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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!

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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 

Habit forming

June 21st, 2012 No comments

First you form your habits, then your habits form you.  This maxim is true in our personal life, and it is true in our professional life.  That includes how you approach management, marketing and sales too.  Let's see how this principle plays out in manufactured housing.

In this new economy and more rigorous regulatory environment, you have either:

  • adapted to the new situations,
  • have not,
  • or are seeking to find ways that will drive profits for your business.  
  • If you are stuck in old ways that no longer work, then that old habit is now limiting you.

We strive to practice what we preach here at MHProNews.com/MHMarketingSalesManagement.com.  We test new ideas.  We strive to use old tried and true ideas only when they still apply.

Videos are nothing new.  We have had TV available to the masses for about 60 years now.  There have been motion pictures for about a century.  What is a newer development is the ability for a firm like your to make their own video.

Here is short one we just did as an introduction video.  Take a look.  Then think about how you could do a video project that could help your firm too. The technology today makes this so much easier than even a few years ago.

 

 

Tony like's to quote a saying of G. K. Chesterton, on a theme that Zig Ziglar has touched on in his recent column on our site. The original quote is this:

If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.”
 
– G. K. Chesterton

This is a paradox, so it needs a bit of commentary, that the Ziglar article linked above does nicely. Let's try to get the meaning down to a phrase. You have something worth doing, but because you are new at it, so at first you do it 'badly.' Later, as you do more of the 'thing' – whatever it is – you get better at it. You also get more comfortable doing the something new over time too. Just as a child learns in stages, so too we adults. We improve by doing!

Putting our own principles to work, here is the Updated (improved) version of the video above.

 


Let me also give you a big tip. Sometimes the slickest pieces are not the ones that connect you to your target market. Many people want GENUINE, not 'slick.'

Is there some area of your operation that you want to improve?

  • As a manufactured home community owner, could you be filling more vacant homes and sites? Do you want more happy residents that pay better as a result?
  • As a manufactured home retailer, would you like to have more sales and more happy customers, who bring you referrals so you sell even more homes?
  • As a factory builder, wouldn't you like to get more market penetration, and offer something unique to your retailers, developers and communities that would drive more sales for them, and thus for you too?
  • As a lender, insurance company or other vendors and suppliers, don't you also want to stand out from the crowd and land more business that sticks?

There is only one honest answer to questions like these: of course, yes. Who honestly wants to sell less or do worse?

So why not try something new in your business today? Why not start a new habit, starting right away?

There are many ways to learn and do something new.

You can talk to someone or read articles and books – like this one – pick up an idea and then experiment with that idea yourself. You can put someone on your payroll that does that new thing for you. Or you can outsource, which means you could learn from someone who knows, and then when you have that new thing well in hand, you can shake hands and move one without the hassles or long term commitment that comes from hiring an employee.

When you are ready for proven ways to grow your business, please take a look at our services menu, attached here. From websites, to training in management, marketing and sales, to Business to Business (B2B) advertising here on MHProNews.com or Business to Consumer (B2C) outreaches to manufactured home owners and MH Shoppers at MHLivingNews.com, come to us, first, last or in between. Give me a confidential call. I'll listen to your situation. We can tell you if we can serve you or if you need to think about someone else instead.

You see, we have a habit. We want to work with companies that we truly believe we can benefit. If you win, then we win too. When everyone in the mix benefits, that is the basis for a solid professional relationship. It is a habit worth forming. Just see what some of our clients have said or take a peek at many more letters, awards and testimonials linked here. ##

Posted for
Tim Connor, CSP
Business Development, Ad Manager & MHSpeakerTrainer.org Coordinator
MHMarketingSalesManagement.com = MHMSM.com = MHProNews.com
Factory-Built Housing's #1 Online Trade Publication (biggest and most popular)
ph 704-895-1230 email tim@mhmsm.com

Progress, Status Quo and Failure

May 22nd, 2012 No comments

We all say that we want to progress or advance in sales and profits. Certainly some companies are selling more new homes in manufactured housing. That means more loans are being closed, more insurance policies are being written, so the whole range of products and services that go into every new manufactured home sales takes place.

But what makes the difference between progress, status quo and failure?

Let's look at five true-to-life examples to answer the question. While these examples are ours, they could apply to other circumstances too. So use the open mind to success, enjoy and profit.

Example of Progress:

A client not only thanked us for the work done and their significantly enhanced results, but they introduced us to another MH company. Not a 2 minute introduction, this was a 45 minute 3 way conversation.

The client heard Tony sharing an idea at a meeting. That lead to a conversation. The conversation led the firm becoming a client. This owner had an open mind. He was curious. He investigated, he listened, he acted.

He profited.

Like many of you, this man was "busy." But he wasn't too busy to learn more to earn more! He made time for what was important. That is the takeaways from this first true tale.

Examples of status quo:

This is perhaps the most common group.

Professionals all tend to run a similar path every day. You follow the same road to and from work. You do things at work similarly too. Is it any surprise when you do the same things the same way, that you keep getting the same results?

By contrast, another gent sent us a message to say thank you. He confessed he was a status quo guy for a long time. But then it happened…

The thank you was first for the insights they gained from reading at MHProNews.com (MHMSM.com), then later from using a specific program and process. A page long message said in part, that he had been in business for decades. He thought he "knew it all." It wasn't until he stopped to consider something new that he was able to advance.

So if you are satisfied, don't change. That is the status quo. But if you are looking for more, be open minded and ready to do more. Then, do what it takes to make that more a reality. The takeaway here is leaners are better earners.

Not every story has a happy ending.

One business owner wanted to grow. They "wanted" to advertise. They invested serious dollars in their operation. Limited on funds, they felt they had to "protect" their resources by "playing it safe." No ads, no growth. They played it so safe, their doors finally closed.

The takeaway from the above is this: the 'safe' center may look safe, but it is the center lines where you find the dead carcasses on the road.

Example of Going Backwards.

The truth is that you typically are advancing or retreating in business. Tony Kovach shared an experience with me of an owner who spoke to him at a large industry meeting. The man described how he had grown tired of all the "fights." Which fights?

"SAFE Act, Dodd-Frank, state and local regulations! I finally got sick of it all." said the owner. "I stopped trying to figure it all out." He turned, and left the meeting.

While we can sympathize, is it any surprise why the occupancy of that community owner declined after he got "tired" of all the "fights?" Note too that the same meeting produced some very motivated attendees.

This takeaway? "You don't tell the fire place, give me warmth and I'll give you wood!" You get out the heat to the measure that you thoughtfully and purposefully put in.

Some tips:

  • Be open to new ideas. The "Know it all" means you can't learn.
  • Keep the bottom line in mind. It is more important to be ready to change directions in a new, better direction than to keep following the same line day after day.
  • Reach out: to peers; network and don't be afraid to hire a professional to get your job done. You wouldn't hesitate to go to a doctor for a medial worry. Why hesitate to hire a professional to help your business?

Progress, the status quo or failure. The choices are yours.##

Posted by:
Tim Connor
Business Development and Ads Manager
MHProNews.com (MHMSM.com) and
MHLivingNews.com
704-895-1230
tim@MHMSM.com