Posts Tagged ‘state association’

Hard Truths and Dominating Your Local Market

March 8th, 2014 No comments

If a business routinely treats their customers like dirt, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that sooner or later, that business will suffer and likely be forced to sell out to someone more savvy or close.

If a business owner treats its staff with disrespect, it is self evident that even in a tough economy and job market, the staffers will sooner or later find their way to a better place. In the mean time, can the disrespected staffers be expected to perform their best for the owner who maligns them?

If you are an association leader and don't get along well with people who have a differing view point than you do – alienating some, losing some members and creating avoidable adversaries along the way – would it be a surprise if the results of such an association leader would be slim at best?

There are a number of hard truths that every professional person must face. The above are so obvious, that they are shared to make a point. The hard truth is that 4 years into our industry's recovery from the bottom hit in 2009, we are faced with yet another wave of challenges.

But as John F. Kennedy wisely said, “When written in Chinese, the word 'crisis' is composed of two characters. One represents danger and the other represents opportunity.”

written-chinese-crisis-composed-two-characters-one-represents-danger-the-ot ... -opportunity-john-f-kennedy-copyright-2013-lifestyle-factory-homes.jpg

Brutal Winter and CFPB Regulations

The combination of a brutal winter up north and new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) regulations represents a genuine crisis for some in our industry. Don't get me wrong, some will come through this profiting more than they did before. Some are doing well in the very areas that others are struggling. But others will fail or will have to hand over the keys to their business to someone else, likely at a distressed price.


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
  • 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!


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 | |
Business and Public Marketing & Ads: B2B | B2C
Websites, Contract Marketing & Sales Training, Consulting, Speaking: | | Office 863-213-4090

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Food Network: Kitchen Impossible

January 6th, 2013 No comments

For those of you who know the show, the actual title is Restaurant Impossible. Chef "Robert" comes in and takes a losing location and its staff, evaluates, takes charge, bosses people around and in 2 days has a money losing dump turned into a money making gem. Anytime I've walked in and my bride is watching the show, I confess it has drawn me in, because it's fascinating. But in my mind, what I see are not restaurants, but community or retail locations in our industry that need a turn-around.

I watched one man whose restaurant was a disaster call Robert's process, "tough love." $10,000 and two days (I'm guessing travel expenses are on top of that cost) transforms a failing restaurant's decor. "The buzz and excitement" from the customers who are wow'd at the transformation, improved food and service make it all worth while.

"If you own a failing restaurant, call us at…" Restaurant Impossible at Food Network, they proclaim. Some do, and they watch profits for owners and tips for staff shoot up.

Robert (left) photo credit Food Network

MH Community Impossible?

How many know (or have…) an "impossible" MHCommunity (or MH Retail Center)? Sales are flat or down. Vacancies are growing and residents are unhappy. Plus the location looks (bow wow) ruff, ruff?

Restaurant Stakeout?

Food Network's (FN) Restaurant Stakeout with Willie Degel is a similar concept to what Robert does. Degel sets hidden cameras and finds who has been doing (or not doing) what at a restaurant. But you may wonder, can you do similarly in an MH Community or retail center? Yes.

It is no joy to say that in working with some locations, I've found employee theft, fraud and abuse. It can happen anywhere, but seems more common when refurb work is being done. We've found invoices that had ballooned to three times the value of the refurb job. Do you want somebody pocketing your money?

I've also listened to staff say the most outrageous things, even knowing (because they were told up front) they might be recorded for later playback. The bane (and beauty) of habits are that if you have a bad habit, it reveals itself. If you have – or form – a good habit, that reveals itself too as you create the processes for lasting success.

48 hours?

We can't do turn-arounds in an MH location in 48 hours, because MHCs and MHRCs are far more challenging than a quick restaurant makeover. Often, you have to clean house and start over with an MH location's staff if they are unwilling to change (they don't do that in the broadcast TV shows above). But we have seen MHC and MHRC locations start the turn around in 48 hours; and we've seen in 48 days money losing locations start turning or growing profits.

Fear, Rules, Regulations

FN's Willie Degel says you don't run a charity, you run a business. You are giving people a job and opportunities. They have to be trained to follow the rules and regulations. Degel says staff have to 'fear' losing their job, or they will take over and run wild. His under cover cameras prove the points. He uses stop watches to time service. He has stealth customers test the staff. "An untrained and undisciplined staff" can put you out of business. But the reverse is true, a well trained staff usually feels better about themselves and their work, and they will make their owners money!

When MHCs have 250,000 – 500,000 vacancies…

In most MHC cases, there are no good reason for 250,000-500,000 vacancies in U.S., when the quality affordable housing is what Americans need! In a matter of days, you can start a location turnaround and in a matter of weeks, you can be making more money. Sales and satisfaction rises and those vexing vacancies vanish.

Got a failing location?

Have the resources and commitment to make the change? Showcasing actual results from border to border, we have done presentations at state associations that aren't reality TV, but that do show real life turn-around stories. Event attendees are busy making notes at those popular sessions.

Beyond profits, another real reward is that a good turn-around story often draws positive local media that is itself can be worth more that the turn-around investment.

Unlike some reality shows, we are not about embarrassing you on TV, but by working together – team work – you can go to the next level, see ##

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

other new stories at too.

l-a--tony-kovachL. A. "Tony" Kovach and Spotlighting the MHLifeStyle = Industry News, Tips and Views Pros can Use

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

Office –815-270-0500 or connect with me on Linkedin.


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

Changes and Manufactured Housing

June 29th, 2011 No comments

“And all the changes keep on changin
and the good old days, you know they’re gone.
And only wise men, and some newborn fools
say that they know what’s going on.”

~ Harry Chapin, Changes

“Then you better start swimming
or you’ll sink like a stone.
For the times, they are a-changin'”

~ Bob Dylan, The Times They Are A-changin’

Let’s face it, folks. The manufactured housing business as you once knew it is relic of the past. A memory, often cherished, but meaningless in today’s world.

The rapid pace of change in our industry and economy, and even our place in the world has left many of us stunned and disbelieving.

But change doesn’t stop because we can’t keep up with it. Those who fail to adapt to change will be swept away.

About the only thing we can guarantee is that the speed at which change comes at us will only tend to accelerate.

In turbulent times, when the earth seems to shift under your feet and you can’t seem to find an anchor to hold on to, you ned a source of information and interaction that can help you keep up with the changes going on around you.

Your state association is one example. State associations are doing their best to keep up and keep you informed. Make sure your membership is up-to-date and remember that for your association to best serve you, you need to be an active member.

Another great way to keep up is through At, some of the most respected voices in the industry can be accessed as nowhere else. As an interactive media, gives you the opportunity to actively participate in the debate.

As old doors close, new ones open. Will you be there to see what is behind those new doors?

To quote Bob Dylan again,

“Your old road is rapidly agin’
Please get out of the new one
If you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’.”