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“’Tis the Season” for a Marketing and Sales Lesson!

December 15th, 2013 1 comment

The holidays are here. Hanukah – the Festival of Lights – came early this year and has now passed. Christmas and New Year's are coming up rapidly, and for over a billion souls, this is Advent. People marketing and selling homes are starting to think or run 'tax refund' ads – which are fine – but there is an amazingly important and ever so easy lesson that this holiday season ought to bring to mind for all.

Here it is. It's soooooooooooooooo simple. Don't miss this one, because it is foundational to everything else that you do.

Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”

Yes, that's it. Don't shrug or laugh, because this is huge! Understood and properly applied, it's powerful!

Indeed, ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt, China, India and faith traditions around the world have some saying that is similar to this one. Wikipedia cites this as an example from Greece:

"Do not do to your neighbor what you would take ill from him." – Pittacus[18] (c. 640–568 BC)

In the Jewish faith, we find many examples, but let's use this one:

“You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against your kinsfolk. Love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.” —Leviticus 19:18

For Christians, “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” is found in Matthew 7:12 and see also Luke 6:31.

Islam has its elements too, “…and you should forgive And overlook: Do you not like God to forgive you? And Allah is The Merciful Forgiving.” — Qur’an (Surah 24, "The Light," v. 22).

The above it not to say that all religions and cultures say the same and do the same thing, because they are different. But this sampling does point out that in much of human history and religious belief see this as an important element.

So is it any wonder that this concept ought to be the foundation for all long term marketing, sales or management career success? It should be obvious!

I've mentioned my friend, colleague and published author – Greg McClanahan – who is running a very successful factory built home sales operation. You can bet that Greg has those words engraved in his mind and heart.

do-it-right-lou-holtz-posted-mhpronews_com-masthead-blog-1(1).pngTim Connor, who is a library of knowledge when it comes to selling and management, ends every one of his popular Words of Wisdom blog posts with the words – “In His Service” – before signing his name. Tim and I have worked together, corresponded and spoken often. You can bet that this phrase – “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” – is at the core of what Tim lives and breathes. Tim has helped companies sell tens – even hundreds – of millions of dollars in products and services, and he has sold over 2 million copies of his own books. Do you think he knows something about selling and management?

Youbetcha.

FYI, you can see a brief review on both Greg's book and Tim's latest book at this link.

In my own work, I'm always thinking 'win-win' vs. 'win-lose.' Why? Think about it. “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” suggests a win-win. If we both benefit from an exchange, then we have done unto the other what we would have wanted ourselves.

Good customer service! It is soooooooooooooooo simple! Yet it is so profound.

When I'm training people, I often mention this framed quotes shown by successful football coach Lou Holtz. It has hung for years over my desk.

Do Right

Rule 1: Do What's Right.

Rule 2: Do Your Best.

Rule 3: Treat Others Like You Want to be Treated.

Three questions people ask about you.

  • Can I Trust You?
  • Are You Committed?
  • Do You Care About Me?

Ladies and Gents, that's at the core of all that we strive to do. You and I may disagree or see something differently on this or that. But so far, no one comes up to me at a live event and has ever said, 'are you committed to the Industry?' They see it in almost every word written and those spoken too.

If we care about our customer – whoever our customer happens to be – if we care about our team mates, then amazing things begin to happen. “'Tis the Season” to reflect on this powerful marketing and sales lesson. If what you plan or do passes these simple tests, you've take huge steps towards success. ##

PS: Check our many Exclusive and Red Hot Featured Articles for November and see the other new stories at MHLivingNews.com too.

L. A. "Tony" KovachL. A. 'Tony' Kovach
ManufacturedHomeLivingNews.com | MHProNews.com |
Business and Public Marketing & Ads: B2B | B2C
Websites, Contract Marketing & Sales Training, Consulting, Speaking:

MHC-MD.com | LATonyKovach.com | Office 863-213-4090

Connect on LinkedIN:
http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach 

7 Steps to Success

November 10th, 2013 No comments

Want to advance your performance, or that of your team? Then you've come to the right place today!

All success is a matter of systems that are grounded in a set of principles. The proper principles are thus a foundation for any success system you may opt to pursue.

We have a number of secret and less than secret 'weapons' we use in our marketing, sales, management consulting work. There is nothing particularly new about the 7 Habits of Highly Successful People since Stephen Covey first published it, save the fact that it needs to be more broadly understood and applied. This is particularly true for organizations in our industry.

3d_man_with_check_mark-free-digital-photos-net--posted-mhpronews-.jpgLet's take a quick tour, in part courtesy of a summary from Wikipedia  – with some added emphasis of the 7 Habits – and you will see why these principles truly are 7 Steps to Success.

The 7 Habits

The book first introduces the concept of Paradigm Shiftand prepares the reader for a change in mindset. It helps the reader understand that there exists a different perspective, a viewpoint that may be different from his or her own and asserts that two people can see the same thing and yet differ with each other. Once the reader is prepared for this, it introduces the seven habits, in a proper order.

Each chapter is dedicated to one of the habits, which are represented by the following imperatives:brain-success-free-digital-photos-net--posted-mhpronews-.jpg

Independence.

The First Three Habits surround moving from dependence to independence(i.e., self-mastery):

  • Habit 1: Be Proactive

Take initiative in life by realizing that your decisions (and how they align with life's principles) are the primary determining factor for effectiveness in your life. Take responsibility for your choices and the consequences that follow.

  • Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind

Self-discover and clarify your deeply important character values and life goals. Envision the ideal characteristics for each of your various roles and relationships in life.

  • Habit 3: Put First Things First

A manager must manage his own person. Personally. And managers should implement activities that aim to reach the second habit. Covey says that rule two is the mental creation; rule three is the physical creation.Business_man_climbing_stairs._3d_rendered_illustration-free-digital-photos-net--posted-mhpronews-.jpg

Interdependence.

The next three have to do with Interdependence (i.e., working with others):

  • Habit 4: Think Win-Win

Genuinely strive for mutually beneficial solutions or agreements in your relationships. Value and respect people by understanding a "win" for all is ultimately a better long-term resolution than if only one person in the situation had got his way.

  • Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood

Use empathic listening to be genuinely influenced by a person, which compels them to reciprocate the listening and take an open mind to being influenced by you. This creates an atmosphere of caring, and positive problem solving.

  • Habit 6: Synergize

Combine the strengths of people through positive teamwork, so as to achieve goals no one person could have done alone.

Continuous Improvement.

The final habit is that of continuous improvement in both the personal and interpersonal spheres of influence.

  • Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw

Balance and renew your resources, energy, and health to create a sustainable, long-term, effective lifestyle. It primarily emphasizes exercise for physical renewal, prayer (meditation, yoga, etc.) and good reading for mental renewal. It also mentions service to society for spiritual renewal.

cash-bag-wikicommons--posted-mhpronews-.jpgCovey explains the "Upward Spiral" model in the sharpening the saw section.

Through our conscience, along with meaningful and consistent progress, the spiral will result in growth, change, and constant improvement. In essence, one is always attempting to integrate and master the principles outlined in The 7 Habits at progressively higher levels at each iteration. Subsequent development on any habit will render a different experience and you will learn the principles with a deeper understanding.

The Upward Spiral model consists of three parts: learn, commit, do. According to Covey, one must be increasingly educating the conscience in order to grow and develop on the upward spiral. The idea of renewal by education will propel one along the path of personal freedom, security, wisdom, and power.

Applications for Manufactured Housing Professionals and Organizations

Let's start with the three parts of the Upward Spiral. Learn. Commit. Do.

In our exclusive interview with Barry Noffsinger from CU Factory Built Lending, Barry said the following, quoting verbatim:

In my view, we have a mainstream product being promoted by an extremely beautiful industry that sometimes suffers from low self-esteem.

With our quality and affordability we should be at the first thought of every stakeholder when it comes to affordable housing options. Instead, sometimes we say yes to the first person to ask us to the prom.

For example, I hear all the time that we need financial institutions to return “to the ‘90’s” and buy deeper. My question is why? Shouldn’t we learn from history?

According to Fair Isaac, 73% of the US population has a credit score over 650. Let’s all be innovative and creative in our own little corner to move our industry from “Boutique” to “Supercenter.””

> Take the first of the 7 Habits. Be pro-active! Take responsibility for whatever your current situation is professionally and as an organization.

> Next, Begin with the End in Mind, and – for example, in the case of financing – we think sustainable lending that benefits borrower, seller and lender then…

> …we are putting First Things First and are Thinking Win-Win. I had top people from three industry lenders at a lunch table at a recent event. The big round table had perhaps 8 others beside myself seated. I asked the lenders for the benefit of all about their losses on repossessions. All agreed that they are at 50% or higher and that this was one of the factors that caused higher rates for a personal property loans. That is not win-win, that is win-lose. It is one of the factors that limits lending in our industry.

Mutual Victories will Advance MH Lending

The takeaway for the above true story is that MH Communities and MH Retailers MUST become part of the profitable solution for lenders and consumers to exit successfully without taking a big hit. That exit has to be similar to the effectiveness of Realtors in the real estate market.

Mutual Victories will reward and attract more MH Homeowners

Once we synergize with lenders, we will attract more good credit and cash customers. Rates for chattel lending will be lower and will be more sustainable. That in turn will attract more lenders to our industry.

This is how 'think win-win' and 'beginning with the end in mind' results in huge mutual victory!

This isn't just a pious idea, it is a practical, profitable and proven principle. By Seeking first to Understand, and then to be Understood, along with Synergizing with lenders, we professionally enjoyed some remarkable successes in our industry during difficult times, and the lenders involved where thrilled too. Had that pattern caught fire then, let me flatly assert we would be selling many times more homes as an industry and would do so with more consumer satisfaction and acceptance than we currently have today.

Weaving Principles into Practice

Once a person understand the basic principles of success, it is time to weave those principles into practice. The best ideas that go in-implemented are like that great recipe that never gets used in the kitchen.

dartboard-success-free-digital-photos-net-posted-mhpronews-.jpgDuring my days owning/managing a Top 100 in the U.S. retail center, now as a publisher and industry consultant, applying such principles have been keys to all that we do. No baseball player bats 1000! But if you bat .300, you are already a star, so long as solid win-win principles underscore all that you do.

Get and read the book 7 Habits of Highly Successful People. Learn the principles. Line up the talent and expertise you need, because it is often required to advance.

You may find this weekend's Masthead blog post that shares an incredible success story worth your time too.

The reason for success stories is that real life success stories remind us that if they did it, you can too. And the reason for 7 Steps to Success is to give you one of the tools that will take you from where you are to where you are could be! Think Big! Day by day, by applying proven principles, you can do it. ##

PS: Check our many Exclusive and Red Hot Featured Articles for November and see the other new stories at MHLivingNews.com too.

L. A. "Tony" KovachL. A. 'Tony' Kovach
ManufacturedHomeLivingNews.com | MHProNews.com |
Business and Public Marketing & Ads: B2B | B2C
Websites, Contract Marketing & Sales Training, Consulting, Speaking:

MHC-MD.com | LATonyKovach.com | Office 863-213-4090

Connect on LinkedIN:
http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach 

Buying Time

November 3rd, 2012 No comments

Whenever a business person hires or contracts out a job, they are buying timing. They may not look at it quite that way, but that is the reality. If you own or manage a business which has other people, you know what this means or will feel the light bulb going off over head as you read.

Buying time wisely is one of the keys to success in factory-built housing.

Buying Time Wisely

I've seen even successful companies do some rather odd things when it comes to buying time wisely. For example, what about those operations that hire one or more full time person(s) to do what ought to be a temporary job?

It is often less expensive and more cost effective to contract certain work out. For example, a mom and pop operation that retails homes likely contracts out the move, foundation, installation and utility hookups. That is a wise purchase of contracted time. Until you hit a certain volume of deliveries and installations consistently, it makes no sense to have your own crew.

  • But what about certain management or specialized functions?
  • What about marketing, advertising, web, social media?
  • Can a modest sized operation afford to have a sales trainer on staff?

These and other functions may be best suited for contracted services.

When it comes to leveraging time, think Social Media – Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google Plus, etc – and your Website as some of the key ways to maximize time leveraging.

Once you've built the right website for your needs, that becomes your 24/7/365 spokesperson! It delivers the same message with precision! Investing in the right social media and Internet marketing pays off in multiple ways. You invest up front, but it pays off for years to come.

Spending Time Wisely

Finally, for yourself and your team, you want them to invest time wisely. A common example of wasted time is sadly in sales. You would not be alone if you have a sales professional who spends only 10-15% of her or his time actually selling. They may spend as much time surfing the web or playing solitaire on the computer than they do trying to make you another sale.

So how do you get the most from your time and that of your team?

Good industry trade media – think MHProNews.com – is a priceless resource to many companies large and small, because we provide relevant content for rank and file team members as well as management. Get your associates reading 15 minutes minimum daily!

Professionals and athletes practice and drill in every field. Ours should be no different.

Because we archive stories, you won't run out of worthwhile reading. Anyone can go back for years and read timeless articles on marketing, sales or management, communities, retail, legal, finance, inspirational or other industry relevant topics. Just use the top menu on the home page to explore and navigate all the information you can access freely.

Where to start?

If you want to contract out certain work, but don't know where to start, send us a message or give us a call. Before you waste any more time or money, think of us when you need web, social media, training or other professional needs. Our services are confidential, unless we mutually agree otherwise. If we don't do the type of work you need, we always try to point you in a worthwhile direction to find what fits.

One call or email can start it all. Remember, its about time. Buying time wisely is like buying more money. Yes, you can. ##

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

other new stories and 'Purely Political' cartoons 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

LATonyKovach.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

Marketing Manufactured Housing online makes it easier, but not effortless

October 9th, 2010 1 comment

Online marketing has made the job of identifying, contacting and staying in touch with leads a simple and easier process. Unfortunately, it has led some to believe in a “do it once, benefit forever” marketing mentality.

While some of your efforts in online marketing can be classified as “evergreen” (non-changing information giving you benefit for years to come), the day-to-day effort of building customer and prospect relationships requires some diligence.

Just as gathering a big pile of lumber, nails and other components on your factory floor requires more effort to turn it into a house, the building blocks of an online marketing campaign require ongoing effort to turn it into a working strategy.

Components of an online marketing campaign:

  • Website
  • Blog
  • Social Networking
  • Static Content
  • Dynamic (Fresh) Content
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Analytics
  • Press Releases
  • News Feeds
  • Marketing
  • Web Design
  • Craigslist
  • Online Listings Sites

We’ll work our way through this list in later posts, but this time I’d like to draw our attention to the first item – the website.

I know from experience that some of you still don’t have a website. But there’s a better than even chance that if you don’t yet have one, you are probably not bothering to read this blog …or this ezine for that matter.

I’ve drawn this analogy before, but your website is like the foundation of one of our homes. It isn’t optional. Without it, your marketing efforts, both online and offline are structurally defective and it danger of collapse.

If your website hasn’t been updated, it is much like the home that was set and forgotten. Deferred maintenance is now taking it’s toll and it won’t be long before parts of it are endangered from internal rot and invasion by enemies from without.

The technology to make updating your website an easier and less costly task are readily available. Your web design team should know how to make it possible for you to update parts of your website yourself. If they don’t, we do. So give up the dependency of that old school adversarial relationship and give us a call.

By the way, we just scratched at items 4 & 5 on the list as well.

By all indications, 2011 could be a very good year for manufactured housing if we are willing to do what it takes. In an Industry Voices post last week, Thayer Long of MHI aid out some objectives for 2011. Giving them the support they need to see those objectives through could be the start of something big.

But don’t neglect the basics. Make sure your marketing foundation (your website) is up to the job at hand. If it’s not feeding you leads and providing a way of keeping in friendly contact with those leads from the very beginning of the sales process through to the post-sale customer service, sit down with a professional and bring it up to par.

2011 is just around the corner. Where will you be?