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Beautiful Dreamers, Looks vs. Results? Monday Morning Manufactured Housing Sales, Marketing Meeting

July 9th, 2018 No comments

 

BeuatifulDreamersOnlineMarketingLooksVsResultsManufacturedHomeMarketingSalesManagementMHProNews

We will start by “setting the table” or “teeing up” today’s topic with a series of thought provoking facts.

 

Then, we’ll dive into the reality-based action steps for today’s marketing and sales theme.

As hard to imagine as it may be to someone in the year 2018,  

      there are still hundreds of operations in manufactured housing (MH) that have no website of their own.
      Then, there are thousands of websites in manufactured housing that range from the ugly to the stunningly cool and attractive.

Some websites are well organized, or even appealing. But the evidence reflects that they still don’t do the job that the MH retailer, community, production or listing websites are supposed to do.

What’s the goal of a website? 

Attract more well qualified buyers, so that more sales can be made. Lead generation. In the case of a specialized product or service, it may also include the ability to take the order online.

Our focus in this column are websites that are designed to support the sale of more manufactured homes to qualified buyers.

Marketing and sales are complementary, but different.  

Some marketers we’ve spoken with have complained that the leads they generate don’t get proper follow up. That’s a sales and management issue, and won’t be covered in this column, but it’s worth mentioning.

Today’s spotlight is about understanding how well, or poorly, a company or location’s website does in attracting qualified homebuyers. 

 

UnzipLookingForUsUnlockedMindHowCanWeHelpThemSeeManufacturedHOusingINdustryDailyBsuinessNewsMHproHNEws

When prospective customers come to your website, are they finding what they are looking for? because they have a beautiful dream they want to fulfill. But they also have questions. Are they ‘bouncing’ at a high rate? If so, that is a red flag for a possible design and/or marketing issue. Other red flags include low conversion rates.

 

Examples – Reality Checks  

First, let’s note that we don’t give out specific client information without mutual agreement. But we can generically tell true stories.  

That said, let’s consider the following.

Customers who had visited new home retailing locations – which can include, Manufactured Home Communities (MHC) – were getting follow up calls. 

Of course, some of those prospects had purchased or made other housing choices elsewhere. No one sells every guest. 

What do you suppose was the most common choice, when they didn’t buy from an MH client company? 

Hint: it wasn’t other MH competitors.  

Rather, they were those who chose some form of conventional housing.

That was true in location after location, in various parts of the country. Think about that when you consider your own follow ups.  Isn’t that true for your location too?

It should be a big topic in our industry, and in your location’s meeting discussions.  Because our approach closes that gap, but nothing closes it completely.  

Here’s another troubling factoid.

There are several states were MH shipments are flat, or dropping. How is that possible, during an affordable housing crisis? See that related report, linked below. Again, that’s a symptom of several issues, which won’t all be covered in this article.  The website and related marketing remains our focus today.

WeCannotsolveOurpRoblemsWiththeSameThinkingWeUsedWhenWeCreatedThemALbertEinsteinQuoteManufacturedHouusingIndustryMHProNews 

Keep an Open Mind, to Grow Sales 

I’ve talked to some very bright and successful people in MHVille who hear or read a few words, and then mistakenly think that they get it.

Rephrased, some skim, and then jump to conclusions. We’re all guilty of it at times, but when someone is looking to increase sales, an open, questioning mind which is keen on detail is essential.

If most MH professionals understood all of the internal and external issues keeping the industry from achieving record sales, then MH industry companies would adjust their marketing (and sales) approaches.  Our secret sauce has proven to grow sales, often by several hundred percent, at locations that learn and apply them properly. 

By contrast, more of the same marketing will logically only yield more of the same results.

Some misunderstand the importance and value of fact checks and critiques. There’s a big difference between a blind criticism (trying to tear someone or something down), and critique/analysis.

 

IfIHadAnHourToSolveAProblemIdSpend55MinutesThinkingAboutthePRoblemAnd5MinutesThinkingAboutsolutionsAlbertEinsteinquoteMHProNews

Objective analysis and critique are essentially for growing a location’s sales, and thus the industry to its potential.

Facts are what they are, and ought to be discerned to be understood. 

Having set the table, let’s see the realities of website performance. 

 

DevelopInspirationalDissatisfactionRearrangeYourAttitudesAndConvertFailureOneDayIntoSuccessAnotherWClementstoneQuoteAZMHProNews

All sales and marketing are localized.  National numbers should be understood in the light of the reality that they are thousands of local results added together. Raise location results, and better national results follow. Objective Analysis is the start of growth. One must understand the problem, and its causes, in order to truly understand the possible solution. Every serious grower prunes trees and shrubs. The plan for tomorrow starts with reality checks from yesterday and today.

 

Big Industry Names, Facts, but Modest Results?

MHVillage thoughtfully provides their websites statistics. For the purpose of this article, let’s accept their and two other industry companies claims at face value.

 

2018-06-22_0521ConversionRatiosPerMHVillageLogoManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews600

Data per MHVillage, collage by MHProNews. Once more, this isn’t a slam on MHVillage.  Rather it is a look at what their vexing data tells an operation like yours. The conversion ratios are a fraction of a single percent. Marketers tell MHProNews it is far better in conventional real estate.

Here’s what MHVillage says their results are for 2017.  

If the average website visitor discovered there what they thought they wanted, then the conversion statistics at MHVillage would be dramatically different. That’s self evident, right? If shoppers got the answers they were seeking, then more sales would occur.

The same point applies to sales at giant Clayton,  or #3 Cavco, which for a few years their own published data reveals that both firm’s are growing at a slower pace than the industry at large.

Clayton has reportedly closed about 100 of their own retail centers in roughly 7-8 years.  Think about that fact. With a cool looking website, tons of quality videos, and an affordable housing crisis, they still closed 100 sales centers?

 

AttractSellMoreB2BorB2cWebsiteManufacturedHousingIndustryWebDesignExpertsGIF

Well over 75% of the industry’s websites have design flaws that limit potential sales. Click here or above to learn more.

 

Marketing Takeaways 

1) An operation can be large, successful, or even monopolistic. They can have access to boat loads of cash. That doesn’t mean that they have all the answers.

2) Some independents outsell the giants in specific locations. So that suggests, it can happen elsewhere.

3) But set aside others in MHVille entirely. If manufactured homes has the lower price, comparable quality, and lower payments, why aren’t hundreds of thousands of more new homes being sold every year?

4) Part of the answer is an operation’s website. Prospective customers must not be finding what they are looking for, or it is self-evident that more sales would be made. 

5) A home shopper may or may not have a set of questions they want answered. But they most certainly have them. If prospects were finding the answers they wanted on a company’s website, there would be more calls, walk-ins, and sales of more homes.

Industry professionals must come to grips with some simple truths.

The first is found in the graphic below.

IfPrettyPicturesVideosAloneWereEnoughMHIndustryWillOnlyAchieveItsGoalsByResovingItsCoreIssuesLATonyKovachMHProNews1

Learn more about the above, linked here.

  • The right kind of website matters.
  • The right kind of videos matter.
  • Then, he right kind of training and follow up process matters.
  • Finally, the right kind of hiring process matters. 

There are some very successful people who could be wildly more successful, if they just set aside their pride, ego, fear, habits, or whatever else is holding them back.

The facts like those above don’t lie. Some can try to explain them away.  But facts are facts.

No one sells everyone. 

But for those who invest in the right kind of marketing and sales systems, the results are astonishing.

When the industry is capable of doing 500% to 1,000% more in sales, rephrased, that means hundreds of locations could be doing 5 to 10 times more sales.

I’ve seen (and worked with) simple locations that sell rings around fancy ones, and vice versa. 

Education, education, and more education pays.

But more than that, third party education is what’s needed.

Whatever you say or do about your own business is still you saying it.  There are reasons other industry’s support their trade media. Because whatever is published there, that’s third party info.

I’m not saying we have the absolute prettiest websites. But MHProNews and MHLivingNews are #1 in their respective categories for good reasons.  It isn’t always about pure looks, people have to find what it is they are looking for, or they will bounce out.

How your website appears may be secondary to your success. Education and your website(s), done correctly, can be huge steps to sustainable success with more happy customers.

Closing thought for today. How many websites do you have? If the answer is only one, plus your social media, odds are good that you’re missing out on more sales. 

Got a budget for growth and more ROI? Ready for next steps?  Click or call. ## (Coaching tips, marketing, sales, management, commentary, and analysis.)

(Third party images, and content are provided under fair use guidelines.)

FactoryBuiltCarsClothingAppliancesElectronicsCellsSmartPhonesHomesItJustFollowsLATonyKovachC2017MHproNewsBy L.A. “Tony” Kovach.

Tony is the multiple award-winning managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.

Office 863-213-4090 |Connect on LinkedIn:

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Related Reports:

Winners and Losers, 5 Midwestern States, Manufactured Home Shipment Breakdown

 

 

Wheat, Chaff, and the Monday Morning Manufactured Housing Sales, Marketing Meeting

July 2nd, 2018 Comments off
WheatChaffMondayMorningManufacturdHomeSalesMarketingMeetingDailyBUisnessNewsMHproNews

Too many in the industry have been looking for short cuts and magic bullets for decades. How is that working out? Wheat and Chaff, think long term, without ignoring the short term. 

Billions of humans depend on wheat as an important part of their nutritional needs. But chaff?

 

Succeed Equine says, “feeding chaff with your horse’s concentrated feeds is all about increasing chewing time. Along with free choice hay or turnout on quality pasture, this is a great way to help your horse avoid serious digestive issues like gastric and colonic ulcers, hindgut acidosis, and colic.”

The ancient expression of separating wheat from chaff is meant to symbolize what is or isn’t fit for people to eat or use. But even chaff can have a purpose.

To tee this topic up, this writer has shared before that when I began selling HUD Code manufactured homes in the 1980s, it was my first time selling a big ticket item. I’d been successful at selling insurance (award winner), later was a rapidly rising rocket in membership sales (quickly promoted to management), and prior to those did well at history and writing (multiple award winner, plus academic recognitions). Motivation wasn’t lacking.

But I had not yet found my ‘calling.’

I stumbled upon manufactured homes and this industry by accident. Traveling eastbound on I240 in the Southside of Oklahoma City, this writer took the off-ramp one exit too soon (I was looking for I-35), ever do that?

It was a mistake that turned into something great.

That “wrong exit” led me to discovering for the first time what was then still called then “mobile home row,” one of the most intense manufactured housing (MH) sales environments in the entire U.S.

SolitaireHomesUniversalHomesSouthShieldsBldOKCOKmanufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBUisnessNewsMHproNews433South Shields Blvd. in OKC, OK today is a mere shadow of its MH Industry glory days. Back then at its peak, there were some 52 sales centers (“dealerships”) on a three mile stretch of Shields Blvd. There were over 200 retail sales people, plus their managers and owners, competing for every customer. Most pros  today don’t know what intense intra-industry retail competition is.

Working on commissions, you had to learn how to sell. It was do or die. Having been instantly fascinated by the manufactured homes on each side of Shields, I was determined to get into the industry.  I got a job at the first company that I applied to.

But in manufactured housing at the company I was hired by, as well as at many others then or today, there was no formal training program.

Then and now, most companies do little or nothing beyond the basics of the paperwork.  There was no one willing to explain how someone attracts and sells well qualified customers. Those with weak, bad or no credit pour onto sales centers and communities, right?  Then and now, it’s about attracting and selling the well qualified buyers is where the magic takes place.

The guy who hired me at that lot on Shields had the same name as a current executive staffer at MHI. Here was his training program.

Here’s the keys (to the inventory), our price sheet (with low/high pricing), here’s the purchase agreement, and here’s the credit ap. Go get “em Tiger!”

SinkorSwimNotTheMostEffectiveTrainingProgramManufacturedHousingINdustryDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews

That literally was the training. So you wandered the inventory on your own, and tried to observe whatever you could, because it was sink or swim.

 

The Wheat and Chaff

With that backdrop, I dug in on my own, using a wheat and chaff approach.

  • What did other sales people do that seemed to work?
  • What did others do that made no sense to me, and didn’t work?
  • Every single sales encounter, I was told in the insurance business, was a learning experience.
  • I read a lot, listened to audio by Zig Ziglar and others, and applied what I learned to manufactured housing.

I wrote up my very first manufactured home customer, and was off to the races. Having started with selling “singles,” I was soon promoted to be the sales manager of our “double-wides” (more properly, multi-sectionals) sales center.  But it was personal study, personal motivation – not some team or corporate training – that made that possible.

Wheat and chaff was a key concept that got me there, and far beyond.

This writer may disagree with someone on 85% of what they think, say, or do. But it is always in my mind to see whatever I can learn from someone, even someone I may have little in common with. The lesson to be learned is often what not to do.  For example, I strongly disagree with the strategic moat plan of one Warren Buffett, as it tends towards monopoly, which is arguably bad for all. But there are some Buffett quotes that I find useful and insightful.  Wheat and chaff.

Keep what’s good, which is the wheat. Toss the chaff aside, which at best might be used as filler for something else.

SeparateWheatfromChaffValuablefromWorthlessDictionaryManufacturedHOusingINdsutryDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews

It’s a valuable principle that can be applied to anybody, or any group.

That may seem like a simple lesson, but it is the basics that are often the most powerful.  That willingness to learn from anyone, and the value of separating the wheat from the chaff is priceless.

Here’s a related bonus.

Don’t jump to conclusions. Don’t prejudge. When it comes to reading, don’t skim. Read and listen for understanding. “Seek first to understand, then to be understood” my better-half wisely quoted Steven Covey yesterday. All seven of the 7 Habits of Highly Successful People are mondo.

7HabitsofHighlyEffectivePeopleStevenCoveyPinterestManufacturedHousingIndustryDaiyBusinessNewsMHproNews

There are lots of people in the world with limited motivation, and who have closed minds. Don’t get me wrong, there are a few things the mind must close on. I believe in the law of gravity, so should everyone. I don’t have an open mind about cliffs or ledges in a high-rise. So common sense is crucial. There are some realities you must close your mind on, because they are dangerous, or a waste of time.

But beyond gravity and some true laws like it, there is much to be learned by using the wheat and chaff approach.

The motivation to continually learn, combined with that wheat and chaff approach, are huge.  Because you may stumble across something you didn’t know, precisely because your mind was open to it.  Much like this writer stumbled across manufactured housing, and have now successfully served in this industry for over a quarter of a century since then.

I might only use a tiny fraction of what I know when working with a retail customer. So it’s not about flooding a customer with information, to prove how smart you are.  Knowing what to say, what to ask, generally in what sequence, that’s a matter of a formal training program – that clients pay us to do.

Gratis, I’ll say, learn and never stop. Read as much as you can that is related to your industry every day.

I’ve sold and managed the sales of thousands of mostly HUD Code manufactured homes. We’ve had operations that did 20, 30 or even as many as 50 new home sales delivered in a single month. There are nice plaques, letters, and plenty of framed recognition for those who like such things. From the 80s to the late 2010s, I’ve done mostly MH, but took a few years to discover the RV and trade show business, where I did well too.  Those later two were all part of a wider plan to make manufactured housing greater than ever, by helping the industry understand and achieve its true potential.

Wheat and chaff. Read as much as you can every day. Watch videos, especially on MHLivingNews.com as much as you can every day. 30 minutes should be the minimum, 1-2 hours daily is still just a fraction of what Warren Buffett says is one of his most important habits. Reading, virtually anyone can do that, right? Before becoming President, Donald Trump was right is saying you have to know as much as you can about a business and the forces that influence and impacts your profession. Be open to the wheat from both of those success stories.

Read for understanding. Separate the wheat from the chaff. Reject failed notions, like socialism, which is the nearly the polar opposite of free enterprise.  Free enterprise – the truly American way – once unleased, can make manufactured housing more successful than ever before.

MobileHomeShipmentsManufacturedHomeShipmentChartMHIAShipmentsMHIndustryChampionSkylineHUDCodeDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

What was accomplished previously in sustainable shipment levels, can clearly be done again.

As an industry, back when there were fewer regulations, the industry nearly achieved 600,000 new home shipments in a year, for two years running. The population was smaller then.  The needs are greater today. Don’t get me wrong, some regulations on quality and the consumer protections are useful. But over-regulations and excessive taxes are both proven killers.

But the point is, with the correct methods – using wheat and chaff thinking, motivation and discipline – the typical location could grow 500% to 1,000% in sales. That can be done with happy customers, ethically, and sustainably.

Wheat and chaff, lessons learned.

Wheat and chaff. Learn, earn, return. Enough said for today. ## (Coaching tips, marketing, sales, management, commentary, and analysis.)

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FactoryBuiltCarsClothingAppliancesElectronicsCellsSmartPhonesHomesItJustFollowsLATonyKovachC2017MHproNewsBy L.A. “Tony” Kovach – Masthead commentary, for MHProNews.com.

Tony is the multiple award-winning managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.

Office 863-213-4090 |Connect on LinkedIn:
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New Manufactured Home Industry National Association Related Statements

June 26th, 2018 Comments off

ManufacturedHousingCommunitesArizonaLogoNewManufacturedHomeIndsutryNationalAssocDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

State associations representing manufactured housing communities – Manufactured Housing Communities of Arizona (MHCA) and the Manufactured Housing Community Owners Association (MHCO) of Nevada – both of which had previously withdrawn from the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), have announced the formation of a new, independent post-production manufactured housing association,” said the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulator Reform (MHARR) to MHProNews.

 

In its initial communication regarding the new group, “the MHCA states:”

The MHCA had joined a national association [i.e. the Manufactured Housing Institute or MHI] in the hopes that we would get … representation and effectiveness at a national level.  The national legislation and rulemaking over the last ten years has proven that we do not have that representation,” said MHARR about the MHCA’s release to them.

The MHCA has taken the first steps in establishing a new organization to lobby on behalf of community owners and associations representing community owners.  The new organization is the National Association of Manufactured Housing Community Owners, Inc. (NAMHCO)….”

The MHCA communication concludes by observing that “we have a problem at the national level,” and invites other post-production groups to become “part of the solution” by joining and supporting their new national association.

MHARR notes that their move is similar to a suggestion that MHARR made in a 2017 study and analysis “MHARR Releases Study Recommending Independent Collective Representation for Post-Production Sector to function at the national level.” More on that in the related report, linked below, which can read after you’ve finished reading this post.

Study Recommending New Manufactured Housing Association for Independent Retailers, Communities, Lenders, Others Released

 

MHARR Comments on Announcement of
National Association of Manufactured Housing Community Owners, Inc. (NAMHCO) 

While this action (at present including only HUD Code communities) – is both positive and encouraging,” said the MHARR release, “the industry’s entire post-production sector (communities, as well as retailers, developers, finance providers, insurers and others) remains in desperate need of an independent, collective, national association and representation to deal effectively with national-level issues that are today either not being addressed at all, are not being addressed effectively, or are, in effect, being held captive to the interests of the industry’s largest corporate conglomerates.”

At present, HUD Code manufactured housing is nearly alone, as a major industry, in being without an independent, national, collective post-production association, and this crucial “missing link” needs to be decisively corrected as soon as possible if the industry is to advance and expand to its full economic and market potential,” the statement to the Daily Business News said.

AttractSellMoreB2BorB2cWebsiteManufacturedHousingIndustryWebDesignExpertsGIF

Over 75% of the industry’s websites have design flaws that limit potential sales. Click here or above to learn more. 

While HUD Code production is gradually recovering and improving from its recent modern-day minimum level, and manufactured homes, in 2018, offer superb quality with unprecedented value for consumers, the industry’s post-production sector has, conversely, regressed, with repeated failures in critical areas such as consumer financing, placement, zoning and installation, among others,” said the Washington, D.C. based MHARR.

These failures [by MHI] suppress and unnecessarily restrict industry growth,” said their release, “as untold thousands of consumers are eliminated from the market due to unnecessarily high interest rates on manufactured homes and particularly manufactured home chattel loans (due to the ongoing refusal by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to provide market-significant securitization and secondary market support for such loans).”

To make matters worse,” the independent producers’ trade group said, “even for consumers who would be able to obtain such financing, the refusal of local communities to permit the development of new manufactured housing communities, or otherwise permit the placement of manufactured homes in vast areas of the United States, needlessly drives potential homebuyers away from the HUD Code market. As a result, while manufactured homes have progressed substantially, once they leave the factory, the industry (and consumers) are ill-prepared, ill-equipped and ill-served in the field.”

 

The Contradiction…

This dichotomy, between significant successes in the production realm, as contrasted with significant failures in the post-production realm, not only undermines industry growth and needlessly excludes large numbers of consumers from the HUD Code market, but also harms, as one of its primary victims, the state associations on which post-production industry businesses rely so heavily,” said MHARR.

State association executives have told MHProNews that for some years, they’ve been controlled by the same interests as controls MHI. One of several examples is linked in the report, linked below, which can be read later for additional depth of understanding on the issue.

 

While most state associations continue to do excellent work under difficult circumstances, they are unfairly handicapped in many instances, by a lack of centralized policy information, formulation, direction and coordination. This effectively leaves state associations either “on their own” to individually seek relevant factual and policy information from other states, or worse, dependent on MHI and its few industry-dominant corporate conglomerates on matters that rightfully should be discussed, debated, formulated and decided on a collective, independent and collaborative basis,” MHARR argued.

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In either case, the collective functionality of the state associations and the post-production sector is not what it should be, or needs to be, in order to successfully advance both the post-production sector and the industry as a whole,” their release stated.

Rephrased, the producer’s trade group MHARR is saying that the manufactured home industry won’t grow at the pace of potential it could achieve, due in part to the lack of an effective post-production organization.

This matter, moreover, has been unnecessarily complicated by the involvement of self-promoting individuals and/or entities that not only have difficulty in grasping the magnitude of the ongoing failures of the post-production sector – and the damage thereby inflicted on the industry and consumers – but also continue to press and advance ostensible remedies (publications, conferences, meetings, etc.) that are overly simplistic, unduly parochial, and simply inadequate to address the much larger and significantly more complex problems underlying this crucial issue,” said the MHARR statement.

That made be construed as an oblique hit on COBA7 and SECO, which are recognized for certain positive efforts, while reportedly frustrating the formation of a robust post-production trade group.

MHARR, therefore, for reasons that it has previously spelled-out in detail, supports the formation of the new, independent communities association,” they said, concluding:

In addition, MHARR also supports and encourages the expansion and further development of this association going forward.”

The Daily Business News will continue to track and report on the development of the new community owner’s association, and related developments.  We Provide, You Decide.”  © ## ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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Related Reports:

George Allen Reply to Mainstream Media re: Roane/Lackey/SECO Exposé, Plus MHI, MHARR, et al – “Make Manufactured Housing Great Again”

George Allen Blasts MHI, NCC Ignoring Own, Spencer Roane, SECO, COBA7, Tom Lackey Controversies

‘Tip of Iceberg’ – Rick Rand; Marty Lavin, Communities have ‘No Confidence’ in Manufactured Housing Institute, New National Trade Group Announced

7 Surprising Keys to Unlock Manufactured Housing Industry Sales Success

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What’s Your Location’s Potential? Monday Morning Manufactured Housing Marketing Sales Meeting

June 25th, 2018 Comments off
WhatsYourLocationsPotentialMondayMorningManufacturedHousingMarketingSalesMeetingDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Graphic design by MHProNews.com.

 Every business ought to periodically look at their performance metrics. 

That reality check could be Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Quarterly, Annually as well as in units of 3, 5, 10 or even 20 years. 

Then every business, person, and operation should ask themselves, ‘what’s the potential for my business or location?

Among the most common mistakes in MHVille is thinking of “the competition” only in terms of other HUD Code or modular housing operations.  While that’s a significant metric, isn’t the broader housing market’s far larger – and thus bigger opportunities – a more important measure? Aren’t more sales lost to other forms of housing, than manufactured homes?  The obvious  and honest answer is sadly, yes.

 

Limits of Growth?

There are practical or logistical constraints on every operation. A factory, using a hypothetical example, may only be able to produce 14 floors during a 9 hour day. With two full  shifts, could they produce 28 floors? Logistical questions would determine how possible that might be.

A land-lease manufactured home community has specific limitations, based upon how many current or potential home sites it has.

SometimesModestAdjustmentIsNeededToGetAroughSoundingENgineurringSmoothlyRunningEfficentlyButfirstIdnetifyThenREsolveCauseoftheProb lemsLATonyKovachQUote

Get your motor running smoothly and efficiently.  Graphic design by MHProNews.com.

 

A manufactured home retailer has space limitations too. But unlike a community, there are several ways that a creative retailer can overcome space limits to maximize their potential sales.

 

 

Think Win-Win 

Every transaction ought to have mutual victories as its goal.

Some prospective customers reveal early on that they won’t be easily satisfied on price or could be hyper-picky on service. That may be a customer to politely pass on.  

Normal customers know you have to make a profit. Set the correct, candid expectations, and the opportunities for a win-win will follow. With mutual victories, honesty, and good service, referrals are a natural.

 

AttractSellMoreB2BorB2cWebsiteManufacturedHousingIndustryWebDesignExpertsGIF

Some 75% (+/-) of the manufactured home industry’s websites have design flaws that limit potential sales. That includes some new and fancy looking websites.  If your website is doing the job, click here above to learn more.

 

What’s Your Potential? Cooked in a Squat

Self-limiting thinking or group-think are regrettably common among many in the industry. It takes a special kind of humility – and courage – to ask, what could my business or location achieve?  

That kind of open, honest questioning and willingness to learn new ideas can leads to far higher results and profits. And to us, that always means profits ethically obtained, with happy customers and thus sustainability. 

Often, it is relatively modest adjustments that are needed to move towards tapping your operations or locations potential.  

But sometimes, a serious shakeup is required.

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Need to recruit, motivate, retrain or coach your team to new sales levels? Click here or call the number below to learn more.

What’s your potential?

In broad terms, given the affordable housing crisis, it can be 500% to 1,000% more than the industry currently collectively enjoys.

 

ManufacturedHomeShipmentsVsNewExistingHomeSalesStaartsManufacturedHouisngIndustryDailyBusinessNEwsMHPronews

Facts are facts. They are neutral measures of reality. Once facts and their causes are understood, then the opportunities can be tapped. What the above means is that the typical retailer could potentially be selling 10x (+/-) more homes. a typical market

Want to get there? Give me a call, or send a message. We know the secret sauces for tasty results.

MHLivingNewsImprovedLivingForLessMHProNewsMHMarketingSalesManagement

That’s “Innovation, Information, and Inspiration for Industry Professionals.” (C)  Ready for the next steps?  Click or call. ## (Coaching tips, marketing, sales, management, commentary, and analysis.)

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FactoryBuiltCarsClothingAppliancesElectronicsCellsSmartPhonesHomesItJustFollowsLATonyKovachC2017MHproNewsBy L.A. “Tony” Kovach – Masthead commentary, for MHProNews.com.

Tony is the multiple award-winning managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.

Office 863-213-4090 |Connect on LinkedIn:
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MHVillage Confirms Data, and Michigan Operational Slide Revealed

June 22nd, 2018 Comments off

MHVillageLogoConfirmsDataMichiganManufacturedHousingAssocLogoShipmentSalesSlideRevealedDailyBusinessNewsMHProHNews550

In a message forwarded to the Daily Business News, MHVillage (MHV) confirmed troubling data that has been presented in person to dozens of gathered industry professionals.

DarrenKroloweskiMHVillageCoPresidentManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNEwsMHPronewsThe factoids were shared by MHVillage’s Co-President, Darren Krolewski, using a positive-spin narrative.

Based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, MHVillage Inc. is the nation’s premier online marketplace for buying and selling manufactured homes with more than 25 million unique visitors annually. Last year, more than 80,000 homes were sold on MHVillage with a combined transaction value exceeding $3 billion,” said their promotion of a George Allen event.

Accepting their data claims at face value, the numbers on the surface appear impressive, which is their obvious intent.  They’re claiming they are the “premier marketplace.”

But when the MHVillage data is viewed more closely, what they reveal ought to be troubling to marketers and sellers of HUD Code manufactured housing.

The ratio of sales of homes on their site is a tiny fraction of a single percent.

Specifically, using MHV published 2017 data,

  • it is only about 1/3 of 1 percent of all visitors to their site ends up buying a manufactured home, so,
  • the average sales price of the home listed and sold there would be $37,500.
  • Considering the U.S. Census Bureau said that the average sales price of a new manufactured home was $72,900 in Dec 2017,
  • meaning the average HUD Code manufactured housing unit sold there would be 51.44% – roughly half the value – of the average new manufactured home shipped in December 2017.

2018-06-22_0521ConversionRatiosPerMHVillageLogoManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews600

 

More Woes? Michigan Data Reveals Shipment Slide

According to the April 2018 shipment data supplied by a Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) source, Michigan – one of the top 10 states per Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) data – is sliding.

2018-06-22_0704MichiganManufacturedHousingAssociationLogoDataShipmentsAparil2017vsApril2018DailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Several questions about the decline and related were posed to the Michigan Manufactured Housing Association’s executive director, over the course of a few days.  Neither Bill Shaefer, nor the association, opted to answer.

What’s going on?  It’s part of a previously reported trend, which can be read in the linked article below after this column is finished.

While Manufactured Housing Overall Rises, Some Slip Sliding Away

Krolewski is on record sharing this view, “I think one of the challenges we have as an industry is that there is not enough positive news about manufactured housing to counter the negative.

2018-06-22_0504MHVillageTrafficDataAlexaManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNEwsMHProNews600

It’s a reality check, not a slam to do the math. If MHV is the industry’s “premier marketplace,” then the industry’s image woes are center stage, and Krolewski’s own statement explains why.

BobCrawfordFrankRolfeManufacturedHousingIndustryProfessionalNewsMHProNews

Bob Crawford, left, Frank Rolfe, right. Still credit, Inside MH video, by MHProNews.com.

For years, we have wondered WHY there was so little pro-industry advocacy from MHI to government movements, proposals, rules, etc. that were [often] not in the best interest of this industry,” said Bob Crawford, president of historic Dick Moore Housing, a BBB A+ rated firm.

On the MHU blog, Frank Rolfe has said, MHI – the industry lobby group…what’s with the concept of silence is golden? Negative articles on the industry are met with “no comment”. Positive news opportunities are met with “no comment”. 
I’ve never seen anything like it
.” 1

Krolewski has said at one point that the industry would be getting support from the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) on image building and messaging.  In fact, MHI has an active social media campaign, and reportedly one or two public relations people on staff, and has contracted others at times too.

That being so, where are their measurable results?

2018-06-22_0518EngagementofSiteVistorsMHVillageManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews600

MHInsiderManufacturedHousingINdustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsThe industry is slowly crawling back from the bottom hit in 2009/2010. Aren’t new manufactured home sales the final metric that matters?  Isn’t that how the National Association of Home Builders ™ (NAHB), or the National Association of Realtors ™ (NAR) are measuring results?  Don’t sellers see want to know how many housing starts, and how many actual conventional housing unit sales?

We always hear about the tornadoes, flooding, fires, residents getting evicted from their homes so a shopping center can be built, unreasonable rent increases, how manufactured homes depreciate in value, etc,” Krolewski has said. “I think it’s less about the industry not responding appropriately, than it is us constantly having to play defense when we do.”

And all of this from the publisher of the MHInsider?

Rolfe has said, “…it’s my belief that the only way to elevate the public opinion of our industry is to explain to people (who are often full of negative stereotypes from such movies as 8-Mile and television shows like COPS and Trailer Park Boys) the truth about our product and business model.”

donaldtrumpnominatesbencarsonashousingsecretarycreditmhpronews2-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Kurt Kelley. Credit: MHProNews.

Kurt Kelley, JD – a colleague of Rolfe’s in the MHR project – pointed out that: “My Dad used to tell me, ‘Perception is the reality of others. So you better make sure you are perceived accurately and positively.’ If you let others define you, you’re stuck with their definition of you.”

Historically,” Kelley said, “the MH industry has been defined by the lowest common denominator, and not by the great value offered by our homes or the excellent living choice MHC’s offer across the country. A recent poll showed that 85% of all Republicans and 60% of all Democrats didn’t trust the media. You can fight back successfully.”

Editorially, we note that Kelly’s point is precisely what MHLivingNews and MHProNews has done, fight back with facts.

So why did MHI, while this operation was still their member, undermine and allegedly attempt to derail our pro-growth industry efforts?  One of hundreds of examples can be found at the link below.

WhereAreYouHeadingThisSummerHowManufacturedHomeLivingCanImproveYourLifestyleMHLivingNews

Readers can circle back and check out the article below, which points to facts useful for the manufactured home industry.
https://www.manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/where-are-you-headed-this-summer/

The first step in solving a problem is to recognize that it does exist,” the late, great Zig Ziglar said.

The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism,” said the inspirational minister, author, and speaker, the Rev. Norman Vincent Peale, according to BrainyQuotes.

Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things,” said Winston Churchill, per the New Statesman.

CriticismMayNotBeAgreeableButItIsNecessaryItFulfillsSameFuncationAsPainInHumanBodyItCallsAttentiontoUnhealthyStateofThingsWinstonChurchillMHProNews

Critiques, fact checks, aren’t personal. Rather, they are a professional necessity.

Frank Rolfe, Marty Lavin, Bob Crawford, L. A. “Tony” Kovach and others are among those that have recognized that the industry’s post-production sector – specifically Arlington, VA based MHI – has failed to deliver on image building.

The result?  Historically low sales levels, which have contributed to industry consolidations.

MobileHomeShipmentsManufacturedHomeShipmentChartMHIAShipmentsMHIndustryChampionSkylineHUDCodeDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

What was accomplished previously in sustainable shipment levels, can clearly be done again.

Rollohome, Creating 60,000 Factory-Built Homes in 2 Years

Having identified the problems, the next step must be to move toward solutions.

The communities sector, after breaking last year with MHI, is launching their own post-production national association.

‘Tip of Iceberg’ – Rick Rand; Marty Lavin, Communities have ‘No Confidence’ in Manufactured Housing Institute, New National Trade Group Announced

What about those in retail, installation, lending, suppliers, and services, etc.? To learn more, see the related articles, linked below. ##  (News, analysis, and commentary.)

(Third party images, and content, are provided under fair use guidelines.)

Footnote: 1) Typo in the original.  In fairness to Rolfe, in England, quotes are placed as he used it, inside the punctuation mark.

Related Reports:

Only 3 Options – the Elephant in the Room

 

George Allen Reply to Mainstream Media re: Roane/Lackey/SECO Exposé, Plus MHI, MHARR, et al – “Make Manufactured Housing Great Again”

Frank Rolfe Blasts MHI for Poor Media Engagement, Industry Reactions

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SoheylaKovachDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsMHLivingNewsSubmitted by Soheyla Kovach to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.com. Soheyla is a managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.

Is Your Operation a David vs. a Goliath? 4 Keys to Success, Monday Morning Manufactured Housing Marketing and Sales Meeting

June 18th, 2018 Comments off
DavidVsGoliathBeheadedManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusiinessNewsMHProNews

The marketplace can get serious. What do you do?

Is your manufactured housing location or operation a small – or even tiny – David fighting a metaphorical Goliath?

 

The featured image above cuts to the chase of the ancient Biblical drama of David and Goliath. Let’s just say that despite the difference in size, plus long odds, David wins.

We don’t advocate beheading a competitor, even if that other firm has a bullseye aimed at you.

That said, most of the businesses in this industry are smaller businesses ‘battling’ in the marketplace against much larger operations. What to do?

 

How is Sustainable Success Achieved?

There are several questions that every owner, manager or investor ought to be asking themselves on a regular basis.

What are the factors that allow a small firm to outperform, or at least level the planting field, against a giant?  Let’s review some of the elements of success selling against a bigger company.

1) Outmaneuver them. Smaller firms can be more nimble. Why not learn something new that allows you to tap a market they are missing?

2) Be more motivated. I’ve personally spent most of my 25+ year manufactured home (MH) career doing what others thought couldn’t be done. That includes working with smaller firms in a given market competing against larger ones. Working with clients, we routinely dramatically raised sales, often outperforming the local giant’s location. If others can do it successfully, that means you can too.

3) Be better informed. First, let me stress that in under a week, we can take a newcomer to Manufactured Housing, and have them outselling many an MH industry veteran. BTW, being informed doesn’t mean you have to know everything to sell something. It is how you use what you know that can set your career and performance apart. Learn the basics, the fundamentals for success, and build on that from now on. I’ve seen MH industry sales veterans bore a buyer to death, and lose a sale they could have made. Use what you know with precision. Which brings us to the next point.

4) Don’t overkill.  A skilled surgeon may use a laser to make a very precise, and tiny cut. Precise use of the right – even limited – information, can yield success. By the way, a veteran who is open to learning new ways still has the advantage over a newbie.  Both the newcomer, and the veteran have potential advantages. Each has obvious shortfalls.

The foundation of all success are the use of good, proven, basic and honest principles. No one sells everyone. When the correct principles are put properly to work, they yield the desired outcome a good percentage of the time.

For example. If you are currently closing 1 in 25, and you raised that closing ratio to 2, 3 or 4 out of 25, you have the jet fuel needed for sustained success.

The bonus for today is point #5.  The right marketing and sales plan, plus honorable discipline.  The other guys must not be doing this, or they’d be selling up a storm, with loads of happy customers.

BridgeHaveYourSalesTeamLearnHowToAttractAndSellMoreCashBuyersWellQUalifiedHomeShoppersDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Got a budget? Click here or the image above to learn more.

Can you outperform, or at least level the playing field against Goliath? In Wisconsin, those who know would give a one-word answer.

Youbetcha. ## (Coaching tips, marketing, sales, management, commentary, and analysis.)

(Third party images, and content are provided under fair use guidelines.)

CFO-CEODiscussiononTeamTrainingDeelopmentManufacturedHousingMarketingSalesManagementRecruitingTrainingDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

FactoryBuiltCarsClothingAppliancesElectronicsCellsSmartPhonesHomesItJustFollowsLATonyKovachC2017MHproNewsBy L.A. “Tony” Kovach – Masthead commentary, for MHProNews.com.

Tony is the multiple award-winning managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.

Office 863-213-4090 |Connect on LinkedIn:
http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach

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5 Steps for Making Lemonade from Lemons, Monday Morning Manufactured Housing Sales, Marketing Meeting

June 11th, 2018 Comments off
5StepsMakingLemonadeFromLemonsMondayMorningManufacturedHousingSalesMarketingMeeting

When life hands you proverbial lemons, make lemonade.

Almost any problem you can think of is an opportunity in disguise for those who have the proper motivation and mindset.

 

When “bad news” related hits conventional housing or manufactured housing in your market, that’s when the jiu jitsu opportunity bell should be going off in your mind.

1) Redefine what the news is, and what it means to housing hunters, and thus you and your location(s). 

2) Analyze the ways you could position your business to serve the need created by the bad news.

3) Define in as many cost-effective ways as you can how your MH business is uniquely qualified to address and fill those local market housing needs.

4) Rehearse.  Consider the kinds of questions that will arise. Make sure your team are prepared to respond effectively. Practice makes perfect.

5) Make every sales encounter a learning experience. Do a self-debrief, or a debriefing with a seasoned sales veteran or manager that truly understands how to engage and sell the most customers for the maximum monthly result.

 ThereAreOnly2WaysToLearnOwnOthersExperiencesLATonyKovachManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews-575x235

Every piece of housing related bad news for someone routinely spells a need that could be profitably, and honorably served. Develop your process for turning lemons into lemonade.  

Need help with marketing or sales issues, and have a budget? Then give me a call or send an email. ## (Coaching tips, marketing, sales, and management news.) (Third party images, and content are provided under fair use guidelines.)

FactoryBuiltCarsClothingAppliancesElectronicsCellsSmartPhonesHomesItJustFollowsLATonyKovachC2017MHproNewsBy L.A. “Tony” Kovach – Masthead commentary, for MHProNews.com.

Tony is the multiple award-winning managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.

Office 863-213-4090 |Connect on LinkedIn:
http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach

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Truth or Consequences – Monday Morning Sales, Marketing Meeting

June 4th, 2018 Comments off

TruthOrConsequencesStoryBlocCoupleListeningSalesAgentManufacturedHousingMarketingSalesManagementDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews550x315

There are many times in dealing with prospects that a sales person, or a selling community manager, faces a decision. It can be summed up like this. Should I tell the truth, or should I shard the truth, or even tell a lie?  What if telling the truth might cost me the sale?

 

The Scenario

A qualified customer is asking one or more specific questions.  Or they are assuming something that is wrong, and you can tell that’s the case.

Some possible examples:

   perhaps it’s about a community guideline, or
   maybe it’s about appreciation or depreciation of manufactured homes.
   Or it could be that a customer wants to do something like add-on to the structure of the home – perhaps a garage – and it will be an attached garage, which can change the load-bearing on that wall, and can in theory impact the structural design of the home. BTW, HUD has specific rules on this bullet. 

What do you do?

  • Do you tell the truth?
  • Do you wing it, if you don’t know the answer?
  • Or do you shade the truth, or perhaps even outright lie, hoping to make a sale?

The solution ought to be simple. You should tell the truth, the best way possible, and as you know it. If you don’t know the details to a question, you should admit that, and find someone in that office or by phone ASAP who can answer the prospects inquiry.  We like to say, “The Truth Well Told is Powerful.” ©

The alternative to the truth, a falsehood, a half-truth, or ignoring a challenging truth is often the beginning of a huge mess. It simply isn’t worth it.

There are savvy ways to communicate an unpleasant reality that you may suspect that a prospect doesn’t want to hear. But they need to hear it.

The good news is that there are always ways to say the unpleasant, where you still have a legitimate opportunity to earn a prospect’s business. There are too many possibilities to cover – and it can’t be done in a single post.  Besides, those are the kinds of things that companies hire us to game plan, coach, and teach. For those who need that coaching, and have a budget, please click here. 

 

Truth or Consequences

There was a pair of TV shows that date back decades ago that dealt with this theme.

To Tell the Truth” was one TV game show, and “Truth or Consequences” was the other.

Coach Lou Holtz has been one of the most amazing coaches in football. That’s about as competitive a profession as you will find. There was always opportunities to do things the wrong way during a game, and have hopes that it will pay off.  He was successful, doing things the correct way.  I recall one year when a team he was coaching was up against a team I was rooting for; and I didn’t know much about Lou Holtz at that time.  He had benched two players for violating a team rule. He did that before the big game.  Virtually everyone thought his team would lose with those guys, but without them, it was certain he would fail.  Long story short, he pulled of one of the biggest upsets in that game, and he did so by doing the right things.

Holtz was and is a man of deep faith and moral convictions.  He used the following rules shown in the framed quotes below. These rules are absolutely suited for the sales and marketing of manufactured homes (MH).  When selling homes, we reduced everything to writing, and what was written we did, what was not written, we did not do. Clear. Simple. Honest. We made those points clear to customers, all before they signed. We got tons of referrals by doing what was right. We advise our coaching/training clients to the same with their prospects today, all as part of a broader system, of course.

 

DoRIghtDoYourBestTreatOthersLikeYouWantToBeTreatedTrustYouCommittedDoYouCareLouHoltz-MastheadMHProNews

There can seem to be a short term cost to honesty at times. But a reputation for candor builds trust. Trust can be a critical foundation for a career or a business.

As an anecdotal point, we still face the same challenge of telling the truth as we know it, or ignoring the truth. We face that decision with essentially every article we do on MHLivingNews, and on MHProNews. We designed the MHLivingNews website to answer many questions that real-life home shoppers have. For those who link to it, it’s a useful sales and marketing tool. By the way, the content is copyrighted – linking is OK, but it is never cool to take something without written permission.  Even Clayton’s marketing manager. who asked us a few months ago to use some of our content; they did not just take it.  They understand copyright law. By the way, permission was never given for specific reasons, but each case is handled on its own merits. 

The factory-built home industry – which is made up of professionals like yourself – has to come to grips with the huge opportunities, and several unpleasant realities. What may look negative, is often an opportunity in disguise for those who try to do what’s right, each and every time.

The vast majority of the people who consider a manufactured home do not buy one. That’s third party research, not opinion. One of several examples? We’ve referred before to statistics provided by MHVillage. Out of their own co-president’s mouth, they say 25,000,000 people surfed their site, which resulted in 80,000 sales last year worth a total of $3 billion dollars. It’s quite impressive sounding. They are number one in that part of what they do (we blow them away in engagement of publishing, and in other areas too – that’s another story for another time).  

But the point here is simple data, what it means, and it is painful.  It is also very much tied to Truth or Consequences.

Most consumers have questions. Because most don’t find the answers they want about MH, they don’t buy a manufactured home, not one MHVillage, nor from industry giant Clayton Homes, or from anyone else. The proof is self evident, and is found in the industry’s new home shipping statistics.

But that is an opportunity in disguise.

MHVillageLogoDataStatisticsManufacturedHousingINdustryDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews

Over 99 percent of those who surfed their site didn’t buy a home there, and they are the biggest in the industry at what they do. That sounds bad – and this is not a slam or a put down. It’s their own facts. The point is that means there is huge room for improvement. Shoppers have questions. If they aren’t comfortable, and they have a choice, they will buy elsewhere. Learn to deal with your prospects real issues, and you will sell more homes. The rest are details and commentary.

Sunshine Homes CEO John Bostick says, “Easy doesn’t pay well.” The easy way is often the wrong way.

But the good news is this. Look at the reverse of those MHVillage statistics. It’s a HUGE invitation to learn how to engage those prospects. Once you learn how that’s correctly done, and make it a habit, then that habit which at first seems hard becomes second nature.  Second nature becomes easier. 

Be willing to pay the price. If you have the time now read the 7Ts, do so. If you don’t have he time now, make time later.

7 Surprising Keys to Unlock Manufactured Housing Industry Sales Success

Invest the time, talent and treasure – plus the other 7Ts – into yourself, your team, your location(s), and your career. Once you make them a habit, you will never regret it. 

 

The Wrap up on Truth or Consequences

To wrap up the headline topic, tell the truth. Deception, can prove costly. The Truth doesn’t always pay on the spot.  But over time, the truth well told absolutely pays off. 

A quick story will make the point.

I personally had a HUD Code manufactured home customer who I didn’t sell, but I shared with that couple a tough-for-them-to-swallow truth. They didn’t buy from me, but they did buy a manufactured home from someone else.

Of course, I was disappointed, but when I learned during the follow up call what happened, I wished them the best.  I also encouraged them to consider sending me their friends. A few months later, I had a referral from that family. They told me their story. They got a pleasant sounding lie from another sales person, and they bought from that liar.  But as often happens with liars, the lie was discovered after a while. Who go the referral?  I did, and others beside that one. 

The truth doesn’t always pay on the spot, but the truth well told, with the other 7Ts — does over time pay a rich reward.  Enough said for today on this topic. ## (Manufactured housing related marketing & sales news, analysis, and commentary.)

(Third-party images are and content are provided under fair use guidelines.)

InvestInYourselfAndInYourBizManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Time, talent, treasure. Put your money, as we do, where your mouth is.  Need professional services?  Please consider calling us.  Nobody does it better in MHVille, no one.  Click here to learn more

Related References:

Life Hack Success Tip-Any Pro Can Do This-Monday Morning Manufactured Housing Sales, Marketing Meeting

Is it Better to Be Candid, or a Kiss-Up? Monday Morning Manufactured Housing Sales, Marketing Meeting

Style or Substance? Lesson from Most Hated in America – Monday Morning Manufactured Home Sales, Marketing Meeting

What are the FACTS about Manufactured Housing Industry Traffic vs. Real Estate? MHVillage, MHProNews, Manufactured Housing Institute Data

‘You Are Either Clayton Homes, or You’re Not’ – Monday Morning MH Sales Meeting

IfPrettyPicturesVideosAloneWereEnoughMHIndustryWillOnlyAchieveItsGoalsByResovingItsCoreIssuesLATonyKovachMHProNews1

Learn more about the above, linked here.

FactoryBuiltCarsClothingAppliancesElectronicsCellsSmartPhonesHomesItJustFollowsLATonyKovachC2017MHproNewsBy L.A. “Tony” Kovach – Masthead commentary, for MHProNews.com.

Tony is the multiple award-winning managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.

Office 863-213-4090 |Connect on LinkedIn:
http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach

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7 Surprising Keys to Unlock Manufactured Housing Industry Sales Success

June 2nd, 2018 Comments off
7SurprisingKesytoUnlockManufacturedHousingIndustrySalesSuccess

Man in a straitjacket.

Scientia potentia est,” is Latin that is commonly translated as Knowledge is Power, but it is more accurately translated into English as Knowledge is Potential Power.

 

All Knowledge comes from one of two sources, your own experiences, or insights learned from the experiences of others. There are no exceptions.

Even those who with millions of others believe in infused Knowledge from a Supreme Being – God – they must also admit that God is the Ultimate Other.  So all knowledge comes from your own experiences, and/or from the experiences of others.

Experiential knowledge requires several things, including trials – as in trial and error – time, talent, some degree of treasure, temperance, and an openness to the truth. Those are the 7 Ts.

Those who are closed minded for any reason can not advance until their mind is unlocked.

The close-minded can include those who hold to a false belief that they think they know something, which may be partially or completely untrue.

Proof?

Surveys and statistics alike prove that manufactured housing is widely misunderstood. So, the obvious solution to misunderstanding is education.

Knowledge must first be acquired by someone – and then by applying the 7 tools of Time, Talent, Treasure, Trials, Trust, Temperance, and Truth – that knowledge must be repeatedly shared with others.

7TsTimeTalentTresureTrialsTrustTemperanceTruthManufacturedHousingProfessionalPuzzlePiecesMHProNews_001

That in a nutshell is the 7 keys to professional, location, company or industry success.

Let’s elaborate.

An internal and external education campaign at the location level (vs. national) are fundamental essentials for sustainable professional success. That’s true in any profession, but perhaps particularly so for manufactured housing. Why? Precisely because manufactured housing is misunderstood.

Misunderstanding is an opportunity in disguise. Its an opportunity in disguise for professionals and investors that most Americans misunderstand manufactured housing.

PEPProtectEducatePromoteUnlockingMindsKeyToAdvancementMHProNews

Millions every year are looking for housing. Zillow and other research reveals that only a tiny fraction of shoppers even consider a manufactured home. Industry statistics shown that only a tiny fraction of those who consider a manufactured home actually buy one. That’s both tragic, but also an opportunity in disguise. Education is part of how that opportunity must be tapped, and that is done at the location or market level. This is why those who think ‘national campaign’ misunderstand the realities of manufactured housing today.

So, the person, location or operation that opens their mind to learning and applying the elements of industry success can and will thrive, period.

Misinformation is costly. Accurate information – the Truth, or Knowledge are vital ingredients to individual, location, or industry success.

IfPrettyPicturesVideosAloneWereEnoughMHIndustryWillOnlyAchieveItsGoalsByResovingItsCoreIssuesLATonyKovachMHProNews1

The quote below about 3D, video or great websites is demonstrably true.

Want proof?

What follows is not meant to be a slam against MHVillage, nor against anyone else.  It is a look at the cold, hard facts. It is necessary to point out that however impressive their total sales are, however, their own statistics are clear evidence of what ails manufactured housing. For more click here, but you can read on or circle back later for details.

MHVillageLogoDataStatisticsManufacturedHousingINdustryDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews600

While impressive on one level, their data and statistics are alarming when carefully examined.  But they are also an opportunity in disguise, as they point to the absolute need for the correct types of education.

It was utterly predictable that some great looking videos or websites would not result in big leaps in sales. We won’t mention the names of any ‘great looking’ websites, so that no one will misinterpret or misunderstand the point.

First, let’s clearly state that of course a good looking site is better than a bad looking one.

But go back to the vital first quote/graphic above.  If looks alone sold more homes, manufactured homes would be 5 to 10 times – or more – their current sales levels in most markets across the country.  This we know from experiences on our consulting-professional services side. But we also know this from our MHProNews research and reports.

 

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Global, historic, and local manufactured housing market perspectives are important for progress in local market selling.

 

Flat Earth Thinking

An industry colleague was laughing with delight to a line in a drafted article that has not yet been published. The article included an analogy to Flat Earth Thinking.

Recall that some 5 or more centuries ago, there where millions who mistakenly believed that the earth was flat.

It took knowledge, experience and the 7Ts to change that false belief in flat earth thinking. You might still find some flat earth believers, but images like that satellite photo above, coupled with the experience of the horizon, ought to be sufficient to prove that the earth is a sphere.

Those who buy a manufactured home believe it is a useful, and achievable solution for their housing needs. Period. Those buyers may or may not believe that a manufactured home is a perfect solution, or even their preferred solution.  They only have to believe it works for them, and will prove useful for some period of time.

The clear answer to selling more manufactured homes is thus discovered to be helping more people see the potential value to them in ownership of a manufactured home. It is in helping more people understand the value proposition. It is helping home shoppers and others grasp that a manufactured home can be a good or even superior option. Period. Full stop.

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All of the above and what follows may seem to some as stating the obvious.

It should be obvious that defining your business, profession, and the industry at large are part of the surprising keys to success.  It is all part of “Scientia potentia est,” of Knowledge is Potential Power, and the correct understanding and application of the 7Ts.

 

Small vs. Big Business? The Surprising Facts and Insights 

There is a paradox in business and industry, manufactured housing or any other profession. It’s this. Virtually all big businesses begin as small businesses.

Not all small businesses aspire to become a big business. That’s fine. There are successful one location communities, retailers, producers, lenders, installers, transporters, legal, and other professionals.

Among the law firms we’ve had extensive communications and discussions with is an operation that began as a single location.  That law firm has spread over time into a regional – some might say, national – powerhouse in their specialized fields.

But there are tremendous businesses within our industry that have one and only one central location. There are attorneys we know who are “one-lawyer shops,” that do a terrific job.

Similarly, there are HUD Code manufactured home producers, for another example, that have only plant, one location. They may ship manufactured and modular homes into a dozen or more states, but they do so from a single base of operations. When something has worked profitably and with happy customers for decades, that’s a good proof of concept.

 

Big Business ISN’T Automatically Bad Business

Some readers who skim MHProNews may have the false impression that we are opposed to big business. For thoughtful, careful readers, reflection or a review of the search boxes would reveal that to be untrue.  ‘Big business is bad business’ has literally never been said by any MHProNews parent company team member.

We are editorially opposed to monopolistic or any unethical practices on principleBut a business can be large and not be monopolistic.

A business can be large, and ethical.

It’s unethical practices that we oppose on principle, and because it is harmful to the industry at large, as well as the public.  That includes, but is not limited to, opposition on principle of any monopolistic enterprises or organizations.  Some argue that certain public utilities ought to be a monopoly, set that debate aside. We’re briefly focusing on normal, private businesses. In England, they consider that something may be a monopoly when a private enterprise approaches 25 percent market share.  The U.S. at present has no similar line, but shouldn’t Americans have that limit?

 

The Paradox – Innovation and Small Business vs. Big Business

Small businesses or individuals are often where innovations are found. Who says?

That’s what research by the Small Business Administration (SBA) states, “small businesses are more efficient at innovation.”  We could point to specific manufactured housing operations that have many times more people – and far bigger budgets – than we do.  But they have demonstrably less engagement, and lower conversion ratios than we our clients of ours have experienced.  Does someone want to spend more, and have lower results?  Or is it better to spend less, and have greater results?

Big business become and stay large due to Systems that are learned, taught, and followed.

It’s essential to have Systems in any successful business. If a larger enterprise is to be sustainable and successful, then it must learn and enforce standards – Systems, Policies, and Procedures – that are proven to work.

Thus, a large business – because of systems that an organization holds too closely to – can become a straitjacket. Straitjackets, by their nature, stifle innovation.

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For example. On the consulting and professional services side of our operation, we studied a location that had multiple sales people.  One of them – an individual sales person – wanted to focus on selling a single model of home. The location owner allowed it.

For clarity. Yes, 1 man, sold only 1 floorplan of home, made by a single builder.  Let’s note, this was their test, not ours. We were hired for a variety of other reasons, but one was to monitor and evaluate their test.

That sales professional made it his specialty to sell that one – and only one – particular model and floorplan.  He would not sell any other model or floorplan. He was good at it. He was personally successful at it.

But before and after evaluating it, this wasn’t a practice we would generally recommend. While it contributed to the sales of the location that conducted the test, if everyone there had done the same thing, the location could have rapidly failed for reasons too lengthy to go into here. That one-model-selling-salesperson took a useful concept – specialized knowledge – to an extreme.

That said, it was a fascinating study. And that one person personally sold more homes than many of his peers did, but not for the reasons some may think.

Part of that example is that it was a one-location “street retailer.”  They were testing, and trying to innovate.  They learned from the experiment.

That’s evidence of how all knowledge comes from experiences. It is also an example of how innovation often comes from smaller companies.  Experiences can be obtained by trial and error.  Knowledge can be obtained from others. Knowledge can come from observation, from reading, from conversations, from formal instruction, and so on.  It can come from testing – trials – of a concept.

From the combination of years of reporting, interviews, training, services, and consulting, we’ve been privileged to witness and gather together perhaps the most significant body of marketing and sales knowledge the industry has ever had.

Those insights turn are useful in converting more lookers, video viewers and website surfers into buyers.

 

The 7Ts of Time, Talent, Treasure, Trials, Trust, Temperance, and Truth

The word ‘trust,’ can be understood in a variety of ways.

That includes the notion that trust is related to what sometimes is described as earned confidence.

Motivation comes from confidence. Momentum comes from appropriate levels of the 7Ts, including sufficient commitments. This point about trust and momentum are obliquely made by the builder-president in a speech he gave.  In the video below, President Donald J. Trump surprisingly included a talk about a factory-home builder he knew.

 

Donald Trump Video-Recorded Speech that Singled Out a Factory Builder

When the president spoke about this builder, he was making a specific point about momentum.

But indirectly, he confirmed several other points this article is sharing. There are many things needed for success, Operation Breakthrough identified, using different terms, various keys to success. The video below isn’t essential to our point today, but it is useful and interesting for those who have about 8 minutes.

Trust isn’t an island. Life requires balance. It is imbalance that always, ultimately always, causes problems.

Unwillingness to see an imbalance, a refusal to accept what is true, is often at the core of faults and failures.

Some reading is obviously better than no reading/research for the typical owner, professional, and manager. But the minimum should be 1-2 hours a daily. Investors, note this is a success tip by Warren Buffett that’s ethical and can be done by almost anyone.  Buffett reads and researches 5 to 6 hours on a typical day.

For example, the most talented man or woman in the world can experience a failed marriage. This analogy-by-example isn’t meant judgmentally, like other examples, this one is purely clinical. The causes of a failed marriage can be many. But at the core, it’s a lack of commitment or deception by one or both parties to the union of that marriage that often results in its failing. That’s an analogy to learning, and success. A commitment must be made to learning.

Deception can’t be the basis for trust or sustainable success.  By the way, there’s a distinction between deception and timing.  You may want to tell your spouse about a gift on the date of the occasion, not before.  That’s a timing issue, not deception.

A wishy-washy commitment, or one based upon deception, is no commitment at all.

Temperance is another word for balance or moderation. The opposite of gluttony is temperance. If someone eats too much, and burns too few calories, they gain weight. It’s utterly predictable.

In business, the greed for having it all – for crushing or destroying competitors – is moderated by temperance.

Free enterprise is good. Capitalism taken to the extremes of crony capitalism, vulture capitalism, or monopolistic capitalism, those extremes are to be moderated or halted. Temperance can also be an adjunct to ethics. Fairness. Equity. Justice. Those are qualities that are kindred spirits to temperance or moderated behavior. We’ve previously noted on MHProNews the twin principles of solidarity, and subsidiarity. They are necessary principles in successful family, business, in society. and government.

Just as the demonstrable goodness of free enterprise can be taken or twisted into an extreme – such as vulture or monopolistic capitalism – so too the goodness represented by manufactured homes can be taken to an extreme. Some lack sufficient commitment to the industry. Others demand too much, which absent temperance, becomes destructive.

It isn’t meant as a per se slam against the industry’s “biggest boys” to say that to various degrees they may demonstrably lack the balanced 7 keys to sustainable success.

For example, if any of the big three in manufactured housing production understood – profoundly grasped and made a genuine commitment to the 7Ts – they would be selling several times their current numbers of homes.

The proof is history. There were times in manufactured housing history – for example, in 1998 – when either one of the top two producers that year outsold the entire production of our industry in 2009.  Yes, there was easy money then, but beyond that, there were principles followed in 1998 that are not being applied today.  There was arguably higher demand then, and a better understanding by many, for manufactured homes.  The reasons?  The 7Ts.

On the Manufactured Home Communities (MHC) side.  If more communities deeply understood the value proposition answers that shoppers are looking for, then their home sales would be soaring. Rentals of homes in land-lease manufactured home communities (MHC) are demonstrably profitable. Ask any of the MHC REITs who are doing it successfully. That’s a given.

But in renting homes, haven’t some lost the mojo for selling more owner-occupied homes? Equity Lifestyle Properties Chairman Sam Zell has publicly said that renting manufactured homes must be kept marginal.  The business model changes too much when there are too many rentals.

94percentcreditapprovalNARMHVillageLowConversionratiosDailyBuisnessNewsMHProNewsConsumers are looking for very specific answers to questions before they will buy a manufactured home, vs. rent one.  Look at the conversion rates of renters to buyers.  Useful?  Yes.

But is renting first the ideal sales tool?  Hardly. Rather, renting is a useful, profitable debatably a short-term fix.

Home shoppers often don’t realize they are looking for certain answers, but they are.

So, the marketing and sales process must account for that reality.

That in turn means that the educational process of sales professionals must include that understanding.  That means industry sales pros must be instructed – educated – in order to successfully engage with more people, especially well-qualified buyers.

Thus, the marketing and sales process must accomplish consumer education. Education of consumers can’t just be a mere recital of construction facts, nor can it be just pretty pictures, 3D tours or even gorgeous videos.

Construction facts are only useful in specific cases, with certain types of buyers. If a laundry list of construction facts alone would sell more homes, a location or the industry would be selling many times more homes.

The opportunity in disguise for manufactured housing is that for millions of Americans, manufactured homes are the wildly misunderstood solution for the affordable housing crisis.  Applying these lessons in a local market, at the location level, using the 7Ts – are keys to sustainable success.

Note, the video that follows was an operation that struggled to sell any new homes, and for years sold mostly older, used homes.  Their operation was totally changed.  There were many factors.  Among them, they changed their mind-set and methods, and learning to apply the principles of the 7Ts.

 

 

So, at the heart of all sustainable success are the 7Ts.  Back in the go-go-days 20 years ago, Palm Harbor and Oakwood were 2 vertically integrated companies that arguably were among those which utilized marketing and sales processes that were not sustainable.  Palm Harbor and Oakwood were strong for a time, but faded.  During that time, we could and did work with retailers nearby one of their locations, and show them how to outsell them, and have happier customers who referred their friends.

Understanding and a proper application of those 7Ts yields sustainable, professional success.  BTW – for clarity – the videos are just part of the process, they are by no means the entire process.  Videos that inform consumers – and professionals – are part of the puzzle, but videos alone are not every piece of the puzzle.

Understanding what the actual concerns and solutions for consumers is a must.  Failing to understand and address their needs are thus the road-block to increased manufactured housing sales.

A careful viewing of the videos in this column relate essential facts. They are among several proofs that most investors and professionals in our industry fail to grasp.  Most simply don’t see just how amazing the opportunities are today.

Scientia potentia est,” knowledge is potential power. Knowledge requires education.

By the way, there are hundreds of possible styles of videos. The one below is but one example of a different type of video, to make the point about various styles available.  You’ll find a ton of fancy videos out there, often made by high dollar production companies.  But even if a video has hundreds of thousands of views, when you notice that there are a very low ratio of views-to-sales, what does that tell you?

Sustainable success requires an application of the 7Ts.

The videos on this page are examples of elements that prove the points of the value of the 7Ts.

We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

(Third party images, content are provided under fair use guidelines.)

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By L. A. Tony’ Kovach, publisher of MHProNews.com.
Tony is the award-winning managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.

 

Code of Conduct – Good or Bad News, and Home Selling – Monday Morning Manufactured Housing Sales, Marketing Meeting

May 28th, 2018 Comments off

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To do a good job of marketing and selling, one must first have a sense of the broader, and local market elements. We’ll share some examples today that are essential for a marketing or sales professional in manufactured housing to understand in order to be effective with qualified prospects. We note that in all of our coaching sessions, good ethics and customer satisfaction must be understood as the given background, and the goal must be for the good of all.

 

Crain’s Detroit published a story that explained just how far manufactured housing nosedived in their state from the peak of 1998, until the recovery from the bottom hit in 2009 began in 2010. While it has positive elements, that report also raises questions for a savvy shopper or investor.

The Urban Institute did a report in January on manufactured homes, which was largely positive for the manufactured home industry, at least by mainstream news standards.

Several mainstream media (MSM) outlets have been spotlighting the need to protect manufactured home communities from destruction, because they are so important for affordable housing.  We’ll plan to spotlight one of those, sent to us as a news tip, hopefully this week here on the Daily Business News

The first takeaway is that there are some positive news stories carried by MSM and by third party researchers. These are examples of the kinds of stories industry professionals should prefer to see more of – and it is in part, up to pros like you – to make that happen in your market(s).

That said, the sad reality is that beyond press releases, most media coverage about our industry tend to be negative. Ignoring that reality costs the industry billions of dollars a year in new HUD Code manufactured home sales.  That means, mostly negative media coverage likely costs your location millions of dollars a year in additional manufactured home sales that your business would otherwise make.

The two screenshots of Google search results below are recent examples. See for yourself the ratio of bad news to good news stories.

 

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There are times when none of the top 8 to 15 MSM news stories about MH are positive. Do you think that pattern impacts home buyers?  The third story from the top, above, is linked here.

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Let’s be clear. A large percentage of the time that we at MHProNews engage with the mainstream media, the reporter will use better terminology, and will try to work in some of what was said. Reporters are people, they usually want to be fair. Are there exceptions? Sure, but many will strive to get some balance into their report. For MHVille, more balanced reporting represents progress, every time it is done.

That in a nutshell explains a significant part of why manufactured home (MH) sales are still at historic lows, in spite of a raging affordable housing crisis.  But for the savvy MH marketer, that’s opportunity in disguise. Keep in mind that the MH Industry squandered a historic opportunity in the late 90s and early 2000s.  We’re being given another such moment in history.  Let’s make the most of it, shall we?

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A savvy, visionary MH marketer sees the problematic trend since 2000 as opportunity in disguise.  To tap that opportunity requires work, but the reward is significantly higher levels of new home sales that result in happy customers.

 

Story Telling, Defining Yourself, Media Engagement, and Code of Conduct 

To tee this up, as a volume retailer for many years with happy homeowners, I never waited for someone else to define my business or my products. I didn’t wait for an association, a manufacturer or anyone else to do what our team could do best.

That’s not to say that associations, builders or other third parties can’t play a role. Indeed, they can and should.  But I didn’t hold my breath, waiting for that to happen. 

Because if you or I’m waiting for someone else to define and boost business, what if they delay? What if they do a poor job?

We set sales records, and hit the top ½ of 1 percent of all retailers in the nation by making things happen.  We synergized with others, as much as possible, but we also did what we needed to do, come rain or shine.  

So, akin to what Sam Landy, president and CEO of UMH Properties told MHProNews, we did our own marketing. It was wildly successful, and that occurred during tough times when dozens of new home retailers in our state vanished. 

The are many beautiful aspects to manufactured housing.  One such point – if you make it appealing in your market(s) – is this. Affordability is always going to have a clientele. Nor does affordability have to be the lowest rung on the ladder client. Good times, or bad times, a motivated retailer, community, developer, or producer, can sell, sell, sell. They can do so honorably, with good CSI, and happy homeowners who send their friends.   

After my first few years in the manufactured home business, I learned by trial end error how to successfully engage the media. Do that in your market, and forge that habit.

 

Example

Here’s an example of a radio show I was recently invited to do. This was for a regional talk radio station, so imagine this in your market.

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Notice that the topic sounded negative. Indeed, in one sense, it was, but it was dealing with a local reality. Don’t run from tough topics! Dive in! Push back with the facts, and the truth properly told! Make a difference!

This part of the radio show is about 20 minutes on air, with maybe half of that – near the middle – included me.  If you listen carefully, every caller had something good to say about manufactured homes. Even though the others on the air may have misused the terminology, I hit key points using the correct industry lingo, while also explaining briefly the industry’s evolution, and appeal to all economic groups.

Click the arrow to play back the audio.

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Make a habit of using the correct terminology. Encourage your team to learn it and use it too. It pays.  

I’ve never stopped reading or learning about the industry, and how it fit into the broader housing market. We use that with our coaching clients, and with publishing.

Rephrased, we practice what we preach. 

Why? In the long run, it works best. Short-term thinking produces short-term results.  

 

Code of Conduct

The mainstream media story linked here makes an important point, and this is one that associations can, and ought to play a useful role in.  

jay-hamiltong-executive-director-georgia-manufactured-housing-association-gmha-posted-mhpronews-com1-1

Jay Hamilton, Executive Director, Georgia Manufactured Housing Association (GMHA).

Jay Hamilton, of the Georgia Manufactured Housing Association (GMHA) would not make a specific comment to that media about a specified series of bad-news stories that involve one or more members. But he did speak to the reporter (a plus), and Hamilton explained to the reporter what the GMHA’s ethical principles are (another plus).

Hamilton spoke about the GMHA’s code of conduct for members. That’s something members stipulate to, when they join the association. 

When a code of conduct is enforced in the way the GMHA executive director outlined, arguably that would make it clear to readers that the majority of the industry – or at least that membership organization – care about honest business practices.

That in turn is good for honorable association members.

But if an association fails to take action against a member that crosses a line who won’t repent, its arguably harmful to all.  

The code of conduct should be rigorously enforced, regardless of who it is. 

Mistakes happen. Corrections can and should be made. When they aren’t, let the members or board vote to expel an unrepentant offender for cause. If that became a habit, anywhere that took place would – over time – would likely see more sales growth among member companies.  Because consumers want ethical companies to do business with.

ThereAreOnly2WaysToLearnOwnOthersExperiencesLATonyKovachManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews-575x235

 

Do your best. Don’t wait for others. If you are part of an association, and bad news strikes about a member who won’t repent or do right by their customers, press for an enforcement of the code of conduct. Enough said for today. ## (Manufactured housing related marketing & sales news, analysis, and commentary.)

(Third-party images are and content are provided under fair use guidelines.)

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Time, talent, treasure. Why not put your money, as we do, where your mouth is?

FactoryBuiltCarsClothingAppliancesElectronicsCellsSmartPhonesHomesItJustFollowsLATonyKovachC2017MHproNewsBy L.A. “Tony” Kovach – Masthead commentary, for MHProNews.com.

Tony is the multiple award-winning managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.

Office 863-213-4090 |Connect on LinkedIn:
http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach

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