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Marketing & Sales 101 – Be Where Your Target Audience Is

May 23rd, 2017 No comments

It’s amazing what you don’t know about something you’ve been aware of or involved with much of your life.”

That quote is my paraphrase of what a baseball legend said about his profession. That quote applies to everyone, in every profession – but it is truer for manufactured housing than most realize. Here’s another pensée to ponder.

"It's amazing what you don't know about something you've been aware of or involved with much of your life." That quote is my paraphrase of what a baseball legend said about his profession. That quote applies to everyone, in every profession – but it is truer for manufactured housing than most realize. Here’s another pensée to ponder. “Learn the basics, do the basics, and teach others the basics. Doing the basics honestly, well, and consistently will put you ahead of most of your competitors.” Among the communication basics we believe in is that stating the obvious can bring amazing clarity and insights to an issue. Here’s the obvious clarity. What matters to a business is reaching their target market. There are lots of ways to do that, please let me share an example we know well. Example In marketing, a big chunk of success is a result of repetition – how many touches – which means you want to be where your target audience is. We looked at our industry with fresh eyes - approaching 8 years ago – before we launched what we now call MHProNews. We continue to step back from time-to-time and take a fresh look, and we adjust or recreate ourselves in the light of those discoveries. Be Honest With Yourself, Then Be Compelling with Your Market We all have strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT). Almost 8 years ago, we saw that there was no consistent or easy way to get and stay in front of the manufactured housing professional audience. There were only 2 ‘full’ trade shows, and one partial one, and then smaller events. These – while useful – are not routine enough or profitable enough on their own for a year-round B2B marketing campaigns. That problem was an opportunity in disguise. It motivated us to create MHProNews.com. Seeing the big gap, we began to fill it by launching MHProNews.com. By creating “Daily Business News” – stories that no one else in the industry was doing – plus numerous other features – and later MHLivingNews - we’d feed the needs of thousands of professionals. That also is an obvious way of giving businesses trying to reach other MH Professionals a way to engage them every time they logged on. We rapidly became and remain number 1 as a result of doing the basics. In April 2017, in the tiny manufactured housing industry, we averaged over 7400 visits a day. Think about it! Thousands of professionals, logging on daily! That’s more than many other platforms touch in one or more months. Are Emails Enough? “But Tony, our business has a great email list.” If so, Terrific! •But what are you doing to reach those not on your list? • What are you doing to get those who may receive your email – but rarely if ever open it – to discover who it is sending them that message? "It's amazing what you don't know about something you've been aware of or involved with much of your life." People you know, and who you think know you, may not realize something you want them to. So, your operation has to “step in front of them.” Often! Daily, if possible! That means, you have to be where they are already looking, because they want to look there. B2B, that best place is MHProNews – thousands of readers just like you, from the industry’s billionaires and billion-dollar operations, to the mid-sized companies or the mom-and-pop businesses. This same principle applies to those businesses selling products and services to consumers (B2C). So back to the top. Marketing and Sales 101. Get and stay in front of your target audience. Do so in ways that your target audience will a) want to find you and b) will keep coming back, because they want to come back. Why are we more successful than others that have come and – mostly – gone? Because we KNOW the retailing, production, communities, lending and other services that go along with manufactured housing. We know the professional audience and the public too. We have the tee shirts, because we’ve sold the homes, knocked on the doors, walked the lines, been under the homes, know the firnancial services and what makes them tick, etc. etc. Everything else are details and commentary. Check back next week for more Marketing and Sales basics. And if you need specialized products or services - call or email us, first or last - but call us. Odds are we can do more for your budget than anyone else. Because we know, live and love the manufactured home business! We know and have your target audiences! ## L. A. 'Tony' Kovach MHLivingNews.com | MHProNews.com | Office 863-213-4090 | Connect on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach +++ Whether you think you can or whether you think you can't, you're right. - Henry Ford

Image credit, MHProNews.com All Rights Reserved.

Learn the basics, do the basics, and teach others the basics. Doing the basics honestly, well, and consistently will put you ahead of most of your competitors.”

Among the communication basics we believe in is that stating the obvious can bring amazing clarity and insights to an issue.

Here’s the obvious clarity. What matters to a business is reaching their target market.  There are lots of ways to do that, please let me share an example we know well.

StatingObviousBringsClarityMastheadManufacturedHousingIndustryCommentaryMHProNews

Image credit, MHProNews.com All Rights Reserved.

Example

In marketing, a big chunk of success is a result of repetition – how many touches – which means you want to be where your target audience is.

We looked at our industry with fresh eyes – approaching 8 years ago – before we launched what we now call MHProNews. We continue to step back from time-to-time and take a fresh look, and we adjust or recreate ourselves in the light of those discoveries.

Be Honest With Yourself, Then Be Compelling with Your Market

We all have strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT).

Almost 8 years ago, we saw that there was no consistent or easy way to get and stay in front of the manufactured housing professional audience.  There were only 2 ‘full’ trade shows, and one partial one, and then smaller events.  These – while useful – are not routine enough or profitable enough on their own for a year-round B2B marketing campaigns.

That problem was an opportunity in disguise. It motivated us to create MHProNews.com.

Seeing the big gap, we began to fill it by launching MHProNews.com. By creating “Daily Business News” – stories that no one else in the industry was doing – plus numerous other features – and later MHLivingNews – we’d feed the needs of thousands of professionals.

That also is an obvious way of giving businesses trying to reach other MH Professionals a way to engage them every time they logged on.

We rapidly became and remain number 1 as a result of doing the basics.

In April 2017, in the tiny manufactured housing industry, we averaged over 7,400 visits a day. Nothing else like us even comes close.  Think about it!  Thousands of professionals, logging on daily! That’s more than many other like platforms – as good as they may be – touch in one or more months.

Are Emails Enough?

“But Tony, our business has a great email list.” If so, Terrific!

  • But what are you doing to reach those not on your list?
  • What are you doing to get those who may receive your email – but rarely if ever open it – to discover who it is sending them that message?

It’s amazing what you don’t know about something you’ve been aware of or involved with much of your life.”

People you know, and who you think know you, may not realize something you want them to.

GreatnessBeginsWithBasicsBlockTackleRunExecuteABCsManufacturedHousingMarketingSalesManagementMHProNewsLATonyKovach.1174

 

So, your operation has to “step in front of them.” Often!  Daily, if possible!

That means, you have to be where they are already looking, because they want to look there.  B2B, that best place is MHProNews – thousands of readers just like you, from the industry’s billionaires and billion-dollar operations, to the mid-sized companies or the mom-and-pop businesses.

This same principle applies to those businesses selling products and services to consumers (B2C).

So back to the top.  Marketing and Sales 101.  Get and stay in front of your target audience.  Do so in ways that your target audience will

  1. a) want to find you and
  2. b) will keep coming back, because they want to come back.

Why are we more successful than others that have come and – mostly – gone?  Because we KNOW the retailing, production, communities, lending and other services that go along with manufactured housing.  We know the professional audience and the public too.

We have the tee shirts, because we’ve sold the homes, knocked on the doors, walked the lines, been under the homes, know the firnancial services and what makes them tick, etc. etc.

Everything else are details and commentary.

 

shutterstock-ipadcredit-daily-business-news-mhpronews-com-774

Thousands a day are doing this! 15 Minutes a Day on MHProNews, and 15 minutes daily on MHLivingNews.com – free tools for the Public and Professionals that provides resources for industry image, education and thus growth.

Check back next week for more Marketing and Sales basics.

And if you need specialized products or services – call or email us, first or last – but call us.  Odds are we can do more for your budget than anyone else.  Because we know, live and love the manufactured home business! We know and have your target audiences! ##

LATonyKovachPresentingIndustryMembers-MHProNews

Think beyond Feature Advantage and Benefit – FAB – which only positively impacts maybe 1 in 4 of all MH shoppers! FAB should only be used when needed. Learn what 21st century customers today really want. Tony is the most widely known & respected MH marketing services, consultant and MH sales trainer in the U.S. He and his team publish MHLivingNews.com and MHProNews.com.

 

L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach MHLivingNews.comMHProNews.com| Office 863-213-4090 | Connect on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach

+++

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

 

Integrating, Marketing Sales and PEP

October 10th, 2015 No comments

The MH Industry’s ongoing need for an integrated approach to marketing, sales and PEP was on full display during the NY Housing Association’s annual meeting. As is common in association functions, legal and legislative updates, business meetings and event sponsors were on the agenda. New homes were available for members and the pubic to tour. Breakfast, lunch, reception, dinner and awards provided lots of opportunities for networking among members and guests. Nancy Geer and company did a fine job, as they so routinely do.

Yours truly was featured for the marketing and sales speaker.

pep-protect-educate-promote-posted-om-mhpronews-comIdeally, marketing and sales are not about exaggeration or manipulation. The truth well told is the best marketing and sales approach you can have.

Associations routinely attract the best, plus those who seek to improve their performance.  That makes for a good audience for someone like me.

As a related report dramatically demonstrated, part of my presentation to the members anticipated the practical challenges that can arise from public officials.

Challenges to the industry’s image – which impacts your sales results – can also come from the media, academia or other sources.

average-shipment-per-decade-manufactured-home-posted-on-mhpronews-com-575x381

The higher volume MH decades are a reminder
of what is possible today.  When other operations of your size successfully
do what we do, teach and preach, that means you can too.
Graphic credit, Ross Kinzler, WHA.

 The facts from my power point shared at the New York Housing Alliance’s meeting are all proof of the amazing potential for our product.  But that potential will not fall into your lap!  Like silver or gold, it must be mined.  But mining this can be easier and more profitable than a silver or gold mine, because everyone needs a quality place to live.

FromTony'sPowerPoint(C)2015LifeStyleFactoryHomesLLC-AllRightsReserved-

Marketing does not take place in a vacuumWhat makes MH different than almost any product of service you can name, is how widely misunderstood it is.

Let’s rephrase that point to underscore it.  With a car, boat, RV, cell, clothing, house or apartment, you have broad acceptance.

By contrast, the MH marketer’s job is complicated by the lack of a positive, broad acceptance by the public.

We have a great value, but most people are stuck in 30-50 year old stereotypes or believe things that may have once been true, but are not true of MH today.

Challenges are Opportunity in Disguise

Thus there is a crying need for an MH trade media that provides a healthy, proper respect for MH Homeowners, experts and professionals who know the product best, and who can say why they love their homes or the MH product.

When public officials have a better sense of how and why so many MH owners love their homes, that’s good for those owners, local MH businesses as well as the broader industry.

When public officials begin to grasp that the affordable housing crisis can be solved via the proper understanding of unsubsidized MH, they are more likely to get out of the way, and let MH pros do their jobs properly.

ComplaintsIowaAttorneyGeneralOffice=Credit-

Graphic above from Iowa Attorney General’s Office.

The Public Official’s Vantage Point

 

Think about this fact. Officials are most often contacted by those who have a complaint. Human nature says that over time, that can tend to skew for an official the reality of how MH serves millions of people so very well.

But the reality is millions of MH owners love their homes.  The report we published, linked here, shows how few complaints there are today on HUD Code homes, in a perfect world, that should be the headline!

A similar negative bias can happen with the media.

badnewsheadlines-credit-life-as-a human-postedCuttingEdgeBlogMHProNews-com-

“If it bleeds, it leads.” Reporters tend to

report bad news. Graphic credit – LifeAsAHuman.

For example, when the only stories a reporter tends to cover are the old pre-HUD code mobile homes that burn down, you as media might be shocked that today’s manufactured homes (MH) are proven safer against fires than a site built house is.

national-fire-prevention-association-chart-manufactured-home-safety-vs

Education and promotion of the new realities must become a standard part of all that you as an MH pro should do.

When you are part of the promotion and education, you’ll sell more homes too.

Fix the Image though Education, Or Fight More Battles

The industry has only a Hobson’s choice; to fight those stigmas and outdated tales with the truth or face ever more regulatory and media hurdles.

SingingDancingToursTalkingMostMHConsumerFocusedVideoInterviews-ManufacturedHomeLivingNewsLATonyKovach-InsideMH

What better way to tell that story than via videos with those who know the homes, because they live in one?

Or what better way can you start to change the image with public officials than by showing an interview with an independent house inspector who has inspected thousands of houses, and hundreds of HUD Code MH, and then says that MH is consistently better built than a conventional house is?

TimBunchSecureStartInspectionsMHLivingNews-PostedCuttingEdgeMarketingBlog-MHProNews

Or why not showcase an interview with the top public official who was in charge of the HUD Code home program, extolling the virtues and value of MH!

BillMatchneerHUDCodeMHprogramAdministatorManufacturedHomeLivingNews-com-

Third Part Validation

Anyone in sales knows the value of good referrals and positive third party messages. That’s one reason why social media is so popular.

It is also why businesses loves to get positive media coverage.

What our operation has done is establish a new foundation for businesses – and thus the industry’s – rebirth.  Our work doesn’t take place in a vacuum either.  Good association efforts are ideally a book end and complement to what good trade media does.  Associations play a key role, which our work in turn supports through compelling truth telling.

In a perfect world, good trade associations support the trade media, and the trade media showcases the important work that associations are doing.

Automotive, RV, tech or other trade media begins with an often unstated but implied premise that the product or service they are covering has value!  It’s not a secret, it’s a given.  Journalists understand that and it is not an issue.

Precisely because trade media is independent of other firms or associations, media will look at them in that light.  Thus trade media can influence the conversation as media.

What has been widely lacking for MH prior to MHLivingNews/MHProNews, is a strong combination of pro-Industry trade media, as well as pro-consumer coverage that highlights all that is good about MH.  We cover bad news too, but we also cover the positive stories that public officals, the media and the general public need to see and hear.

KimCapenMedvilleROC-GoffstownNH-MH-AppreciationSeniorCommunityLifestle-ManufacturedHomeLivingNews-InsideMHvideo2-600x330

With the complete package of supportive trade media, plus professional marketing and sales training, you can end up with SuperCharged results for your bottom line.

Stop and Think

People tend to begin the buying process with a mix of interest and skepticism. They want the result, but may not yet be sure of the specific home or firm that they want to do business with. Or they may be curious about MH, but are not yet ‘sold.’

What our marketing and sales training does is create a supportive backdrop to everything else that you as a community operator or retailer, builder, etc. do.

BobThiemanCAE-MastheadBlogMHProNews-com-2

Once a perspective likes you, your location, home, etc. and have an interest, if they search for news on Manufactured Home Living, our website pops up as a support to all else that you do.

That can and already does routinely make a difference with a consumer on the fence.

ignorance-costs-knowledge-pays-cuttingedge-ofmarketing-sales-manufactured-housing-mhpronews-com-

It can also make a difference with public officials and other media. When news outlets such as Reuters picks up a positive story about MH from MHLivingNews – that carries weight.

What you and all industry pros need is to work with us to scale that kind of positive outcome!

2015-10-08_0359

The more people who discover MHLivingNews.com, the more homes there will be sold. That’s good for the buyer, the industry and public officials.

That’s good for pros like you.

So when you need:

  • A website,
  • Videos,
  • Marketing,
  • Sales recruiting,
  • Sales Training,
  • Consulting, etc…

…who are you going to call?

Why not call the only operation in all of manufactured housing that provides you with the background and foreground support that you and everyone in MH needs!

That’s what we do, day by day, making it better for you to be in this great MH industry. We are better off working together.

Associations, you and us are all better off when we’re working together, it’s good for the consumer, the industry and you. That’s the facts! We’re sticking with it. ##

LATonyKovachPresentingIndustryMembers-MHProNewsBy L.A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.

Who should be Manufactured Housing’s Target Audience?

June 4th, 2015 No comments

Let’s begin to answer that headline query with another question; who in America needs housing? If you answered ‘everyone,’ we are taking a step in the right direction.

Let me be clear. We won’t sell everyone. Not yet, anyway! But if we position your sales operation to become a housing option that is respected and considered, you will sell an ever larger part of those dwelling-seekers in your market who are otherwise going to rent, get an existing house, or will buy new construction.

In this recent video, we interview a number of experts and professionals. Among them is a housing inspector, the president of his state’s association. He and others, such as real estate agents who “get it” about MH, are keen on the quality, value and durability of modern manufactured homes. Listen to that experienced housing inspector say in his own words why manufactured housing is a great choice.

are-you-using-attraction-marketing-cutting-edge-manufacturedhomemarketingsalesmanagement-com-

The 6 figure home buyers

Anecdotal evidence suggests a growing number of MH Retailers and Communities are selling 6 figure homes. MH is also attracting more 6 figure income buyers. While it is great to be the dominant player in the lowest cost new housing segment, we are missing the largest part of the housing pie if most or all of MH limits itself only to entry level product.

With the upscale customer in mind, we interviewed this professional couple in the video linked below who could have bought any house in their market. Listen to why they decided on a manufactured home.

http://manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/dr-clivetty-frank-martinez-home-dover-farms-martin-michigan-inside-mh-video-interview-and-home-tour/

In our consumer-focused video and publishing work, we share stories and interviews with people that are ‘upscale,’ to make it easier for someone else with a cash or a good income and credit to say, I want to do that too.

In this new article, we see that there were 4.9 million resales last year. There’s over 40 million renters, with 85% of them – says a National Association of Realtors ® study – wanting home ownership.

With our marketing and sales consulting clients, we show proven methods for attracting more cash and good credit customers, and how to successfully engage them in a user-friendly fashion.

who-is-your-target-audience-are-you-selling-enough-of-them-manufacturedhousingmarketingsalesmanagement-mhpronews-com-

Who is YOUR target audience? Who would you like it to be? Do you have a plan to get you there?

We’re told by one of our newest clients that they just finished their best month in years. They sold their most expensive home, that had sat in inventory for years, along with a number of others. Part of the strategy was third-party story telling.

If you want a new result, common sense tells you one must learn to do some things in a new, different and better way. Learn more, here. ##

LATonyKovach-Louisville-2015-mhpronews-com-275x156 (1)By L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.

What Makes Manufactured Housing so Different?

April 12th, 2015 No comments

We are going to keep today short and sweet, from utter necessity (I’ve got a flight to catch!). What makes marketing and selling MH so different? First, step back and take a look from 40,000 feet.

If I told you I had a car that sold for 25-50% less than a comparable new car, and that the performance of my car was proven to be as good or better than other cars in its class, what would you think? A winner, right? Or maybe you’d think, too good to be true?

So why doesn’t MH fly off the proverbial shelves? What makes it so different?

We could write a book on this, but as noted, will hit only a few quick points. If you said, Image, you’d only be partially correct.

You see, we have multiple layers of challenges. Among them, education. This is not only true for the public at large, but it is also true – among our own professional ranks.

pat-curran-cfo-asks-what-happens-if-we-invest-in-our-people-and-they-leave- ___ linkedin-submitted-by-pat-curran-posted-inspiration-blog-mhpronews

Sent by Pat Curran.

 

I’ve done seminars on marketing and sales for single companies as well as association, trade shows and other meetings. I’ll often have people who have been in the industry for decades, saying at the end, I learned a lot today. Some will say, I learned more in an hour or two than I have in years.

The problem is NOT that this or that pro, rather, that we as an industry have failed to routinely invest in the training of our people.

You either pay for ignorance (which will cost you sales) or you pay for the right training (which will make you sales). You are paying either way. I assure you, the right training will make you money, the wrong or no training will cost you money.

knowledge-pays

Last thought for today. Learning to sell a MH isn’t about a fancy close, high pressure, or how to trick someone into a deal. Many of those who thought so went out of business in the last big downturn. Rather, good selling is like any good profession. You learn how to guide the customer to a wise decision, in a fashion comfortable for them. Patience and training both pay.

There are four phases of learning. Awareness. Understanding. Integration. Mastery. When we see more industry pros and their firms investing in the right marketing and sales training, we will see more manufactured homes being sold to home seekers who have cash or good credit. ##

latonykovach-louisiville2015-mhpronews-business-building-seminars- (1)

L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach with a live audience, showing the principles of attracting and selilng more customers with Cash or Good Credit.

 

By L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.