Posts Tagged ‘manufactured homes’

Cash and Good Credit Customers Want EVIDENCE – Why MH Testimonials Matter

June 21st, 2016 No comments

Let’s be candid. You can say all kinds of great things about your business. But what matters more to a retail shopper is a testimonial. Its not that they won’t listen to you, but some studies suggest that the impact of a third party testimonial is 7 times to 8x greater than just your own marketing message.

Here is an actual example from the MH World, in Westville IN.


Recommendation delivered via LinkedIn. See Let’s note that Tom and the Fath family have done a ton of good work. They were receptive to trying new appraoches, and they embraced them in a positive, professional fashion. Success in any venture that involves multiple people is always a result of good team effort, the Fath family underscores the truth of that statement. The Fath’s executed on a good plan!  Kudos to them.


This client is not the only one, there are more!  But they’re among those who’ve discovered what it means to have a total marketing and sales process geared to attracting the site built buyer.  Testimonials and the right kinds of vidoes are just part of that attraction-marketing/sales plan. FYI – a third party testimonial is one done by a third party, not one done as a kind of an ad for the operation in question.  See for more examples.

Keep in mind the average site built buyer has a credit score north of a 720 FICO

Note that the client above historically did retail – they had a separate MH Retail sales center. Now they’re doing only in community sales. Might they go back to doing ‘street retail?’ Time will tell!  But this process is working for retailers, communities others in MH.

Marketing and Sales should dovetail. You already are getting customers who are – what we lovingly call – the MH shopper.


Using the current seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) from NAR, NAHB and US Census Bureau, new MH is only about 11% of all new single family housing starts. It is only 1% of all new homes and existing, resale homes. That’s sad, but it also is opportunity in disguise. You can really grow your business with the correct systems in place.

But the reality is that the new MH shopper is only 1% of the total of all new and resale home sales in the U.S. Who says? Industry stats – National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) and National Association of Realtors ® (NAR).

Here is a powerful consumer testimonial video.

Not all testimonials have to be from consumers. Here’s one from a housing inspector!

The site built customer shops for weeks or months before they reach out to you in a visible way. You have to have a long term engagement strategy. We can show you how that’s done.

The path ahead for YOUR community or for YOUR retail center is to attract and sell more of the site built customers. There may well be more MH shoppers now than 5 years ago. But there are 99 times more conventional housing shoppers than new MH buyers.

Want to grow sales sustainably and profitably in your market(s)? The combination of the right marketing, the right sales system – that’s the key for advancement.

Oh, yes! Speaking of testimonials, check out Wayne Coakley’s article this month on the power of video testimonials. You’ll be glad you did.  ##


Near capacity crowd gave two thumbs way up for the live presentation on MH Marketing and Sales at the 2016 Tunica MH Show. Video report, click here.

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.


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.


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 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.  


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.

The Mouse that Roared – Media, Marketing, Financing, CFPB and Manufactured Housing Sales

June 16th, 2015 No comments

Pop quiz time. Does financing influence the levels of manufactured housing sales? Of course it does. An objective thinker need not look farther than what happened in the site-built housing market in 2008 for evidence. Choke off lending, and conventional real estate crashed in value. The slow, painful climb back up for housing has in many ways mirrored the return of credit to the market.

Similarly, while manufactured housing sales took a slide after 2008, the return of lending to the market has seen manufactured home sales slowly climb. That climb could be faster if loans being made 2 years ago, before CFPB regulations hit, were still being made today.  There are reasons why there is bi-partisan support for HR 650 – which has already passed the House – and S 682.


Note: MHI has very similar totals to this chart above, which used data provided by MHARR. We provide, You Decide ©

So those who market and sell manufactured homes (MH) ought to and typically do care deeply about what the media, various lobbying groups and others say about manufactured housing or MH home loans. Engaging the media, public policy makers and influencers matters to the bottom lines of home owners and business owners alike, even if for whatever reason some don’t realize it.

As professionals, we should not ignore bad news that unfairly spins the facts about our vital industry. Cheap shots about lending by the ill-informed or agenda driven may paint a dark picture about MH personal property lending. We’re told anecdotally by some that it has not slowed demand, but we also know that it has created negative media and political buzz in DC. These can’t be ignored.

Of course, you can find people who have lost their conventional or MH homes to foreclosure or repossession. Does the fact that some lose their job mean that no one should be hired for work? Hardly!

By similar reasoning, just because a sub-set of buyers sadly loses their homes for whatever cause doesn’t mean that no personal property loans (or site-built housing loans) should be made. Should public policy force renting?  MH lenders, who routinely hold their loan paper, make those loans because far more are successful than fail. Articles like the one linked here reveal that our MH customers are being forced to pick between renting longer, or getting loans at perhaps 3 times higher annual interest rates than an MH lender could make that loan for today.

The Mouse That Roared

The truth well told is powerful. The truth untold is akin to the biblical warning of placing your light under a basket. The mouse that roars in literature might shake up the proverbial mighty lion. David can slay Goliath.

Even when larger organizations or media sources opt to try to place “mobile home loans” (sic) in a bad light – as the Seattle Times, the Center for Public Integrity or non-profit ‘consumer’ groups such as CFED has – we must provide a response for serious researchers and for the staffs of both the House and Senate. Reputation defenders will tell you how important it is to provide the other side of the story.

With the above in mind, please see for yourself how doing “response stories” that set the record straight can rank well in Google searches.


Note to MH Owners, Managers, Pros and Marketers: there are white hat SEO strategies that can get you the kinds of results you see on this page, including with image searches like this one.

Google “Doug Ryan CFED”

As full disclosure, Google searches can change moment by moment, day by day. It can vary according to where you are, or what kind of device is doing the search. We should also add that we employ a white hat SEO strategy.

That said, on the dates and times shown below, the following results were found for the Google searches shown.


Note: ‘above the fold’ means visible when the page loads. You can be page 1 of Google, but still be below the fold (meaning, you must scroll down to see it) as would be true of the page 1 of Google results below



All of the above are unpaid search results found on page 1 of Google on a mobile device search on the date and time shown.

Dodd-Frank Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing


Above the fold has long been used in the newspaper business, but today it can also refer to what is visible when your screen first loads on a given website’s page. What is above the fold matters.  The above is page 1, above the fold, the below is page 1, below the fold.



It is easy to see from the above examples why MHProNews – and increasingly, – are being followed by public officials, media, investors and others interested in manufactured housing.  Engaging media, federal or other non-profit organization’s publications with responses pays off over time.  The opposition is motivated!  You must be motivated and do your part too.  When you do, in turn, you can look your peers in the eye and say, please do the same.


Image credit, WikiCommons. Poster Credit,

We could do this same type of Google Search exercises on a wide variety of topics relevant to manufactured housing. On some, we will be page 1, #1 above the fold, on others we may still score page 1, but further down the page of organic search results.  


Image credit, WikiCommons. Poster Credit,

The point is that responses do matter!  Some effort is better than no effort. Information like the articles linked below, when shared with your Congressman, U.S. Senators, other public officials, the media etc. can make a difference.  Do your part.  Share the links via email, Facebook or other social media.  ##

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

pat-curran-cfo-asks-what-happens-if-we-invest-in-our-people-and-they-leave- ___ linkedin-submitted-by-pat-curran-posted-inspiration-blog-mhpronews

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.


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.

Champion Homebuilder’s Jack Lawless Points the way to Manufactured Housing Sales Growth

October 9th, 2014 No comments

It is axiomatic that proven leaders are more listened to than 'losers,' and for good reasons. You can learn from anyone, we can learn from mistakes (our own or that of others), but performers often inspire others to greater performance. Which is perhaps why the high-flying Florida Manufactured Housing Association (FMHA) had rapidly rising Champion Homebuilders' Jack Lawless as a key morning speaker at their recent annual event in Orlando.

Jack Lawless has significant experience in the building products industry, and while he supplied firms in the past that produced manufactured homes, he is a relative newcomer to direct involvement in factory built housing. That said, FMHA attendees heard how Champion has roughly doubled their market share in HUD Code manufactured homes in the last 4-5 years! We were told how annual sales at Champion went from about $600 million to a roughly a billion annually.


With those kinds of results in MH, do you think Lawless had the room's attention? You bet. Jack's confident, engaging style as he walked among attendees certainly added to the experience.

When one person demonstrates they can double an already large operation in size so rapidly, it should remind us all that we can do similarly with the proper focus.

jack-lawless-champion-homebuilders-florida-manufactured-housing-association-fmha-2014-annual-meeting2-credit=cutting-edge-blog-mhpronews248x139-Let's cut to some of Jack's statements that ought to be in MH marketing and sales organizations minds, goals and play book.

> HUD code MH sales are rising, but Lawless said they are still no where near where they should be. Jack pointed out that automakers have more than doubled their sales from 2006 to 2014. This echoes what many we've interviewed have said.

> Jack said "there are no home runs right now," but if you have a number of singles, you can still score and win.

> If you want to dominate, you want to have a website superior to your competitors in your market area.

There was a lot more, and we hope to bring you some added take-aways in the days ahead.

Kudos to Jim Ayotte, FMHA board, Jack Lawless and the Champion team. This was one of the fine presentations, panel discussions at an energizing and their worthwhile annual event. ##

(Photo credits: MHProNews at the FMHA 2014 Annual Meeting in Orlando, FL)