Archive for October, 2014

Manufactured Housing and IGA’s Success Lesson

October 25th, 2014 No comments

Imagine America during the Great Depression. There was virtually no federal social safety net then!

Great-depression-credit-common-wikipedia-posted-on-mhpronews-comWhile there has been suffering in the U.S. in what many call our recent "Great Recession" which began circa 2008, let's be honest. The great Depression days were far worse.

This pair of photos from WikiCommons might help someone not familiar with the Great Depression begin to understand how tough it was then, versus now.

Soup lines, rough housing, jobs were hard to find and low paying.

It was in this sad economic environment – far more challenging than what we've had since 2008 – that IGA was formed. Let's see what lessons for manufactured housing professionals in organizations of any and all sizes the IGA story may hold.


Wikipedia states the following about IGA, which is short for Independent Grocers Alliance.

iga-logo-posted-on-mhpronews-com"IGA is a brand of grocery stores active in more than 30 countries. Contrasting with the chain store business model, IGA operates as a franchise through stores that are owned separately from the brand. Many of these stores operate in small town markets and belong to families that manage them. It was founded in the United States as the Independent Grocers Alliance. The headquarters are in Chicago, Illinois."

"IGA was started in May 1926 when a group of 100 independent retailers in Poughkeepsie, New York, and Sharon, Connecticut, led by J. Frank Grimes, organized themselves into a single marketing system. This group quickly expanded, and by the end of the year there were more than 150 IGA retailers. In 1930 there were over 8,000 grocery stores using the IGA name. The company uses the "Hometown Proud Supermarkets" slogan. Today, many IGA grocery stores are still located in smaller cities and towns throughout the United States."

IGA is not the powerhouse today that it once was, for a variety of reasons. But for decades, IGA grew rapidly and often dominated the landscape in the huge grocery business. It provided marketing, savings and other benefits to its associated grocers, so it paid to be a member of IGA.

In manufactured housing today, there are several 'buyers groups' that offer its members specific advantages, including lower costs on homes through volume rebates and/or other discounts.

We also have state and national associations, which offer a different range of benefits that include networking, educational and political lobbying.

What we don't have – yet – is a similar, formal alliance for MH akin to what IGA was for grocers. Thanks to the Internet and modern technology, that can now rapidly change in a way that would benefit all involved.

How can this model be applied to the manufactured housing Industry successfully today?

MHRetailers, MHCommunities, MH Associations, factories and service providers – Come to the Louisville Show in 2015 and see!the-road-to-success-mhpronews-louisville-manufactured-home-show-january21-23-2015

Your operation may be soaring, struggling or somewhere in between. You may be starting up in business, or ready to wide down.

Whatever your status, your business is worth more – duh! – when it is profiting more.

Learn how the successful IGA model can be applied to Manufactured and Modular Home sales at the 2015 Louisville Manufactured Housing Show. Yours truly will show you how we can grow your business and others, the smart way.

As an MH retailer, community or builder/developer, odds are excellent you can enter the show free.

Please see the Louisville show website for details and to pre-register free. Some 2,500 industry pros came to Louisville in 2014, far more than any other industry event! There are good reasons the crowd keeps growing. We hope you will come and see why the Road to Success starts in Louisville. Free pre-registration link is here. ##

(Great Depression Image Credits: WikiCommons)

l.a.tony_.kovach-publisher-manufacturedhomelivingnews-com-mhpronews-com-mhc-md-com-1by L. A. 'Tony' Kovach

Can Learning to Dance Increase Manufactured Housing Sales?

October 15th, 2014 No comments

Short answer to the headline question, yes! With your attention and curiosity clearly up, let's tell you exactly what this metaphor means in practical terms when selling manufactured homes.

dancing-lessons-wikicommons-posted-cutting-edge-blog-manufactured-housing-mhpro-news-com-Many people look at sales training as a way of manipulating a customer. If that is what the trainer, the owner or sales person thinks, then odds are good the training won't produce a long term positive result. What will? Learn “Dancing!”

True sales training of a big ticket sales item, such as manufactured homes, is about learning to dance the right way with your prospect.

Don't step on my toes!”

Other than mom or dad teaching their tyke how to dance, almost no one wants their toes stepped on when dancing.

A good sales professional learns how to move WITH their customer, learns the customer's rythms and movements. Then, they can 'guide' a customer – or be guided by them – in a fashion that works for both the seller and buyer.

You learn how NOT to step on your customer's toes! Good selling is like a good dance.

We'll touch on this topic and others that we use in our free manufactured home marketing and sales training at the Louisville Manufactured Housing show in 2015, hope you will be there. Only those who want to grow their results should come! ##

latonykovach-com-brushed-cutting-edge-marketing-sales-blog-mhpronews-com75x75-By L. A. “Tony” Kovach

Champion Homebuilder’s Jack Lawless Points the way to Manufactured Housing Sales Growth

October 9th, 2014 No comments

It is axiomatic that proven leaders are more listened to than 'losers,' and for good reasons. You can learn from anyone, we can learn from mistakes (our own or that of others), but performers often inspire others to greater performance. Which is perhaps why the high-flying Florida Manufactured Housing Association (FMHA) had rapidly rising Champion Homebuilders' Jack Lawless as a key morning speaker at their recent annual event in Orlando.

Jack Lawless has significant experience in the building products industry, and while he supplied firms in the past that produced manufactured homes, he is a relative newcomer to direct involvement in factory built housing. That said, FMHA attendees heard how Champion has roughly doubled their market share in HUD Code manufactured homes in the last 4-5 years! We were told how annual sales at Champion went from about $600 million to a roughly a billion annually.


With those kinds of results in MH, do you think Lawless had the room's attention? You bet. Jack's confident, engaging style as he walked among attendees certainly added to the experience.

When one person demonstrates they can double an already large operation in size so rapidly, it should remind us all that we can do similarly with the proper focus.

jack-lawless-champion-homebuilders-florida-manufactured-housing-association-fmha-2014-annual-meeting2-credit=cutting-edge-blog-mhpronews248x139-Let's cut to some of Jack's statements that ought to be in MH marketing and sales organizations minds, goals and play book.

> HUD code MH sales are rising, but Lawless said they are still no where near where they should be. Jack pointed out that automakers have more than doubled their sales from 2006 to 2014. This echoes what many we've interviewed have said.

> Jack said "there are no home runs right now," but if you have a number of singles, you can still score and win.

> If you want to dominate, you want to have a website superior to your competitors in your market area.

There was a lot more, and we hope to bring you some added take-aways in the days ahead.

Kudos to Jim Ayotte, FMHA board, Jack Lawless and the Champion team. This was one of the fine presentations, panel discussions at an energizing and their worthwhile annual event. ##

(Photo credits: MHProNews at the FMHA 2014 Annual Meeting in Orlando, FL)