While you might think you have some of your best ideas after a glass of wine, there are some things you can learn from the wine industry to help your farm or stable business.
Research done in New York state showed that over 60% of New York wine sales occurred during winery visits, and there are more than 5 million visits to New York wineries each year.
What was surprising was that customers spent more not because of extravagant descriptions of wines (that was actually a turn-off), but because of customer service.
“You can make a customer happy or unhappy by the service you provide and the ambiance you create,” noted the study results from the Journal of Wine Business Research.
Here are three things you can take away from this research.
Lesson #1 The first lesson we should take away from this isn’t from the actual study, but that New York wineries have 5 million visitors a year! And they are working to convert those visitors to customers. Do you actively seek out new people to come to your farm or stable? Do you get grumpy when you get “tire kickers” looking for lessons or a place to board, or do you embrace them as potential clients?
Lesson #2 It’s not the words that sells them, it’s the actions. The wine study showed that people were actually turned off by the use of flowery phrases to describe wines…those folks were just looking for something they liked (and I’m interpreting that they didn’t want to be made to feel inadequate or uneducated). Don’t use complicated phrases or “equine-industry-only” terminology when talking to someone new to horses. Don’t turn them off from our industry! Instead embrace that they are interested and see how that interest might become business. Be friendly, open, answer questions (even the “dumb” ones), and offer them an avenue to continue learning about horses.
Lesson #3 Service is action, not words. Take time to ask questions of visitors: What are they interested in learning? How much do they know? What do they want to do with horses? Someone might tell you what they want is to buy a horse for their daughter or granddaughter, but what they might really need is to give that little girl riding lessons. You are the expert…help them take the right road to a long-term interest and investment in the horse business
Don’t forget the ambiance…let people get close to horses. Have a clean, tidy facility. Make sure horses (and humans) are well cared-for. Ensure your equipment is in good repair. A new coat of paint can do wonders for “sprucing up” a farm or stable. Or you might clean out the tack room so it looks uncluttered. And you can tidy up the fencerow that borders the road and your property.
It is up to all of us to grow our industry, and we all must care for the newcomers who show an interest in learning more about horses.