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Posts Tagged ‘manufactured housing association’

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 

Hungry for growth and more knowledge?

February 9th, 2014 No comments

Knowledge you can apply is a key to making more money. As I go through these examples, let me strongly suggest, that if you take two giant steps back for perspective, these could apply to YOU and YOUR location(s)!

Let's start by sharing the words of Ross Kinzler, from the Wisconsin Housing Alliance.

credit-linkedin-ross-kinzler-wha-manufactured-housing-posted-cutting-edge-blog-mhpronews-com-.jp.jpg

Then, lets layer in the following quote from Andy Gallagher, WVHI.

"This year’s event was a dynamic performance with a pantheon of excellent speakers, covering topics critical to the industry; an expanded floor showa-v-gallagher-executive-director with the latest models on display; and a handsome group of service and supply representatives on hand with their banter, wit and stockpile of knowledge."

– See Andy's full article at : http://www.mhmarketingsalesmanagement.com/blogs/industryvoices/#sthash.NluqUOIq.dpuf

continental-communities-logoThen think about these thoughts from an MHC operations manager, Ted Gross:

"Tony, Just wanted to leave a quick note about the educational seminar you spoke at regarding “Modern Marketing.” I brought a few community managers along for your presentation…it was a real eye opener for them and me."

– See more at: http://www.mhmarketingsalesmanagement.com/blogs/industryvoices/#sthash.NluqUOIq.dpuf

Are you beginning to see a pattern developing here?

If not, let's try another quote on why going to a trade show or educational event is a great idea for your business! This from a fellow who admits he missed a few years of going to a show:

"…I was wrong! It was not only interesting it was incredibly inspiring and eye-opening. At this time, our industry is undergoing tremendous tumult andjames-cook-mhc-manager-ma-posted-industry-voices-mhpronews.com-75x75pxl- change. Change does not have to mean impending disaster. Sometimes it takes rubbing elbows with our industry’s leaders – those on the front line – to better understand the opportunities that exist, the places where we need soldiers in the gaps (Washington DC,) and how to not just survive but thrive in the coming decades.

I probably received more education at Louisville in two days than I did in my first six months in my current position."

– See more at: http://www.mhmarketingsalesmanagement.com/home/featured-articles/february-2014/138-general-manufactured-housing-industry-topics/6979-louisville-2014-from-the-eyes-of-an-industry-newbie#sthash.h30j7u54.dpuf

tamas-kovach-right-handing-chet-kearny-business-card-soheyla-kovach-c-mhpronews-com-latonykovach-com-mhc-md-com-2014-louisville-show-booth-.pngThis one is near and dear to us, some of you at Tunica last year or Louisville this year saw this first hand; and yes, this IS an educational and inspiring example!

The photo and comments are courtesy of Gina Beasley, Tennessee Regional Manager and Ast. VP of Sales for UMH Properties.

Gina wrote in part: “Wow Tony, gotta to tell you how much I enjoyed seeing your son, he is absolutely adorable! Check out the picture of him handing out your business card to Chet Kearney, Chris Lindsey's assistant. So sweet and the fruit don't fall far from the tree!!!”

– See more at: http://www.mhmarketingsalesmanagement.com/blogs/bobstovall/#sthash.1VA1XLrK.dpuf

No one knows trade shows in manufactured housing better than Dennis Hill! Here is what he wrote, and these comments were being shared with permission. Dennis began by talking about the growth in attendance, thanks us and then shares this chart.

louisville-show-2014-total-.png

"…In addition, we would like to complement you on the phenomenal job you did in managing the seminar programming. The seminarswere well attended and well received by everyone who attended the show and went to the seminars."

– See more at: http://www.mhmarketingsalesmanagement.com/blogs/industryvoices/#sthash.hUjCKiFN.dpufdennis-hill-l-a-kovach-show-ways=unlimited-tunica-show-2012-mhpronews-com-.png

Now, let me wrap up all these comments, and many, many more we have had like them, and say that without a doubt, the lessons these and other pros learned apply to YOU.

  1. An upbeat attitude can be both taught and caught. A good Attitude will boost performance, especially when combined with facts and processes that support success.
  2. Be it the rapidly approaching Tunica Manufactured Housing Show, or April's MHI/NCC Congress and Expo, you will find that the modest investment and time and cost will reward you greatly!
  3. Do whatever good steps that it takes NOW to be at BOTH of these upcoming events! Why? Look at what the folks above and so many more had to say!

ignorance-costs-knowledge-pays-cuttingedge-ofmarketing-sales-manufactured-housing-mhpronews-com-.jpgJoe Kelly said this a couple of years ago, shared with permission:

“Tony,If we're going to talk special, you're it.  Your unabashed enthusiasm was really contagious.  Your belief in and knowledge of the industry is profound.  You have a unique manner of bringing people together.

You were responsible for most of our programming this year.  We've had great meetings in the past.  However, this meeting will be hard to beat in that the perfect speakers were found for the precise topics we needed to hear…”

Joe Kelly

Iowa Manufactured Housing Association

– See more at: http://www.mhmarketingsalesmanagement.com/home/featured-articles/october-2013/6336-kudos-coffee-linkedin-growth-and-four-more-years-four-more-years#sthash.KkGU1mMd.dpuf

Want the secret? Want to know how to grow? Let me tell you my secret. We read! We go to meetings! Yes, I present and share at many of these events, but not all. I go to learn, and every single time I do learn, and you and your team can too!

Want to grow in 2014, in spite of the hurdles? Sure you do. Then make the time and treasure investment in yourself, your team and your location(s) to attend these two spring events, Tunica and Congress and Expo. I go to both every year, along with others, about 8 events a year in all.

I never regret a single trip to go to a trade show, educational meeting or event. When Joe Kelly says, "Your belief in and knowledge of the industry is profound." keep in mind, we can all learn when we make the DECISION to do so.

When we decide to turn lemons into lemonade, of course you too will find what Joe said could apply to YOU: "Your unabashed enthusiasm was really contagious." Then YOU can be the spark plug for YOUR organization or location.

Please come to these events. For your sake, for the sake of your team and operation. If you do, please swing by and say hi. ##

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 

Recruiting

November 14th, 2012 No comments

At the recent Iowa Manufactured Housing Association 65th annual event, business management guru Chad Carr made a number of great points. Among them was the fact that the wise business owner who has more than just himself in his company must 'always be recruiting.' Let's look at that 'always be recruiting' concept for your sales force, management and other team member consideration.

What is recruiting?

Dictionary.com defines recruting as:

  • a newly enlisted or drafted member of the armed forces.
  • a new member of a group, organization, or the like.
  • a fresh supply of something.

In this case, we are focused on the second definition. The BusinessDictionary defines it this way:

The process of identifying and hiring the best-qualified candidate (from within or outside of an organization) for a job vacancy, in a most timely and cost effective manner.

Now the point that Chad made was more forward thinking. Let me bring it to life with a real world example. Recruit even when you don't have an immediate need!

An example in Always be Recruiting

Some years ago, I was doing a marketing and sales management consulting project for an RV retailer. They were already a good company, our goal was to imake them better at marketing, sales and thus increase profits. In less than 6 months. they went from the top 20 in their busy state to the top 10 out of 500 'similar' companies.

How was that accomplished?

In part through good recruiting.

We did not have any vacancy in sales. But it was obvious to me that a new spark could be helpful for a sales team that was already good, but needed to go to the next level. Against that backdrop, here is the story.

I was shopping for a new mattress, which took me to a specialty retailer. I was greeted by a gent who was obviously a true professional.

  • He did a fine meet and greet.
  • He qualified me.
  • He knew how to demonstrate his product based on the inputs and observations being made.
  • He knew how to ask for the order.

I could say more, but you get the picture. The man was terrific at what he did.

After making the purchase – a much nicer mattress than I originally had in mind – I segued into the recuriting question. Are you open to new opportunities? Short answer, “yes.” I asked him to provide a resume (always do that), set up a time for an interview (always do that too). Then following that, I gave him an overview into the exciting world of the RV business.

Please note that he had no experience in 'big ticket sales' at a level beyond what he had been doing with this mattress company for many years.

In time, he was offered a job. I trained him. He rapidly became a star at towable RV sales too.

Lesson 1:
Always be looking for Talent.

Lesson 2:
They don't have to be from your industry.

Sometimes, it is easier to teach someone new to your industry than to find someone 'experienced' and get them to learn a new system. Does it take longer? Sometimes, yes. Is it worth it? Sure can be!

I could have used many examples of recruiting into MH, but wanted to share this example for a specific reason. You see, this man was African-American.

At that point in time, in a huge metropolitan market we were doing business, I knew of no other blacks in sales. About 2 or 3 months after I started him, and well into the point where he was often at or near the top of that retail center in sales, he came up to me and said,

Tony, I've learned that I'm the only black in (name of city) selling RVs. Why didn't you say something about that on the front end?”

I smiled and we talked about it. Would it have scared him off if he knew? Wasn't what mattered that he had the skill, made the commitment to give it his best and that the combination of factors assured his success? He smiled back and agreed. Would I do that every time in a similar circumstance? Nope; that sort of thing is case by case. If I had the slightest doubt, I would have handled it differently.

Lesson 3:
People Skills and Systems

That gent – and he truly fit the term gentleman – was disc pined, friendly without being over the top, professional and used a sales process before he was taught the one I developed for that retail center. There are certain things you look for in recruiting. He had all the keys to success.

Lesson 4:
Burn the Boats!

Something else that this man had. He understood – because we discussed it during the interview – that if he left the company he had been with for many years, there was no turning back. He had to 'burn the boats,' as William the Conqueror did when the Normans invaded England in 1066. It was victory or death for William and the Normans!

In the case of my recruit, he was a family man with bills to pay. Failure was not an option!

He knew he could make more money with us selling RVs, if, if, IF he did what was necessary. He wanted to better himself. He made the leap.

He listened, learned, did what he had to do and sold up a storm. He did his phone follow ups. He became one of the best.

Another benefit for that client of mine was this. As this new man proved that the system I was training worked, it was that much easier for the rest of the team to continue to buy into the system too!

To be candid, I've seen it backfire. But that is another story, maybe another featured article or post for another time.

The moral of the story is, always be recruiting. But always do it with a keen eye to the skills that are needed.

Lesson 5:

The Value of Real Training.

There is one more key lesson here and it was implied at the Iowa meeting by both Chad and me. It is that good training pays off. What if someone had recruited that same gent from the mattress world, and not trained him?

Last I heard, if you go to work for Best Buy, you spend two weeks in training for your product before you talk to customers, which in some departments may sell for under $20, $50, or $100 dollars.

Similarly, when you go to work for Holiday Inn, you spend 2 weeks in training before you talk to the first customer or take your first live call at the front desk. That room may start for under $100 a night, but they invest two weeks before turning a new person loose with a customer!

Personally, I do training differently than they do (not knocking them, just stating the fact. We blend training with live customer experiences).

But the point is that you have to have a formal training process. All success is predicated on a system that can be duplicated. Once you invent the light bulb – or anything else – you have to turn that knowledge into a readily repeatable system.

Always be recruiting. Always be training your new and existing team. Great athletes train every week, right along side the rookies! We need to do that too. When you do that, you will see the payoff for them and for your business unit, location and company.

Need a user friendly and customer friendly marketing, sales or training program that works when applied in today's world? Send me a message or give me a call. Check out this link for many testimonials in our MH Industry of success achieved through smarter marketing, sales, training and management systems. ##

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

www.MHC-MD.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

PiP

September 30th, 2012 No comments

PiP for millions means 'Picture in Picture.' For association minded pros, when we see PiP we should think Protect Inform Promote.

More than one manufactured housing association in recent years have been under budgetary assault. Many had have felt the pinch of falling shipments, just as businesses have, so in some cases associations went into pure protection mode.

Thankfully, the industry's uptick this year has allowed those which had to do just Protection to return to Informing and Promoting, rekindling the complete PIP process anew.

We could mention initiatives in Florida and Texas to enhance their web presence and benefit their members in information and promotion alike.

An example that we happen to be involved with is the Midwest Manufactured Housing Federation's Louisville Show website. This will be 'formally unveiled' this week, when the MMHF's Louisville Show Chairman Ron Thomas' Featured Article on MHProNews.com. See the Featured Article module on the MHProNews.com home page to see his article.

When that page goes live, we will update this blog post with the link to that new show site.

Protection takes place at the local, state and federal level. Business buildling Information, Inspiration and Promotion are going to be showcased at the Louisville Show and on the Louisville Show's website.

The link below is to a site that the National Association of Home Builders commissioned for their annual event. NAHB has big bucks compare to manufactured housing. They no doubt dropped a pretty penny on this website of theirs:

http://www.buildersshow.com

But below this paragraph, we will send you the link to the new Louisville Show site that they graciously allowed us to build as part of the Inform and Promote portions of their five state federation's efforts.

Louisville Manufactured Housing Show Website

My hunch is that we did this for a considerably more modest budget that the NAHB did for their annual show's website. What do you think? Which would you be more proud of overall?

When we make our Industry's events look good, than we look better in the process too.

There will be more features and pages added to the Louisville Show website that ought to be complete before October is done. But you can already see much of the meat and potatoes that showcase what makes going to a great, historic show like Louisville a win for all involved.

Hats off to the MMHF and Dennis Hill at Show Ways for taking the leap of faith to have this site built. We at appreciated the opportunity to serve on this high visibility project.

When you are ready for the review, update or building of your organization's or company's website, please give us a call or fill out the contact info at this link here. ##

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