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Posts Tagged ‘seminar’

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.

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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 

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.”

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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.

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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 

More Videos for MH Success!

February 20th, 2014 No comments

If a picture is worth a thousand words, and a video is made up for thousands of still pictures, you can imagine the marketing power that a single good video can provide. Now what if you had a series of good videos? Needless to say, your marketing power rises along with it.

We've used videos for years, and frankly started off with pretty low tech, desk top style productions. Even the kind of video that you shoot with a smart phone can be useful, if the subject you are shooting is good and there aren't a lot of jarring motions.

That said, quality video work is now within reach of the masses! We teamed up with the fine folks at ManufacturedHomes.com to do some videos at the 2014 Louisville Show. This is a brand new 'recap video' from Louisville.

Here is another Louisville Show recap video. Two different sets of views on the same event!

Think about the clear enthusiasm shown by Terry Decio. Terry's not a newbie, he grew up in this industry from a legendary MH family! His reasons for confidence ought to bolster your confidence too.

Or consider what Wally Coomer says in the video above; you put yourself and your business at a disadvantage when you miss such a show.

When operations like Terry's or Wally's are investing in the future, you should see the value of doing so too.

Two points to close on today.

1) Be at the 2014 Tunica Show, MHI's Congress and Expo in Vegas and make plans for the 2015 Louisville Show. Learn more to earn more at events like these!

2) Learn to use or improve the use of video, online on your website and use and improve your other marketing resources. Need help? You know who to call!

We will be at booth 14H in Harrah's Convention Center in Tunica. The map shows it will be right by the seminar room, where we expect full house attendance, just like you see in the video's from Louisville above. Please stop by and say hi. ##

The Power of Video for MH!

February 14th, 2014 No comments

StatSpotting cites Cisco as saying that by 2011, half of all traffic on line was video. Half! The second biggest search engine behind Google isn't Yahoo or Bing, it's YouTube! Our industry certainly uses video, which is good. The use ranges from pretty ragged, to some that is top notch.

Like many of you, we've done some low-tech video YouTube, some of which has had impressive results.

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http://manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/dramatic-video-of-a-manufactured-home-hit-by-a-tornado-and-high-winds/

Since we partnered with ManufacturedHomes.com, who has an entire department that does video and other marketing/branding/CRM functions, we've done some new videos that have turned heads. They do a top job on production work.

But don't take my word for it, see this video as an example of what they do.

Worth More Than a 1000 Words

If a picture is worth a thousand words – and we believe in using lots of good quality photos and graphics in marketing and sales – then a good video is worth many times that proverbial 1000 words!

We blog and write about the value of going to events like the recent Louisville Show, or the upcoming Tunica Show or MHI/NCC Congress and Expo. That has value and is proven to attract professionals to the events.

But for those who need 'something more' to 'imagine' why it is good to go to a live event, videos can be a powerful tool.

The same is true for marketing and selling homes.

 

Imagine doing something like the above to market your homes!

Let's close by inviting you to attend our FREE 'Dominate your local market' seminar at the Tunica Show. We will be in booth 13H, right be the seminar room. A similar presentation was packed at Louisville. Don't miss it. Please check it out, along with all of the other great, free business building educational sessions, linked here.

When you think marketing, today, think and do at least some video. It can pay rich dividends as part of a robust marketing mix! ##

L. A. "Tony" KovachL. A. 'Tony' Kovach
ManufacturedHomeLivingNews.com | MHProNews.com |
Business and Public Marketing & Ads: B2B | B2C
Websites, Contract Marketing & Sales Training, Consulting, Speaking:

MHC-MD.com | LATonyKovach.com | Office 863-213-4090

Connect on LinkedIN:
http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach 

Hungry for growth and more knowledge?

February 9th, 2014 No comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are you beginning to see a pattern developing here?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joe Kelly

Iowa Manufactured Housing Association

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

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

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

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

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

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

L. A. "Tony" KovachL. A. 'Tony' Kovach
ManufacturedHomeLivingNews.com | MHProNews.com |
Business and Public Marketing & Ads: B2B | B2C
Websites, Contract Marketing & Sales Training, Consulting, Speaking:

MHC-MD.com | LATonyKovach.com | Office 863-213-4090

Connect on LinkedIN:
http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach