How do you politely refuse a sale?

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Well-Known Member
May 7, 2004
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Northern WI
I live in a very small community and I really don't want to make enemies if possible. Is there a way to refuse to sell to someone without making trouble? My horses well being comes first so if I have to make enemies then so be it I guess but I'm a peacemaker and really hate this part of business!
Actually I am getting quite good at this, and that is also why I don't sell locally.

The last person I turned down for a sale of a horse I have available I simply said that "I really don't think you two will get along together very well"

and another one that I used was "This horse isn't really what you are looking for at all, but let me have your name and phone number and I'll be happy to check around for you"
Marty said:
"This horse isn't really what you are looking for at all, but let me have your name and phone number and I'll be happy to check around for you"

We used something similar once... and got some one very angry... I though it was not a good home, we apologized... they were very mad, spoke very rudely to my mom & our whole family! Then didn't talk at all! Horse did find nice home in the end

A bit over two weeks ago (July 16th to be exact) I was at a sale and there was a full brother to two of my minis going into the ring. I was commenting on it with a gentleman looking at him. We talked about ten minutes or so and went our separate ways. Would you believe the next day he showed up in my driveway money in hand wanting to buy one or two of them. He was really not going to take no for an answer. He offered all sorts of deals but the bottom line is I have raised these boys for the purpose of having a four in hand and we have not got that far just yet. How he found where I live is a bit puzzling and also a bit unnerving but in the end I was all done being polite to him. This was not even a case where I had presented the animals for sale. At my age these might very well be some of the last animals I raise and train. Finding four matching horses is a feat in itself and to keep them all sound and serviceable is a job in itself. I felt offended at having to defend my desire to keep them.
It's not what you say it's the way that you say it!! This is very very true. Try Marty's choices- but try to do it face to face, and smile your sweetest smile, explain that the welfare and happiness of your horses is paramount, that you wish to see both the horse and new owner happy , and that this is just not the horse for them, and you are not going to sell it to them because they will not suit. If you cannot do it face to face make sure you keep your tone of voice friendly and light, but firm. Try not to give the other party a chance to argue with you, get your bit said and then go straight onto tell them yo will look around for a horse that will suit them and then say Goodbye and hang up.
I TRY ..really I do
wink.gif be very nice to everyone, including those that I wont sell a horse too. I have had a few I refused, and I usually just tell them, That I dont think this is the right horse for them, and that I will be more then happy to keep my ears and eyes open to help them look. I also make sure I take down there name and number. Then I call some friends of mine who also have minis but are not as particular as I am in selling see what they have, and get back to the people that I have refused, and give them the phone number of the "other seller" and tell them what he has. I have never had any problems and no one gets mad about things. They end up with a horse.....and its not one of mine!
I'm not sure I understand this correctly. I'm thinking you mean you want to sell the horse, but not to this particular person?

How about saying that for this horse, you are waiting for someone that has ______ and that is your requirement for the horse. It could be a home with kids, a home without kids, a home with other minis, a retired couple, whatever. The person might think you're being flakey, but at least they should not take it that you don't think they are "good enough" (even if you don't) but that they just don't have the situation you want for your horse... THIS is your chance to have a say in the horse's future. Once you sell it, he/she is beyond your control so do what you need to to feel okay inside.
Thank you for such wonderful suggestions! These people have been at my place several times--unannounced. I haven't heard much nice and just don't feel comfortable. I do have these for sale but I'm picky about who I sell to.
My web site states that I have the right to remove any horse at any time fro any reason from my sales list. Just call the person and state that the horse needed to be withdrawn from the sale list, Do not go into excuses, unless they press you and simply state for personal reasons.
Should add I had someone I know ring and ask about "a little Shetland to keep her mare company" I ignored the "Shetland" bit and said Yes I had a lovely gelding for sale who was sweet natured and quiet. Her next statement said it all for me "Oh, no it must be a mare"!! Oh, HO!!SO we just want a pet BUT it has to be female????? That's when I told her she must have mistaken me for someone else as I did not breed Shetlands, had not done so for twenty years. She then went on to say I MUST do as she had seen them on the other side of the river. I was a bit tired of all this by now, so I told her NO I did not have any Shetlands, what she had seen was Miniatures. "Oh, well, did I have any of those for sale??" Yes, certainly, I had a lovely filly, coming a year, full show quality, etc, etc, jet Black, to boot. She was $3,000.00. That slowed her up a bit
Did I have anything cheaper, a little pet filly?? Just to keep her mare company (who is supposed to be 26" high- Yeah, right , I've seen this mare) So I just told her No, I did not breed pets. I had no mares of pet quality, and all I could offer was a nice gelding, which were she really looking for a pet, should do!! Never heard form her again, thank goodness. She will get her "pet" but it will be a (Native ) Shetland, not a Miniature,even though I know she will say it is
The best way I find is do not advertise with a price. Talk to the person and get to know them if you don't want to sell the horse to that person increase the price to a figure you know they will not pay. I find that the easiest way!

I commend you for being willing to not sell a horse if it's not good for the horse
There are times you just have to sell, but when you bring a life into this world, I believe you have a responsibility to see that it is taken care of.

I've "refussed" more sales than I can count. Usually it's not because the buyer is a bad person - but because the horse really isn't a good fit and not only do I want happy customers, but a home where the owner is disappointed in my horse is not the best place for that horse, no matter how kind and knowledgable the owner.

rabbitsfizz is right though - it's more about HOW you say it, not what you say.

And not many things annoy me more than strangers showing up unannounced. I politely remind them that this is my HOME, not a business with set office hours, and I am happy to have visitors by appointment. By the way, a gate at the entrance to the property does WONDERS in discouraging people from just wandering around your property :)

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