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Sparks Wrap up the Discussion of the Future of the Land Lease Business Model, National Communities Council 2013 Fall Leadership Forum

October 20th, 2013 No comments

Each of the panels and presenters at the 2013 National Communities Council (NCC) inaugural 2013 Fall Leadership Forum offered multiple take-aways which properly applied could have been worth more than the price of admission.

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Randy Rowe (l), Gary McDaniel, Joe Stegmayer, Stephen Braun (r)

For this column, we will focus on a very focused segment of the final panel discussion – The Future of the Land Lease Business Model – which featured Randy Rowe, Green Courte Partners (GCP), Gary McDaniel of Yes! Communities, Joe Stegmayer, Cavco Industries and Stephen Braun of Hometown America.

Don Westphal commented during the discussion that manufactured housing is “….the only industry that succeeded in spite of itself.”

Joe Stegmayer commented on the importance of sales training and product knowledge.

Since marketing, image and branding where among the topics at the NCC Fall Forum, certainly Don's and Joe's comments could have easily been applied to what is often the lack of a proper implementation of marketing and sales training in our industry. Does this cost our industry and land lease communities business?

A number of Industry Voices guest blog posts last month answered that question with a strong “yes.”

The subject of national MH Industry image campaign came up near the end of the panel discussion. Cavco Chairman and CEO Joe Stegmayer stated that “We would be willing to support” such a campaign.

Randy Rowe is a long time proponent of an image building and other professionalism enhancing efforts, as is showcased in this exclusive interview, linked here.

Green Courte's Chairman underscored that ½ of a percent or somewhat more of industry new home shipment revenues could fund a campaign that would rival the size of the highly successful GoRVing campaign, which is about $18 million a year.

Gary McDaniel said he disagreed.

Such a campaign, he argued, “Won't do much for us.”

McDaniel's offered up a common argument made by those who oppose such an effort, by saying that local, community level marketing and good business practices would do more for our industry than an image building effort would do.

Yes! Communities McDaniel's went on to say that if someone wants to call our homes a “mobile home,” then “God bless them.”

“A clean, affordable and safe place to live,” said McDaniel, “rather than respectability,” is what our industry's traditional home buyers seek.

To this comment Randy Rowe dove in with the comment, that while respecting McDaniel's, “I strongly disagree.”

Rowe pointed out that just getting around the “trailer moniker is huge.” “These are great homes,” Rowe said, built in a “temperature controlled environment.”

GCP's Chairman Rowe clearly expressed his conviction that we as an industry would attract more customers including those who are financially more affluent customers by improving our industry's image.

Beyond the NCC Fall Forum thinking

MHProNews has long supported the need for enhanced professionalism, including image building. This includes sales training which GMHA's Jay Hamilton said in this guest column was crucial, combined with image building.

Drew Chairman Leigh Abrams took a position very much akin to that of Randy Rowe in his interview, linked on his name above.

While we would whole heatedly agree with Randy Rowe's position – that a full fledged image campaign has strong merit and value to build the future of land lease communities and the industry at large – the nuance noted above has an echo in Gary McDaniel's call for sound professional performance at the local level.

We'd also take the editorial view that manufactured housing doesn't have to invest 10 million or more to get some benefit from image building. Image can be improved subtly but surely and at a low cost via online efforts, which other presenters at the NCC forum pointed out.

It is precisely with that thought which motivated the launch last summer of ManufacturedHomeLivingNews.com. We are already generating leads for pros via that platform that attract customers who may not have considered the manufactured housing option otherwise.

The Industry In Focus Report on the study by NAR and Google on Why You Should Target Home Shoppers Online clearly underscores the value of doing such online image building efforts.

Sam Landy of UMH Properties fame stated in his interview linked on his name that he sees how the industry could rise to 300,000 to 400,000 shipments again. Image building is part of the key!

UMH and CU Factory Built Lending are among those early supporters for this online image building effort.

Until the industry is willing to invest millions, a small fraction of that and the 3 easy steps found on the download linked at the end of the article here would turn ManufacturedHomeLivingNews into a significant force fueling more sales, could improve our political clout and improve the image for communities and our industry at large.

It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness. Those interested in “lighting candles” are encouraged to sound off or contact us at the number or email below. We are better off when we advance our image and professionalism together. ##

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

Are your employees surfing at work? Make it count!

July 28th, 2010 1 comment

Take a look at the computer generated leads reports below. We’re going to make a few important points for you to consider.

These come from an actual client of our operation. 2 separate MHC properties, used with permission.

Leads by Hour Graph 1

Leads by Hour Graph 2

First, note that there are a large volume of leads coming in. This is from a combination of sources that come via phone and email, and don’t include walk-in traffic, which would be in addition to the above results. It should also be noted that both of these are ‘all ages’ communities, not the 55+ type of property.

So the first take away is this: if you are not getting this volume of leads at your retail center or community, please give us a call. We can make this happen for your operation too.

The next take away is this. Notice the hours when these lead are coming in:
       • There is lead activity 24 hours a day, literally 365 days a year.
       • The majority of leads come in during working hours!

This is the point we want to dwell on for a moment. Like it or not, one of the issues that the Internet Age has compounded for employers and companies – like your’s – is that people are doing more things that aren’t work related during work hours. Some of these calls, messages and web surfing may be taking place during coffee breaks or lunch time. But this type of personal business is also conducted during work hours.

We bring this to your attention because of this simple point. What do you want your staff members doing with the time they are surfing the web?

We’re going to suggest that your company can gain by instructing your people to spend some time DAILY on MHMSM.com! Why? Because the more they learn about the Industry, the more they read positive, solution oriented thinking by Industry pros and experts who grace our pages, the better off YOU and YOUR Company will be!

Set a good example. Read the news and views here yourself. Ask your team to do the same.

You will be amazed at what will happen in time with the effectiveness of your team.

There’s a commonly held myth that knowledge is power. But knowledge is just knowledge. Imagine if Albert Einstein had discovered relativity but had just whispered to himself “that’s really cool” and died with out ever applying it. The world would certainly be poorer for that unused knowledge.

Knowledge only gains power when it is properly applied. Put the power of properly applied knowledge learned from our writers to work for your team! Make MHMSM.com required reading for yourself and others in your company. No cost training, inspiration and resources. You just can’t beat it.

Carpe diem! Join the Manufactured Housing Revolution!

Getting Them in the Door

July 7th, 2010 No comments

I was scanning the news feeds at MHMSM.com and came across this article from a local newspaper in western New York about one way a manufactured home retailer has used to get potential customers to come into their facility and give them valuable marketing information.

OK, it’s nothing new, but how many of you are actually using something like this? And the extra publicity of having the local newspaper announce the winner increases the exposure.

Owl Homes of Fredonia announces June winner

Dominic Bellanti, President of Owl Homes of Fredonia, has announced June’s winner of a $100 gas card. The winner is Erik Kraft.

There is no purchase necessary to be entered to win. Just stop in, fill out and complete a guest registration form and be entered to win monthly prizes and the year-end grand prize.

Owl Homes of Fredonia is Western New York’s leading dealer of modular and manufactured homes. Owl has a product history over the past 45 years of providing affordable housing to residents throughout Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Erie and surrounding counties.

Please stop by and view the 12 fully furnished model homes that Owl Homes of Fredonia has on its sales lot. They are open Monday-Saturday, and other hours by appointment.

Call for hours today. Stop by 3752 E. Main St, Fredonia or call 673-1366 or visit www.owlhomeswny.com

Source: Dunkirk (NY) Observer

This is another example of how to obtain more info from walk-ins . It can also be used as the lure to get more personal information from prospects who have already given you minimal information (name and email address) on your website.

Send out an email to your list (you have a list, don’t you?) with an offer similar the one Owl Home uses. Get them to stop in and fill out an entry form that captures more information you can use in your marketing efforts.

Or take it one step further and have them fill out a more detailed form online. More will participate if the requirement that they stop in is eliminated, but you’ll also lose the chance to strike up a personal dialog.

Used in combination (smaller prize for online and larger one of those that come in), this could be a very powerful means of getting more leads.

An as with all good ideas, this one is simple, but you’ve actually got to do it to get results.

How To Sell Homes Online

November 30th, 2009 2 comments

Selling Homes OnlineOne question I get all the time from dealers and sales persons of factory-built homes is “how do I sell homes online?” I get the same question from Community Managers, Realtors® and investors. The answer may not be the one you’re looking for.

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