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Archive for February, 2013

Memorable Destination and Launching Pad

February 23rd, 2013 1 comment

What if your business became a desired destination? Or what if your location was viewed as 'a launching pad' for fun and adventure? Have you ever heard about selling the sizzle, instead of the steak?

As an example, in my recent trip to Washington, DC, I had the option of flying out of Chicago's O'Hare (ORD) or Milwaukee's MKE airport. I chose MKE – Mitchell – for a variety of reasons.

Airports are a destination as well as a via point to elsewhere. They have often become mini-malls and restaurant rows. MKE has added some elements of a museum, artwork and other interesting and fun features to make coming to their airport more desirable.

It started with Long Term Parking

Airport parking at MKE offers four primary options, my choice was the long term 'super saver' parking (a good 50% less than ORD). The shuttle driver appeared as if on cue. Robert, the driver in the photo, proceeded to entertain us all (7 or so on that ride) with riddles, directions, suggestions, humor and good service.

We learned Robert had a 96 out of of 100 on his last job evaluation. He was good, so I believe it! Robert enjoys what he does, and it showed.

When I got inside the terminal, I spotted a table tennis (ping pong, anyone?) table! Two college-age looking guys (Tate, left; Mark, right) were playing. It has been YEARS since I played.

But what the heck? If I lost, they'd never see me again! If I won…hmm…

…I asked to play the winner, who turned out to be Tate, who had won by 10 over his buddy Mark.

Since Tate was smoking me with even gentle serves and returns during the warm up, which lasted about 120 seconds, he showed the zeal of youth. "Are you warmed up enough?"

Sure, was my reply.

What did I have to lose?

My pin-holder grip, learned during my own college days from a South Korean student, has the occasional advantage of laying on some spin. The pin-holder is also pretty potent when a ball floated into smash position!

When I first walked up, it was only Tate, Mark and myself. But as the middle age guy – that was moi! – started to mount up the score, a small crowd gathered as we played…

By the end of the game, the once empty wall across from the PGA shop was lined with spectators. Tate was periodically muttering to himself about letting himself get 'shaken,' 'surprised' and such.

The final was 21 to 12, with the short guy in the hat (Tate, left; Tony, right) prevailing.

I asked one of those spectators to take the photo shown. Tate was a good sport, we shook hands and I yielded the table, not wanting to tempt fate (after all, Tate was closing the gap in the second half).

None of this would have happened at O'Hare!

So what is the point?

The point is this. I'm doing in this column what millions do daily on Facebook, Twitter, via email, text or verbally. Sharing the day's experience! Someone will read this someday, and will select flights out of MKE vs. ORD as a result of my story and photos.

The lesson? Make the experience with your company memorable!

If you retail manufactured or modular homes, make the experience of coming to your community, development or retail center a good one. No matter what they decide, let them have a good time while you strive to show them why your offer is the place they should call home.

Our businesses and homes are destinations. They can become the launching pad for fun for people! Make the experience memorable, and more people will beat a path to your door. ##

PS: Check our many Exclusive and Red Hot Featured Articles for February and see the

other new stories at MHLivingNews.com too.

l-a--tony-kovachL. A. "Tony" Kovach

MHLivingNews.com=Re-Discovering and Spotlighting the MHLifeStyle

MHProNews.comMHMSM.com = Industry News, Tips and Views Pros can Use

Services:B2BandB2CAds, Proven MH Marketing & Sales Systems, Websites other Industry Solutions.

Office –815-270-0500

latonyk@gmail.com or tony@mhmsm.com

www.MHC-MD.com

http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach= connect with me on Linkedin.

http://pinterest.com/latonyk/manufactured-home-lifestyle/

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Whether you think you can or whether you think you can't, you're right. – Henry Ford

Someone’s Floor is someone else’s Ceiling…

February 20th, 2013 No comments

An article was emailed to me that caught my eye. In sharing this, let me tee it up by confessing that one of my favorite writer's is Nadeen Green, the attorney who writes for us and uses the moniker, “The Fair Housing Lady.” As the moniker implies, her specialty is Fair Housing Law, but she makes a dry legal subject lively with stories, interesting spins on a topic, humor and much, much more. Nadeen writes for the apartment industry (example below, ForRent) too, and a headline to one of her articles served as a reminder to me that our Industry ought to be drumming early and often with a key target market.

In training sessions with our clients, we talk about the fact that 'you don't share a wall, ceiling or floor' with a manufactured home. Technically, with MODs or even with HUD Code manufactured homes, you can build multi-family housing. But retailers and manufactured home communities are busier selling to the public at large vs. to developers. So it is a safe bet that most of the retail clients are going to be single family housing customers.

With apartments at or near capacity and with many markets experiencing rising rental rates, the timing is very good to market to those apartment dwellers!

  • Make a check list of all the factors that yield a favorable comparison between us and the apartment housing option.
  • Compare notes with your team members.
  • Then, boil those down to high impact power phrases!

In marketing and in sales, always do a 360 degree look. See things from:

  • Your target market's perspective. That includes the other options they may have. In this case, apartments.
  • Your company's perspective. Owners and team members have similar, but also different perspectives.
  • Your perspective. If you think through the above carefully, you can craft a plan that fits for others and will reward you in the process. That is how you get to 'yes,' that is how you get to 'win-win.'

In closing this column for today, let's mention that be it Nadeen Green, or any of our other authors, you can go to the home page and use the search tool at the top right to find more columns. Or you can jump to our search page. If you really want to be 'high tech,' open up a Google tab (or your favorite search engine) and type in

MHPronews.com + "Nadeen Green"

or any other author's name in the quotes, example “Tim Connor” and you'll see a string of very focused results.

We hope to see you in Tunica for our free marketing and sales “how to” workshop: Attracting More Customers With Cash or Good Credit. The techniques we use – when properly applied – will drive new business to retailers, communities, developers and those who serve them. We will also be in Booth 9 in the Hallway, right next to the business building seminar room. That's it for today! ##

PS: Check our many Exclusive and Red Hot Featured Articles for February and see the

other new stories at MHLivingNews.com too.

l-a--tony-kovachL. A. "Tony" Kovach

MHLivingNews.com=Re-Discovering and Spotlighting the MHLifeStyle

MHProNews.comMHMSM.com = Industry News, Tips and Views Pros can Use

Services:B2BandB2CAds, Proven MH Marketing & Sales Systems, Websites other Industry Solutions.

Office –815-270-0500

latonyk@gmail.com or tony@mhmsm.com

www.MHC-MD.com

http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach= connect with me on Linkedin.

http://pinterest.com/latonyk/manufactured-home-lifestyle/

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Whether you think you can or whether you think you can't, you're right. – Henry Ford

Corporate Culture and Productivity

February 15th, 2013 No comments

To tee up this discussion, imagine a tree that you are about to plant. The soil you are about to plant the tree in is highly arid and/or acidic. The tree might survive, if enough nutrients and water are provided, but without those it is more likely to wither and die. Even with the proper nutrients and H2O, the odds for thriving are diminished because of poor soil conditions. But in the right soil – with the right nutrients, sunlight and water – that tree will thrive.

That is a good analogy for corporate culture. Is your corporate culture dry? Is it acidic? Is is it dark, too hot or toxic? If so, then don't be surprised if even a potential super star will wither and die in such an environment. What survives in that kind of 'arid' conditions is just what survives in a desert – a prickly cactus!

Looking back a few years, some may wonder why MHProNews created the INspiration blog, why we have the Words of Wisdom by Tim Connor or Featured Articles from writers like Zig Ziglar or Greg McClanahan. The answer in part is that good input enhances good output.

The reverse is the old computer programer's axiom of GIGO; Garbage In, Garbage Out.

 

Solution orientation, problem solving with a positive goal in mind, these are critical for the advancement of a career, a location, a company or an industry. There was a void in our industry and rather than gripe about it, we sought to provide the solution. We walked the talk.

I'm fine with those souls that point out the problems and then explore those hurdles to see how they can be overcome and capitalized upon. I'm not so keen on those who point out the problems, but are not willing to make the positive effort and sacrifice needed for arriving at a good solution. Anyone can gripe and moan. It takes someone special to solve and build!

As an example, for some, the 'image issue' is only going to be fixed when millions of dollars are spent on high visibility advertising on television as part of a long term, national campaign. It would be fine if such a budget existed, but it doesn't. So does that mean that we simply endure our circumstances?

No! It means we do what we can in our local market to improve the image, set an example for others to follow and then someday it will dawn upon enough leaders that we should indeed invest in our future via an image campaign at the state, regional or national levels. Those who change the local soil conditions will – like those who create a good corporate culture – reap the rewards sooner. We see this time and again with our clientswho make the effort to improve their image, who train their team to do more and thus they reap the results.

If you want to maximize the good for your location, create a healthy corporate culture.

A good culture will cause those who are not so prickly to want to stay around and they will do more and better. It pays off. Encourage your team members to spend 15 minutes a day reading positive, uplifting, goal and solution oriented reading. You don't shower or brush your teeth just once a month! You need to inspire and challenge the mind daily too. Those who do, advance further and faster. Enough said for today! ##

PS: Check our many Exclusive and Red Hot Featured Articles for February and see the

other new stories at MHLivingNews.com too.

l-a--tony-kovachL. A. "Tony" Kovach

MHLivingNews.com=Re-Discovering and Spotlighting the MHLifeStyle

MHProNews.comMHMSM.com = Industry News, Tips and Views Pros can Use

Services:B2BandB2CAds, Proven MH Marketing & Sales Systems, Websites other Industry Solutions.

Office –815-270-0500

latonyk@gmail.com or tony@mhmsm.com

www.MHC-MD.com

http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach= connect with me on Linkedin.

http://pinterest.com/latonyk/manufactured-home-lifestyle/

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Whether you think you can or whether you think you can't, you're right. – Henry Ford

MHCs: New Locations and Expansions

February 9th, 2013 No comments

There are some who are under the mistaken impression that there are 'no new sites' being developed in the manufactured housing communities world. While the numbers are certainly not what they could or should be, anecdotal evidence from callers, email and in person conversations tells me that new sites are being brought on line. Nor are these limited to 'energy boom' areas such as the Eagle Ford, Bakken or Marcellus Shale areas in Texas, North Dakota and OH/PA respectively.

Admittedly, the results being generated in filling newly opened (re-opened) or expansion sites in MHC are mixed. But the fact that some are doing well suggests that others can too, by modifying their marketing and sales approaches.

What we have seen in those areas that are struggling is interesting. Some examples:

  • Where expansion sites are being used, often current community managers are asked to do the job of selling as well as managing.
  • In new communities or those locations where significant numbers of new sites are developed, often dedicated sales people are used. This tends to have better results than trying to teach a community manager the art of selling, especially when those sales involve new homes.
  • The budgets for marketing such expansions range from very modest to amazingly robust.

While bigger budgets naturally tends to drive more traffic, what is all too often evident is that the messages are targeting those who may have 'credit challenges.' These are at locations where the owner/operator of the community has made arrangements for 'captive financing,' third party serviced loans or resourced financing through a financial institution.

Another direction being taken by sizable MHC operations include the liberal use of rental homes. The rentals tend to go faster, in part because they require no long term commitment by the buyer. This is a path of least resistance method. Does it work? Yes. Does it help sales of homes in those communities? Often, not so much, if at all.

A common denominator in many of these programs is mentioning 'second chance financing' or 'less than perfect' credit' OK in one of a variety of ways. Is it any surprise then that such locations see such large numbers of sub 600 credit scores?

Our industry can and should do a more robust outreach to credit worthy buyers. When we do, the results are quite amazing and profitable.

At the upcoming Tunica Manufactured Housing Show in March, we will be doing a free seminar on how to Attract More Customers with Cash or Good Credit. This presentation has been met with enthusiastic reviews at state and regional association meetings and is the basis for much of the work that we do with our client companies in manufactured home communities and retailing.

While many of our clients have been in the land lease communities world, the process can work as well (or better…) for MH Retailers and Developers.

The event is free, but seating will be limited to about 80 attendees. Don't miss it. ##

PS: Check our many Exclusive and Red Hot Featured Articles for February and see the

other new stories at MHLivingNews.com too.

l-a--tony-kovachL. A. "Tony" Kovach

MHLivingNews.com=Re-Discovering and Spotlighting the MHLifeStyle

MHProNews.comMHMSM.com = Industry News, Tips and Views Pros can Use

Services:B2BandB2CAds, Proven MH Marketing & Sales Systems, Websites other Industry Solutions.

Office –815-270-0500

latonyk@gmail.com or tony@mhmsm.com

www.MHC-MD.com

http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach= connect with me on Linkedin.

http://pinterest.com/latonyk/manufactured-home-lifestyle/

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Whether you think you can or whether you think you can't, you're right. – Henry Ford

The Value of ABR

February 1st, 2013 No comments

We were having lunch – a regional manager (RM) for a client company and I – and were discussing recruiting. They needed new sales people at more than one location. Yes, we could try to snag 'so and so' who is available. Yes, we could try to snag 'so and so' from that other firm. But typically, the best outcome is when you recruit and train your own! Properly done, the new recruits are loyal, end up with your company for say 5-7 years average, which means you get less turnover and as a bonus, more performance. In the course of the conversation, ABR came up…

…ABR is short for Always Be Recruiting. If your company is full up on staff, and they are all terrific, do you need to be recruiting? Yes. Just as some MHCs do (or used to) have a 'waiting list,' so too I'd rather have a waiting list of potential recruits than have to scramble every time someone tenders a two week notice.

So as we were talking over lunch, I gave an example of ABR in action. Taking the back of the RM's business card, I hand wrote a note on it, that went like this:

Your service has impressed me. If you ever think about a career change,

please contact me, thanks.”

Then I left a cash tip on the table with the business card on top of it, instead of putting the tip on the credit card. The RM smiled, liked the idea, and we went back to work at their local office.

That prospect at the restaurant we left the card, note and tip for didn't become a recruit. But that lady did follow up, and she got a home! Still a good outcome.

We should always be recruiting (ABR). We should also Always be Sowing Good Seeds for promoting our business and our location(s).

There are hundreds of ways to market manufactured homes! Some are total no-brainers, like leaving your business card on the table with a cash tip. If you do that every time, even if it is the same server at the same restaurant, guess what happens? They will, over time, run into someone they know that is looking for a home. They will send that someone to you.

How do I know?

Been there, done it, got the sales over time to show for it. This is a farming approach, and if you plant the seeds, water and cultivate that crop and prune as necessary, you will get the harvest.

Back to ABR

Training pays and so does good recruiting. Create a long term recurring, retention and training strategy, even if you have a short term need. I've recruited people in a line, at a furniture store and at a restaurant to name but a few. When you have a sales system that is user friendly for all involved, you don't have to have a rocket scientist to sell more homes. All you need is the right person, with the right attitude that is willing to work for their results!

Maybe you are a one location operation, or perhaps you have a multiple location company. Either way, ABR applies. When you have a backlog of possible prospects, amazing things happen. Among them are you don't stress as much when the time comes (and it usually does, sooner or later) when you have to have a new team member.

Remind me in a future article to share how to really elevate the quality of those recruits from the strategy shared above. Until next time, good marketing, training and selling! ##

PS: Check our many Exclusive and Red Hot Featured Articles for February and see the

other new stories at MHLivingNews.com too.

l-a--tony-kovachL. A. "Tony" Kovach

MHLivingNews.com=Re-Discovering and Spotlighting the MHLifeStyle

MHProNews.comMHMSM.com = Industry News, Tips and Views Pros can Use

Services:B2BandB2CAds, Proven MH Marketing & Sales Systems, Websites other Industry Solutions.

Office –815-270-0500

latonyk@gmail.com or tony@mhmsm.com

www.MHC-MD.com

http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach= connect with me on Linkedin.

http://pinterest.com/latonyk/manufactured-home-lifestyle/

+++

Whether you think you can or whether you think you can't, you're right. – Henry Ford