Douglas Emerson Profitable Horseman
Profitable Horseman Newsletter 
December 2, 2009
7 Tips to Reduce No-Show Appointments

J., in a moment of frustration, dropped me an e-mail this week:
"...having some really nice ponies for sale here lately, I've had plenty of calls that turn out to be tire kickers- which I expect.  However, my problem is people who make appointments to come out and then are no shows, with no calls or emails that they are not able to come.
 I know it's bound to happen on occasion, but was wondering if you knew of anyone that had a way of 'decreasing' the odds on that?  We spend a great deal of time prepping our horses/ponies for potential buyers to come look at, make sure the farm is presentable, etc. and then set that time aside in our very busy schedule for these people...."
No doubt you, too, have been stiffed by a "no-show" sales prospect.  I have and I know exactly what it feels like.  I suspect the root cause for sales prospects to be no shows is their lack of good manners.  And if that's the case, bad manners are a problem only the bad mannered can choose to fix; you can't do it.
But, here are seven suggestions you may want to use to reduce the chance of no-shows, no call, no nothing appointments.

1.  Qualify the prospect- Is the horse you are selling a reasonable match for the experience and skill level of the rider?  Listen carefully to the prospect's needs and how confidently the prospect describes the type of horse he or she is looking for.  If it's an obvious mis-match, say so.  The prospect may be reluctant to say it, but later vote no by not showing up.  No need to set the appointment up if you don't have the right horse or know of another that may fit.

2.  Set a specific day and time- being precise about the appointment creates a sense of formality.  Avoid using general phrases like:   around 4:30, how about 1:30 ish, anytime after 2:00 P.M., Monday or Tuesday mornings...

3.  Explain in a pleasant tone- that you'll be spending time in advance preparing the horse for the prospect.  Preparation like bringing the horse in from pasture, bathing, grooming and having health, show and breeding records available for inspection. 

Relate that if a reschedule of the appointment is necessary, please call as soon as possible.  If the prospect says don't go to any trouble, she wants to see the horse in his natural state, respond with: let's first see if you like him with his hair combed and his shoes shined.
4.  Capture the prospect's phone number- cell phone, preferably.  Exchange your cell phone number for emergencies.

5.  Call and confirm with the prospect the day of the appointment. Find out if any others are coming with the prospect and if any directions are needed.   Some may think this is being pushy.  It's not. It's good business and shows your professionalism.

6.  Use the 7 minute rule-If the prospect is seven minutes late with no explanation, call the prospect's cell phone and inquire if they are on the way to the farm.  No need to wonder.

7.  Use Murphy's Law of Forgotten Appointments - You neglect to write the appointment on your own calendar; guarantees they show up, but at the worst possible time.

Others Have Said 

"A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way."--Mark Twain

"If I have made an appointment with you, I owe you punctuality.  I have no right to throw away your time, if I do my own."--Richard Cecil

"Action makes more fortune than caution."-- Luc De Clapiers

Have Voice, Will Travel.


I'd like your help with my goal of helping 10,000 horsemen in the next ten years become profitable horsemen.  I'm looking for public speaking opportunities to associations, groups, councils and businesses to tell the story about success in the horse business.
Please contact me about your group's event, the subject and the possibilities.  E-mail me here or call me (716) 434-5371.

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Back At The Barn

winter turnoutOverheard conversation between the riding instructor and young student:

Instructor-" I like your new gloves. Are your hands warmer this week than last week?

Student- "Yes, much warmer.  I've been wearing my gloves since I put them on."

I help professional horsemen and horsewomen struggling with the business half of the horse business. 

Not enough time, not enough money or not enough of the right people working for you?

Is your horse boarding business unprofitable?
Contact me to see if I can help. 

Until next time,

Doug Emerson
Profitable Horseman Deewochagall
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