Every interaction between a horse business owner and his or her clients is an opportunity. You are communicating something about yourself and your business each time you send an e-mail or initiate a conversation over the water trough. And that information gets filed away in your client’s mind for future reference.
Think about the relationship between a horse and a horse trainer. When the trainer digs his spurs into the horse’s sides, he’s telling the horse that he’s unforgiving and cruel. When he gives up on a training session out of frustration, he’s communicating to the horse that he’ll let the animal win.
The horse learns about the trainer through every interaction, and over time will respond to the horse trainer in a certain way regardless of whether that trainer changes his tune. It takes a lot longer to re-train a horse or human than it does to train correctly in the first place.
Now apply that lesson to your customers in the horse business.
If you fail to fulfill promises you make to your clients, they learn you aren’t trustworthy.
If you suddenly raise your prices without any explanation, your clients will learn you are greedy and insensitive to their needs.
If you don’t take care of your horses or your property, customers will learn that you don’t care enough to put in the effort.
If you apply rules differently to certain customers, other clients will learn that you don’t care about them as much.
Imagine that you’re chatting with one of your clients at the barn, and out of the blue she tells an off-color joke that offends you. She may have never showed you that side of her personality in the past, but all of a sudden your impression of her is forever tainted by that one moment.
It’s the same in the other direction. Imagine when interacting with clients that every word, gesture, and behavior is filed away in their minds. Don’t do or say anything that you don’t want your clients to remember or apply to their overall feelings about you and your horse business.
You are training your clients to think about you a certain way. Make sure it’s favorable.