What do you do when you clients ask you questions about if your work can hurt the horse? These types of questions can be your best opportunity to establish yourself as their hoof-care professional. By being the footcare expert for those inexperienced backyard horse owners, the more valuable you become to them. This helps secure your position as their farrier and improves your chances for referrals that will grow your practice.

When asking this question, a novice client is revealing that they know very little about anatomy.

“New owners see a one-dimensional object,” says Salinas, Calif., farrier Mike DeLeonardo, CJF. “They don’t consider the three bones inside, that there are nerves, a vascular system, soft tissue and so much more.”

DeLeonardo says it is critical for you to be the footcare expert for your owners. If you elect not to answer their questions, someone else will — perhaps another farrier. Ignored clients could search out the answers from unreliable sources, like a fellow owner or the Internet. By being proactive in communication, you are managing the relationship and the client’s education.

“You are able to show your knowledge and abilities,” he says. “My best customers are the ones that ask a lot of questions. After you build that confidence in them, then things like what you charge isn’t the most important thing to them.

“If you don’t answer, you’ve given that client a chance to get misinformation.”