Archive for July, 2011

Starting the MH Image and Marketing Campaign

July 30th, 2011 9 comments

For well over a decade pros in our great Industry have discussed doing something akin to what the RV Industry has accomplished with their GoRVing campaign.  MHI invested significant coin in studying the idea not many years back.  The desire for the campaign among owners, executives, professionals and associations in our industry is nearly universal. 

Starting the manufactured housing Industry Image and Marketing Campaign

Even before we launched (, we have been planning and planting seeds for the long overdue manufactured home image and marketing campaign.  Our name and tag line itself suggested what our Industry needs for turn-around and success: MH Marketing Sales Management Innovation – Information – Inspiration for Industry Professionals. 

So why don't we already have one?

One key answer?  How do we pay for it? 

That has been a big rub.  Many believed that HUD Code manufacturers should all gather hands and pay, passing the costs on through their invoices.  But the factories clearly did not get that to happen, for whatever reasons.
Let's shelve that whole uneventful history, because we have quietly been working with Industry leaders from coast to coast to building consensus for a plan that can change positively:

  • Improve our public image,
  • boost our sales,  PLUS
  • increase our political clout in DC, state and local capitols as well.

We have temporarily dubbed this plan the MH Alliance and Phoenix Project.  The idea is simple enough, and we will be holding GoToMeeting (webinar) online sessions to review the power point of this concept. 

The essence is this.  The MH Alliance will bring together:

  • Manufactured and mobile home owners (HUD Code and pre-HUD Code homeowners)
  • Manufactured housing professionals and
  • Manufactured housing associations together for a joint effort to inform, promote and protect the interests of manufactured housing.

All of the quotes below in favor of this concept are used with permission.  All have already seen the power point, had a chance to discuss this in detail, and have given their feedback and eventually, these words of support that you can read below:

“It is obvious that the interests of manufactured home owners, businesses and industry associations have many common points.  Here in New York, we have home owner groups as part of our association.  There is no doubt we need to improve our Industry's public image and create more happy homeowners. Having reviewed the MH Alliance concept, I see merit to this approach.  This is an idea worthy of the effort to make it a reality.”

– Nancy Geer, Executive Director,

“The idea of mobilizing a national network of homeowners has great potential.  Are there pitfalls?  Probably.  In my opinion it should be explored cautiously, but it should be explored. This is a group of people who are wholly invested in manufactured housing – they have an equity position that may increase or decrease depending on media portrayals, public perception, government action and availability of financing.  In many respects the interests of homeowners are aligned with the interests of the industry.”

– Mark Bowersox, Executive Director, Indiana Manufactured Housing Association


“When Tony first brought up the concept of an image campaign, I was less than enthusiastic for a variety of reasons, primarily believing  it would be a waste of money and resources. After seeing the MH Alliance/Phoenix power point presentation, I was astounded. He has a program that can work, and will work with the right industry support. The leaders of this industry need to act like leaders, put aside their personal interests, and enthusiastically support this program. If they do, it will make a significant positive difference in the way our industry operates, the way the public views us, and ultimately in industry prosperity. What he has is nothing less than a game changer.”

– Ken Rishel, Rishel Consulting Group/Precision Capital Funding


“Tony, I had the opportunity to review your MH Alliance/Phoenix Plan PowerPoint presentation.  As always, a good job!  If we as an industry could come together and support this MH Alliance concept as we have traditionally supported 'industry trade shows,' think about the good that this plan could accomplish to advance our Industry.” 

– Dennis Hill, Show Ways Unlimited.


“As a manufactured home owner myself, I want to be the very first person to join the MH Alliance.  The MH Alliance/Phoenix Plan is a visionary approach that has the potential to reverse our Industry’s sales trend while benefiting millions of Americans.  I think home owners, Industry professionals and associations should all get behind the MH Alliance program.”

– John Bostick, Sunshine Homes


Besides those mentioned above, others have promised their own statements of support for this MH Alliance and Phoenix Project.  We have professionals from finance, insurance, communities, retail along with association leaders and others who have stated their interest and support for this unique approach.  As one person privately said:

“What is their NOT to like about this?”

I recently launched a discussion on LinkedIn about doing an MH Image, PR and Marketing Campaign.  Everyone who has posted has been in favor of doing something!  All have been owners or executives.

Odds are you are thinking pretty much the same.  This is long overdue.

Let me say one more thing that those who posted on LinkedIn would no doubt be interested in hearing. 

The Phoenix portion of the plan has a simple yet ambitious goal. To get to the root cause of what ails our great industry.  We can't just band aid over problems any more.  We must do the right things, time after time after time.
So we will NOT make this available to just 'anybody' or just 'any company.'  Don't misunderstand.

Those who want to be involved don't have to be rich and famous to participate.  What it means is we will have STANDARDS.  Marketing, Sales and Business Best Practices.  Those standards will help insure the practical success of this plan for the retailers, community operators, developers, suppliers, lenders, insurance, associations and other professionals who will WANT to be a part of promises to be a historic effort.

Because the last thing we need is a program that takes off like a rocket, and see it come crashing down.  We want professionals who are willing to do and say the right things, time after time, to be a part of this program.

If you are interested in learning more, please post your name and email address below, or send me an email at, and we will share the schedule for an upcoming GoToMeeting webinar.

Learn more so you can earn more.

The MH Alliance/Phoenix Project.  This can be the rebirth for our Industry.

We believe we can take our new home shipment levels back from under 50,000 to over 100,000, 200,000 – and more – shipment levels in a strong, steady fashion.
I want to draw towards the close by making this observation. 

Some of the players who have stated their support are in the MHI camp, others are in the MHARR camp of the Industry.  Some are independent of any group or organization.  While each speaks for themselves and their company, don't you find it promising that we can find common ground on this type of important program?
I do!

My hats off to each of you who have taken a public position in favor of this project.

My deep and abiding thanks to all of those who have contributed their time, experience and wisdom to help devise and refine a plan and program that can become self-funding for Industry success.



There are always pros and cons to everything.  Let me share the dark side for a moment.

  • Sales have plummeted over 86% in new home sales since 1998.
  • We have lost about 90% of manufactured housing retailers.
  • Dozens (hundreds) of manufactured home factories have closed. 
  • Vacancies grow in manufactured home land lease communities.  Some MHCs look like ghost towns. Some are facing closure, some are in forbearance and bankruptcy.
  • If we don't start selling more new homes, given low sales and production levels, we will run out of 'cheap' used homes.  Many markets already have run out of 'cheap' repos and used homes.

We can't afford to just keep doing nothing to change our fortunes!  We need positive action, and we need it asap.

Take the first step.  Learn more.  Get the facts.  See why others find this idea to be 'a game changer' for the manufactured housing industry.  If you after you have seen this plan, and you think you have a better one, just say so!  If you have ideas on how to make our MH Alliance/Phoenix Project better, that too is welcome.




In the subject line of your email, please put  MH Alliance/Phoenix Project of your email to me,  Or if you prefer to post a comment below, you don't have to publicly show your email, I can access it via our Disqus system.

Let's do it. Thank you. # #

Blog post submitted

by L. A.  Tony Kovach
Connect with me on LinkedIn

Categories: Internet Marketing Tags:

Not knowing that you don’t know

July 27th, 2011 No comments

The first time I heard, "you don't know that you don't know," I was frankly a bit perplexed.  "What does that mean?"  flashed through my mind. 

The reality is that before we know something, we DON'T know it.  So until we 'learn' that something, it is quite difficult for us to know that we don't know.

What does this have to do with the cutting edge of manufactured and modular home marketing and sales?


I was speaking to a nationally know industry pro, who is often involved in industry marketing and sales.  This pro was telling me about some of the things he has seen and heard over the years in visiting manufactured housing sales operations in various parts of the country.  While sharing tales of occasional bright spots and strong performers, the bulk of what he shared was how generally poor our industry seems to do in sales and marketing.

If you don't believe me, look at our industry shipment numbers for proof.  Please, don't pound me with the 'we don't have financing.'   I sat in Vegas, along with hundreds of others just last April, as all of the major personal property (chattel) manufactured home lenders all said words to this effect:

We could do much more lending to customers with good credit scores. 
Capacity for good credit customers is not a problem.  

Now there are impressive operations out there, please don't take me wrong!  Some do know how to attract good credit customers and close them.

But too many are struggling because they don't understand marketing.  They have little or no professional approach to selling.  As one pro told me, those who have a system will always out perform those who have no system or who 'fly by the seat of their pants.

Times have changed! We could be in the driver's seat, if, if, IF owners and executives know how to capitalize on changes.

But those who don't know, don't know they don't know.

It takes humility to say, I don't know.  I need help.

Training is not a luxury!  Training is a necessity for any successful company that interacts with the public, especially when it comes to serious dollars. 

We've noted before that Best Buy trains an associate for about 2 weeks before they get to work on the floor.  Some hotel chains, such as Holiday Inn,  spend 1-2 weeks minimum before a desk clerk gets to speak to the first prospective customer.

So how much time and resources does your firm invest in training your sales people? 
How much are your lost sales costing you?

I saw a study done recently by Roper on 'big ticket sales.'  The cost/benefit to having a training and follow up system was astonishing. 

If you want to make more money, invest in smart marketing and smart sales training.

I'd tell factories the same thing.  Want to sell more homes?  Invest in providing YOUR clients with a marketer and sales trainer!  Watch your sales grow, as your competitors struggle by comparison!

Most manufactured housing firms are selling products and services for dollar amounts way beyond what Holiday Inn or Best Buy has in to sell.  If the comparatively small ticket sellers feel the need to train, shouldn't we in manufactured and modular homes do the same?

Grayson Schewpfinger made a career out of sales training, and for decades he was considered among the best in the business.  It is an open question if those once popular "locked house/heavy office qualifier" methods still apply today.  But where ever you stand on such a topic, what we should not question is the VALUE of a modern sales training program.  Even better are those programs that provide you with marketing tools and teach you prospect management, etc.


Sales Courtesy of insideview and Flickr


Besides Schwep, Joe Adams, Chad Carr,  Tim Connor, B. J. Kroll, Mike Moore, and John Underwood all come to mind as pros engaged in aspects of such work in our industry today.  I could add L. A. "Tony" Kovach (my name) to that list, if that does not seem too immodest. 

I've watched pros who do training not only light up a room, but help lead a sales person (or a sales team) to new levels of success.  The Wisconsin Housing Alliance did a program where my fellow colleague lit up the room, which had a strong turn out on both occasions when Tim was called into speak.

Whoever you choose, if your sales are struggling, do call on a pro! 

What are your lost sales costing you?  What are lost sales costing your company, and our Industry?

Are you ready to invest in a conversation with some pros to see what they can do for you and your team?  # #

Previous posts in this new Cutting Edge in Manufactured Home Marketing and Sales series:

1. Selling More Manufactured Homes What is our Industry's Market Potential? These online facts provide important clues

2. If your Sales are Ailing, call a Doctor 

3. Liar! Thief!

4. Manufactured Home Marketing and Sales: The Power of Testimonials

5. Defining Your Market Methods and Message

6. Making up for a Screw Up.

7. New Format Preview!  Check up on the upcoming MH Image Campaign Today


new posts are by:

L. A. 'Tony' Kovach, MHM
To learn about award winning, record breaking results:
832-689-1729 (cell)

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

New Format Preview! Check Up on upcoming MH Image Campaign today

July 24th, 2011 1 comment

Knowledge is Power.

So those who get more news, knowledge and views they can use get a professional edge to better navigate their careers and companies for success.

In the next few minutes, you'll see the future of our Industry's business to business communications and profit-making business development systems. Sneak Preview of our New Format  

You will also get insights about the upcoming Manufactured Housing PR Image and Marketing Campaign.

Welcome to this sneak peek of the New development site. Our online trade media site is still undergoing testing and refining, but should be live before summer's end 2011. You can learn more and earn more by using our site and industry services.


We will be re-branding our website as  

We will soon re-brand our website as The web address is already active and ready for your immediate use.

At you will find facts you want and need, from your local weather report, to CNN and Fox News feeds. You'll get our Industry's single best information, ideas and intellects resource in one easy daily stop.

Because you can get all your key news in minutes a day, you can save time and earn more buy using our marketing, advertising, web development and other contract services.

Let's summarize some of the new or improved features:

•    Easier navigation – you will be able to access virtually the entire site from our new and improved home page.

•    Our new top navigation drop down menu system will make it faster and easier to find the content you crave.

•    This will include all archived content, including feature articles and reports that can help you improve and grow your career, improve your team and drive more business.

•    We also have a site search tool located here for your ease of use.

You can access all of our blogs by headline/titles from our revised home page format

•    You will be able to scroll our new home page for all current content, including the blogs.

•    Starting at the top center column, we have dramatically revised our must have Daily Business News.


Our popular Daily Business News Blog will have this sleek, news slider format.  Video Headline News and Interviews are coming too!

•    The revised daily business news will have a modern slide show news format.

•    Every few seconds, you will see a new headline, graphic and intro to the latest daily business news stories.

•    You can also read the latest headlines with links just to the right of our slide show graphic in this module.

•    You will also find our exclusive market report, featuring business daily manufactured home industry stock summaries.

•    Just to the right of our Daily Business News will be our Video Headline News. In 2-3 minutes a day, and we will cover the key news for the day in a video format.

•    We also plan video interviews with Industry movers, shakers and decision makers. You will access video interviews in this upcoming video news department.

•    Immediately below our video news will be our national featured advertiser module. Make a big mental note that we will add a new feature that will let you target a state or region at a dramatically reduced cost. This will be a breakthrough for small to mid sized companies who currently have no easy or cost effective way to market their business to business products and services throughout the year.


The new Feature Articles module will also feature a slider.  It will advance automatically or manually, so you can scan the stories rapidly for the ones that matter most to you.


•    Just below the Daily Business News modules will be our new and improved Feature Article module. This will be on a rotating carousel, so all our featured authors will be at our near the top of the feature article department. You can scan headlines as the automatically advance every few seconds, or you can manually advance articles clicking these buttons.


Another view of the Feature Articles slider.  You can already access all of our x2 weekly emailed News Updates at


•    To the left will be the links our latest headlines in our popular blogs.

•    Discover what makes the Masthead, Industry Voices Guest Blog, Inspirations, Words of Wisdom, and the Cutting Edge of Sales and Marketing Blogs must have reading for tens of thousands of industry pros.

•    If you aren't already getting our twice weekly emailed manufactured and modular housing news early every Monday and Thursday, then see what you have been missing at our Manufactured and Modular Housing e-Newsletter blog! 15,000 messages go out weekly to pros like you. Sign up free in seconds at our current site in the Register tab or in the Newsflash modules. Stay Informed, inspired and ahead of the pack. Make sure your entire team is reading our exclusive e-news, insights, inspirational and training resource.

•    You will see the latest Comments posted on our site in this new module. You can join the Industry discussion anytime day or night by posting a comment with our Disqus system.


The Latest Comments on the left.  Where you see white space in the center column will be 50+ State and Regional Blogs for your local news, events, plus low cost advertising and marketing opportunities.


•    This white space will become over 50 state, provincial and regional blogs that will give you local news and marketing opportunities.

•    This new section will become a must have resource. The state and regional blogs can provide associations a great way to attract and drive business with the lowest possible cost to factories, lenders, insurance, suppliers and vendors of all kinds. Small to mid size companies will love this cost effective way to market their products and services day or night.

•    If you have something to buy, sell or trade, come here, as well as our classifieds or to our national advertisers.


Sign up for our Free --> Industry In Focuse reports. <---  No one else has them, excluisve with


•    In the far right you will find our exclusive Industry in Focus Reports. You will also get MHI and MHARR news modules here. When it comes to Industry News, think


Get all your news side by side.  So at MHProNews --> We Provide.  You Decide.


•    MHProNews PROVIDES and YOU Decide.


The Photo Gallery will feature a rotating carousel.  See up to 3 homes at a glance, pick the ones you want to view.


•    At the bottom of our home page will be our social networking icons, a recap of all our navigation, terms of use, legal and copyright notices. Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin to stay on top of all the latest news and developments automatically updated for your convenience.


Social Networking Lovers, connect with here!


•    Let's scroll back to the top for just a moment. Two more features to point out. We have already activated the Many of our Daily Business News and other stories are provided by industry pros, Association leaders, public officials and other interested parties. We will soon provide you with improved ways of sharing your thoughts, news and perspectives with the rest of the factory built housing world here. PLUS the upcoming MH Image PR and Marketing Campaign


•    Our one-of-a-kind plan for the MH Image/PR and Marketing Campaign can become a self-funding medium to boost industry new home sales for the first time in over a decade. We believe we can profitably return to 6 figure annual home production and shipments. This Image and Marketing Campaign will be a key tool to get us there.

•    The Image/PR/Marketing Campaign is being developed with input from Industry business and association leaders.The plan will be for a coast to coast PR, Image and Marketing campaign, which will use a customized state and regional focus. To learn more on how you, your company or association can benefit, please send me an email at or call my cell at 832-689-1729. Sneak Preview of our New Format


•    There is no finally with, because we plan to keep evolving to better respond to you and our Industry's needs.

Think first, last and always when it comes to your industry news, tips and views you can use.

Think of MHMarketingSalesManagement – – first, last and always for your training, business and web development needs. We have the eyes and ears of tens of thousands of leaders, owners and decision makers.

My personal thanks to you, all our writers, contributors and sponsors for making us #1. Published figures tell us we are now larger than all other similar online resources combined. Contact us now to see how you can grow with us as all this new format and features start coming online soon. Email or call my cell at 832-689-1729.

We are = MH Marketing Sales Management.
Innovation Information and Inspiration for Industry Professionals.

Put the power of more knowledge to work for you daily with This is your professional place, like no place else on earth.

Remember, most of these news features are already active. You can start Growing your career and your organization's bottom line with us today. Use MHProNews online and via the mobile web. Thanks for taking this sneak peek into how we can make your future brighter. We hope to see you, your industry friends and associates here again soon. # #


Previous posts in this new Cutting Edge in Manufactured Home Marketing and Sales series:

1. Selling More Manufactured Homes What is our Industry's Market Potential? These online facts provide important clues

2. If your Sales are Ailing, call a Doctor 

3. Liar! Thief!

4. Manufactured Home Marketing and Sales: The Power of Testimonials

5. Defining Your Market Methods and Message

6. Making up for a Screw Up.


new posts are by:

L. A. 'Tony' Kovach, MHM
To learn about award winning, record breaking results:
832-689-1729 (cell)

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Making up for a Screw up

July 20th, 2011 No comments

Let's admit it.  We all screw up from time to time.  Personally or professionally, screw ups have their consequences.  When it comes to a customer or client, mistakes can be costly indeed.

What to do?

Let's start with what NOT to do.

Screws photo courtsey of theilr

All too often, I see people stone-walling.  I've watched professionals deny the error, or try to push the problem off onto someone else. 

An example might be a HUD Code manufactured home sale, and something has gone awry from the customer's perspective.  The worst thing that can happen is to deny the problem, or to tell the customer 'call the factory,' or 'that's the installation guy's mistake, here is his number.'  

Try to make service as seamless an experience for the customer as possible.  Yes, maybe with an appliance problem, the customer in the example above may have to call the appliance company directly, to make sure they coordinate times for service.  But explain that step by step, and let them know to call you on any other items if they should arise. 

CARE about the customer!  Put yourself in the customer's shoes!  Treat them as you would want to be treated.

When a screw up occurs, apply the same principle.  How would you want the issue to be resolved? 

Take ownership of a legitimate problem, let them vent, then bring them one step at a time to a fair resolution.

There may be the sue happy type of customer you must be cautious with, we can cover that issue another time.  Suffice for now to say, I'd pass on any customer I thought was a litigation lover. It isn't worth the risk.  Train your team to look out for law suit crazy prospects' not closing them is a victory.

Lowe's Glenview IL - photo by Soheyla Kovach

I personally had an experience at Lowe's recently that was from my perspective a major screw up by an associate at their store.  The mistake cost me time, money and hassles.  I would have learned of the mistake in time anyway, but the light bulb was actual set off by another associate hours after a sizable purchase.  That second associate explained the error and it's impact on me.  That second gent brought in the MOD (manager on duty).  The MOD – Hector – listened carefully.  He then apologized.  He made sure he saw the issue from my perspective. Then, Hector made it right, bending over backwards to do so.  Finally, Hector told me the offending associate would receive extra training in the arena where the mistake occurred.

I was blown away.  While I started out less than happy, the second associate and the MOD totally reversed my feelings about the matter. 

The result?  The next time I need something like that product, I will head to that Lowe's!  I believe they know the meaning of good customer service.  I will also tell others to do so too (actually, I just did).

That is the power of tackling a screw up head on.  # #


Previous posts in this new Cutting Edge in Manufactured Home Marketing and Sales series:

1. Selling More Manufactured Homes What is our Industry's Market Potential? These online facts provide important clues

2. If your Sales are Ailing, call a Doctor 

3. Liar! Thief!

4. Manufactured Home Marketing and Sales: The Power of Testimonials

5. Defining Your Market Methods and Message


new posts are by:

L. A. 'Tony' Kovach, MHM
To learn about award winning, record breaking results:
832-689-1729 (cell)



Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Defining your Market, Methods and Message

July 16th, 2011 No comments

When marketing on line or off line, to attract a crowd to your product(s) and/or service(s), you have many considerations to make.  Among those are the following:

  • Who do you currently attract and why?
  • Who do you want to attract and why? (a.k.a = What is your target market?)
  • How do you want to attract your target market? 
  • What resources of time – yours or that of staff and/or contractors – and money are you prepared to commit?

For example, there are lots of 'free' resources online that a company or organization can use today.  Think about the word free for a moment, which is one of those powerful worse used in advertising and marketing.  Free in terms of what? 

What we normally mean by 'free' in this regards is there is no direct dollar cost to use a 'free' web site to post a message.  But isn't there in fact a cost in time?  If you wanted to, you could spend all day online posting Info about yourself, your product or service.  Doesn't your time have a cost/value associated with it?

Sure it does.

Let's look a bit deeper at those 'free' websites.  You paid nothing to them directly for the posting of some marketing message.

But does that message ring the phone?  When it does, are they bringing you the kinds of prospects you want and need?

Let's get more specific still.

Imagine you are a HUD Code manufactured home retailer or a manufactured home community owner.  You are using a free website to market your product or service. The message DOES ring your phone.  Regrettably, it may bring you the kinds of prospects that your third party lender won't buy. 

G:\MH\Marketing the MHMSM concepts\Ads, Graphics + Images\2011-07-16_0643_Does_your_marketing_bring_you_empty_cars_and_long_shadows__Image_courtsey_of_followtheinstructions.png

Does your marketing bring you empty results and long shadows?

So what happens then?  You can 'lobby' your lender to buy a deal they don't want.   Most lenders today, unless you have recourse arrangement on the loan (and sometimes, not even then), have no interest in buying a deal that they believe will default.

Someone in that scenario may want to moan or complain, but to what effect?  Isn't it wiser to simply re-evaluate your marketing and advertising? 

Isn't is smarter to take a new look at what you are trying to accomplish and how you are doing it?

  • Define your market.
  • Define your methods and means by budgeting for money and time.
  • Define your message. 

Defining your market, methods and the message is what will, or won't, help you attract the right customers to you, your staff and your place of business.

You can do it yourself.  But if that isn't getting it done for you, and you decide it is better to hire the work done, please give me a call.  Remember this famous American's wise adage:

“A man who stops advertising to save money
is like a man who stops a clock to save time.”

– Henry Ford


Enough said for today.  # #


Previous posts in this new Cutting Edge in Manufactured Home Marketing and Sales series:

 1. What is our Industry's Market Potential? These online facts provide important clues

Selling More Manufactured Homes

 2. If your sales are down, how do you start a turn-round project?

If your Sales are Ailing, call a Doctor 

3.  Liar! Thief!

4. Manufactured Home Marketing and Sales: The Power of Testimonials.


new posts are by:

L. A. 'Tony' Kovach, MHM
To learn about award winning, record breaking results:
832-689-1729 (cell)

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: