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Archive for September, 2015

A Home-Shoppers Eye View of MH vs a Professional’s Vantage Point

September 30th, 2015 No comments

Your firm wants to sell that next home. Then another. Then another. Of course. The shopper wants to get a home, but from their viewpoint, MH may not be high on their radar (or manufactured homes may not be on their radar at all).

For you to break through to the better qualified buyers out there, you have to see the world through their eyes, not your own.

We’re going to oversimplify to make some rapid points. There are exceptions to these generalities, so let’s keep in mind we mutually want to see MH Advance for the sake of all.

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Note: MHI has very similar totals to this chart which used data provided by MHARR.

When you’ve been in MH a significant length of time involving contact with retail customers or the general public, you begin to understand certain realities. In no certain order of importance:

  • Some housing shoppers genuinely want an MH

  • Some see MH as a stepping stone to a ‘real house’

  • Some see MH as the house of last resort

  • Some like what they see in MH, but they are troubled by various negative impressions (wind storms, financing, resale, etc.)

Too many MH Pros are guilty. Guilty of what, you ask?

Unwillingness to change to adapt to the opportunities all around. As a rule, those who come to MHProNews or MHLivingNews tend to be the forward thinkers, or those looking for solutions. So this is not meant as an offense to anyone, just a statement of fact.

When more MH pros become laser-focused on opening up to the many new ways to attract better qualified clients, new MH home sales levels will no longer snore. They’ll soar.

To sell more homes, one must start with twin realities.

  1. Where the consumers mind set is at, and you must be able to successfully address it, regardless.

  2. What the strengths and weaknesses about your location(s), team(s) or career.

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MHI correctly notes that over 20 years, MH has averaged some 20% of the total new housing starts in the U.S.. Sadly, that’s NOT the case for the last decade. Returning to that 20% of single family housing starts figure alone would take MH to sales levels we’ve not seen in over a decade.  See graphic, at the right below.

Based upon a SWOT analysis of your location, and given an understanding of the realities-on- the-ground at your operation, you create a plan tailored to advance your marketing and sales.

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Graphic credit, Reed Construction and MHProNews, based on U.S. Census Bureau data.

Here are the challenge, and the opportunities. With incomes down, with rents rising, with about 4 million boomers retiring a year (pretty amazing all by itself, yes?) once you learn how to open the minds of housing seekers in your market, your sales can roar.

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Unlike some trainers and marketers, Tony has owned and successfully operated a sales center that hit the top 1/2 of 1% all retail sales centers in the U.S. nationally.  Tony has also supervised MHCs and fired up sales results for them too.   These are reality based insights, not pipe dreams.  Tony’s next public trade presentation will be the New York Housing Alliance, see link below.

On MHLivingNews.com, we’ve been developing a library of video interviews that help knock down consumer’s preconceived or errant notions about today’s MH. These videos are true interviews, not commercials. They are clearly unscripted.

A serious shopper likes that, and once interested, will watch a number of those interviews and video home tours, until they are ready to go to a community or sales center.

That’s when the real work begins. As many of you know, you don’t handle the good credit or cash buyer the same as the ‘get me done’ Customer. You and your colleagues/team mates must be ready for that more upscale, credit or cash qualified buyers.

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If you have not yet seen the Inside MH Video series, you’ve not been on MHLivingNews.com lately!

With dozens of video interviews in hand, we can now start making videos that tell a story. Once they’re intrigued, they will want to see even more of those in-depth consumer and expert interviews.

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Housing shopping isn’t always fun for home seekers. They may have pressures. They may be well off. But everyone has had dark moods and times.  Those realities may help you understand the ‘dark clouds’ this video begins with!

Check out this new, and already favorably commented upon video production, linked here or above. Get an RSS feed on your consumer-focused website that features MHLivingNews.com. It’s a free way to tap into our exclusive and otherwise copyrighted content.

For those with a budget and a hunger to advance to the next level, see why we have so many endorsements and recommendations. Then, send me a message of give me a call, thanks. We hope to see some of you at my New York Housing’s 65th annual event. There will be a special marketing and sales presentation. If you’re anything like attendees from coast-to-coast at similar presentations made, you’ll be glad you came. Learn to see things from the shoppers eye view, adapt and soar. ##

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L A ‘Tony’ Kovach has become one of the most widely recognized experts in MH marketing, sales and publishing.

By L. A. “Tony” Kovach.

Video and The Challenge of Filling the Older Manufactured Home Community

September 24th, 2015 No comments

There are many ways that a person can present the facts. We happen to advocate telling the truth, in the best possible light. What does that mean with video? How do you approach filling spaces in vacant MHCs, when there are an estimated 400,000 vacant manufactured home community sites from coast-to-coast?  If you retail homes from a less than perfect sales center, what do you do?

Reframing What Is

The challenge of the camera is that once it’s activated, it sees everything in its path. Is a light bulb burned out? Is the grass mowed? Is there a crack in the street? When the grass is mowed, did the grounds person blow all the grass off the cement, or did the guy or gal miss some?

So one must decide, what do you do with what you actually videoed?  Please see the video on the page linked below.

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http://manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/the-kennedy-model-home-video-tour-new-durham-estates-westville-in/

MH Manufacturers, lenders, retailers and community operators have to come to grips with both the opportunities and the challenges of today. A million new starts will happen this year, why only some 65,000 new HUD Code home sales?  Don’t say financing, that’s not holding back the stick-builders. Nor can you play bait-and-switch in the modern world today, and expect to end up with a good online reputation.

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When you built fewer homes, there are also less used homes that are going to be available. Sooner or later, you have to figure out how to sell those new homes.  See MHC-MD.com Chart credit: Wisconsin Housing Alliance.

Here is another gee-the-truth-hurts newsflash. They don’t build used inventory. Let me tell you what the older community, or the retailer that wants to turn a new page, has to do. They have to reframe their image, yet do so in the light of reality. You have to learn how to attract and sell people that have better credit or can pay cash.  

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The right message, the right marketing and sales plan and proper execution are all part of that process.

If you are within a day’s drive or a short flight of New York next month, consider attending our next public presentation on SuperCharge Sales and Marketing. Those who have did not walk away disappointed. Remember, ignorance costs, knowledge pays. Or two other favorites, what are your lost sales costing you? What are your vacant sites costing you? ##

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L A ‘Tony’ Kovach has become one of the most widely recognized experts in MH marketing, sales and publishing.  See him in NY in October.

By L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.

Words Matter – Mobile, Trailer vs. Manufactured Home Marketing, Sales and Management

September 20th, 2015 No comments

Every savvy marketer knows that your choice of words matter. Any thinking, successful sales pro should knows that too. It stands to reason that management should also be aware of that reality.  Sadly, we see widespread evidence that much if not most of MH fails to grasp a truth uttered by no less a figure than real estate and manufactured home community mogul, Sam Zell.

“Pencil head, it’s not a trailer park.” – Sam Zell

Let’s press on and say, when an MH pro calls our industry’s homes “mobile homes,” they are making a mistake. Yet across the spectrum, we see players of all sizes make the same excuse the media often does.  ‘People say mobile homes, a number of my customers say ‘trailer house,’ why should I correct my customers?  Why shouldn’t I just go with the flow?’

Because words matter.  Facts matter.  Image matters.

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Change always occurs, every moment of every day. The question is, will you embrace change or get run over by it? To see and hear great insights from Jim Clayton, check out the in depth video interview we did with him, linked here.

When we do out Inside MH Road Show, we often have home owners who struggle with that same issue.  They tell us off camera, they ‘don’t want to be known as “trailer trash.”’

Ok. Then correct your usage of words. We in MH ought to support and lead that effort.

There are people with weak will and weak minds.  I trust that doesn’t include you, because only those looking to advance – which requires will and intellect – are going to read this.

Before we start an interview, I routinely chat with the person that will be on camera with me as the videographer is setting up. One day, a man was saying mobile home this, mobile home that.

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Want to understand your customer base better? Check out videos like this one with Dave Cavinder, real interviews with real MH home owners.

I asked him (Dave) a question. If you had to sell your home, which do you think would bring you more money?  Calling your residence a

  • Trailer house
  • Mobile home or
  • Manufactured home?

For virtually all of the interview, that man who spent his whole life saying mobile home began to say, Manufactured Home. By the way, the interview was delightful, a real hoot!  Check it out, linked here.

There is a code difference, which means there is a legal difference, with a manufactured home.  We have built no mobile homes in the U.S. since June 15, 1976. You Don’t have to sacrifice SEO to use the right terminology! When you elevate our industry, your lift location and your self up when you properly say ‘manufactured home.’  The short version?

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To see the exclusive insights and comments for MH Pros from Sam Zell, Point of the Spear and You’ve Got to Have Confidence, click here.

“Pencil head, it’s not a trailer park.” – Sam Zell, Chairman, ELS

Attend one of our upcoming marketing and sales seminars, New York is up next.  If your team needs a speaker or trainer, discover why we get such high ratings from those who work with us.  If the bottom line matters, and it does, you’ll be glad you did. ##

By L. A. “Tony” Kovach.

Can Your, Location, Event, State or Region Create its own Budget-Minded Video Educational-Image-Marketing Campaign?

September 13th, 2015 No comments

The short answer to the headline question is yes, you can. For the past year, we’ve been testing the creation of videos that can be used to educate, inform and inspire home seekers to see first hand the value of today manufactured homes.

For about – or under – $10,000 total, you can have not one, but a series of quality videos that showcase:

  • Great looking video home tours

  • Share interviews from third party professionals or experts that explain why today’s MH is such an amazing value

  • Videos and articles that debunk common myths about manufactured homes

Please click the link below, watch that video and finish this article.

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With the video you’ve just seen in mind, imagine capturing your next:

  • MH Event or home-show on video

  • Use Ariel Drone Video to showcase your community, factory or appealing retail center

  • Third party created home owner video interviews (studies strongly suggest these are much more powerful – about 5x to 7x more impactful – than videos you’d do yourself locally, because they are ‘third party’ and ‘not an ad’)

  • Inside MH factory interviews and tours

  • Interviews with experts

  • How-to, DIY and Educational videos

The Power of Third Party News Coverage

Ever watch a positive news program about a business or product and wish your business or manufactured housing in general got that kind of coverage?

Hundreds of thousands of savvy business owners – in or out of MH – want exactly that, and are willing to pay thousands-to-millions of dollars, just to try to get positive PR.

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Good news – print, online or good TV/video coverage – is highly prized by any company or profession. Graphic credit: ContextFL.

With ManufacturedHomeLivingNews.com, the ability to know get positive coverage for your buyers group, association members, your location, etc. is now possible. Our work has that true third-party news look, feel and respectability. MHLivingNews.com does what other specialized trade publishers do for their respective professions and industries.

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Now is the time many companies and associations are setting their budgets for next year. Smaller state associations might pool the money together to do such image/educational videos together for their members, or get a group of their members to share the cost of such a campaign.

Buyers groups, or even friendly colleagues in business could do this in any part of the U.S..

Give us a call or send an email, to learn more about the kinds of locations we can work with on such projects. Because it isn’t just about the dollars, we want professionals who are a good reflection on the MH Industry.

This video info-tainment process works. There is more to discuss beyond videos, but videos are an important element for the successful advance of MH today.

There is no time like the present to improve the image of your location or members, so that your revenues and profits will grow. ##

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SuperCharged Marketing and Sales, by L. A. “Tony” Kovach, will be showcased during the New York Housing Associations 65th anniversary regional MH professionals event. More event info, is linked here.

By L.A. “Tony” Kovach.

A Key to MH Recovery? Protecting Used Home Resale Values!

September 4th, 2015 No comments

Imagine this.  A retired couple with plenty of resources, they want to downsize and are considering a manufactured home in a nice land lease community. They go to look. They like the property and location. They find a number of used MHs there for sale. Even if they like what they see in the MHC, excess inventory for resale may trouble them.  They are also finding bargain prices on existing homes, and that might nag the mind of the savvy shopper too.

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Golden agers are smart, and make up nearly 50% of MH home owners, and reports indicate they have about 2/3rds of all the assets in the U.S.. They’ve been around the block, and thus know which way is up. Photo credit – Medical Center Arlington .

In conventional real estate, when existing home prices are closer to new home prices, that’s generally a good thing for home owners and lenders alike.

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Smart Buyers Want Values Protected, so do Smart Lenders

This won’t be my first (or last?) time to point out the utter necessity for protecting and promoting a vigorous resale market thatrising-home-production-shutterstock-mhpronews-com in turns keeps used home values high.  A prime reason for our support of HR 650/S 682 is precisely because it protects the values of home owners!  Their success is our industry’s success.

Look at conventional real estate.  One reason people are willing to step up to a new site built house is because they have good equity in an existing conventional home.  While that happens in MH, it has to happen more for the health and security of our home owners, lenders and our new home industry too.

Not Theory, Facts

Interesting timing, as an industry colleague from 25 years ago called today as I was writing this post. He was recalling how the finance operation he worked for and my retail center at the time proved this business model of supporting good resale values.  We sold pre-owned homes for more than anyone in that market. That was good for used and new home business alike

Finance and good remarketing – at higher prices, not cheap give-away prices! – was a model we demonstrated. So 25 years later, why are we still talking, instead of seeing more in MH doing what has worked in conventional real estate for decades?

As you consider changes to your marketing and sales plan, step back.  Think how it works in real estate. The closer we get to that model, the stronger our demand for used and new homes will be. ##

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See the kind words shared by the MMHF Chairman, by clicking the photo linked above.

By L. A. “Tony” Kovach.