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Posts Tagged ‘mh industry’

Integrating, Marketing Sales and PEP

October 10th, 2015 No comments

The MH Industry’s ongoing need for an integrated approach to marketing, sales and PEP was on full display during the NY Housing Association’s annual meeting. As is common in association functions, legal and legislative updates, business meetings and event sponsors were on the agenda. New homes were available for members and the pubic to tour. Breakfast, lunch, reception, dinner and awards provided lots of opportunities for networking among members and guests. Nancy Geer and company did a fine job, as they so routinely do.

Yours truly was featured for the marketing and sales speaker.

pep-protect-educate-promote-posted-om-mhpronews-comIdeally, marketing and sales are not about exaggeration or manipulation. The truth well told is the best marketing and sales approach you can have.

Associations routinely attract the best, plus those who seek to improve their performance.  That makes for a good audience for someone like me.

As a related report dramatically demonstrated, part of my presentation to the members anticipated the practical challenges that can arise from public officials.

Challenges to the industry’s image – which impacts your sales results – can also come from the media, academia or other sources.

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The higher volume MH decades are a reminder
of what is possible today.  When other operations of your size successfully
do what we do, teach and preach, that means you can too.
Graphic credit, Ross Kinzler, WHA.

 The facts from my power point shared at the New York Housing Alliance’s meeting are all proof of the amazing potential for our product.  But that potential will not fall into your lap!  Like silver or gold, it must be mined.  But mining this can be easier and more profitable than a silver or gold mine, because everyone needs a quality place to live.

FromTony'sPowerPoint(C)2015LifeStyleFactoryHomesLLC-AllRightsReserved-

Marketing does not take place in a vacuumWhat makes MH different than almost any product of service you can name, is how widely misunderstood it is.

Let’s rephrase that point to underscore it.  With a car, boat, RV, cell, clothing, house or apartment, you have broad acceptance.

By contrast, the MH marketer’s job is complicated by the lack of a positive, broad acceptance by the public.

We have a great value, but most people are stuck in 30-50 year old stereotypes or believe things that may have once been true, but are not true of MH today.

Challenges are Opportunity in Disguise

Thus there is a crying need for an MH trade media that provides a healthy, proper respect for MH Homeowners, experts and professionals who know the product best, and who can say why they love their homes or the MH product.

When public officials have a better sense of how and why so many MH owners love their homes, that’s good for those owners, local MH businesses as well as the broader industry.

When public officials begin to grasp that the affordable housing crisis can be solved via the proper understanding of unsubsidized MH, they are more likely to get out of the way, and let MH pros do their jobs properly.

ComplaintsIowaAttorneyGeneralOffice=Credit-

Graphic above from Iowa Attorney General’s Office.

The Public Official’s Vantage Point

 

Think about this fact. Officials are most often contacted by those who have a complaint. Human nature says that over time, that can tend to skew for an official the reality of how MH serves millions of people so very well.

But the reality is millions of MH owners love their homes.  The report we published, linked here, shows how few complaints there are today on HUD Code homes, in a perfect world, that should be the headline!

A similar negative bias can happen with the media.

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“If it bleeds, it leads.” Reporters tend to

report bad news. Graphic credit – LifeAsAHuman.

For example, when the only stories a reporter tends to cover are the old pre-HUD code mobile homes that burn down, you as media might be shocked that today’s manufactured homes (MH) are proven safer against fires than a site built house is.

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Education and promotion of the new realities must become a standard part of all that you as an MH pro should do.

When you are part of the promotion and education, you’ll sell more homes too.

Fix the Image though Education, Or Fight More Battles

The industry has only a Hobson’s choice; to fight those stigmas and outdated tales with the truth or face ever more regulatory and media hurdles.

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What better way to tell that story than via videos with those who know the homes, because they live in one?

Or what better way can you start to change the image with public officials than by showing an interview with an independent house inspector who has inspected thousands of houses, and hundreds of HUD Code MH, and then says that MH is consistently better built than a conventional house is?

TimBunchSecureStartInspectionsMHLivingNews-PostedCuttingEdgeMarketingBlog-MHProNews

Or why not showcase an interview with the top public official who was in charge of the HUD Code home program, extolling the virtues and value of MH!

BillMatchneerHUDCodeMHprogramAdministatorManufacturedHomeLivingNews-com-

Third Part Validation

Anyone in sales knows the value of good referrals and positive third party messages. That’s one reason why social media is so popular.

It is also why businesses loves to get positive media coverage.

What our operation has done is establish a new foundation for businesses – and thus the industry’s – rebirth.  Our work doesn’t take place in a vacuum either.  Good association efforts are ideally a book end and complement to what good trade media does.  Associations play a key role, which our work in turn supports through compelling truth telling.

In a perfect world, good trade associations support the trade media, and the trade media showcases the important work that associations are doing.

Automotive, RV, tech or other trade media begins with an often unstated but implied premise that the product or service they are covering has value!  It’s not a secret, it’s a given.  Journalists understand that and it is not an issue.

Precisely because trade media is independent of other firms or associations, media will look at them in that light.  Thus trade media can influence the conversation as media.

What has been widely lacking for MH prior to MHLivingNews/MHProNews, is a strong combination of pro-Industry trade media, as well as pro-consumer coverage that highlights all that is good about MH.  We cover bad news too, but we also cover the positive stories that public officals, the media and the general public need to see and hear.

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With the complete package of supportive trade media, plus professional marketing and sales training, you can end up with SuperCharged results for your bottom line.

Stop and Think

People tend to begin the buying process with a mix of interest and skepticism. They want the result, but may not yet be sure of the specific home or firm that they want to do business with. Or they may be curious about MH, but are not yet ‘sold.’

What our marketing and sales training does is create a supportive backdrop to everything else that you as a community operator or retailer, builder, etc. do.

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Once a perspective likes you, your location, home, etc. and have an interest, if they search for news on Manufactured Home Living, our website pops up as a support to all else that you do.

That can and already does routinely make a difference with a consumer on the fence.

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It can also make a difference with public officials and other media. When news outlets such as Reuters picks up a positive story about MH from MHLivingNews – that carries weight.

What you and all industry pros need is to work with us to scale that kind of positive outcome!

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The more people who discover MHLivingNews.com, the more homes there will be sold. That’s good for the buyer, the industry and public officials.

That’s good for pros like you.

So when you need:

  • A website,
  • Videos,
  • Marketing,
  • Sales recruiting,
  • Sales Training,
  • Consulting, etc…

…who are you going to call?

Why not call the only operation in all of manufactured housing that provides you with the background and foreground support that you and everyone in MH needs!

That’s what we do, day by day, making it better for you to be in this great MH industry. We are better off working together.

Associations, you and us are all better off when we’re working together, it’s good for the consumer, the industry and you. That’s the facts! We’re sticking with it. ##

LATonyKovachPresentingIndustryMembers-MHProNewsBy L.A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.

Chicken’s Don’t Fly!

September 20th, 2014 No comments

In the sales training sessions we provide retailers and manufactured home communities, we express in various ways that success begins with the proper mental outlook.

"Your attitude determines your altitude" is a truism. How many sales greats did you know that are negative or believe it can't be done?

By contrast, the positive "can-do!" and "go-giver" professionals run circles around those whose own thoughts chain them to minimal or no results.

The original – and still main URL – for MHProNews is MHMarketingSalesManagement. Marketing, Sales and Management are three pillars for business success. Before someone gets good at these, we see that attitude or a can-do belief is essential.

This is one of many reasons why we have the INspirations blog, or articles by Zig Ziglar, Tim Connors or others geared to lift the mind, and thus sales results.

If you want to rouse yourself – or your management and sales team – with facts that spotlight why manufactured housing is so amazing, watch the first ten minutes of the MH video linked here.

Introduction to Manufactured Housing

It is the kind of powerful back-to-basics that will remind many why they got into this business in the first place.

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If you take the most talented athlete – but discover they have a defeatist or negative mind-set – will they perform as well as the more motivated player sitting next to them?

Zig Ziglar's famous book – See you at the Top! – encourages a "check up from the neck up." Early in his career, Zig sold his personal stuff in order to survive, before he got his own head on straight to understand an excel at presenting the product he offered that lead to his legendary sales career.

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As a youth or teen, when I

> mowed lawns, or

> scrubbed black heel marks off married dorm floors, or

> rang up orders at McDonalds, etc.

I was taught to give my best. It made the work more pleasant to have a good attitude. At that McDonald's, they ended up creating special role for me, 'team motivator.'

Years later, when I started selling manufactured homes, the company I worked for had no training program. I found good reading and listening (audios) resources to help advance my career. But the foundation was and remains the belief that if others could do it, then I could too.

successful-people-are-simply-those-with-successful-habits-brian-tracy-wikicommons-poster-(c)2014-mhpronews-com-

We help recruit and train new sales talent for MH industry clients. Some rapidly turn into top performers. When I interview candidates, part of what I'm listening for are clues to their attitude, confidence and willingness to learn.

Those with lax motivation or who are unwilling to learn, usually don't. I don't suggest hiring them.

Invest the time daily to get and keep your attitude and that of your team up. Then, feed them good information and "how to Improve" resources and training, and you'll see bottom line results routinely improve.

Invest in you and your teams attitude and knowledge daily. Because:

“Eagles fly high! Chickens don't fly.” – The Elk. ##

latonykovach-com-brushed-cutting-edge-marketing-sales-blog-mhpronews-com75x75-By LATonyKovach.com

Manufactured Housing facts from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Report

September 3rd, 2014 No comments

The following information comes to us from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), forwarded from various state executive directors and MHI.

We estimate that in 2014 the average price of new manufactured homes (including the cost of lot development) is $53,230 for single homes and $100,259 for double homes. Increasing the price of new single manufactured homes by $1,000 will disqualify 347,901 households from being able to afford these homes. Similarly, if the price of new double manufactured home rises by $1,000, 315,385 households will be priced out of the market. The effects are NOT cumulative, since they are based on the same income distribution of all US households. These are NOT effects on sales, rather only on ability to qualify for a mortgage.

Our new manufactured home prices are based on the average sale prices for single and double new manufactured homes reported by The Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI). They are further adjusted for inflation and additional costs of lot development. The inflation factor is the increase in new manufactured home prices from 2012 to 2013 as reported by the MHI. The lot development cost adjustment is based on the NAHB survey of construction costs.

NATALIA SINIAVSKAIA, Ph.D.
Housing Policy Economist
Survey and Housing Policy Research

National Association of Home Builders
1201 15th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20005”

While some voices have made hay out of this report to show that even the home builders agree that price hikes of every $1000 leave hundreds of thousands of potential MH or other home buyers behind, let's flip this for a few moments.

Let's focus on this: “We estimate that in 2014 the average price of new manufactured homes (including the cost of lot development) $53,230 for single homes and $100,259 for double homes.

Using the $53,230 loan amount, a 4% FHA loan for a land/home purchase, at 30 years term the principle and interest (taxes, escrows, other costs not figured into this calculation) would be approximately $269.71 (before you object, yes, some lenders do make and FHA allows for FHA Title II loans on single section homes, the multi-sectional restriction is an overlay that some lenders impose).

Using the same idea as above applied to the multi-sectional with home-site numbers ($100,259) from NAHB's study yields a $478.64 monthly payment (disclaimer again, principle, interest only). This is clearly 'affordable' housing!

Both the GAO in their recent report, and Fannie Mae in a previous study, indicate similar payments that reflect the fact that manufactured housing is the most affordable permanent (as opposed to RVs or other seasonal) homes on the market today.

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FYI, credit studies suggest that some 58% of the U.S. has a credit score that is at or above a 692 FICO, as the chart above from Experian and Money-zine reports.

credit-score-chart-courtesy-of-Money-zine-cutting-edge-blog-mhpronews-

When you look at the facts here and consider the satisfaction and affordability suggested by the recently published Foremost Insurance study, or the CNBC discussion on a potential 5 to 6 million Americans who could be buying a home, and a picture of the industry's strong upside potential comes into sharp focus.

But, Tony, I'm not seeing those 692 credit scores at my location!” some say.

Sorry, but that my friends and MH Industry colleagues, is because the wrong kind of sales and marketing approach is being used! “Damaged credit OK” advertising brings you exactly that, and if you don't use those sorts of ads, so many in our industry have for so many decades that this is embedded into the psyche of millions of credit challenged customers. Remember these lyrics… Trailers, for sale or rent, rooms to let for 50c…

When you learn how to attract and sell the site built home buyer, you will get more of that as time goes on.

When you and more in the MH Industry mature to the point that we are selling good homes that are appealing AND affordable, you'll see more sales to cash and good credit customers, and more sales of new MH and MODs. That's a fact and I'm sticking with it! ##

latonykovach-com-brushed-cutting-edge-marketing-sales-blog-mhpronews-com75x75-By L. A. “Tony” Kovach

Bombs in the Burry

May 22nd, 2014 No comments

"Hurry, hurry, hurry, bombs in the burry!" is a colloquial expression that conveys a sense of haste or urgency. A burry is a patch of burrs, or a bitter cold climate like northern Minnesota's in winter. It was MHC and RE industry legend, Sam Zell, who told some 200 MH Industry pros that we needed a greater sense of urgency, and that among the risks of 'cheap money' and QEs was that it created a diminished sense of urgency.

There are indeed times when urgency is called for – and when bombs are falling, or the cold is bitter – could certainly be among them.

But in business, when you are interacting on a big ticket item – the sale of a manufactured home, for example – one must read the signals and circumstances.

Indeed, sometimes urgency is exactly what is called for to make a deal happen. But urgency with an analytical buyer who is nowhere near the fence – much less on it – can cost you a good customer.

The successful fisherman doesn't try to set the hook before the fish has taken the bait! Fishing takes patience and discernment, when to act in haste and when to be patient.

Customers often fear a decision. There are many reasons that may be so. Once you understand them, and their circumstances, you can better help them in their buying process.

Lifetime Value

Jay Hamilton expressed a truism last year, too many in our industry are stuck in short term thinking mode. They fail to invest injim-clayton-tony-kovach-mhpronews-interview proper marketing and training. There are costs to that which are far greater than may first meet the eye.

Harvard University did a study on the Lifetime Value of Customers, and proposed a formula to calculate that value. Let's keep it simple today and say, that a happy customer is more likely to come back and send their family, friends and co-workers.

Jim Clayton in our upcoming follow up on our video interview speaks about investing and developing people. Around 80, he is still doing that today! Do you think the $1.7 billion dollar payday he made when Clayton Homes sold made investing in people and systems worthwhile?

Answer, you bet.

If you meet someone who thinks they are too smart to learn from others, remind them that billionaire Jim Clayton is still learning, still investing in people and processes that yield satisfied customers. Jim sat near the front of the room when Sam Zell spoke.

Check out part one of Jim Clayton's video. And watch for part two coming in June as a featured article. ABL = Always Be Learning!

Marketing and Training

All of this relates to issues that connect with marketing and sales training.

Pat Curran, a veteran who has spent decades in insurance and finance in MH and has seen dozens of sales operations, sent this in which makes a great point that dovetails with Jay Hamilton's.

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We must not set our sights too low on marketing.

Should an MHCommunity or MHRetailer be surprised that the 'get me done' customer arrives when many essentially advertise for that profile of buyer?

And when you do attract a good credit customer, are you surprised that you don't close more of them if your people are not prepared to deal with that better qualified buyer?

There are times when urgency is needed, and there are others when patience should prevail. How to identify and know the difference is a matter of training and experience!

Sam Zell's organization and Jim Clayton's both share this success key: they make the investment in developing the right people and processes. The payoff is long term success!

If you are the smallest mom and pop in the industry and have no budget to spare, at a bare minimum, you must require your people to read and study to learn and grow. If that describes you, and you are reading this, great, but then make sure your people read this 'and get it' too!

In the ideal, if you have the right kind of people and have a budget, you must invest in them!

If you have the wrong kind of people, why is that and how do you plan to solve it?

Tim Connor asks the question, how much are your lost sales costing you? We could add to that, what does it cost you to market to the least credit worthy audience?

The lowest hanging fruit is likely already on the ground, and may have worms. The best, juiciest fruit may take more effort to get, but once you do, isn't it worth it?

Everyone needs a good, decent place to live, so don't misunderstand the point. "Selling up" doesn't cost you the lowest rung on theshow-me-the-money-louisville-manufactured-housing-show-2014-posted-masthead-blog-mhpronews-.jp financial ladder. Those 'damaged credit' customers will come your way anyway. Remember, over 58% of the population has a credit score 700 or above, while only 15% have one under 600.

Marketing and selling up, along with investing in the processes that make that a successful reality, that's where the long term value is. Who says? The experts, leaders and legends in our field!

Treating all customers – and your staff – the way you'd want to be treated is how you maximize the lifetime value of everyone you meet.

If you want the better qualified customer, learn to how to market to and attract them, and then learn how to successfully interact with them to earn their business.

If you have good people, invest in them directly via training and indirectly via providing them the tools they need to be successful..

You'll be glad you did. Investing in your people and business is the safest bet you can possibly make, and the one you have the most ability to influence and control. ##

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 

Manufactured Housing Institute – Suppliers Division – Product Placement Project

October 6th, 2013 No comments

At the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) annual meeting, the Suppliers Division voted in favor of doing a creative MH industry image building project that would use Product Placement in videos.

Video is hot online. The number two search engine right behind Google is YouTube! You can find YouTube videos on seemingly countless subjects. The MHI Suppliers Division vote was a strong endorsement for using a spin-off of an idea Eddie Hicks suggested here on MHProNews some years ago.

Here are the basics of the concept:

A volunteer committee – including newly elected Suppliers Division board member L. A. 'Tony' Kovach as a point man, with support from MHI's Lois Starkey and Cheryl Beard – will reach out to state associations with the idea of identifying the following:

  • A school of performing arts (likely a college or trade school, but might be a specialized high school) for volunteers who would like experiencemanufactured-home-community-by-lake-credit-wikicommons-posted-on-mhpronews-com.jpg at doing video projects that would involve acting, filming and editing.
  • Short stories would be scripted ("story boarded") that would favorably use manufactured homes as an important element in each video.
  • Drama, humor, "reality," "news," "documentary" or other forms of story telling could all be used. The common element would be to showcase the appeal of manufactured home living in a favorable light.
  • For example, it might include a story or report set in a development or at a manufactured home land lease community, inside a real home in an appealing neighborhood.
  • Even one star communities could be showcased favorably compared to other older, low cost housing options (example, older apartments) by taking a positive spin on story telling and product placement.
  • Sponsors would be identified who would support the modest costs of the project.
  • Besides placing the videos on YouTube or a site like Vimeo, the videos would be embedded and showcased on the ManufacturedHomeLivingNews.com website for distribution and promotion.
  • A YouTube Channel would be created for this project.
  • Additional industry volunteers who would like to serve on the Product Placement Video Project committee to advance this effort would be welcome.
  • As the project advances, other MHI divisions or factory built housing industry corporate involvement would be welcome.

It should be noted that this is the start of a work in progress, and the ideas above can easily be adapted at this early stage. So NOW is the time to get involved!

By creating mutual victories for all involved, quality engaging videos could be created that would showcase our industry favorably while providing practical, real world experience for the performing artists who would volunteer. Once produced, those videos can be used for many years to come.

Should we identify more than one school, contests might be held that would award some recognition to those who did the best in some category, a manufactured housing video version of the Emmy Awards.

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Who knows? Perhaps we could through a project like this fuel the career of video producers, actors or actresses!

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The videos may be useful with public officials, as well as marketing and educational efforts that can sell more homes and thus the products and services that would go along with more manufactured home sales.

As noted, the concepts are in their infancy, so your input and that of others in the factory built home industry input is encouraged and welcome.

By showing people how you cook, clean, eat, live and love the same in a manufactured home as in other housing options and how you can do so with –

  • lower costs,
  • lower energy use and
  • less maintenance costs than standard housing

– we can break down some of the barriers that are currently holding our industry back.

Please feel free to contact us with your interest and support! Working together, we can make this and other good efforts happen. Thank you. ##

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