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Warren Buffett’s advice to Manufactured Housing

September 25th, 2011 5 comments
When Warren Buffett speaks, people listen. We recently posted a video interview with Warren that had many insightful statements and quotable quotes.  Perhaps none is more important than this pearl from the Sage of Omaha, who told Clayton Homes' CEO:
 
“Kevin, it seems like the problem of your industry is resale.”
– Warren Buffett
 
Another key statement in this video was the need for an industry image campaign.  While months and years have clicked by, we have no campaign in action – yet.
 
But we do have a plan that addresses Warren Buffett's critical insight along with Kevin Clayton's own statement that we need an image/marketing campaign.
 
Let's be clear.  Neither Messers. Buffett or Clayton have been informed of the details of the MH Alliance/Phoenix Project by it's proponents, so we are NOT saying the endorse the plan itself.
 
What we are saying is that these leaders see the clear need for such a plan!  
 
And as a survey of the landscape of the MH World reveals, no other plan is being promoted at this time.  There is a grass roots level advancement of understanding and support for the MH Alliance/Phoenix Plan building.  
 
That the Kevin Clayton video post last week was a hit is beyond a doubt.  Only one person privately questioned it's wisdom, while there were overwhelmingly positive comments, both private and public.  There was also the most sincere form of flattery- imitation! – when others took our lead and posted or linked to the Kevin Clayton Interview too.
 
First a Dream
 
The Kevin Clayton video naturally touches on Jim Clayton's book more than once.  First a Dream is in part a rags to riches tale, part of the grand possibility that makes America a great country.  I've spent some time this week with business pros who have that dream.  It is a critical part of success.
 
The Dream – a vision or a goal backed by a plan, needed resources and sound actions – leads to it's realization. The Dream is what draws people to America, and keeps us as one of the wealthiest countries on earth.  
 
Before coming to California, I took a taxi ride in Texas with a man from Bangladesh at the wheel.  He has been in the U.S. for over 20 years.  He said he came with virtually nothing, but in 4 hours of arrival he had a job picking crops in Michigan.  With hard work and the dream, he put his 4 children through college and has a nice home in the Fort Worth area. This man shared how MDs and engineers are his offspring.  He said in America, anyone willing to work can succeed.
 
First, the Dream.  Then, action!
 
Many of you reading this are not part of a national company owned by someone else.  You own or work for an Independent manufactured housing business who began with a dream.  
 
Elitism exists in the U.S., no doubt.  But elitism is not what made us a country of innovators and success stories.
 
Would you agree with those who may argue that we all have to get "knighted" by the "powers that be?"
 
Or are we indeed the land of the free and the brave! Where a woman or man can have a dream – a plan – and then does what it takes to make it come to pass.
 
Individually and collectively, we need to look at the wisdom that Berkshire Hathaway's leader has offered our Industry:  
 
“Kevin, it seems like the problem of your industry is resale.”
– Warren Buffett
 
But the reverse is also true!
 
We can fix the resale issue, and thus profit from it.  The lack of a resale marketing system for manufactured housing, especially chattel MH, is a key road block for more and better lending.  The lack of an effective resale mechanism is a road block to attracting more upscale customers.
 
We can fix the image issue, and thus profit from it.
 
We welcome associations and companies large, small and in between on this quest to fix what ails manufactured housing.
 
We don't need to wait for the big boys, but we certainly welcome their or any other MH Pros involvement in a doable plan for Industry turn-around and revitalization.  To learn more about the MH Alliance, please send tony@mhmsm.com an email with MH Alliance in the subject line, and we will include you in an upcoming GoToMeeting (small group webinar) briefing.  
 
Who says we need to fix the resale and image issues?  Warren Buffett.  Myself and many others, we just happen to agree on this point.  ##
 
post by
L. A. "Tony" Kovach
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Does anybody actually use QR codes? Can they make you money?

September 17th, 2011 No comments

 

CNN Money began a recent report with this provocative question.  "Does anybody actually use QR codes?"

My family and I will make a move soon.  Info on my business card will change soon.  I hate to waste stuff, so I plan to give away a lot or cards in a short period of time!  When I finish giving away those business cards, it is a safe bet that my next business card will have a QR Code on them.  Your's should too.  Why?  Let's look at the facts.

QR Code on MHMSM.com

In June 2011, Comscore said 14 million people used their smart phone to scan a QR Code. That is 6.2% of mobile users, and that number is sure to rise.  The CNN reports hints that this could well be a low number.

QR Codes were created by Toyota in the 1990s to help track parts.  By 2002 Japanese marketers were using them.  More recently, they have started to explode onto the U.S. Marketing scene with Coca Cola, Delta, Ford, Gap, Home Depot, Macy's, Starbucks and Verizon among many who use them.  I saw them earlier this year being used by a forward looking manufacturer at an Manufactured Housing trade show.

QR codes pack more data than an old bar code.  They can be used to dial an 800 number, or can take your customer to a specific page on your website.  

So if you know how to generate and use it, this can be an amazing tool to grow your business using a simple business card handout.  You'll save trees, save cash and make more cash too.

Now having a QR code isn't enough, said CNNMoney.  You have to know how to use it effectively.  We agree.  You don't just take someone to your home page and drop them off, thank you very much. Your web address on your business card can help someone do that too. 

You have to think the use of a QR code through, but if you do, you will drive more business for your business.

If you plan to be at the Texas Manufactured Housing Association or New York Housing Association annual meetings, you will hear about QR codes and a lot more ways to drive good business in our Dominate your Local Market 2 seminar.

Need some QR code or other web services?  Send us an email with WEB Services or QR Code in the subject line.  Or go to our business-building, money-making Solutions page.

Learn more to earn more.##


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Marketing Disconnects

September 11th, 2011 1 comment

In a Daily Business News story we will publish early Monday morning, the National Association of Realtors now says that 94% of all home buying searches begins online.  This is an overwhelming number!  Couple that with facts that Derrick Hatchey shared in an insightful article on the topic of online marketing.

What do such facts add up to?  That we are barely scratching the surface of the potential for our Industry.

But I hope you already knew that, right?

Ideally, good marketing and good selling go hand in hand.  But all too often, When we review a client's marketing and sales, we find numerous 'disconnects.'

Ideally, what you want for your customers is to create an experience that relates – connects – directly with the message that is advertised.   So if – for example – you tell them your community has a clubhouse, there should be one there. 

But more to the point, let's say you technically have a clubhouse, but it is currently being used for storage space instead of for residents (yes, I've seen that…some of you have too).  Then the way to avoid the disconnect for the prospect is to state the fact, but you do it best by preparing the prospect for the truth. 

That preparation can happen online or via the sales person's initial phone contact: 'We have temporarily modified the use of the clubhouse, but plan to put it back into service for residents in x time frame.'

Mean what you say, and say what you mean.  No disconnects.  This goes for home retailers, brokers, communities anyone marketing a product or service online.  But for a few moments, let's continue the example of manufactured home land lease communities.

I've seen many a community advertise 'paved streets.'  First of all, come on folks, this is the 21st century!  Isn't that a little like saying we have plumbing and electric in our homes?  But what is REALLY bad is when you advertise 'paved streets' and the prospect comes out and sees pothole city on your private roads. 

That is an example of a marketing disconnect.

You can get your cousin 'Ned the Geek' to do a website.  The truth is, that anyone can build one these days if you want to spend the time.  Even great looking websites may have a problem, though.  What if the website sets a wrong expectation for the prospect?  

The right website built or modified the right way is a modest investment that can often be recouped many times over with the very first sale. 

Disconnect_photo_credit_-_photosteve_Flickr_Creative_Commons

The ideal situation is to make the marketing and sales experience as seamless as possible for the prospect.   Craft a message that speaks to your target market(s).  Create a message that does more than avoid marketing disconnects.  Make your website a place that invites the prospect to learn more by calling, emailing or making the trip.

To learn more about successful online marketing programs, consider attending our Dominate Your Local Market presentations at the Texas Manufactured Housing Association's annual meeting, or at the New York Housing Association's annual meeting. 

You can make direct inquiries to us by putting Dominate your Local Market into the subject line of your email and contacting me at tony@mhmsm.com. # #

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Social networking, the web and you

September 7th, 2011 No comments

According to Klout, one of our featured writers, Mike Moore, happens to be rated as one of the top 5% of influencers in the social media arena. In manufactured housing, my 600 plus 'connections' on LinkedIn puts me ahead of probably 90% of those in our Industry. But that number pales in comparison to Mike Moore's numbers!  Mike has 5145 first level connections, over 2,500,000 second level ones. Think about the potential from that for a few moments.

Mike_Moore_Mike's is impressive, as are Mike's thoughts and writing on sales, motivation and the 'new economy.'

Jim_Talerico_JrAnother friend of mine is also big on social networking. Business owner Jim Talerico Jr, who has occasionally written for us, now has over 9.400 LinkedIn connections. That is a dizzying number, but it has also provided him with a steady stream of contacts, clients and conversational moments as a result. Jim ties his Twitter account in with LinkedIn, and is steadily growing his network.

Employers are using social networking to source, screen in – and screen out – prospective employees. If you are involved in recruiting and aren't using social networking, you should strongly consider joining the 80% who do. Why? Let's give some examples.

Twitter Facebook LinkedIn logos

Do you recall the flurry in the news a while ago when an employee of a pizza company posted something disgusting that they did on their Facebook page? That certainly got that person booted.

But think about when someone does something YOU don't want done at YOUR location or business. You can often get insights into a person's character faster by doing a web and social networking search than be speaking to many hand selected 'references' that an applicant or hand-picked prospect may provide.

There are questions that employers used to ask that today – under federal hiring regulations and laws – are punishable by stiff fines. Those same questions (right or wrong) are answerable without asking, just by looking at someone's Facebook page or LinkedIn profile.

Some use social networking for marketing and business development, we certainly do. Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are among the tools that help us grow our audience and develop business. When my friend Jim Talerico told me to get serious about LinkedIn almost two years ago, I confess I would have had a hard time believing we would close business as a result of 'social networking.'

But we have.

Some of you want to grow or improve your marketing online, smart move! We are upgrading our website too! When you are ready to take your sales or marketing to the next level, send us a message or give us a call. We can show you cost effective strategies to help you advance your cause.

If you are going to the Texas Manufactured Housing Association's September meeting or the New York Housing Alliance's October meeting, please come and see the new, updated Dominate your Local Market seminar!

Learn more to earn more. Modest investments in time and money can yield very nice returns when you use the web and social networking properly. # #

post written by

L. A. "Tony" Kovach
Sent me an invite to connect on LinkedIn
http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach
Connect with us!  On MHMSM.com home page (near top right column) or other social icon locations throughout our site – including just below this blog post.

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Poison

September 4th, 2011 No comments

 

I'm not a doctor, but as I understand it, a boil that has puss in it are toxins (poison) that the human body is seeking to purge. To rephrase, puss collected in that boil.  Once the boil is lanced and the puss (toxins, poison) are drained then healing can take place.

On the other hand, failure to drain/extract the puss (poison, toxins) from the body can lead to negative consequences, which in some cases can be fatal.

Manufactured housing has it's own toxins. Some of those poisons keep us from reaching our potential as an industry. They include:

  •     Poor public image
  •     Financing problems (eg: loan performance generally poorer than other forms of housing)
  •     Lack of a sound exit strategy (re-marketing) for home owners and lenders when resale time occurs
  •     Political and regulatory pressures,
  •     and more.


We can ignore these poisons, but only at our own peril.

abscess pulmunary - flickr creative commons

Until we confront what ails us, until we lance the boils and get the poisons out of the system, we will continue to suffer as we have for the last dozen plus years.

 

There are three things we can do when faced with poisons in our body, in our business or industry:

 

  • ignore them – in which case, we should expect the condition to worsen;
  • be in denial about them, see the result above;
  • treat them, and do what is needed to bring about healing.

 

Unlike other plans or discussions in the past, the MH Alliance/Phoenix Plan seeks to remedy what ails us AND gives us the image campaign we need to recover our proper place in the housing industry.

 

Who says so? Those leaders from coast to coast who have seen and discussed the MH Alliance plan!

 

Read here what others have said, and then set the time aside to learn how the release the toxins.

 

When puss is released, it can look ugly. Sometimes blood mixes without the puss, and it looks distasteful indeed. But that is the start of the healing process.

 

So if you see a little puss, blood or ugliness, just remember, it is only natural.

 

Let's lance the boils. By doing so, may the healing begin, so we may see prosperity return to the manufactured housing industry. # #

 

post by L. A. “Tony” Kovach
Connect with me on LinkedIn
http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach

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