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Posts Tagged ‘social networking’

The Thing Needed

September 6th, 2013 No comments

It can be very helpful to go back in time, and compare 'then with now.' The downloadable attachment below has many relevant points, and it was written years before I got into consulting. The points in sharing this are many, and can benefit all with an open mind. One of the points are that the basics – the fundamentals – are among the keys to success, and this article has a number of those fundamentals!

The article attached was first published in the November 1988 issue of what was then call the Mobile/Manufactured Home Merchandiser, later re-named, Manufactured Home Merchandiser magazine. While much has changed in technology, terminology, attitudes and styles, it is surprising how some of the basics then are just as true today as when the attached downloadable article was written.

At the time, yours truly was the proud owner of a manufactured home retail center that was growing rapidly, in spite of the economic collapse that had taken place in oil-boom-to-oil-bust Oklahoma. My personal part of the business was marketing and sales – sound familiar? – while others at our center did a very fine job of other necessary functions like bookkeeping and lender relations, service and delivery coordination.

During a time when 80% of the retailers folded then in Oklahoma (sound familiar to the MHIndustry post 1998? Or the MHIndustry post 2008?), humble S&L Homes (we sold repos for S&L's, new and other pre-loved homes) was growing, growing, growing. We hit the top 1% of all retailers in the U.S. our third year in operation, all during a down market when other dealers that were far better established vanished.

Why? How?

Please read the article, because many of the basics then are the same basics today.

Are there differences? Sure – like change “mailers” for “email” or social networking. Change print for the Web. Change TV and radio for YouTube!

The reality is that we can market better today for less, for those who are willing to learn and do it. We can also sell better then than now, for those who are willing to dig in, learn and do.

My road to business ownership was not easy. There was no rich relative, no SBA loan and most of the 'training' came from reading and a handful of seminars, but also boat loads books and audios personally invested in to advance myself.

A tag line came across a public service announcement the other day that applies to all of us.

Learn to read. Read to learn.

That same issue of the Merchandiser had articles from people like Guy Laird (remember him?) and Bill Carr (still active!) that were among the many that I devoured every month. I would have proverbially killed to have had access to all that we share on MHProNews.com monthly, because reading was the path to learning more and earning more.

In my career run up to opening S&L, yours truly managed at 3 retail centers and assisted at a 4th before jumping into ownership.

If you are an owner, encourage your people to learn more. Yes, someday, they may leave you. But in the mean time, you will be earning more and so will they! The good performance of some tends to lift the performance of others.

So the rising tide tends to raise all ships.

If you are an employee or contractor, absolutely make it your business to learn all you can. Read daily (yes, every business day). Go to meetings, attend seminars.

Learn not just from the present, but from the past.

Learn from every mistake. Learn from every success.

Keep a good attitude!

Sure, a smile came when my eyes revealed how much younger I looked in the picture on the last page of the attached article! I wonder what happened to the others in that photo, after the business was profitably sold, we eventually lost track of each other (no email or Facebook then).

What we did as signage then, would not be what I would do as signage today. We'd be talking social networking and lots more online stuff in such an article.

But much of it applies – attire, attitude, training, marketing, sales basics – so much that you may want to read and re-read this, because it covers the fundamentals – the basics of success – quite well. But you can decide that for yourself!

Near the end of the attached article, there is a phrase yours truly typed 25 years ago. Doing what is needed. Doing the things needed is the only pathway to success.

No one will hand it to you. Everyone has to earn it in some form or fashion! Do what is needed, whatever that 'thing' is. It will pave the way to your future. ##

Download the article

Increasing Sales in a Down Market –
Mobile/Manufactured Home Merchandiser, November 1988 – by L. A. Kovach.

PS: Check our many Exclusive and Red Hot Featured Articles for September 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 815-270-0500 |

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

Friends and Family

May 17th, 2013 No comments

The main manufactured housing industry users of the power of indirect marketing to sell more homes are our clients and followers. The flip side of that fact is that the vast majority of MHPros uses direct message marketing. For those in both the indirect and direct camps, tapping into the power of friends and family ought to become a must.

 

/friends-and-family-posted-on-MhProNews-compng

Back circa 1993, MCI led the charge with an early loyalty and referral program they dubbed Friends and Family. Here is a sample video commercial that promoted it.

MCI was acquired in 1998 by WorldCom, which eventually became part of Verizon in January 2006. MCI was known for their historic role in breaking the AT&T monopoly on telephony, as well as this Friends and Family marketing.

social-network-logo-posted-on-MHProNews-compngToday, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other forms of social networking are the 'friends and family' options of choice.

But don't limit yourself to just those social media tools. Think about the powerful fact shared below as you develop – or redevelop – your operation's or location's marketing!

Manufactured housing and its precursor, the pre-HUD Code 'mobile home,' has some 23 million people in the U.S. living in one of our homes. What if just 5% of those residents in the next year became 'evangelists' for manufactured housing to the extent that they would bring a family member or friend to your community, retail center or development to buy a new home?

That would be a record setting 1.15 million new manufactured home sales! It would roughly double the highest water mark ever set by our industry.

You don't have to wait for the industry at large to get together on such a concept. You can start a friends and family program all your own! Tapping the power of friends and family could put your operation, career or location into overdrive. If you need help creating a successful friends and family – or other! – marketing and sales program, send me an email or pick up the phone and call. ##

PS: Check our many Exclusive and Red Hot Featured Articles for May and see the

other new stories at MHLivingNews.com too.

l-a--tony-kovachL. A. "Tony" Kovach

MHLivingNews.com=Re-Discovering and Spotlighting the MHLifeStyle

MHProNews.comMHMSM.com = Industry News, Tips and Views Pros can Use

Services:B2BandB2CAds, Proven MH Marketing & Sales Systems, Websites other Industry Solutions.

Office -815-270-0500

latonyk@gmail.com or tony@mhmsm.com

www.MHC-MD.com

http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach= connect with me on Linkedin.

http://pinterest.com/latonyk/manufactured-home-lifestyle/

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Whether you think you can or whether you think you can't, you're right. – Henry Ford

Handling Detractors

March 13th, 2013 No comments

Detractors, nay-sayers, back-stabbers and others who'd love to toss you under the bus. First, we all have them! It may be the former employee or colleague, who now wants to make you and/or your business look bad. It might be a competitor. It could be the customer no one could possibly please. It may be the 'ex' whomever, who is an 'ex' for a reason, and now they want to make it look like the only reason is you. In this column, we will do a look at some ways how you can handle the detractor.

Let's begin with this premise, that the kind of detractors we are going to talk about are of the unjust variety. If someone is complaining, first stop and consider the complaint objectively. Is there truth to it? If so, make the personal/professional adjustment needed to turn the complaint into a reason to improve.

Next, look at the types of unjustified complaints. Especially in an Internet, tweet, email age when someone can blast away at you to thousands of people, what can you do?

The options are indeed many, and some companies, attorneys and consultants exist who specialize in 'reputation management.' You and your organization's reputation is important! A good rep will help you profit. A bad rap can cost you a fortune, or even put you out of business. Some types of detraction (examples: libel, slander) may require legal assistance. Let's focus today on those that don't require an attorney.

Modern "Social" Testimonials

Testimonials and social media are key tools needed to contradict the nay sayer! While letters of reference, awards and 'good news' articles or interviews are all helpful, perhaps the key today is to successfully engage in social media.

Let me stress that it is always my goal to practice what is preached, and hopefully to do so with a measure of success about what is being shared. Real life examples help us all. I used to think good ideas were soooo important. They are, but later I learned that Ideas truly are a dime a dozen. Successful implementation and proof is what turns what would have been a day dream into an idea of specific, concrete value!

Having teed that up, let me share some personal experiences.

About two years ago, I listened to a professional friend's advice. He told me to build out my LinkedIn profile and invite people to “connect” with me on LinkedIn. This friend is a LinkedIn Lion, and has done very well due in part to his use of LinkedIn and Twitter. So I listened to what he had to say, and took his advice. Hint, hint. I hope you will listen and do too.

At first it was slow going. But today, my LinkedIn connections number among the largest in factory built housing. Over 900 connections and growing. I'm glad I took my friend's advice!

As important as the number of connections are endorsements and recommendations.

At first, I asked for recommendations. Later, they simply came my way. Exactly when LinkedIn began the endorsement function, I can't say without researching it. But the endorsements started coming in (without my asking) a few months ago and have not stopped!

As the screen capture from my LinkedIn profile page above shows, I have something like 175 endorsements at the time I'm writing this column. Besides those shown in this screen capture, are some pretty finely targeted skills and topics that have also been endorsed, not shown in the graphic above.

We also get other testimonials via email or letters beyond LinkedIn that we may post, here are some testimonial examples. Make sure you showcase testimonials whenever possible. For example, notice how we sprinkled them onto the pages of our MHC-MD.com website. That does make a difference!

Now none of those LinkedIn connections, endorsements or recommendations puts a nickel in my pocket directly. But 7 to as high as 70 people a week check out my LinkedIn profile. Some of those who look my profile turn into clients. Coincidence?

No.

What is really interesting is that some of those clients have been told negative stuff by that handful of souls who seem to make it their mission in life to attempt to toss me under the biggest, baddest bus they can dream up. So having those referrals and testimonials can be crucial to neutralizing the naysayers. That also happens to be the theme of this article!

Weights, Measures and Comparisons

I tell sales pros in my training sessions that most prospective clients (retail or B2B) weigh, measure and compare products and services before acting.

Today, that may mean that before you go to a new restaurant, you read online comments posted by others. Let's say you read a half a dozen comments. 5 are good. 1 is terrible. You read them all with a dash of the skeptical, because you know that people can pat themselves on the back, or the opposite… Does the comment(s) read like it may be legit?

Once you did your quick evaluation, you make a decision. You go eat there. The food, service and atmosphere are as good as most reviewers said. You say to yourself, 'The one who trashed the place may have been a disgruntled ex employee, or someone that is hyper critical, happened to catch someone on a bad day, etc..'

That principle will apply to others who are evaluating you, IF you start, have and improve your professional social networking and testimonial gathering efforts.

More Positives than Negatives

The point is that the way you deal with detractors today is to line up testimonials that showcase your good work! Make it easy for people online to see how well thought of you or your company's product(s) or service(s) may be.

In the case of written testimonials in an article or letter, showcase one or two on your website and then let people know they can ask for and receive others.

While the more the merrier, even a few good words from good people can make the difference as people consider doing business with you.

Let's sum up:

  • Ask for letters or recommendation. If you are working B2B (business to business), the recommendation should be on that company's letterhead.
  • Use social media. Facebook tends to be better for B2C (business to consumer), LinkedIn tends to be better for B2B. Get endorsements and recommendations.
  • Showcase those online, so that prospective customers doing a quick web search can find them easily.

Not just Talking, Doing

Walk the talk. Don't over-promise. Don't under-deliver. Do what you say you will do. If something goes wrong and you are responsible, then do what you can to make it right.

Nothing – short of death – can stop the determined detractor. But you can neutralize their voice(s) by applying the suggestions you see in this column. Be pro-active and build up your positive, online presence. When the detractor comes along, you will be ready for them.

Open minded people who see that you have far more supporters than detractors will be able to see that the detractor's comments as the exception, not the rule. Do you recall the Hollywood maxim, there is no bad publicity. While I don't entirely agree, you can in fact turn a negative into a positive. You may close new business because of the detractor, so long as you have built up the resources noted in this article.

Finally, take the first step. It takes time to do what is described above. Don't let that stop you from starting. Getting the letters, Facebook like's, LinkedIn connections,

endorsements and recommendations, etc. are worth the effort. Once you have the testimonial process started, it picks up speed ever more easily.

Until next time, All the Best! ##

PS: Check our many Exclusive and Red Hot Featured Articles for March and see the

other new stories at MHLivingNews.com too.

l-a--tony-kovachL. A. "Tony" Kovach

MHLivingNews.com=Re-Discovering and Spotlighting the MHLifeStyle

MHProNews.comMHMSM.com = Industry News, Tips and Views Pros can Use

Services:B2BandB2CAds, Proven MH Marketing & Sales Systems, Websites other Industry Solutions.

Office -815-270-0500

latonyk@gmail.com or tony@mhmsm.com

www.MHC-MD.com

http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach= connect with me on Linkedin.

http://pinterest.com/latonyk/manufactured-home-lifestyle/

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Whether you think you can or whether you think you can't, you're right. – Henry Ford

…Not a Strategy

March 6th, 2013 No comments

We get lots of marketing related messages, videos, invites to connect; just as you do. As a marketer, they hold more interest for me than they might for others. One outreach had a great one-liner we've heard before and bears repeating. "Hope is not a strategy."

Tim Connor, our Featured Writer, shared a new article:

http://www.MHProNews.com/home/featured-articles/march-2013/139-management/5046-expecting-different-results-

that reminds us that the popular definition of insanity is to keep doing the same things, and yet expect a different result.

Is your Manufactured Housing related business or location growing, shrinking or treading water?

This is a straightforward question that requires a solid degree of candor to yourself and your firm.

The odds are that any given businesses is sliding down or trending up. If yours is stuck in the past instead of evolving, it could go the way of the buggy whip.

Marketing today is different than 5, 10 or 15 years ago. While some sales fundamentals are always sound, sales is evolving too. For example, businesses that fail to realize the impact of online ratings and comments carried via social networking or search engines could fall into the traps that can sink a business by harming a firm's reputation.

The old Golden Rule vs. the New?

Some assert that the new golden rule is that he who has the gold makes the rules.

But given the online world of consumer commentary via social media and other websites, the old golden rule is uniquely well positioned. 'Treat others as you would like to be treated yourself.'

Hope is not a strategy, but modern marketing, good customer service, training and professionalism in sales are valid strategies. To learn more about a specific way professionals can advance, see this new Industry In Focus report, called Cornered. ##

PS: Check our many Exclusive and Red Hot Featured Articles for March and see the

other new stories at MHLivingNews.com too.

l-a--tony-kovachL. A. "Tony" Kovach

MHLivingNews.com=Re-Discovering and Spotlighting the MHLifeStyle

MHProNews.comMHMSM.com = Industry News, Tips and Views Pros can Use

Services:B2BandB2CAds, Proven MH Marketing & Sales Systems, Websites other Industry Solutions.

Office -815-270-0500

latonyk@gmail.com or tony@mhmsm.com

www.MHC-MD.com

http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach= connect with me on Linkedin.

http://pinterest.com/latonyk/manufactured-home-lifestyle/

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Whether you think you can or whether you think you can't, you're right. – Henry Ford

4 Tips on Using Pinterest

August 26th, 2012 No comments

Pinterest is rising rapidly in the social networking world. We have our own Pinterest board for promoting manufactured housing. You should too. When Inc Magazine and others suggest that you should be using Pinterest for marketing, it is a good reason to sit up and take notice. Let's share 4 of the tips they did for making your Pinterest efforts improve the image of manufactured housing and your part in it.

Use other social nets to feed Pinterest

Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn are among the resources you can use to attract more attention to your Pinterest page.

Promote more than products

Inc. echoes a theme we have mentioned before. “The temptation for any business is to post pins only for products you sell. Giselle Gonzalez is a promoter…” who “says Pinterest users are savvy in spotting a board that is too self-serving and only posts (their) product photos.

Follow the big hitters

Inc. said: “One of the best ways to raise awareness about your company is to start following the big names on Pinterest. This is the proven method on Twitter: When you follow popular figures, and they follow you back, other Twitter users get the message and follow the leader. Sevenly’s Palmer says it’s important to find out who is “pinning” your products and to follow them to see if they follow you back. Most do, he says.”

Selective curating

Inc. observes that: “Pinterest caters to those who love to “curate” or weed out the good from the bad. Presenza, a custom clothing designer, finds unique products beyond their own offering and pins them. The company also uses key phrases on their board like “made in the USA” and “defining confidence” to help define the brand.”

Pinterest is primarily visual. One of our best potential tools to break down stereotypes against manufactured housing are the proper use of visuals. Our advice in an early column on Pinterest dove-tails with Inc's, to learn more, please check that prior Pinterest column out at this link here.

Proper “Pinning” Prevents Poor Performance!” Enough said for today. ##

l-a--tony-kovachL. A. "Tony" Kovach
MHLivingNews.com=Re-Discovering and Spotlighting the MHLifeStyle
MHProNews.comMHMSM.com = Industry News, Tips and Views Pros can Use

Services:B2BandB2CAds, Proven MH Marketing & Sales Systems, Websites other Industry Solutions.

Office -815-270-0500
latonyk@gmail.com or tony@mhmsm.com
LATonyKovach.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach= connect with me on Linkedin.

http://pinterest.com/latonyk/manufactured-home-lifestyle/

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Whether you think you can or whether you think you can't, you're right. – Henry Ford