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Posts Tagged ‘land lease community’

Hard Truths and Dominating Your Local Market

March 8th, 2014 No comments

If a business routinely treats their customers like dirt, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that sooner or later, that business will suffer and likely be forced to sell out to someone more savvy or close.

If a business owner treats its staff with disrespect, it is self evident that even in a tough economy and job market, the staffers will sooner or later find their way to a better place. In the mean time, can the disrespected staffers be expected to perform their best for the owner who maligns them?

If you are an association leader and don't get along well with people who have a differing view point than you do – alienating some, losing some members and creating avoidable adversaries along the way – would it be a surprise if the results of such an association leader would be slim at best?

There are a number of hard truths that every professional person must face. The above are so obvious, that they are shared to make a point. The hard truth is that 4 years into our industry's recovery from the bottom hit in 2009, we are faced with yet another wave of challenges.

But as John F. Kennedy wisely said, “When written in Chinese, the word 'crisis' is composed of two characters. One represents danger and the other represents opportunity.”

written-chinese-crisis-composed-two-characters-one-represents-danger-the-ot ... -opportunity-john-f-kennedy-copyright-2013-lifestyle-factory-homes.jpg

Brutal Winter and CFPB Regulations

The combination of a brutal winter up north and new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) regulations represents a genuine crisis for some in our industry. Don't get me wrong, some will come through this profiting more than they did before. Some are doing well in the very areas that others are struggling. But others will fail or will have to hand over the keys to their business to someone else, likely at a distressed price.

marty-lavin-jd-manufactured-home-community-owner-on-board-spy-sea-.jpg

One of the more successful professionals in our industry – Marty Lavin, JD – who has been:

  • in retail with an operation that sold 5,000 homes a year
  • operated a manufactured housing finance firm that originated more loans than some of the chattel lenders we have today
  • survived a big downturn in the land-lease communities business, and still successfully owns and operates to this day
  • is an industry attorney who dealt with some of the biggest names in our industry and the likes of mortgage giants, Fannie and Freddie

said to me in his 6 million dollar list price 72' boat, “Tony, the problem is not the product!” (more from Marty Lavin, linked here).

We have a great home, at an incredible value. We have not done the sales training and marketing needed to grow the business. Who says? The likes of former Fleetwood manager and current state association executive Jay Hamilton:

We are an industry that for years has desired the best for our industry representatives, our customers and our distribution system but for all these years have been hesitant to:

  • invest financially in training our people,
  • marketing our product's image,
  • updating our technology,
  • improving our delivery system, etc..

Manufacturers and Retailers have made some bold attempts at the previously listed task but always fail to follow through because they don’t see immediate profits from marketing or training programs. 

We are an industry that has the need for all of our profits to be immediate. Future growth and maturation always loses out to the need for immediate results and immediate profits. 

jay-hamiltong-executive-director-georgia-manufactured-housing-association-gmha-posted-mhpronews-com(1).jpgUntil we are willing to train our people well, invest in technology, invest in customer service, invest $ in creating a brand image with the understanding that is will cost a percentage of our industry profits and will not necessarily produce immediate results we are doomed to keep repeating our same mistakes over and over.

Thank You,
C. Jay Hamilton
Executive Director
Georgia Manufactured Housing Association

At the Tunica Manufactured Housing Show, I'll be presenting on the topic of Dominating Your Local Market, version 2.0. A variation on this topic drew praise and a standing room only attendance at the Louisville Show.

You'll also have the opportunity to get the latest in

  • Manufactured Home financing, including information from lenders not present at Louisville
  • Commercial Land Lease Community Financing, both moderated by Dick Ernst of FinmarkUSA.com
  • Manufactured Home Community Lessons Learned Panel Discussion, moderated by Jenny Hodge
  • The Importance of CRM for your Retail or Community sales operation, a panel discussion

and more!

standing-room-only-2014-louisville-manufactured-housing-show-seminar-room-masthead-blog-mhpronews-com-.png

If you're marketing fails to attract enough of the good credit customers who are third party financeable or cash buyers in significant numbers, in the Dodd-Frank/CFPB era, you may not make it.

Learn more about what you need to do differently in today's market, at the free panel discussions and seminars linked above at the rapidly approaching Tunica Show.

You won't find these same topics all in one place at one event anywhere else in the U.S. at this time, so don't miss this opportunity. More information on the free business building seminars at the 2014 Tunica Manufactured Housing Show is linked here. ##

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 

The new Manufactured Home Living Image Campaign

June 7th, 2013 No comments

tony-kovach.jpgThe early feedback on our new image building resource is in. So far, all of it has been very positive!

Examples of actual comments:

  • "I like it. I like it so much, that I plan to steal some ideas"…from the new site and use it.
  • "Very impressive. This keeps getting better and better."
  • "The original site was OK, but too much work to find content. This new version is easy to navigate and visually appealing. It makes me want to come back and look more."

We have had some questions and comments too, all of which are appreciated, and all of whom still very much liked this site. Yours comments and suggestions are welcome too. For those who want to see what the original, version 1.0 of the site looked like, click here.

Version 2.0 of ManufacturedHomeLivingNews.com – aka MHLivingNews.com – is linked above here.

There are a number of ways you can get involved in this Image Building Campaign.

They range from free no-brainers to pay to play and be featured on the site!

mhlivingnews-ipad-ver2_0b- (1).png

The paid options are all low cost, but more important, can drive business to your business that will pay. All of this will pay off for the industry, because improving the image will help our home owners along with all those dedicated pros in our industry

Quick Facts:

  • We already have the first retailer – that we know about – who has set up an RSS feed on his site to ManufacturedHomeLivingNews.com RSS and/or a hot link are a no-brainer.
  • We already have our first sponsors for the site, with more welcome.
  • We will provide opportunities for any legitimate MH Industry retailers, community, developer, manufacturer, lender or other product/service providers to have low cost pages and link backs. During the introductory phase, those who buy a page will have it on our site for the next 5 years (some common sense restrictions apply).
  • We will welcome and encourage association involvement in this project in ways that will be mutually beneficial. Association members or executives, please feel free to call 815-270-0500 or email me tony@mhmsm.com or latonyk@gmail.com, thanks!

In the days ahead, we will give you a more detailed tour of the ManufacturedHomeLivingNews site, the concepts and how we will continue to add to it in the days ahead. But lets pencil out a few quick points.

Target Audience

  • The general public.
  • Public officials (image building will help win more efforts with them too).
  • Current manufactured home owners and land lease community residents, because they can become our industrys promoters, if we are wise. They want to feel good about where they live! Give them a tool they can share with their friends, family, co-workers and associates, and they will share it for their own good reasons!
  • Industry members. Use this as a closing tool when needed. Example, the video about tornadoes and manufactured housing has already closed business for a forward thinking sales pro at their community.

A top executive at vertically integrated company told me this recently. Tony, we follow up on all our leads. So we know that we lose more business not to others in manufactured housing, but to people buying a conventional, site built house.

That is one of many reasons the industry needs this website!

We will continually add content to this new site, similar to how we have done it for the past 3½ years here on MHProNews.com. Adding content is one of the many ways that we will keep visitors coming back.

Manufacturers, Retailers and Communities are all welcome to submit an appropriately decorated featured home. For more information, please click here.

We will also showcase for readers how even lower end or older mobile homes are a legitimate, value option. Over time, our featured articles, homes and videos will deal with all of the common objections that skeptical prospects and the public have. We will also update the video with a bigger, better version 2.0 of that tool, a sponsor(s) for that video update are welcome.

Just Do It

Youve asked for it. Youve got it. Now, learn to use it and run with it!

Pass the word onto your team mates and to anyone you know. Here is a starting how to use this New Business and Image Building “free” tip article. Your questions and feedback by phone or email are welcome. ##

PS: Check our many Exclusive and Red Hot Featured Articles for May 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

Filling MHC Vacancies and Retailing More Manufactured Homes

June 13th, 2012 No comments

There is only one who can claim to have every answer to every question and problem. That one has a three letter name, God. Ipso facto, that means the rest of us have to struggle along as best as we can with limited knowledge and limited answers. That's okay. Time, trial and error, learning from others who have already learned are among the paths open to any issue or challenge in need of solutions.

We go to experts for solutions on problems with our vehicles. We go to an attorney or accountant when we need one. Ditto doctors, who may send us to specialists if the issue is over the general practitioners head.

Perhaps the only surprise to me in the factory built housing industry is that there aren't more consultants and contract experts that companies turn to for solutions.

But where are the pros who specialize:

I'll give you the answer in a few moments.

But first, let's acknowledge that there are individuals – some with considerable experience – that carry the label (sometimes self-described, sometimes valid) as “experts.” I ran across an article recently on a consultant's blog, not a blog here at MHProNews.com. The gent is an award winning expert and consultant. Here is what he wrote, in his own words (including his typos; the bold alone is added for emphasis):

Like some – to – many of you reading this blog posting, I’m dealing with declining occupancy in a landlease community I own, located a four hour drive from my office. Success there, is improving – to – max physical and economic occupancy. My present distraction? When arriving in town for a property visit, I too often find myself dealing with peripheral matters (e.g. minor repairs, interpersonal networking), rather than concentrating on what it’ll take to reverse course, and get the property back on course to improved occupancy.”

This is refreshing. Here is a community expert that publicly admits, I'm not getting it done on my own property. We knew this to be true from other reports, but to hear it straight from the owner/expert himself is noteworthy indeed.

The expert above goes on in the same column to outline the plan that he teaches, but has not 'fully' implemented himself. Part of what caught my eye here was that his on-site manager is 'trained,' but that apparently hasn't (yet) yielded the desired results of increasing occupancy. FYI and IMHO, the man's ten point list is a pretty good one.

We could talk about another 'expert' that is out there teaching his method for filling vacant home sites, one apparently created over a decade ago. That expert isn't as self-revealing as the one above. This second gent allegedly watched a partnership he was in blow up in a spectacular bankruptcy. Having disappeared from the communities scene for many years after that failure, he re-appeared about 2 years ago, complete with his training materials, website, self-promotion in online posting sites, etc.

By the way, failure can be a fine way to learn, I don't knock it at all. One can learn from success, and we can learn from failure too.

Now, let me compare and contrast the above with the following:

JAR-letter-excerp

The above is an excerpt from a longer letter signed by the president of a well known land-lease portfolio operator. That president asked that we share the letter in full only upon request, so we've blacked out from the above 'clues' as to who the company is. We also have third party references on this same project that confirmed the dramatic turn-around results described in the letter above.

Tony and his associates created and implemented proven, successful systems. Actions speak louder than words.

While the letter above is from a community operator, these systems work in retail – street dealer – manufactured housing sales as well as in land-lease community operations.

My friend Tony had the notable achievement of hitting the top 1% of all manufactured home retailers in the U.S., from a single location in a small town in a depressed market, where he achieved triple digit deliveries a year. During that same time frame, 80% of the others in the business vanished, closed their doors, many forever. Tony achieved those results with (or because of?) good customer satisfaction. Kovach had no BBB complaints, no lawsuits, no letters from a single attorney representing even one retailer customer. Referrals, as the letter above also shows, were the #2 source for all of his new business.

Do you see how this ties in nicely with my theme about the value of word-of-mouth from last week's blog post?

In the Internet era, word of mouth:

  • Can be testimonial letters.
  • Recommendation on LinkedIn.
  • Being 'liked' on Facebook, especially with positive comments being posted.
  • It can be positive PR in an article, newspaper or magazine.
  • Or it can be one person telling another.

All of these and more can be part of 'word of mouth.'

When I came on board here, Tony graciously provided me with a page to 'introduce Tim Connor' as part of the team. Tony has told me many times that he owns a number of my books and CDs, including Soft Sell which he bought some years ago. Having sat in on some of his live training that Tony delivers online, it is obvious that he has taken lessons from here, there and his personal experience and woven it together into a system that works well for new and pre-owned manufactured housing sales to retail customers.

Selling More Homes at Retail and Filling More Vacant Homesites

Sometimes the truth of a matter is looking right at us, and we fail to see it. Think about how rapidly Tony turned this trade media website – MHProNews.com – into the success that it has become today. If you want to sell more homes and fill more sites, who are you going to call?

Would an extra $500,000 hurt you?

I was chatting with a community owner the other day. They have 3 properties and hundreds of home sites, with about 88% physical occupancy, and 82% economic occupancy. Let's say their average site rents for $300 a month. For discussions sake, let's further say he had 100 vacant sites. That's:

  • $30,000 monthly in lost revenue.
  • $360,000 a year in lost income.
  • Increased costs for mowing and other maintenance on the vacant home site

Plus the lost income from the sales of the homes the could be selling. That's a cool half a million dollars, in round numbers, for the example above.

A relatively modest investment in marketing and sales consulting – from a proven performer like Tony and his team – could yield a handsome Return on Investment. Full capacity would be far more lucrative – and much more predictable! – than almost any stock you could name could yield in the same x months it would take to bring those sites to physical and economic occupancy.

On the LATonyKovach.com website I saw an item about an RV retailer that Tony increased his sales from 50 some odd units a year to over 175 annually; that's a 321% increase, that took 8 months to do. RV's aren't

Tony's specialty, manufactured housing is. Perhaps that makes the point.

Times change. Circumstances change. Challenges change. But the ability to study a set of circumstances, see the best way forward, create a plan, adapt it as needed (all plans need tweaking after they are launched) can make all the difference. You go to a doctor for certain needs, who is your Manufactured Housing Marketing and Sales MD? Are you getting your regular business check up?

Tony has brought together a team:

  • Webtech
  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • PR
  • Management

that have proven ability to deliver bottom line results. But let me tell you what really struck me. Tony has turned down working with some companies, often after free initial consultations. His philosophy is win-win. If everyone in the mix benefits, then and only then is it a good deal and one worth pursuing.

The same gent I used in the first example above said to a crowded room filled with Industry professionals, as he introduced Tony and a team member to speak, “These guys are the Future of Manufactured Housing!”

Let us make history together. You very graciously bring us to your laptop, smart phone or PC web-browser today and likely other times too. You know we bring you the most Industry News, Tips and Views You Can Use ©.

We can also bring you:

  • The most cost effective websites or website updates. Not from some who does it on the side, or who make know nothing about factory built housing, but from pros who knows the business inside out.
  • Business to Business or Business to Consumer marketing plans.

Want to grow your results? Who are you going to call? ##

Tim Connor
Business Development
MHProNews.com
MHMSM.com
And the new MHLivingNews.com
704-895-1230
tim@mhmsm.com

5 Minute website self-evaluation

January 30th, 2011 No comments

One of the services we offer is a website review. In a website review, we go over every page of your website and check for any missing elements or erroneous entries that might have a detrimental effect on your Search Engine ranking.

But do you need a full website review? Here’s a short video that will enable you to do a quick evaluation of your own website based on four critical factors. If you find your site coming up short on these, a full website review should be considered. It can save you a lot of lost business in the long-term and lost money in the sort term.

Click here for more information on Website Reviews

Using a piece of paper to market manufactured housing online?

January 20th, 2011 No comments

The Louisville Manufactured Housing Show was a rousing success. Exhibitors and attendees alike were in an upbeat mood and pretty much every exhibitor I talked to was happy with the results. This kind os show can put the industry on a positive footing as we head into 2011.

Trade shows are one of those places where one picks up a lot of business cards. I was there with the MHMSM.com crew – Publisher, Marketing Director and Industry Consultant L.A. ‘Tony’ Kovach, Business Development Manager Jeff Templeton and Reporter Matthew Silver. We received cards from most of the exhibitors and many of the attendees.

One thing about those cards struck me as rather odd here in 2011. Many had no email address and many more had no website URL. Did they not have a website? Or were they doing the “penny-wise, pound-foolish” thing of using up older cards years after having a website?

Doing some quick calculation, I found that fully 61% of business cards collected at the show had no website address. That’s astonishing. If 61% of exhibitors and attendees have no website, I have little doubt that could be a major contributing factor in the falling sales figures for the past few years.

Email addresses on business cards were better, but not perfect. 10% had no email address.

Your business card is your personal-sized billboard. Using every part of it is in your best interest. Website URL and email are essential pieces of information these days.

Here is what my MHMSM business card looks like:

Bob Stovall's MHMSM Business Card front
Bob Stovall's MHMSM Business Card back

Notice how we used both the front and back of the card to convey our message. Of the cards we collected, only 5% utilized the back of the card for more information.

Business cards were and are part of your offline Social Networking system. You give away both sides when you hand out your business card – use them.

When I began to write this, I was thinking to myself that it was an awfully basic thing to post about. Then I thought about those 61% of business cards that had no email address and the 90% that didn’t use the real estate on the back of the card.

If your cards fit one of these descriptions, think about an immediate update. That little piece of card stock is one of the most important parts of your online marketing strategy.

Adapted from the article Business cards are an online marketing tool at OrangeCat.com