Good horsemanship is built on solid basics…so is good 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, 13 July 2014
in Marketing

New Perspective on Your "Sales" Style


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?

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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.

 So when was the last time you evaluated your sales style in this same way? Since most people shy away from the concept of sales itself, it would not surprise me that you have not considered sales in the same vein. So let’s have a look at this.

 There are different sales styles as I’m sure you’ve encountered over your life. Take a few moments to reflect on sale styles that you actually appreciate as well as those that bug the heck out of you. Jot down the characteristics and behaviors that you respect and admire. Does your list include: integrity, professional, passionate, depth of knowledge, good listener, creative, dependable, makes it about you… and what else is on your list?

Now make a list of the traits and behaviors that irritate you: Hard sell, aggressive, does more talking than listening, overbearing, it’s about them, deceptive, misleading… Why is it that when we think of “sales” we think of these first? It’s time to reframe your thoughts around the positive characteristics. When you do that you’ll be able to be much more effective in how you approach this concept.

John Jantsch said, “The difference between Sales and Marketing is that Marketing owns the message and Sales owns the relationship.”

And Randy Fishkin states, “Best way to sell something: don’t sell anything. Earn the awareness, respect, and trust of those who might buy.”

 These two sales and marketing gurus focus on the RELATIONSHIP. If you work more on building relationships then you’ll really come into your own regarding sales. You’ll find yourself able to engage in conversation without being pushy, rather than remaining silent and missing a “selling moment.” I think of selling moments as those times when you can create awareness about what you do and how you may be able to help the other person in some way. Remember the sales funnel from a previous post? Awareness is step one. So this doesn’t mean that you jump in with both feet and push for sale right then and there. It means that you are taking the first step to building a relationship.

In the next post we’ll take a look at some of the tools that you’ll need in order to be effective. The tools match up with the positive view you are now developing about sales and the sales funnel. Please share your thoughts here about your new visualization of yourself as someone that is successful with selling your business, ideas, and skills.












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About the author

Lisa Derby Oden

I've been fortunate to be involved with horses throughout my life... so far that is! Early in my career I owned and operated Derby Farm, a riding stable in Buxton, Maine. I have also worked as a freelance riding instructor and bring all this practical experience to my consulting work. Blue Ribbon Consulting focuses on business and nonprofit development in the equine industry. I provide evaluation, planning, research, marketing and problem-solving services to take you successfully through all your horse business transitions. I've worked with clients around the world, and have received state and national honors for my work in the equine industry. Since I love this industry and believe in it, I've also been a nonprofit founder, board member, and executive officer for local, state and national organizations. I've worked with nonprofits in strategic planning, program development, corporate development, fundraising, grant writing and grant administration. Part of this wonderful journey has also allowed me to serve as adjunct faculty and guest lecturer at several universities, and to deliver business development, marketing, and leadership seminars throughout the United States. I also developed and oversaw the Entrepreneurs Resource Center for a community college. I've published two books, have been a columnist and freelance writer for many trade publications, and am a partner in the CD series “Inventing Your Horse Career.”


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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