Three Little Ladies Rabbitry, Jersey Wooly
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Helping Your Customer with a Difficult Decision

Introduction

Have you ever had a buyer tell you they want a rabbit, but they arenít really sure what they want. They make a visit to your barn and after about an hour you start to think, will this ever end? You are not alone. But we have some tips here to help you narrow the field.

The First Look

Usually what we have available is a large group of juniors, and occasionally an adult rabbit. So the idea we give here may not be exactly what you use. We start by getting all the rabbits out. This is loads of fun with first time buyers because they get to see they rabbits jumping around, playing, and showing off for the new perspective owner. We have a large table in the middle of the barn that works perfect for this purpose.

Narrowing the Field

After about 15 minutes its time to start narrowing down the field. I usually ask if they have a preference for a buck or doe. Thats the quickest way to reducing the numbers in half! If that doesnít work then I jump to colors, and rather then asking is there a color you like, Iíll ask if theres a color they really donít like. That choice seems to be a little easier to make. At that point Iíll return those rabbits.

Next Iíll refresh them with the purpose that they want. Yes, Iím refreshing them, because weíve already asked them that question before theyíve even come out, so I know if they are looking for a show bunny or a pet. If they are looking for a show bunny, Iíll let them know that some really arenít best suited for that purpose. Often weíll explain each bunny to them so they have an understanding of why we wouldnít recommend that one for show.

If they are looking for a pet, Iíll remove the higher quality rabbits. Iíll explain that they are better show rabbits, and would cost more than they would probably want to pay. However, I do carefully watch, and if one of the better rabbits is one that they appear to want, Iíll let them know we donít have to put it back, but it will cost more than most of the other ďpetĒ quality bunnies.

The Last Cut

By this time we have probably narrowed the field down to just 3 or 4. After a couple of minutes, there is usually one or two that seem to get the least attention. If we can, we will again, not ask which they like best, but rather which they like the least. This will generally have you down to 2 or maybe 3 rabbits.

Time for a Decision

After an additional 3 or 4 minutes, Iíll step in again. This time its to make my recommendation. For example, they may have younger children, and Iíll refer to my 10 year old, and let them know that one of the bunnies is the one she carries around all the time. Or maybe they have older children, and one of the rabbits is always sitting in my oldest daughters lap. Youíll notice at this point the references are to personality and nothing else. Weíve already narrowed the field based on appearance, so to continue that path would be redundant. After all, whether you are a breeder or a pet owner, who wouldnít want a rabbit that meets all the appearance requirements, and then follows it up with a great personality!

Ocassionally there will be the visitor that simply is looking for the best rabbit they can get. In that instance, I would still touch on standards and appearance. However, if the field has been narrowed down, usually the remaining two or three are fairly close in conformation. In this case we might focus in on what is lacking in there current herd, and see if one of the remaining rabbits meets that need.

If weíve been careful about the approach to this point, and if weíve observed the buying closely to this point, rarely would a buyer not take the recommendation. Now rather than spending an hour or more with a buyer, weíve helped them, and in so doing have help ourself by keeping their visit down to half an hour. Now we have a happy new rabbit owner and a happy breeder.

Rob Usakowski
Three Little Ladies Rabbitry