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Posts Tagged ‘sales person’

Can Learning to Dance Increase Manufactured Housing Sales?

October 15th, 2014 No comments

Short answer to the headline question, yes! With your attention and curiosity clearly up, let's tell you exactly what this metaphor means in practical terms when selling manufactured homes.

dancing-lessons-wikicommons-posted-cutting-edge-blog-manufactured-housing-mhpro-news-com-Many people look at sales training as a way of manipulating a customer. If that is what the trainer, the owner or sales person thinks, then odds are good the training won't produce a long term positive result. What will? Learn “Dancing!”

True sales training of a big ticket sales item, such as manufactured homes, is about learning to dance the right way with your prospect.

Don't step on my toes!”

Other than mom or dad teaching their tyke how to dance, almost no one wants their toes stepped on when dancing.

A good sales professional learns how to move WITH their customer, learns the customer's rythms and movements. Then, they can 'guide' a customer – or be guided by them – in a fashion that works for both the seller and buyer.

You learn how NOT to step on your customer's toes! Good selling is like a good dance.

We'll touch on this topic and others that we use in our free manufactured home marketing and sales training at the Louisville Manufactured Housing show in 2015, hope you will be there. Only those who want to grow their results should come! ##

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

Are you Asking the Right Questions?

August 8th, 2014 No comments

Did you know…

  • that professional selling is more than just 'telling?'
  • that in the right circumstances, your prospect wants to be 'sold?'
  • that good selling is not something you do TO someone, it is something you do WITH and FOR someone?
  • that controlling someone in sales is just an illusion?

Even in a society that lacks freedom, people yearn for ways to express themselves! So imagine that in a free society, of course people don't want to feel manipulated into doing something, even if that 'something' might actually be to their benefit.

So as soon as some 'sales person' starts talking, talking, talking before they've

  • asked and listened,
  • asked and listened and
  • asked and listened some more…

what routinely happens is that good prospective clients tune them out. Odds of doing business with them nose-dive. This often leaves the weaker prospect that stays and gets 'sold,' and of course then the challenge is to see how to 'get their deal done.'

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Image Credit: Ky Olsen

There are organizations in manufactured housing that teach good selling, which is much more than telling.

Good selling is like going to a doctor's office. The doctor – or the MD's staff – has to ask probing questions and then follows those questions up with still more questions, all BEFORE tests are done or a recommendation for treatment is made.

We teach forward thinking professionals to ask the right questions at the right times. Then we suggest the proper marketing that makes the phones ring.

l-a-tony-kovach-2014-louisville-manufactured-housing-show-modern-marketing-mhpronews-com-manufacturedhomelivingnews-com (1)

L. A. “Tony” Kovach presenting to a packed room of MH Professionals.

Change rarely happens over night. But if you are doing the right job – the truly professional way – of marketing and sales in manufactured housing, you will see a steady growth in the number of qualified buyers who will call, come, see, believe and buy from you. Don't worry, you'll still get the credit challenged customers too.

When you learn to engage a cash or good credit customer successfully, you'll realize that selling manufactured homes is a noble profession.

Professionals practice and study, practice and study. Professionals ask questions before making recommendations, correct?

i-do-think-that-a-person-can-adapt-and-change-successfully-into-a-can-do-mindset-provided-he-she-is-willing-to-make-the-commitment-to-learning-jim-clayton(c)2014-life

What would you pay to listen to the industry's self-made billionaire for 45 minutes?
Then would you actively listen – take notes and learn – by
clicking here and watching this two part video?

Shall we close with some OBVIOUS questions?

So where do you go to do your daily reading in MH? And where are you getting your professional training to become a star in manufactured housing? ##

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

How to Sell More Manufactured Homes

March 12th, 2014 No comments

The Cutting Edge of Marketing and Sales blog is not about industry politics, as interesting or important as some find that issue. Rather, as the name implies, it is about selling more homes. That happens when you get and stay focused on Marketing and Sales, without ignoring the political or other matters that impact your business.

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Mid-to-Large Organization Structures

In a number of mid-to-large organizations, you'll find under various titles, marketing and sales management roles.

A common problem in manufactured housing industry retail and community operations is that there is so much reporting and paperwork, that the core functions that produce more sales are often overlooked.

Don't get me wrong, it isn't that paper work, budgeting, pipeline reports etc. aren't needed. They are. But if much of the reporting can't be delegated to an assistant to assemble and collate, then is it a surprise when sales potentials are not being met?

Outside contract experts and consultants can often fill a core needs that compliments that of the salaried staff.

Outside consultants also have the benefit of 'new eyes.' It is common for staff people to simply accept what is, while an outside consultant can come in, ask questions, and reveal missed opportunities, lower costs and also drive more business.

businessmen-with-briefcase-image-provided-by-mod-coach-posted-mhpronews.com

What many find surprising, is that the consultant may be less costly than hiring an additional salaried staffer and return a solid ROI that can:

  • reduce interest costs on inventory that otherwise ages
  • improve marketing results
  • increase sales
  • improve customer satisfaction
  • advance staff training

and much more.

Even when a consultant is called in for a 'look us over, and give us your thoughts,' that too clearly has value. It can be helpful to get an independent viewpoint on procedures, inventory, CRM and much more.

Separation of Responsibilities

In a large enough organization, in the volume automotive model, you separate duties into specialized areas. At a volume auto retailer, the sales professional is not expected to put the financing together on the deal. That's the F&I person's job. Sometimes even 'closing' the initial deal – before it is written up and goes to F&I – is a tag-team between the sales manager and the sales professional.

While I don't want to push the analogy too much (because there are so many things our manufactured housing industry must do differently than auto dealers do), other aspects of the car dealer model also needs to be considered for these reason.

The:

  • auto-detailing,
  • make-ready,
  • advertising
  • and other aspects of running a volume car center is not the responsibility of the sales pro.

A volume auto dealer may also:

  • have used and new car specialists – and in some auto sales structures – if a client is with a use sales person and ought to be with a new car guy (or vice-versa), you hand that customer off to another specialist, you don't cross those lines yourself.
  • Outside sales trainers are routinely brought in to shake things up, and it routinely yields more sales and thus more income.

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The outside trainer is no 'threat' to the sales manager. If both are true pros, they collaborate!

From time to time, I like to refer to a comment shared by Jay Hamilton, currently the Executive Director of the GMHA, but previously a manager with Fleetwood Homes. Please see his commentary, Investing in the Future of Manufactured Housing.

There are those who say investing in sales training is a waste of time, due to turn over. But some studies indicate that the more trained a person is, they last longer, produce more and tend to be more loyal to the company who trained them.

Let me finish with a question that Tim Connor likes to ask. What do your lost sales opportunities cost you? If you are an MHC operation, what do your vacancies cost you?

When you do the math, good marketing and sales doesn't cost, its an investment that pays.

6 FREE Business Building Seminars LIVE!

http://www.mhpronews.com/component/banners/click/134

For details, please click the link above. ##

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 

21st Century Marketing and Sales

June 18th, 2012 No comments

For those or us old enough to remember, sales was often viewed by millions as something you did to someone, rather than doing something for someone. Sales was seen – and taught – as a kind of manipulation. A person or a company wanted to manipulate their way into a sale, they did it via a process. An example that comes to mind might be the time share industry. Let's take a look, because understanding this principle will be key to the much of what follows. You will see the application and power this can have for the manufactured housing industry. Don't be surprised if an "aha!" moment or two comes your way that will make you or an associate of yours some good money.

Let's start by using the time share example. You get someone into an appointment, often through a promise of a discount at a resort or some gift or a chance at a prize. You then put the prospect through a long sales processes that is virtually choreographed. "You say this, when the prospect says that." Much is scripted.

There are values to scripts and memorization. But one problem is what happens when a person goes off script? What happens when the prospect is to some degree "in the know" as to what you are going to do, as in fact began to happen in the time share Industry? Over time, you dry up your target market, because more and people realize what will happen and so they want no part of it. They either don't come, or they simply "just say no" because they don't want to be manipulated. The wrong intention kills it all.

The above example makes a few key points that at first may seem contradictory to some things we have written and said. Let's take a step back, to understand a key relationship, and then return to the point.

Marketing should set up sales with a prospect, that sums up the goal of marketing. Marketing doesn't sell, it delivers a prospect, and hopefully a steady stream of them. Once you get the prospect, sales takes over. In the modern era of CRM (Customer Relationship Management), prospects may move fluidly in and out of sales and follow up marketing, as with an email campaign to prospects and clients.

But obviously the job of sales professionals is to the MAKE a sale. Many of them!

Some MH Retailers – for example – in their haste to be "unsales-like" and not turn off a prospect, use no sales process. They let the customer wander around open, model homes, hoping they bump into the house they want and magically fall to the floor, open a checkbook and say, "sell me this one!" It can happen, but not often enough. I recall a successful retailer who went from 5 locations to 4, then 3, 2 and 1 doing this. Finally – of course – the last location closed. No system, insufficient sales, overhead far outpaced the sales which took place. They were done.

They had gone from a system, to no system. From success to failure.

But on the other end of the spectrum are those retailers who had a highly scripted process. It was much like a time share sales system in that sense. I am thinking of another example, in another market from the one above. The retailer had good product, somewhat high pricing, did a lot of marketing, had overall good locations (meaning, high traffic spots off major highways in good towns). But as the highly scripted systems became better known, guess what happened? The company I am thinking about in a good state, in better economic times than these are, went from 5 locations, to 4, to 3, then to 1 and done. Their lack of a customer-friendly process made them fail.

As in much of life, the answer is simple. The Solutions are always there if you look for it! Another example or analogy will make the point.

Imagine a professional football team that didn't practice. They had no play book. They had no process for success. How long would a team like that last? Not long! Even great players need a plan! Great players need coaching and play calling. So training is fundamental and a having a process are both critical. The same is true in selling.

Great sales talents realizes their potential precisely through training that is ongoing and routine, just as great teams keep training season after season.

Let's circle back to the top.

The sales process MUST begin with the right intention! If you are trying to manipulate someone, the intention is wrong. Over time then, the sales process that seeks to manipulate will self-destruct.

What works is having a process that is user-friendly for the sales person, and user friendly for the customer.

Now we get to a profound key! Don't sleep, don't snooze, or you will miss it!

Coach Lou Holtz said the following, in his three rules of life:

  • 1) Do what's right
  • 2) Do your best.
  • 3) Treat others the way you want to be treated.

Three questions people ask you (either openly, subconsciously, or often to themselves):

  • 1) Can I trust you?
  • 2) Are you committed?
  • 3) Do you care about me?

When companies, politicians, sales professionals and others get these 6 points down, look out! Good to Great Results wills follow! And so long as such principles are put into place and set in motion for the long run, long term success will follow!

But notice how all 6 points go back to the intention. If you intend to serve, if you want to serve well, you are setting up the other 6 rules. Coach Holtz started simply with, Do What's Right. The Right Intention, the Right Training will yield the Right Results for the customer AND for the company alike!

The 21st century has more ways to communicate than we never would have dreamed about at the dawn of the 20th century. We had person to person, signs, books, newspapers and magazines 100 years ago. So telephones, radio and TV were all on the horizon a century ago. Those innovations were followed by cable, cells, satellite and finally in the 90s we saw the rise of the Internet. Today we see branches of online, with tablets, text and smartphone use, social networking and more.

We have an amazing ways to reach out and touch someone. But how we do what we do is the difference between long term sales success and eventual failure. And in the end, for a big ticket product like a modular or manufactured home, it still comes down to one on one with people.

Factory built housing is an amazing product. Imagine what would happen if you had two cars, both had the same features, but one was 25% less in price than the other. Which would sell more? All things being equal, the less expensive one, right? With the HUD Code you have entry level VOG homes, and you have more 'residential' tape and textured/finished drywall styles of construction. So you can hit a variety of price points and target markets!

Then why doesn't that make a huge difference in manufactured housing sales? Aha! Therein lies a different subject for a different time. Don't worry, we will continue this periodic series.

A closing message.

MHProNews.com is being branded as the publishing arm of what we do here at Manufactured Home Marketing Sales Management (MHMSM.com). All 3 of our web address will bring you to the same site.

That said, there is a complementarity but also a distinction between the two.

MHProNews is Industry News, Tips and Views You can Use. (c)

At MHMarketingSalesManagement.com (= MHMSM.com) we are doing the contract (think consulting or short, medium or long term outsourced) professional work for companies like yours. MHMSM is Innovation – Information – Inspiration for Industry Professionals. (c)

Think about it. You have to have news and information in order to stay current and be successful in the long run.

You also need professional development for your organization.m this might be done via associations. It can be done via the web, or live for mid-to large sized companies.

Both are essential to long term success!

Here is our link to our current services menu here.

See a copy of our business building, twice weekly emailed news updates sign up for your free emailed newsletter at this link here: MHProNews.com/newsletter

Sign up for that free email here: MHProNews.com/subscribe

And when you're ready to join the ranks of those who make more money by working smarter, not harder, gives us a call or email us. My contact info is below. Years of success in factory-built housing follow in our wake, as testimonials, statistics and letters of reference at LATonyKovach.com prove. The initial consultations are free. The results, priceless. And we mutually commit to confidentially, our process is proprietary.

When you are ready for 21st century results in marketing, sales and management, call, click or connect.##

(Editor's note: see more of Tim's columns in the Words of Wisdom and in our Feature Articles section of MHProNews.com. See our news by scrolling the center and left side columns on our home page, and keeping up with Tony Kovach's The Masthead blog.)

 

Posted for
Tim Connor
Business Development
MHProNews.com
MHMSM.com
And the new MHLivingNews.com
704-895-1230

tim@mhmsm.com

The 126 Million Dollar Mistake

June 4th, 2012 No comments

I was emailed a news story recently that really got my attention. I've done this, and I'll bet you have too, so maybe we can both learn from this other professional's 126 million dollar mistake experience.

To protect the, ah, less than innocent, I'll paraphrase this story as follows.

A company had a mid-level manager that took a phone call. In less than 90 seconds, the mid-level manager said, "Sorry, I'm busy, not interested." it was a sales person that was calling. No big deal to the sales pro, they experience that all the time. But it was a big deal to the company whose manager took – or more to the point – failed to take, the time on that call.

You see, the company that mid-level manager was working for was doing well in some ways, but they faced a problem that was keeping them from growing as fast as they otherwise might have. The problem they faced was worth 126 million dollars to that firm.

They eventually found the answer, but it was some years later. As the story goes, that same person who didn't take that sales person's call years before, was the one who had the light bulb go off over his head, years later. Circumstances lead him to connect the two dots. He was mortified, but wiser, for the experience.

What s your company's 126 million-dollar problem – idea – solution?

Now, I guarantee you that there are some multi-million dollar issues that factory-built housing companies face today. Because HUD Code factories, for example, pay 'label fees' to associations, more sales benefits associations too. The ripple effect of 'not listening' to an idea – even if it comes from 'just a salesman' – can't be understated. Let's look at some examples.

Vacancies in Manufactured Home Land Lease Communities. With an estimated 250,000 +/- vacant home sites across the U.S., this problem is sizable – and costly! – indeed. I've heard time and again that owner/operators are leasing homes, refurbishing homes, selling new homes at cost, doing leased homes at cost, all in an effort to get the rent meter running again on vacancies.

  • Stop and think! One sale a month with a $5000 profit – that otherwise might have been a 'give away sale' at no-profit – would be $60,000 a year. Plus the added site rental fee. We have worked with companies that have learned to do just that, so imagine what 'not listening' to any idea like that might mean to you.
  • Do the math! That's 1.25 Billion with a capital B dollars lost in this one profit area alone. If the average site fee was $300 monthly, that is 900 million dollars in lost site fees nationally!
  • Would it be worth someone's time to learn about a program that could get your company your share of that lost revenue?

Here is another actual factory-built housing example, for manufactured home retailers (and the manufacturers and others who supply them).

  • Tony and First Guarantee will be presenting on a very under-used financing program at the Texas Manufactured Housing Association (TMHA) annual meeting in August. The financing program is available right now, today, no waiting, no Dodd-Frank related hassles. It has the potential for tripling the total number of sales currently being made by the entire industry.
  • Doing the Math for Factories and Retailers. Imagine, at an average price of $68,000 per HUD Code home, if another 150,000 homes were sold in the next 12 months. That's 10.2 Billion with a capital B dollars currently lost! Can struggling – or even busy! – retailers afford to lose that kind of money? Can struggling – or even busy! – factories afford to pass on those lost sales?

I will guarantee that – whoever you are reading this article – that right now you have a business challenge that you wish were over or solved. Am I right?

It doesn't matter if your firm is offering insurance, financing, homes, sites, supplies, products or services. I guarantee you that you have millions of dollars – perhaps billions – laying on the table. Could you use the bonus check or enhanced profits that might come to you and your firm by tapping a new way to solve a current problem?

I have been selling my entire life; insurance, advertising, machine tools, sales and management training – including some 200 firms in the factory, log and lumber industries – and I have to tell you that I can’t count the number of times I tried to share ideas with prospects that would have made them money or solved a key problem who simply said, "I’m not interested." Pardon me? Not interested in more profits? Not interested in more sales? Can anyone say, “Guilty?”

The story we began this column with had a happy ending, but it took years for that happy ending to occur. The happy ending was after the 126 million dollars lost to that company, before that happy ending took place. What they didn't say in the news story, was what was the compound lost opportunity cost? Meaning, what more could they have earned if they had they claimed that 126 million when the sales person first called that mid-level manager?

Right now – whatever your current challenge – there is a viable solution out there waiting for you to embrace. But first you have to be willing to be open to possible solutions, ideas or creative approaches.

We at MHMSM.com (MHProNews.com) happen to be in the factory-built housing solution business. Don't take my word for it, look at the testimonials posted here. But let's take this beyond us. Let's take it to a principle that can help you anytime with anyone.

3) This only takes a few minutes to find out. Or it takes a moment to say, "Look, you've caught me at a bad time, but send me an email with your company's services, and I will give it a look or pass it off to the right person."

We happen to serve both business to business (B2B) and business to consumer (B2C) markets successfully in the factory built housing industry. We have a simple rule. If we can't benefit you, we don't want your money. It has to be a win-win, because win-lose eventually costs everyone in the mix. Not everything turns peaches and cream overnight, but with the right attitudes and efforts, positive changes can and do happen.

Success is always the result of proven processes, properly applied. Success is never a solo thing. It is always, always a case of team work. Every Helen Keller has her Anne Sullivan in the background. Every Warren Buffett or Sam Zell have their key team members too.

Do you think any builder, any community operator, any retailers that are successful are doing it without trusted suppliers, contractors and vendors? Of course not.

A Parachute and the Mind work best when they are open.

Be open minded. Ask questions. Be willing to listen and learn. If the timing is wrong, don't miss the chance, ask for some basic info by email and leave the door open for a possible follow up.

Who knows? The next 126 million dollar solution may be one that could land on your desktop via a phone call or email. ##

 

Posted for
Tim Connor
Business Development
MHProNews.com
MHMSM.com
And the new MHLivingNews.com
704-895-1230

tim@mhmsm.com