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Posts Tagged ‘the cutting edge’

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.

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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:

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Slavery!

April 20th, 2013 No comments

There is an old maxim that goes like this: “First you form your habits, then your habits form you.” Ladies and gents, this is true and over time leads to chains that are as challenging to break as they took time to forge. Habits lead to slavery. The question becomes if we are the masters of that habit – masters of that slavery – or if that slavery masters us.

To rephrase, are we making or breaking ourselves through our habits?

Let me give an example of slavery and an 'aha' moment.

At the recent Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) Congress and Expo (C&E), I was listening to a group of community owners talking about 21st Mortgage's CASH program. One was commenting to the others words to this effect. “I had all these vacant lots, and knew about this program that Lance Hull at 21st Mortgage had talked to me about. But instead of thinking, 'hey, this is a solution for my vacancy problem,' I was looking at it backwards. I was thinking that if I did that then I was leaving money on the table. I had to change my thinking before I was able to see the program for what it is.”

That happens to be true of EVERYTHING we do in business, not just the example that the gent above was referencing. There happens to be a number of programs available today that could be useful to community owners – or street retailers, for that matter! – but because of slavery to 'past habits' and old ways of thinking, they are not being used to the benefit of a business or location. FYI, yes, you can email and ask me about them.

I was listening to Crystal Washington during the 2013 National Community Council's Forum at C&E. Frankly, most of what she was saying simply made me smile. Of course, we agree! We preach it daily through Featured Articles here on MHProNews, or here on the Cutting Edge of Marketing and Sales blog. Even the video that she played was a version of one that we have featured before on our website.

That video reminds us that like it or not, change is happening, and that the pace of change is rapid.

 

Slavery to old habits keeps you locked up in the past. The only way to end that slavery is ironically to forge new habits! You can't stop doing one thing without starting doing some new thing instead.

That's not to say that all that one did in the past is 'bad' or 'wrong.' But you have to dispassionately evaluate – or have a third party professional evaluate for you – what to keep and what to replace with something modern that will move your location, career or business ahead.

One of the presenters – who did a very fine job – nevertheless made a statement I took issue with. The statement was that 74% of housing shopping was starting online. Sorry, but the National Association of Realors puts that number at a whopping 94% of home shopping is online!

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This is an example of one of many modern website styles that causes visitors to
dig deeper into your product or service.

That's doesn't mean you must dump all forms of print or other media. What it does mean is that if you have a web presence, you better make sure it is a good one. Because studies show that millions of online shoppers will decide in less than 5-10 seconds if they will stay on your website to learn more.

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If your

then it is time to stop the slavery to the past and forge the powerful new chains of gold that will build your business' future. ##

PS: Check our many Exclusive and Red Hot Featured Articles for April 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

Time, money and technology

May 2nd, 2010 No comments

SocialNomics videoDo you tend to have time or money, but not enough of either at once? It’s never been difficult to understand the time/money dilemma. Either you have lots of time and no money or lots of money and no time?

There’s any old cliché that gets kicked around that says, “Work smarter, not harder” and it is appropriate to this discussion.

A few months ago, in my very first article in this blog, I posted a video called “SocialNomics” that explained the current and coming importance of Social Networking in your day-to-day marketing plan.

But it isn’t JUST Social Networking that is a key to your future prosperity. Some tried and true methods from the good old days of the oughts (2000-2009) work just as well today. But as I review the online marketing strategies of both clients and their competition, I am surprised by how few businesses take advantage of all the opportunities provided by online marketing despite proof that using them will increase your bottom line over time more than any other method – and at lower cost.

Technology can free up time and generate revenue at the same timeIF it is properly implemented and used.

Let’s be blunt about this and state the obvious, but unvarnished truth – some of you are not going to survive the next few years. That’s right – some of you will be out of business by the end of this summer, and more of you by the end of the year.

At least then, you’ll have plenty of time.

Some of you will prosper over the coming months and years. You may not have a lot of free time, but you’ll have money and your business.

And some of you will have both more time and more money – a bigger business. Which of you? If you’re thinking that this is impossible to predict, you’re not in the last group – the ones with both time and money.

You see, the future of business in general, let alone in the manufactured housing industry, is in the hands of the few who use every practical method of increasing their business and who pay special attention to ROI – return on investment – the holy grail of marketing.

This week, MHMSM.com takes pride in rolling out our Solutions program, designed to put the talents of the best marketing and sales specialists in the industry at your fingertips.

So have a look at the MHMSM.com Solutions page, and let top pros serve your needs. You can have a better future. We are sure of it.

We want you to be around next year… and the year after that. Be there by working with The Solutions Pros. Save Time, Make Money. To enhance your ROI, put your time and money to work smarter. You’ll be glad you did.

Google changes name, adds features to Local Business Center

April 21st, 2010 No comments

No more Local Business Center… it is now called Google Places.

And claiming your own business listing, which has been a “no-brainer” for some time now, is even more attractive to local businesses thanks to some new features.

Google Places illustration

What’s new (per article USA Today):

  • Instead of just submitting an address, business owners can instead show a geographic area they serve. Additionally, home-based businesses can make their address private.
  • A new advertising feature, for $25 monthly, lets business owners “tag” their listing with special offers to stand out. Google is testing Tags in a few cities, including Austin, Atlanta and Washington D.C., before going national.
  • Free photos of your business. For the business owner who doesn’t want to take the time to upload a photo of their business, Google is offering a free photographic service to come and shoot your location for viewing in Google Maps.

If you haven’t claimed your business listing in the Google Local Business Center… oops, I mean Google Places, do it right now. If you don’t have the time, desire or technical savvy to do it yourself, Google Places listings are just one of the many benefits included in an Orange Cat Online Marketing 1-2-3 package.

Using Social Media to Build Your Image

April 16th, 2010 No comments

After posting a link to one of MHMSM’s April articles on MHMSM’s Facebook Fan Page, a long-time friend commented on my post with some questions she had about manufactured housing. Her questions presented a golden opportunity to give some information about the quality and advantages of factory-built housing. If you’re not using Social Media to engage consumers, you’re missing the boat.

Here is an image of that Facebook conversation:

Image of Facebook conversation

Brief as it was, it can be read by many others and have a multiplying effect of a positive nature.

In the first issue of MHMSM.com, I submitted a short post with the video SocialNomics. This would be a good time to have a look at that video if you missed it the first time around.

It took about a minute to post my response, but I’ll bet that I’ll receive many times that in value.