Tips for Sellers
- Be realistic about everything: the market, the economy and your horse. Sure, it's been a great horse, but is the horse in training and in top condition? Has it competed successfully at the level it is being represented? Do the pictures or any videos you've produced show the horse at its best? Look at your horse like a stranger would; try to see it for the first time and describe it objectively. Do a search as a buyer and figure out what you would be willing to pay for a horse you don’t know with the abilities and training of the one you own. Be professional in your marketing. You don't want to lose a buyer over in an inaccurate description, awful pictures, or poorly represented videos, which could lead the person to start doubting and pass over your horse. Get help if you need it.
- Be honest and upfront about any issues you know of, or suspect. The buyer can make up his or her own mind about whether it's a big deal (e.g., the horse has vices, it needs individual turn out, it is not good alone on trails, it needs a sensitive rider and is not suitable for an amateur beginner. These aren't mortal sins for the horse but could be for you if you're wasting people's time unnecessarily. Word travels fast in the computer age. Remember that for buyers, looking at horses is an expensive process in time and money. Many of them have to travel great distances to find the right horse and may be paying their professional for their time. Do the right thing if you know it is not good fit.
- Use a known professional equine marketing specialist if you don't have the time, facilities, knowledge, or patience to hand hold the buyer through the entire process to clarify needs, create high quality videos, write concise advertisements, deal with other professional trainers, show the horse at his best, navigate the pre-purchase exam, and stay emotionally detached during the entire process.
- A professional equine marketing specialist will know what deals are troublesome, and the problematic buyers to avoid, saving everybody a lot of time, expense and aggravation. Additionally, most sellers can make more money doing whatever they do for a living rather than talking on the phone with "interested" but unqualified buyers and constantly running to the stables to show the horse to lookie-loos. Run an ad for your horse in the local horse newspaper and you'll have five new best friends who want to try your horse that have no intention of buying and a dozen or so requests for videos even though the requestor may be local to the area.
- Have patience; promptly respond to and accommodate serious buyers. If your horse is correctly priced, it will sell; if it has "issues," price accordingly. There are always buyers who like to purchase "do-it-yourself projects" if the math between the purchase price and the time investment works out.
- Keep everything businesslike and don't take unnecessary risks; an honest buyer won't expect you to do anything foolish like let them take the horse on a two-week trial. Avoid "bully buyers" who want to beat up your horse, take it to their farm and have their vet look at it to further beat up your horse and then pound you down on your price in a weak moment. It's not fun, and if you're priced right, you don't have to take it.
- Payment by wire transfer is now the norm. Don't give out your bank information too soon. A real buyer won't need it until he or she is en route to try the horse or is in the process of vetting the horse. If you don't know your buyer and don't understand the paperwork get help finding contracts and bills of sale examples to complete.
- Finally, before letting anyone near your horse make sure that they have signed legally binding releases. You don't want to lose your house or farm.