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Simple, Short, Yet Powerful! Manufactured Home Marketing and Sales System

March 13th, 2017 No comments

It’s all about good, tailored story telling.

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Image credit, FHFA.

Everything else are details and commentary. ##

(Come and learn some of those details at the Business Building Seminars at the Tunica Show, Tuesday, March 28th from 1 to 5 PM.)

BusinessBuildingSeminarsManufacturedHomeMarketingSalesManagementMHProNewsBy L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.


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Sell More Customers by Opening Eyes and Opening Minds

February 12th, 2017 No comments

Sometimes I must remind myself there are times when less is more.  But there are also times when the details are crucial.

Knowing when ‘less is more,’ and when ‘the details will matter’ to a prospective client – those are critical issues.

SellMoreCustomersbyOpeningEyesandOpeningMinds

Several of our clients stopped by our display at the Louisville Manufactured Housing Show to give us in-person updates on their results, but another, had follow up questions.  Some clients were glowing — and in each case, they were the ones who were implementing the strategies they’re being coached on.

SIB-KIS_-_AIM_HighMHProNewsOne was happy, but not glowing.  That one had questions.

I reviewed some of what we had done and discussed previously.  I made a specific statement.

Suddenly, his eyes lit up.

At the end of the conversation, he said ‘Tony, maybe the most important thing I’ve heard during this whole trip to Louisville is what you just told me.  “If pretty pictures, and nice videos was all that was needed to sell more homes, our industry would be selling 500,000 homes a year, not 80,000.”’ (Note: that’s paraphrasing, I didn’t memorize it, so this isn’t word for word, but it’s close.)

After that conversation, when he got home, that client sent me another check.

To understand how to sell the better qualified cash or good credit buyer, you first have to do what the Native American saying recommends.  You have to walk a mile in the home buyer’s moccasins. You have to understand their perspective, because it’s their point of view that will cause them to buy, or not.

Fear of Loss, Desire for Gain

Among the motivators for humans is the fear of loss, and the desire for gain.

We humans don’t want to make a mistake (fear of loss).  We do want to progress (the desire for gain).

Duh! Marketing and Selling Systems MUST work TOGETHER

Marketing and Sales Systems MUST work in concert, or you will not achieve your goals of selling more cash or good credit qualified customers.

Think about this fact.  For every manufactured home sold, there are 99+ conventional housing units (new construction or existing homes) sold last year.

Among new construction – or existing housing buyers – most could easily buy a new upscale, residential style manufactured home.  You and we as professionals know the incredible value of our factory-crafted homes.

So, with well over 6 million housing units changing hands each year – counting new construction and existing house sales – where is the disconnect with millions of prospects?

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I was speaking with a colleague and client at MHVillage.  They have impressive website statistics.  The 20+ million visitors on their website a year. 20+ million!  But now ask yourself this question that I asked my friend. If there are so many visitors considering a mobile or manufactured home, why are so few buying new manufactured homes?

Good question…’ right?

Do the Math, and Open YOUR Eyes

80,000+ new homes sold/20 Million visitors to MHVillage alone – remember there are millions of other visits to millions of other websites = so, only about 0.004% of visitors shopping last year bought a new manufactured home. Less than 1%…

Ouch, but odds are, your website is not better than theirs at conversion ratios.

And certainly, you want to be in front of those MHVillage home shoppers.

This question of conversion ratios isn’t just a question for MHVillage, it’s a question for every:

  • Manufacturer
  • Retailer
  • Communities
  • Lenders
  • Suppliers
  • Installer/Transporter
  • Service Provider
  • Association

Yes, the attorney or CPA that serve our industry ought to care about those conversion ratios. Every factory worker who wants more job security, or who wants to see his friend hired at the plant, should care. Everyone involved in manufactured homes and affordable housing has a stake in seeing those tiny numbers, rise.

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Image is only part of our industry’s “tooth ache.”

The industry has a historic opportunity in 2017. We could be selling more homes than at any time since the mobile home era. Logistics, and your willingness to adapt, change and invest in your own operation is the only things holding you back.

You should care about is YOUR operation, YOUR location.  Take care of your location(s), and you’ll be doing your part to raise the industry’s total numbers.

Pieces of the Marketing Puzzle

So, it isn’t just one piece of the puzzle that will get you there for the vast majority of buyers.

There’s a range of things every home shopper is doing and cares about. Until they check off enough boxes, they won’t buy from you, period.

One more example.  Reputation management is HUGE with buyers.  We don’t do that, but Wayne Coakley at Grenade Marketing does.

Media, Public Relations, and YOU

At the upcoming Tunica Manufactured Housing Show, we will be doing a special seminar on Engaging the Media. Good media is a useful part of the marketing/sales puzzle.

Getting useful, third party media isn’t a snap of the finger, or everyone would be doing it.  But it is doable, and easier than you may think.  For most of our clients, the top end potential is limited only by logistics.  There is that much more business in your market. One client reported over 400% growth, and they’re growing even more this year than last.

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Please plan on attending the March 28th, Engaging the Media presentation – That’s Tuesday afternoon.  The latest Tunica Manufactured Housing Show update is here. Watch for updates.

Remember.  There’s a sea of customers looking for what your retail, community, development, or production center offers.

We as an industry are getting less than 1% of the housing pie.  Odds are you’re doing similar to the industry.

That means you could easily triple or quadruple your sales – just by learning how to attract those better cash and good credit customers.

Come to our seminar, and stop by our display booth at the Tunica Show for a conversation.  Odds are excellent you’ll be glad you did.

Fear of Loss, and the Desire for Gain.  Your prospective customers feel it, you should too. ##

(Image credits, MHProNews or MHLivingNews.)

LATonyKovachPresentingIndustryMembers-MHProNews

Submitted by L. A. ‘Tony” Kovach, connect with me on LinkedIn, see my profile, here.

 

 

Integrating, Marketing Sales and PEP

October 10th, 2015 No comments

The MH Industry’s ongoing need for an integrated approach to marketing, sales and PEP was on full display during the NY Housing Association’s annual meeting. As is common in association functions, legal and legislative updates, business meetings and event sponsors were on the agenda. New homes were available for members and the pubic to tour. Breakfast, lunch, reception, dinner and awards provided lots of opportunities for networking among members and guests. Nancy Geer and company did a fine job, as they so routinely do.

Yours truly was featured for the marketing and sales speaker.

pep-protect-educate-promote-posted-om-mhpronews-comIdeally, marketing and sales are not about exaggeration or manipulation. The truth well told is the best marketing and sales approach you can have.

Associations routinely attract the best, plus those who seek to improve their performance.  That makes for a good audience for someone like me.

As a related report dramatically demonstrated, part of my presentation to the members anticipated the practical challenges that can arise from public officials.

Challenges to the industry’s image – which impacts your sales results – can also come from the media, academia or other sources.

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The higher volume MH decades are a reminder
of what is possible today.  When other operations of your size successfully
do what we do, teach and preach, that means you can too.
Graphic credit, Ross Kinzler, WHA.

 The facts from my power point shared at the New York Housing Alliance’s meeting are all proof of the amazing potential for our product.  But that potential will not fall into your lap!  Like silver or gold, it must be mined.  But mining this can be easier and more profitable than a silver or gold mine, because everyone needs a quality place to live.

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Marketing does not take place in a vacuumWhat makes MH different than almost any product of service you can name, is how widely misunderstood it is.

Let’s rephrase that point to underscore it.  With a car, boat, RV, cell, clothing, house or apartment, you have broad acceptance.

By contrast, the MH marketer’s job is complicated by the lack of a positive, broad acceptance by the public.

We have a great value, but most people are stuck in 30-50 year old stereotypes or believe things that may have once been true, but are not true of MH today.

Challenges are Opportunity in Disguise

Thus there is a crying need for an MH trade media that provides a healthy, proper respect for MH Homeowners, experts and professionals who know the product best, and who can say why they love their homes or the MH product.

When public officials have a better sense of how and why so many MH owners love their homes, that’s good for those owners, local MH businesses as well as the broader industry.

When public officials begin to grasp that the affordable housing crisis can be solved via the proper understanding of unsubsidized MH, they are more likely to get out of the way, and let MH pros do their jobs properly.

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Graphic above from Iowa Attorney General’s Office.

The Public Official’s Vantage Point

 

Think about this fact. Officials are most often contacted by those who have a complaint. Human nature says that over time, that can tend to skew for an official the reality of how MH serves millions of people so very well.

But the reality is millions of MH owners love their homes.  The report we published, linked here, shows how few complaints there are today on HUD Code homes, in a perfect world, that should be the headline!

A similar negative bias can happen with the media.

badnewsheadlines-credit-life-as-a human-postedCuttingEdgeBlogMHProNews-com-

“If it bleeds, it leads.” Reporters tend to

report bad news. Graphic credit – LifeAsAHuman.

For example, when the only stories a reporter tends to cover are the old pre-HUD code mobile homes that burn down, you as media might be shocked that today’s manufactured homes (MH) are proven safer against fires than a site built house is.

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Education and promotion of the new realities must become a standard part of all that you as an MH pro should do.

When you are part of the promotion and education, you’ll sell more homes too.

Fix the Image though Education, Or Fight More Battles

The industry has only a Hobson’s choice; to fight those stigmas and outdated tales with the truth or face ever more regulatory and media hurdles.

SingingDancingToursTalkingMostMHConsumerFocusedVideoInterviews-ManufacturedHomeLivingNewsLATonyKovach-InsideMH

What better way to tell that story than via videos with those who know the homes, because they live in one?

Or what better way can you start to change the image with public officials than by showing an interview with an independent house inspector who has inspected thousands of houses, and hundreds of HUD Code MH, and then says that MH is consistently better built than a conventional house is?

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Or why not showcase an interview with the top public official who was in charge of the HUD Code home program, extolling the virtues and value of MH!

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Third Part Validation

Anyone in sales knows the value of good referrals and positive third party messages. That’s one reason why social media is so popular.

It is also why businesses loves to get positive media coverage.

What our operation has done is establish a new foundation for businesses – and thus the industry’s – rebirth.  Our work doesn’t take place in a vacuum either.  Good association efforts are ideally a book end and complement to what good trade media does.  Associations play a key role, which our work in turn supports through compelling truth telling.

In a perfect world, good trade associations support the trade media, and the trade media showcases the important work that associations are doing.

Automotive, RV, tech or other trade media begins with an often unstated but implied premise that the product or service they are covering has value!  It’s not a secret, it’s a given.  Journalists understand that and it is not an issue.

Precisely because trade media is independent of other firms or associations, media will look at them in that light.  Thus trade media can influence the conversation as media.

What has been widely lacking for MH prior to MHLivingNews/MHProNews, is a strong combination of pro-Industry trade media, as well as pro-consumer coverage that highlights all that is good about MH.  We cover bad news too, but we also cover the positive stories that public officals, the media and the general public need to see and hear.

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With the complete package of supportive trade media, plus professional marketing and sales training, you can end up with SuperCharged results for your bottom line.

Stop and Think

People tend to begin the buying process with a mix of interest and skepticism. They want the result, but may not yet be sure of the specific home or firm that they want to do business with. Or they may be curious about MH, but are not yet ‘sold.’

What our marketing and sales training does is create a supportive backdrop to everything else that you as a community operator or retailer, builder, etc. do.

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Once a perspective likes you, your location, home, etc. and have an interest, if they search for news on Manufactured Home Living, our website pops up as a support to all else that you do.

That can and already does routinely make a difference with a consumer on the fence.

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It can also make a difference with public officials and other media. When news outlets such as Reuters picks up a positive story about MH from MHLivingNews – that carries weight.

What you and all industry pros need is to work with us to scale that kind of positive outcome!

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The more people who discover MHLivingNews.com, the more homes there will be sold. That’s good for the buyer, the industry and public officials.

That’s good for pros like you.

So when you need:

  • A website,
  • Videos,
  • Marketing,
  • Sales recruiting,
  • Sales Training,
  • Consulting, etc…

…who are you going to call?

Why not call the only operation in all of manufactured housing that provides you with the background and foreground support that you and everyone in MH needs!

That’s what we do, day by day, making it better for you to be in this great MH industry. We are better off working together.

Associations, you and us are all better off when we’re working together, it’s good for the consumer, the industry and you. That’s the facts! We’re sticking with it. ##

LATonyKovachPresentingIndustryMembers-MHProNewsBy L.A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.

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.

manufactured-housing-mobile-home-shipments-graph-chart-calculatedrisk-posted-masthead-blog-mhpronews-com-(1)

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.

AmericansOnceShakenNowStirred_AffordableHousingCrisisMHLivingNews-600x340

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. ##

LATonyKovach-Louisville-2015-mhpronews-com-275x156 (1)

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.

TheKennedyNewDurhamEstatesModelHomeTourWestvilleIN-InsideMH-ManufacturedHomeLivingNews

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.

average-shipment-per-decade-manufactured-home-posted-on-mhpronews-com

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? ##

LATonyKovach-Louisville-2015-mhpronews-com-275x156 (1)

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.