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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.

badnewsheadlines-credit-life-as-a human-postedCuttingEdgeBlogMHProNews-com-

“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.

SingingDancingToursTalkingMostMHConsumerFocusedVideoInterviews-ManufacturedHomeLivingNewsLATonyKovach-InsideMH

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?

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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!

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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.

KimCapenMedvilleROC-GoffstownNH-MH-AppreciationSeniorCommunityLifestle-ManufacturedHomeLivingNews-InsideMHvideo2-600x330

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.

BobThiemanCAE-MastheadBlogMHProNews-com-2

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.

ignorance-costs-knowledge-pays-cuttingedge-ofmarketing-sales-manufactured-housing-mhpronews-com-

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.

War, Peace, Bridges and Newsworthy Promotion!

July 17th, 2014 No comments

CNN. Fox. ABC, NBC, CBS, A&E and any network, newspaper, online or other media all have this in common, they promote! They promote themselves and they promote the products and services of others. They don't apologize for those promotions! They don't apologize for advertising themselves or others.

Tim Connor, CSP, author of 80+ books, one of our featured writers and hired by over 100 factory and other building operations said at a Wisconsin Housing Alliance (WHA) meeting that "You have to be a relentless self promoter." This is a fact for any successful business or professional!

You don't apologize for giving someone your business card, or for advertising, marketing, networking live or via social media, etc.. Successful operations and professionals do these things.

uplifting-you-we-agents-for-pleasurable-profitable-uplfiting-positive-change-image=wikicommons(c)poster=mhpronews-com2014-

We are the runaway #1
news, tips and views MH Professional Resource!
Thanks to our sponsors and experts,
we give away more useful info and insights
than anyone else in the Industry!

War and Peace, plus Bridge Building

Is your manufactured or modular home product, community or service a good one? Does it do what you advertise or claim? Does it benefit your customers? Then it is WRONG not to promote it, and do it well!

Guess what, we promote too. And it must be working, because we keep growing and gaining new clients while others have been shrinking, fading or dying.

There are times you have to 'go to war,' and when you do, the smart ones fight to win. Peace is better than war, when you can have peace honorably. That's true between nations and in business too.

bridging-the-gap-is-profitable-the-brdige-frees-those-otherwise-trapped-oneither-bank-the-elk-strawberry-mansion-bridge=wikicommons-poster(c)2014-mhpronews-com-

Bridges pay! You invest in the bridge, but once built, a bridge saves you time and money, and it makes you money.100s-raining-showering-down-2014-cutting-edge-blog-mhpronews- Bridges between you and your customers pay.

Bridges between you and those some might think of as rivals can pay off too. Think win-win, mutual victories and Collaboration vs. Confrontation!

Just the Facts!

We do marketing and sales training. We build websites, we know manufactured and modular homes, retailing and communities. We've won awards, and have been praised by operations of all sizes in our industry. Those are facts, and it should remind you that when YOU need to market better or sell more, you should visit LATonyKovach.com, email or call us!

Some of our clients are very public, and the results are there for all to see.

LouisvilleManufacturedHousingShow.com is a site we've built but also a show we promote! The show hires us to do the education and promotion, and we've been praised for the results, see proof on the link and chart here. As Show Chairman Ron Thomas, Sr. has said in a recent article,

We will once again use L. A. “Tony” Kovach, MHProNews.com aka
MHMarketingSalesManagement.com services to promote this year’s show. His electronic messaging works!”

MHI hired us to promote their Congress and Expo in 2014. Their result? The best attended event since 2008! See and hear the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) President and CEO, Richard “Dick” Jennison, say that and thank us for our pro-industry work, at the video linked here.

We take MH and MOD retailers and community operators who are often struggling and turn them into better marketing and sales performers! We teach a proprietary system that makes the phones ring, the doors swing and the cash register Cha-Ching!

mhc-md-latonykovach-client-message-comptuer-report-collage-masthead-mhpronews-com-c

These 83 calls and 61 net leads came in one week.
We've had locations generate over 200 inbound
calls seeking homes in a week, at a low cost per prospect.
We then teach how to handle that call, resulting in more sales!

We do these marketing and training services on a confidential basis, NDAs are part of the deal. So the graphic shown redacts the names, but are actual results reported by computerized call tracking and a text from the business' owner to me. That same operation did less in a year, prior to our starting their program with us than they reported in this one month, shown above!

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Every professional from almost any field studies and reads, so they can learn more to earn more! You and your team should invest a minimum of 15 minutes a day on MHProNews.com. You should invest 7 minutes daily on ManufacturedHomeLivingNews.com. Not just owners, but staff should be on our site, learning more to earn more.

But at some point, you may want or need paid services. Be it B2B or B2C, talk to us, because we are proven to grow results. But fair warning! What we do is different! To get a different result, you have to be ready to change. We've innovated, and for those who see it as an investment, working together it pays off for those who put our processes to work!

Whenever you can, learn to Win Wars but also Win in Peace. Learn how to collaborate more successfully with others. Learn to bridge the gap between you and your customers, in a win-win fashion! ##

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 

Earn $43 for each $1 invested? Manufactured Housing, You and Email Marketing

June 6th, 2014 No comments

Be it business to business (B2B) or business to consumer (B2C), email marketing is a very important part of staying in touch and generating business.

Building an email list takes time, and effort. That translates into costs. But are the costs worth it?

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Frankly, as the it is a TOTAL no-brainer!

The Direct Marketing Association provided the statistic above, but IMHO, that is way to LOW for much of the manufactured housing industry!

Let's do some quick math. You are a retailer or MHC that sells homes. Or you are a lender, and want more good loans. One lead that 'cashes' is worth years of the modest cost for an email marketing program!

First, you hopefully are using a CRM system – please see this article by Brad Nelms on that topic –

http://MHProNews.com/home/featured-articles/june-2014/117-marketing/7683-you-your-manufactured-home-business-your-image-and-bottom-line

Next, hopefully you have a great website, if not, look here:

http://MHProNews.com/home/featured-articles/june-2014/117-marketing/7671-does-it-really-matter-who-you-use-to-build-a-manufactured-or-modular-home-industry-website

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Third, with a good database/CRM nested on a good website that attracts and keeps new customers coming in, you'll get an pretty darn automated system that can keep your clients informed!

Fourth, You have to offer them something they want to know about, of course.

In our case, here at MHProNews.com, we offer Industry News, Tips and Views Pros Can Use. People have learned that using our email news updates is a time saver and keeps them informed.

Translation: our emails save and/or makes MHPros money. And it is free.

You should do something similar with your clients. Need a hand? Give us a call.

email-dark-wikicommons-posted-mhpronews-com

BTW. If you haven't been added to our NEW and IMPROVED emails, here is how they look, scroll all the way down the a single issue in moments, scan the headlines you like, click on the articles you like.

If you aren't on our emailed update system – many keep track of all the big and less obvious things too that are going on in MH using our emails – sign up in seconds here.

mhpronews.com/subscribe

Do the math. One home sold, one site filled, one new client, could be worth years of payback. Is email marketing worth it? As they say in Wisconsin…

Youbetcha. ##

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 

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.

pat-curran-inspiration-blog-mhpronews-com-

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 

Content Marketing World!

May 4th, 2014 No comments

We've quoted Sunshine Homes President, John Bostick's memorable saying, “Easy doesn't pay well.” There may be 'easier' ways to market, if you have a big budget than using 'content marketing.' But content marketing has tremendous advantages when it comes to getting organic Search Engine Optimization (SEO). So we have been believers in Content Marketing for years.

Did you know?

content-marketing-world-ad-cleveland-ohio-airport-terminal-cutting-edge-marketing-sales-blog-mhpronews-comContent Marketing is so big, they have their own events. In a recent trip to Cleveland OH, I couldn't help but notice the banner ad which promoted their upcoming Content Marketing World event.

What is Content Marketing?

The Content Marketing Institute uses the following definition:

Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.

Let's be candid. Industry News, Tips and Views Pros can Use can be seen as a form of content marketing, just as Fox News, MSNBC or other media platforms are a way of attracting certain target audience.

In our case, the content we deliver here on MHProNews.com is specifically designed information for the manufactured housing professional, investor or other aficionados or experts keen on our topics.

Does that mean that the news and views are not real? Not at all! In fact, it is precisely because we share relevant information on MHProNews.com that you and thousands more like you log on daily here. The featured articles on our home page often provide business building tips, inspiration or more.

One example is our website builder/designer, Joe Karn's, who this month sounded off on Creating Marketing Plan.

How can YOU Use Content Marketing?

If you have a website, you should be keen to create relevant content for your target audience!

Did You Know?

Did you know that some websites are better than others at maximizing the SEO power of content marketing? It's true!

For example, there are some 'freebie' websites out there that better for them then they are for you. When you consider the value ofmens_brown_derby_leather_shoes-wiki-commons-posted-cutting-edge-marketing-sales-blog-mhpronews-com your time, you don't want to waste time on a website that could cost you in the algorithms that Google, YouTube, Yahoo or Bing use to decide what ranks higher in an unpaid or 'organic' search result.

Put Yourself in Your Target Audience's Shoes

woman's-red_shoes-wikicommons-posted-cutting-edge-marketing-sales-blog-mhpronews-comBefore you type the first word or take the first photo, or create the first video, think about your desired target audience. Is what you plan to share of value or interest to them? Once you can formulate a message that is meaningful to your target audience, then you are on the path to good content marketing.

For example, our target audience are the MHPros and investors. What do they need to know?

Legal topics –

 

Marketing/Sales – Brad Nelms, Joe Karns, Scott Stroud, Tim Connor, LA Tony Kovach and more.

featured-articles-mhpronews-home-page-cutting-edge-marketing-sales-management-blogCruise the home page, center column, and you'll see the featured articles for this month on topics ranging from events, interviews, management and more. See the graphic from our home page, to see where the featured articles are every month.

Remember, content marketing isn't just using key words to 'trick' a search engine or reader into coming. The idea is to provide REAL Value to the reader, so they will keep coming back!

Certainly, there is more to content marketing than what's noted here, but that's why people charge the bucks for attending the seminars at Content Marketing World.

Think about your target audience(s), and try to provide not just content, but routine content that is of relevance to them. Then, get that message in front of that audience. When you do, over time, you will build an ever larger – and given quality, a loyal – audience that is a win-win for the audience and you too. ##

(Image credits – Content Marketing World = MHProNews.com, Shoes = Wikicommons)

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