in dentistry might be swayed if your entire barn of boarders and their horses did a quick video saying they would love to have her be their dentist (or trainer, or vet, or farrier)?

When I was in college at the University of Kentucky, I was a student teacher in the riding program. In those days anyone who attended the university could take a beginning riding class as an elective or a physical education credit, so we had many people in the class who had never been around horses before. Most of the other student teachers were females of college age, but one was an older man who had returned to college for another degree.

It was the day to learn sitting trot, and the students were gradually getting the feel for moving with the horse. However, there was one male college student who just couldn’t seem to get it. We all tried coaching him, and he continually bounced in a way that I’m sure was as uncomfortable to him as it was the horse.

Finally the older male student teacher took the young man aside and talked to him a moment, then told him to try it again.

To our amazement, the young man sat the trot as if he were an experienced pro!

The older male student teacher wouldn’t give up his secret, even though we begged him during and after class. Since he and I were friends, I asked him when we were alone in the tack room later how he had solved the student’s problem.

“When you are teaching someone something new, you need to be able to describe it in a lot of ways, trying to find the one that connects with that individual. With him, I said, ‘Act like you are in second place in a 'mating' contest (or words of that nature that would be understood by the average college male).’ ”

In other words, don’t just keep repeating the same things you have said to your customer, trainer, farrier, vet, dentist . . . Try to use new or different terms, symbols, imagery, and examples that would mean something to the person with whom you are talking.

So, next time your potential customer or business associate says no, decide what kind of “no” they mean, then if possible, try to find a different way of giving them information that can sway them to the answer or action you want.


Login or Register Here now to post a comment

Related Articles

Personal Inventory for Equine Business Owners

Personal Inventory for Equine Business Owners

Tragedy can strike at any time. Whether it’s a natural disaster or theft, insurance companies need to know the value of your belongings to determine the replacement value of lost items. more »

Feb 25, 2017 by in Stable Management

Equipment Inventory for your Horse Farm or Stable

Equipment Inventory for your Horse Farm or Stable

By Katie Navarra Equipment is a vital part of your stable. Whether it’s a tractor, truck, utility vehicle or the saddles and bridles used in your lesson program, equipment is necessary for your... more »

Feb 24, 2017 by in Stable Management

Inventory for your Horse Farm and Stable Equipment

Inventory for your Horse Farm and Stable Equipment

Keeping track of all the items in your barn or on your farm property can be a chore. But in the event of a fire, natural disaster or robbery, it’s a chore you’ll be glad you did. From an... more »

Feb 23, 2017 by in Stable Management

  • Isn't the pelleted and extruded beet pulp the same thing? Do the shreds have to be soaked too?...

    Jennae | 50 Shades of No

  • what about Quickbayt flybait by Bayer? I used to use this when we had cattle and it was fantastic....

    Scott | 50 Shades of No

  • Actually the braided items turn out really nice. I bought a table runner at Cowboy Christmas in Las...

    Margaret Baznik Sanders | 50 Shades of No

  • There's only one company that takes used twine, but they require a minimum of one ton. We can't...

    Robynne | 50 Shades of No

  • Surely, SOMEONE in the horse industry can think of better solutions for recycling baling twine than...

    Robynne | 50 Shades of No


What Are You Searching For?

Stable Management is a one-stop resource for the horse professional covering all aspects of running a successful equine business. From barns (stalls, turnout, arenas) to farm equipment (tractor, UTV, trailer, attachments), and from equine insurance and liability to horse boarding and client management, has the information you need, just a click away.