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Posts Tagged ‘management’

Turning the Page in Manufactured Housing Marketing and Sales

November 14th, 2015 No comments

There may have been 2-3 dozen MHPros in the final session of the NCC’s 2015 Fall Leadership Forum on Friday. So of the some 275 +/- that signed up and came, about 85% missed what Lisa – the final presenter from the multi-family side of housing – had to say about what she learned in contacting and checking out MH Communities.

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Lisa’s message deserved a packed room; she hit many themes the Cutting Edge blog promotes and utilizes.  Of the 275 +/- reportedly at the meeting, only a few dozen where still in attendance for this presentation – Lisa did a fine job.

Ouch!

Paraphrasing, Lisa said:

  • there was no need to discuss social media, because the MH industry needed to do so many other basic things first,
  • she lamented the fact that of all the ‘mystery shopper’ calls for information she made shortly before the posted, scheduled closing of locations (making those calls moving from East to West Coast, so she covered time zones from coast to coast):
  1. no one answered her calls,
  2. no one returned the call the next morning by 11 AM CT,
  • Lisa found websites that had not been refreshed (updated) in 5 to 10 years (she stressed the need to do that every 2 years, period),
  • websites that had no mobile friendly interface, and a host of other, costly errors.

In other, earlier calls Lisa made to MHCs, when she spoke with someone,

  1. they were using outdated jargon like ‘double wides,’ instead of something that had a warmer, more appealing residential sound to it from a consumer viewpoint,
  2. no one tried to book an appointment,
  3. she explained that in the apartment world, 74% of the closed customers came from a booked appointment – so failure to try to make an appointment was a big no-no.

We could drone on about a variety of other things Lisa said are needed in MHVille:

  • using ghost/tracking numbers,
  • a lack of professionalism (which implies a lack of training),
  • websites that lacked appeal,
  • too few or no videos,
  • the need for timely (rapid) professional engagement and follow up and
  • her closing by saying that those there should not shoot the messenger, because you can’t

improve without knowing what’s wrong.

Lisa admitted that multi-family housing had to adjust and make big strides in recent years in professionalism too and that slightly more than half the apartment locations are reportedly still doing things the old, wrong way.

This was all fascinating to me, because what Lisa stresses in multi-family, we’ve been teaching and doing with our MH retail or MH Community clients. We know these things work, because they are field tested for proven results. Having a good process that does the above (and more), and that is customer and user (sales team) friendly is profitable. Investing in training and marketing doesn’t cost, done properly, it pays-off with a high ROI.

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One has to LISTEN in marketing and sales to what the market and consumers are trying to tell you. Image graphic credit: KY Olsen, FlickrCreativeCommons.

The High Cost of Lost Opportunities

I spoke with some communities owners that had purchased properties with as much as 50% vacancy, clearly with the idea of filling them. Others had occupancy in the 80s or even the low 90s percentage range, the later of which is noteworthy.

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Another MHC presenter explained that by investing in marketing and other efforts, what would normally be lost in 10 months site vacancy, they’d fill a site/home in about 90 days vs. a year.

That firm was clearly doing a number of things well; many that we advocate. What was noticeable to me from the facts that firm shared was that their conversion rates from leads and applicants to closed deals was still low (under 10%). That too looks like a sales/customer service/training issue. The good news is that all their efforts clearly were profitable, yielding a fine community, attractive models that appealed and yielded referrals.

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It shouldn’t require a genius to know that problem solving requires a different approach than the one you have, or your problem wouldn’t exist.  Odds are good you’re doing many things well! But its whatever is missing, that’s what is holding you and your profits back. Original image credit, WikiCommons, poster credit, MHProNews.com – © 2015, all rights reserved.

What does your location need?

It is self-evident that we can’t see ourselves. We need mirrors. We need another, objective set of eyes to see what we are doing.

What a 2 or 3 star location needs could be radically different than what a 4 or 5 star property or retail center does. A doctor may get clues from a phone call, but they all say the same thing, and rightly so. Let the doctor see you, it often requires tests, and from a proper medical exam, you can get a proper course of action.

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The view from the 80th floor of the Mid-America Club, atop the Aon Center, downtown Chicago. This was where the 2nd mixer for the 2015 NCC Fall Leadership Forum took place.  MHI and the NCC routinely do a good job of picking elegant or cool locations to hold their meetings and events.

We’re glad to do a conversation by phone to see if your scenario and budgets may be such  that we can successfully serve your location(s).  We’ll ask a few questions, and listen.

For those who go past that initial phone call, the next steps can be identified and laid out in a plan.

What’s interesting, is we offer all that Lisa suggested, and then some!

Let’s save a bit of time.

We routinely see success when management is all in. Change requires…change!

Half-hearted change doesn’t cut it. Don’t start change unless you are willing to see it through. Start and stop is a waste of time and money.

You can start at this location or that one, to prove the model for you. But where ever you decide to implement, make sure that you are all in.  See that launch through to a successful landing, and you’ll be glad you went through the challenging yet rewarding process of positive change.

For those who do embrace what’s new and works, good ROI and a system that is proven to deliver is the result.

Lisa from the apartment world isn’t the only one who preaches the need for change in MH, we have lived it for years and some of our clients are too.

Progress requires turning the page on the past for whatever doesn’t work.  Keep the good, lose what’s outdated or no longer works.  Measure for results.  Hold people accountable. Profitable Progress will follow! ##

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Photos from NY Housing Association annual meeting. Tony and team will be at the 2016 Tunica MH Show, among other upcoming events.

By L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.

No Power!

June 26th, 2015 No comments

If you have an electrical device with a plug in, and it’s just an inch away from an active electrical receptacle, what do you get? Answer, no power.

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Image credit, DBStalk.

If you have a football player who misses that long pass down field by an inch, and there is no defender able to catch him, how many points do you score?  Zero.

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Photo credit: New York Daily News.

The point is that some things may be ever-so-close, but still no payoff. Still no victory cigar.

Does that mean you quit?  Of course not. What it means is that the professional in sports, marketing or sales must make that modest adjustment.  Stay focused on the prize. Close is…close...

Part of the value in having a third-party expert consultant or coach is objectivity.  We take our own advice here. We have the leading – the #1 – platforms of their kinds in MH, but from time to time, we’ll get a third party to give us a good look and render professional feedback.  That keeps us focused on our own advancement.  To do otherwise is what Brits call penny wise and pound foolish!  You can stingy yourself into bankruptcy.  Sadly, I’ve seen people in MH do exactly that, fail to invest in what makes their businesses advance.

When I come to a location or place of business –  or consult by phone and web –  with a firm like yours, we bring decades of experience to the table.   That means we can often spot-at-a-glance what needs to be adjusted.

Many in MH are in a sea of possible prospects! They are swimming with individuals, couples or families who want what you have to offer:

  • in a land-lease MH Community,
  • as an MH or Modular retailer or with,
  • financial or other services.

What is needed may be modest.  But that tweak, that extra-inch may be keeping you from a gold mine. We know firms spending huge sums of money, they may ‘advance,’ but how far are they actually moving the needle?  By contrast, we’ve learned the fine art of squeezing every dime, and making it hollar ‘dollar!’

More on this in a featured article in our rapidly-approaching new July issue. Until then, take look at other business-building and protecting  Featured Articles from experts, found on our home page under the Daily Business News modules.

FREE MARKETING TIP: question, what do you have on your site that will bring back current and possible customers or shoppers over and over again? Solution: RSS Feed to MHLivingNews.com (if you are public focused) or MHProNews.com (if you are professional/investor focused).  These are proven traffic building tools, your web guy can install and minutes and will give you free content that brings your clients back.  The RSS feed link to MHLivingNews is here and to MHProNews is here. ##

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L A ‘Tony’ Kovach has become one of the most widely recognized experts in MH marketing, sales and publishing. Click the above for a client review…

 

By L. A. “Tony” Kovach.

What Makes Manufactured Housing so Different?

April 12th, 2015 No comments

We are going to keep today short and sweet, from utter necessity (I’ve got a flight to catch!). What makes marketing and selling MH so different? First, step back and take a look from 40,000 feet.

If I told you I had a car that sold for 25-50% less than a comparable new car, and that the performance of my car was proven to be as good or better than other cars in its class, what would you think? A winner, right? Or maybe you’d think, too good to be true?

So why doesn’t MH fly off the proverbial shelves? What makes it so different?

We could write a book on this, but as noted, will hit only a few quick points. If you said, Image, you’d only be partially correct.

You see, we have multiple layers of challenges. Among them, education. This is not only true for the public at large, but it is also true – among our own professional ranks.

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Sent by Pat Curran.

 

I’ve done seminars on marketing and sales for single companies as well as association, trade shows and other meetings. I’ll often have people who have been in the industry for decades, saying at the end, I learned a lot today. Some will say, I learned more in an hour or two than I have in years.

The problem is NOT that this or that pro, rather, that we as an industry have failed to routinely invest in the training of our people.

You either pay for ignorance (which will cost you sales) or you pay for the right training (which will make you sales). You are paying either way. I assure you, the right training will make you money, the wrong or no training will cost you money.

knowledge-pays

Last thought for today. Learning to sell a MH isn’t about a fancy close, high pressure, or how to trick someone into a deal. Many of those who thought so went out of business in the last big downturn. Rather, good selling is like any good profession. You learn how to guide the customer to a wise decision, in a fashion comfortable for them. Patience and training both pay.

There are four phases of learning. Awareness. Understanding. Integration. Mastery. When we see more industry pros and their firms investing in the right marketing and sales training, we will see more manufactured homes being sold to home seekers who have cash or good credit. ##

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L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach with a live audience, showing the principles of attracting and selilng more customers with Cash or Good Credit.

 

By L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.

Who Kicked Your Cat?

July 24th, 2014 No comments

Zig Ziglar continues to teach and inspire me, even after passing onto his eternal reward. We all encounter people, personally and professionally, whose attitude is clearly off. At such times, it is wise to be patient and to ask or reflect on Zig's question, “Who kicked your cat?”

The person doesn't even have to be a pet owner for this to apply. The cat is a metaphor for something someone cares about, and that something has been “kicked” or injured, and so the person with 'the kicked cat' isn't in a good mood! The possible causes are many, and often may have nothing to do with you.

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Image credit = biggsuccess.

On the consulting and training sides of our operation, we are big believers in positive attitude, but also for tuning in to what the prospect is thinking or feeling. Selling isn't manipulation! At its best, selling is the noble process allowing your or a colleague to successfully engage a person to best determine the prospects needs and abilities, and then professionally guide them to the best options that fit. If you've done your job well, the customer isn't so much 'sold,' as they buy.

If the prospect or the person you are meeting or talking with is in a foul mood, think, what is the cause?

To do that professionally, you have to be focused more on them than on you. When you note that someone is in a foul or off mood, it's best to think HALTS. HALTS describes the routine causes for someone being 'off.'

  • Hungry
  • Angry
  • Lonely
  • Tired
  • Sick/Stressed

Once you discover which of these HALTS factors may be upsetting the balance for yourself or another, it is easier to address and thus get on with the tasks at hand.

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Photo credit, ZigZiglar.com – graphic  © 2014 by MHProNews.com.

Professionals need daily motivation. Who says? Zig Ziglar, who inspired tens of thousands to do more, including our industry's legend, Jim Clayton! We provide that motivation in articles by Ziglar himself, by thoughtful, successful professionals such as Tim Connor, or by submissions by myself or a number of others to our industry leading motivational module, our free INspirations blog.

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Still by ManufacturedHomes.com – poster © 2014 by MHProNews.com.

I've said it before, and will do so again. Let me recommend that you keep your team informed daily on their industry and on better ways to present the great stories about manufactured and modular homes! 15 minutes a day is the minimum you and your team should be on this site, and 7 minutes daily on MHLivingNews.com. At the end of a year, don't be surprised when you find that your team is doing so much more than they ever did before; and have a better 'can-do' mindset too.

FYI, when you need a corporate or association speaker, marketing, a sales coach or trainer, you can contact me at the phone or email below. If I can't help you, I'll point you to others if needed.

Your-Business-Sign

What's your best investment?
If you don't answer your career or your business, think again.
Which do you have more influence over, your business, or someone else's?

Growth happens because you invest time and resources in yourself and your people. Who says? Ask the legends, almost all of them would agree that applied knowledge is powerful and profitable. ##

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 

Video and Social Media Statistics for 2014 for Manufactured Housing Marketers

May 14th, 2014 No comments

Ladies and gents, this post will be short and sweet, but not as short as a Tweet.

When you watch this video, don't jump to the conclusion that all that you should be doing is social media and video. IMHO, that would be a huge mistake.

But it would be an equally huge mistake not to invest some of your time and marketing resources into these areas. We do!

You should too.

When we say 'we do,' keep in mind that for all the limits on us in budget, time, etc. we dominate with our two main sites – MHProNews.com and ManufacturedHomeLivingNews.com – in their respective niches.

We help our clients dominate in their local markets too. Watch the video above, see our own video report on this topic, see the video report by our colleagues at ManufacturedHomes and call us with any questions. ##

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