Horse Trading – Really!

We trade for anything!
We Trade for Anything!

One time when I was a Chevy dealer, I ran some ads with the headline, “We trade for anything” just to see if it would generate some traffic and sales. I even put my old restored pony buggy in the showroom with a sign that read the same.

Shortly after the ad ran, a retired farmer stopped by to check out a used pickup truck that I had on the lot. It had high miles but the engine and body were both good. One of the salesmen took him for a test drive and he seemed very interested. He came back a couple of days later and talked to the salesman again about the truck, expressed strong interest but then left. A day or two after that back he came again, but this time he insisted he had to talk to me. He said he wanted to buy the truck but didn’t quite have enough money. He then asked if I would take his horse on trade. Really. I didn’t expect a horse trade from my ads.

My first and only horse trade

I thought, “Why not” and the farmer and I drove out to his farm to look at the horse. Of course I didn’t test drive it, but I did look it over carefully. The farmer seemed like a nice, honest man and I believed him when he said it was a good, healthy horse recently checked out by a veterinarian. It wasn’t a colt by any means but it also was not the proverbial, “Old Gray Mare” either. It was the really nice, rather frisky horse that you see one of my daughters riding in the picture. So we made a deal. He gave me the cash he had (which basically covered what I had invested in the used truck) plus the horse. He also agreed to keep the horse at his farm and feed it for awhile until I could find a place for it. He drove away a happy farmer in the truck he wanted so badly. My first and only “horse trade” was completed.

I soon moved the horse to a relative’s country place. Then, not too long after that, a man who knew both the farmer and the horse made me an offer for the horse that I couldn’t refuse and I sold it to him. I ended up grossing more on that used truck than if I had sold it outright or taken in a used car or truck on trade instead of the horse.

You might consider a similar promotion at your dealership. Who knows what trade offers you might get on a new or used boat. If nothing else, it could stimulate some interest. And you might even end up with a horse. My point is this. Don’t limit your thinking and promotions to taking only used boats in on trade.

Have any of you taken in unusual trades on boats? Lets hear about it.

About Ben H. Sherwood

Ben H. Sherwood is a marine industry veteran and a marketing consultant who operates Sherwood Marine Marketing in Pleasant Prairie, Wis. For more info, click About on the main menu.

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