Guarantees are common in the business world. Entrepreneurs know that customers are more likely to buy when they feel their purchase is secure. Guarantees provide that security.
But not if you’re a horse trainer. In this segment of the horse business, guarantees will ruin your reputation, destroy your credibility, and probably leave you penniless.
Why Guarantees Usually Work
Let’s say you’re in the market for a new coffee maker. The old one went kaput, and you can’t make it through the day without your caffeine fix. (Believe me, I can relate.)
So you hop on the Internet and start searching for a replacement. You stumble across a brand new coffee maker that is making waves in the world of java, though it’s more expensive than your average percolater. You scroll down to the bottom of the page and you see the sentence that puts all your fears to rest: “Guaranteed for 90 days or your money back.”
You know, if you put down the money for this revolutionary coffee maker, you’ll be able to return it for a full refund. Should it fail to meet your expectations in any way, you won’t suffer for the purchase. Done deal.
Why Guarantees Don’t Work for Horse Trainers
In the case of the coffee pot, the manufacturers are guaranteeing a machine. One they have (hopefully) tested and tweaked and improved upon for several months. A machine is predictable; absent a defect in the craftsmanship, it will perform as expected.
Horses, as you well know, are not machines. Each animal is a unique individual who performs according to his own personality and experiences. There is absolutely no way to predict how a particular horse will respond to training, even with the most experienced, talented trainer.
Making guarantees in horse training is tantamount to defrauding your customers. You take their money based on a contract that can’t exist: In exchange for their financial investment, you promise to elicit a specific result from the horse. Not possible.
You cannot possibly guarantee, for example, that a horse will stop bucking after 30 days of training. Perhaps you’ve never had a horse persist with that nasty habit beyond 30 days, but eventually you will find one. And even if you make good on your guarantee, you’re still running an awfully big risk.
And setting up your customers for disappointment.
What You Can Guarantee
Despite all this, there are a few things you can guarantee in the horse training business. You can guarantee that:
You’ll show up on specific days, at specific times, to work the horse.
No one will ever mistreat, abuse, or neglect the animal while he is in your care.
You will make every effort to achieve the client’s desired outcome.
The horse will be trained with gentle, non-aggressive methods.
See the difference? You can guarantee your part in the horse training equation, but you cannot guarantee the horse’s response to your efforts. Keep that in mind.