Good horsemanship is built on solid basics…so is good business!

Marketing

Sales Tool Kit, Part 1

Posted by Lisa Derby Oden
Lisa Derby Oden
I've been fortunate to be involved with horses throughout my life... so far that
User is currently offline
on Saturday, 06 September 2014
in Marketing

Tools

There are key “tools” that you’ll need to improve your sales skills. Just like taking care of your horse, there are different tools used for different purposes. Used improperly or in the wrong sequence, well….the outcome is likely to be less than satisfactory.

You may notice that this can be where the lines blur sometimes between marketing and sales. But if you think of it as marketing as your image and your message, and sales as the relationship, and that these two elements must dovetail for full function, then you’ll have a better grasp on the equation.

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New Perspective on Your "Sales" Style

Posted by Lisa Derby Oden
Lisa Derby Oden
I've been fortunate to be involved with horses throughout my life... so far that
User is currently offline
on Sunday, 13 July 2014
in Marketing

 

Envision yourself: confident, proud, humble, prepared. Sounds like you're getting ready for a horse show doesn't it? Why not approach "sales" in the same way?

mirror mirror

There are lots of things that we do to get ready for a show.

  • We learn the rules for our chosen discipline.
  • We make sure that we have the appropriate horse.
  • We dress our horses and ourselves according to the style of riding we’ve chosen.
  • We find a coach.
  • And we practice, practice, practice.

 And then if things don’t go well, we take time to reflect and determine what those reasons are for not having done well. Maybe we’re new at it. That means more practice, practice, practice. Maybe our horse really isn’t suited for this discipline. Maybe the competition was really seasoned in this field. In any case, we rehash it and work to improve for the next outing.

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Sales Funnel Thinking for Marketing Your Horse Business

Posted by Lisa Derby Oden
Lisa Derby Oden
I've been fortunate to be involved with horses throughout my life... so far that
User is currently offline
on Sunday, 15 June 2014
in Marketing

In these challenging economic times, everyone is looking for ways to stay afloat, attract new clients and grow their horse business. If you’ve been in operation for awhile, you’ve probably rehashed and reviewed all that you offer and do. But let’s shift the thinking a little. By shifting your thinking, you can slice and dice your offerings and operations in different ways that allow possibilities to emerge. Let’s take a look at the sales funnel and how considering your operations through this lens may open new doors. After all, we are all really sales people for our businesses!

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The Anatomy and Physiology of the Sales Transaction

Posted by Lisa Derby Oden
Lisa Derby Oden
I've been fortunate to be involved with horses throughout my life... so far that
User is currently offline
on Saturday, 26 April 2014
in Marketing

cash registerWe don’t sell our stuff in a vacuum. It’s not a one-sided transaction. Though our time is consumed developing expertise and subsequent programs, services and products, we often don’t spend enough time understanding the other side of the transaction. It’s funny too, because we are consumers in other realms, and yet as a “seller” we tend to lose the perspective of what it means to be the buyer. Instead of starting with what you have to offer, dissecting it for features and benefits, setting your price, determining how you’ll let people know, let’s start the other way around. Let’s start with our buyer in mind and what’s going on for them. Then, coming from that perspective, we’ll return to these other elements in following blog posts.

When money is spent, it connotes trust. Think about that for a moment. It connotes trust:  trust that our expectation will be met; trust that we will be satisfied; trust that our problem will be solved or our pain relieved; trust that our life will in some way be better.

Let’s take a look at the buying decision process.

 

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Is Selling Horses Like Selling Houses?

Posted by Lisa Derby Oden
Lisa Derby Oden
I've been fortunate to be involved with horses throughout my life... so far that
User is currently offline
on Thursday, 27 March 2014
in Marketing

MP9004423621 

What an odd question you might think, so let’s break this apart a little. A facility owner asked about marketing ideas for horse sales because old techniques aren’t working. Digging a little deeper I learn that horse sales represent 8% of their business though it used to be much larger. The horses are everything from Cleveland Bay, Quarter Horse, Andalusian, Hanoverian to any cross breed, ranging in price from $500 to $20,000, and sold to the local dressage community, boarders and local barns.

 

It’s true that many facilities offer a variety of services as well as horse sales so they have a diversified revenue stream. If one stream takes a dip the impact can be painful. It’s also true that technology has taken quantum leaps forward with all the social media, smart phones, QR codes, the cloud, YouTube….and to keep up with ALL of it can be daunting. I think there are other nuances to this situation beyond needing updated marketing techniques however.

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Tips for Choosing a Video Production Company, by Linda Walker

Posted by Lisa Derby Oden
Lisa Derby Oden
I've been fortunate to be involved with horses throughout my life... so far that
User is currently offline
on Saturday, 29 June 2013
in Marketing

Video is huge these days when it comes to online image and information sharing. If you are going to hire a production company to help broaden your horse business exposure or to market one of your products, there are lots to choose from. But they aren’t all what they might project themselves to be, and even some of the big dogs that may have once had a good reputation can sit on their laurels leaving you licking your wounds. To help navigate these waters, I’d like to introduce you to Linda Walker. Linda has been working with video technology since 1989 and has a background with horses as well. I asked her to share questions to ask when you are interviewing video production companies.

Linda-Walker-Media-Portrait

It is always my pleasure to share my video production expertise with those seeking information about video marketing and production. Here is a list of questions that one should ask a video production company before signing on the dotted line:

1) Does your company specialize in a particular industry? You wouldn't hire a video production company that primarily does manufacturing videos if your business is in the equestrian industry.

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Weeds, Wildflowers and Wordle

Posted by Lisa Derby Oden
Lisa Derby Oden
I've been fortunate to be involved with horses throughout my life... so far that
User is currently offline
on Saturday, 04 May 2013
in Marketing

What is a weed?  I have heard it said that there are sixty definitions.  For me, a weed is a plant out of place.  ~Donald Culross Peattie

May all your weeds be wildflowers.  ~Author Unknown

At this time of year the dandelions take over my yard. I let them. I love the vibrant yellow that they bring, followed by the glorious puff balls that have earned them the nickname of “Wish Flower.” And so dandelions beg the question: weed or wildflower? It all depends on your perspective.

Just like weeds and wildflowers, problems can also be viewed from another perspective. A colleague recently commented that problems are unsolved opportunities. The ability to step into other shoes and look through others eyes is a skill that often provides a business owner with great insight and problem solving that they require. When other shoes and other eyes don’t seem to come easily, Wordle may provide just the shift you are looking for.

Wordle can be found at www.wordle.net. It’s a fun and creative way to look at words and to create word clouds. You provide the words, push the create button, and the cloud that is created highlights words that appear most frequently. Here’s a sample cloud using some of the text from my website.

Wordle4 

Using Wordle with your marketing may provide you insight you won’t gain anywhere else. Use your text from your flyers and brochures– what do you see? How about text from your website? Need another way to view your professional portfolio, bio or resume? Wordle may show you that your emphasis is not in the areas that you intend. Give it a try – you might just turn dandelions into wish flowers!

A weed is a plant that has mastered every survival skill except for learning how to grow in rows.  ~Doug Larson

But a weed is simply a plant that wants to grow where people want something else.  In blaming nature, people mistake the culprit.  Weeds are people's idea, not nature's.  ~Author Unknown

 

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The Anatomy and Physiology of a Proposal

Posted by Lisa Derby Oden
Lisa Derby Oden
I've been fortunate to be involved with horses throughout my life... so far that
User is currently offline
on Monday, 21 January 2013
in Marketing

Does your 2013 business strategy include outreach to offer your services at new locations or in conjunction with a new business colleague? If so, how do you approach that individual or business? The horse industry has long been casual when it comes to business practices. Word-of-mouth for marketing, and your word and a handshake for contracting are typical procedures. With this slow moving economy, it may be time to step up your game. One way to do that is to write proposals for your new ideas and use them as the vehicle to present your idea.

Preparing a proposal for new business ideas will leave a professional feeling with those that you are looking to work with. Proposals don't need to be long, complex documents. They do need to provide an overview of the project, as well as key details related to what you'll deliver, when, additional resources required, cost, and next steps. You can find an outline and synopsis of how to write a proposal here.

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Is Your Horse Business on Google Places?

Posted by Lisa Derby Oden
Lisa Derby Oden
I've been fortunate to be involved with horses throughout my life... so far that
User is currently offline
on Sunday, 02 December 2012
in Marketing

My sister drove into my yard recently exclaiming, “Do you know that Blue Ribbon Consulting comes up on Google maps?” I chuckled and said, “Well, yes, I submitted my information to Google places.” In this day and age as more and more and more people are using their GPS and smart phones to find places, it makes good sense to be sure your horse business can be found here.

Google Places 2 

There’s so many great ways to increase your business exposure that are free. Of course, when I say free I mean that you don’t have to pay for them, but you will have to devote some time instead. As you begin to explore getting set up on Google places, you may discover that your horse business is in fact already there. If that’s the case, you’ll want to be sure the information is representing your business correctly. If it’s not already there, you are missing a chance at an online yellow pages of sorts. Plus, it helps to drive more traffic to your website. You can create coupons for those that find you this way, which provides you with some information about where your prospects and business is coming from. And on top of that, you can upload photos and video.

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How to Get a Logo for Your Horse Business

Posted by Lisa Derby Oden
Lisa Derby Oden
I've been fortunate to be involved with horses throughout my life... so far that
User is currently offline
on Sunday, 14 November 2010
in Marketing

logo 10 10 edited

Branding, branding, branding…it’s all around us these days. Branding is certainly an important concept to understand as a horse business owner - it embodies your essence and conveys to your audience the feeling of what your business is about. Your logo is the visual representation of your brand, and must convey the feeling of your brand.

 

In a perfect world, you hire a graphic designer as you’re in the start-up stage of your business. You work together to develop your logo based on your vision and mission, and from your first days you have a logo to use with all your marketing materials and initiatives. Yup, in a perfect world that’s how it goes.

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"When I was an adjunct at UNH, Lisa Derby Oden brought a wealth of information and knowledge about current issues facing the equine industry locally and nationally to the equine science students there...Lisa provided a full understanding of how each segment of the industry is dependent upon each other for stability and growth. Her in-class workshops helped students increase their awareness of problems encountered in the equine field. She offered opportunities to learn about small business operations and professionalism.

Time and again, she offered UNH undergraduate students insights into current horse industry trends which have an effect on their chosen equine profession. I sat in on Equine Business Management when Lisa offered it through UNH. It helped me tremendously with my own business on my farm. I highly recommend her industry workshops as a must do walkthrough before venturing into any horse-related business. "

Heather Smith, Sunrise Bay Farm, Durham, NH

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