If you’re in the horse business, sell products or horse services on the east coast, then The Horse World Expo in Harrisburg, PA is the place to be. What a phenomenal display of quality horse products. The venue had both brands we use and recognize, to new exciting brands with new solutions and amazing potential. The event was heavenly! Everywhere I turned there were great horse products and services, equestrian studies colleges, beautiful barns, stalls, and fences, horse rescuers, trainers, saddle companies, horse demos, and let’s not forget some gorgeous horses and exciting competitions! Rows and rows of endless horse businesses were on either side of the aisle with knowledgeable people behind the booths. There were 4 aisles, and 17 rows deep with equestrian products and services. In all, the show consumed 25 acres, inside a climate controlled complex with arenas, booths, and round pens for exhibits and speakers. It was a lot to take in, and I was glad to be relax a bit by walking to the arena to sit down and watch some demonstrations and competition.
Rescued to Stardom
Rescued to Stardom was a memorable event where area horse rescues teamed up with area trainers. The challenge was to bring along an unbroke horse in 90 days and compete with them in their own unique set of obstacles, testing horsemanship, and partnership between the pair. After the competition, people can finally adopt the horses. This particular competition was exciting to say the least and there were some engaging performers. Jeff Michael of Split Creek Equine Solutions taught an unbroke rescued stud, RPM owned by Omega Horse Rescue, to not only be ridable but to jump up on a flatbed trailer while it was slowly being pulled by a truck and carry the American flag at the same time. Just so impressive! This team did a great job.
Clinics and Seminars
Top clinicians were speakers and riders such as 5th generation world-renowned horse trainer, Michael Gascon. Other world-class riders such as Candice King, Luke Gingerich, Michael Lyons, Lyndsay Partridge, Tom Seay just to name a few. Seminars included saddle fitting, horse behavior, owning off the track thoroughbreds, veterinary care and riding effectively. There was so much to see and do, I couldn’t possibly see it all in the 2 days I was there.
Whenever I go out to various events or even down the street to commercially zoned areas, I notice how things are marketed and represented. I was excited to see many entrepreneurs were representing their equine product or service very well. Many businesses greeted and engaged with others in the front of their stands. People exchanged smiles and verbal niceties.
Sometimes it can be difficult to talk to people we don’t know. I know, I’ve been behind the booth, selling the product. Sometimes, people who walk by don’t seem to want to make eye contact or don’t appear engageable initially. So, they tend to ignore the representative of the company. But, it’s our job as horse business owners or reps to be intentional about being friendly and approachable. This isn’t about being sales driven. There is a difference between being a sales-stalker and just being friendly, approachable and engaging.
There were a few horse businesses at booths with whom I would have loved to engage. However, more than once when I walked by they were looking down at their phone! They sitting down in the back, not looking up or making eye contact. They were not smiling and appeared as if they didn’t want to be engaged.
Making the Most of the Expo
I found it interesting that some businesses would spend money to put up a booth and not be out there in the frontlines greeting people. This is a lesson I had to learn early on in my career. I am an introvert, but I don’t use that as an excuse to not engage with others. I can be shy, but I had to force myself to learn how to put myself out there and be more friendly and engaging with others. If you’ve found yourself with the same problem, I challenge you to learn how to be more engaging with people.
For some of us, engaging with others is a difficult process. For others, it comes easier. But, I promise you, we all start from the ground and have something to improve on. All you have to do is decide that you are going to take the leap and be more confident. When you do this, you will come across as more friendly. If you are engaging with people, by asking questions, smiling and showing interest in what they have to say then others will feel your genuine interest. It’s not the product or service you’re selling, it’s the result. This gets easier with practice.
Promote your Business
Try to put yourself out there with the intention of meeting someone who’d you’d really love to know more about. Starting your sales process by engaging with others to build a relationship with them is key. Unfortunately, those that were sitting in the back of the booth, looking at the phone are not going to receive as many leads or sales as others.
If you’re looking for a fantastic event to promote your horse business, or sell your equine product or service, I highly recommend the World Horse Expo in Harrisburg, PA. You won’t be disappointed with the multitudes of horse people that flock to the venue!