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Doing Third Party Correctly and Profitably, Monday Morning Manufactured Housing Sales Meeting

April 23rd, 2018 Comments off

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A manufactured home industry marketer for a well-known firm made a number of interesting admissions the other day.  We’ll touch on that later below.  But first, let’s start with the principles, and then move to the details.  Keep in mind that we not only raise important issues for manufactured housing, but also like to point to potential solutions when we do. 

  

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Just the FACT$

News can help make or harm your business or location. That’s true for most any industry, but we’d argue its particularly true for manufactured homes, for reasons we won’t go into today. Almost anyone who has been in the manufactured housing industry for a year or more can tell you what you likely know yourself.

News can help or harm almost any business.

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You can love the news, hate it, or be “meh” about some news item. But “News” has been thoroughly woven into the fabric of American – and most industrialized – societies.

So as you read this today, use TWO HATS. The first, is your marketing hat, and the second is your consumer of news hat.  This article, like so many others on the Daily Business News is for THINKERS who want to do more, profit more, and sell more – instead of whine more.

 

News and Marketing Hats

News done properly is absolutely essential for the advancement of our industry, and it can be highly important to almost any sized company, organization, or location in manufactured housing.  When bad news hits even a giant company like Facebook, and sends its stocks dropping by billions of dollars in lost value, what do you think that means for a relatively small industry like manufactured homes? 

Odds are good, the industry’s thinkers get it.

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If you are wise, you want as much positive media as you can get.

But if you have a strong, keen mind, you know that even ‘negative news’ can – properly handled, or with the right “spin” – can at times be turned into something that’s at least useful – and surprise! – at other times, profitable.

Before diving into how you can engage your targets audience via “News” to significantly grow your business, let’s first draw an important distinction. 

 

Blogging vs. News

There are some bloggers and operations who claim the mantle of ‘news’ in our industry.

But upon closer examination, what they routinely do is some form of dressed-up marketing. We’re not criticizing them, just saying “it is what it is.” When third parties to our industry see those blogs, sites, or newsletters, they mentally label them for what they are. They are NOT seen as news by most savvy media, or by savvy housing shoppers, and others researching our industry. 

For years, and for a variety of reasons, we tackled stories on the Daily Business News that include bad news too, not just good news.  Rah-rah will only go so far.

Our doing a balance of news enhances credibility. and it also provides a ‘morality tale’ for those who might be tempted to do wrong. Not many want to be spotlighted with bad news, right?  You don’t have to read the linked article below, but it gives you an idea of what we are talking about here, one example of many over the years.

“Jail Him!” NPR’s “Mobile Home Park Owners Can Spoil An Affordable American Dream” Refuted

Against that backdrop, as an MHI member organization executive said during the Louisville Show, “Tony, yours is the only real game in town.” 

What that industry veteran was talking about was news.

Again, not slamming the others, but that wasn’t a throw away line or being polite by that one executive. Here’s proof. At Louisville and Tunica, the very attractive magazines printed up drew almost no pickups by attendees. Why? We’ve not done a survey, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that industry readers don’t find it to be must-reading. If it’s marketing, and someone wants to be sold something, then you pick one up.  By contrast, even those that don’t always like what we report or comment on, are reading here routinely.

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This example is not meant to exclude others who blog, etc. that have precisely the same response from most industry readers. Nor is this example meant as anything other than, ‘it is what it is.” The photos don’t lie.

If MH Industry readers aren’t moved by this kind of content, why would anyone else be?

An MHI member exec wrote to say the following, “It is pioneers like you, Tony, that change our tired image…Pioneers are the ones with the arrows in their back.”

By contrast to the rah-rah-writers, in a digital era the all digital MHProNews and MHLivingNews have dominated for years. There are over a thousand LinkedIn recommendations and endorsements yours truly has been given, over 99% of them unrequested.  Those I did ask for one from a client, they gave us a glowing one, in writing.  By the way, kind words to me are a reflection on the team, and those clients who work with us.  I’m the front guy, the face, but it takes a team to make this work. So those kind words reflect on all – clients included – who’ve made this possible.

 

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L. A. “Tony” Kovach doing a presentation in a packed room of industry professionals.  The presentation was widely praised, as is our marketing and sales training and coaching.

Arguably, no one knows the industry better in media than MHLivingNews and MHProNews.

There are deep pockets folks who will prop up some of those other pubs and glossy magazines. Fine, it’s a free country. But they don’t usually show up in searches, and if they do, they are quickly seen for being what they are. They are often seen as thinly veiled marketing.

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The very fact that MHProNews and our sister site takes on controversial issues is part of what has given us credibility and influence with others.

Most of these searches are from a mobile search, as Google has often said that Mobile searches are rising, or dominant. Research in 2016 said mobile was at 50-60 percent of searches being done then, and was rising. BTW, this article is being drafted on a mobile device.

The point is that none of the industry sites came up on these searches, meanwhile, our work did on page one of Google.

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Do you ever compete against Clayton Homes? Would you like to score (rank) well in a search results where you are competing against Clayton Homes? We know how, it doesn’t work every time, but it works plenty often, as these examples demonstrate.

There are numerous topics where our articles are page one, top of fold.

The same can be said for those doing videos searches.

We’ve invested nearly a decade in developing these two trade media platforms. MHLivingNews.com and MHProNews.com will not be easily replaced or supplanted unless there is massive spending by someone willing to buy traffic.  Until that happens, we’re a dominating force in manufactured housing news.

Which means our clients routinely get lower cost, better ORGANIC search and service results.  We won’t teach competitors the secret sauce, but its legit and works. It is common sense that you want to have good news about your location.  We know how that’s done, and deliver that for our clients on a routine basis.  We can do so in a variety of ways.  When you are ready to do more, let us know. 

Closing thought, which was the opening thought. That marketer, who does a good job for their operation, is right. The shakeup of Facebook, looming problems for Google and others could spell opportunities in disguise for those who want to do ORGANIC search results, instead of paid ads on Google and Facebook, etc. Again, give us a message or call when you’re ready to learn more or take the next step.  Odds are good, you’ll be glad you did. ## (Marketing, sales, management, media engagement, tips and strategies.)

(Third Party Images are Provided Under Fair Use Guidelines.)

Related Reports:

“Silver Bullet,” Manufactured Housing’s Monday Morning Sales Meeting

For manufactured home marketing, sales or professional business development – plus other MH expert or consulting services – click here.

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Ph. 863-213-4090.

MHARR: HUD Formaldehyde Rules should be Discarded

September 13th, 2013 Comments off

The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) reports two rules proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as required by the 2010 Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Act (the Act) would establish nationwide emissions standards for composite wood products, many of which are used in manufactured housing, and a third-party testing and certification system. The Act seeks federal adoption of the California Air Resources Board (CARB) formaldehyde emissions standards, the most restrictive in the nation, that would also raise the cost of composite wood products in all housing. Additionally, the Act directs the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to align its manufactured housing standards with the proposed final EPA standards, rendering unnecessary the existing HUD standards, which MHARR says should be repealed. MHProNews understands MHARR has supplied HUD with its comments.

Mortgage Closing Costs on the Rise

August 8th, 2013 Comments off

Mortgage closing costs have risen on average six percent this year, from $2,264 to $2,402, based on a $200,000 loan with 20 percent down and good credit. Origination fees increased eight percent to $1,730, while third-party fees rose one percent to $672. With interest rates historically low in the past year, “Lenders really didn’t have to compete as much for business, they were free to charge higher closing cost fees,” said Polyana da Costa, senior mortgage analyst at Bankrate.com. She adds, now that mortgage rates are rising and fewer consumers are seeking loans, lenders may reduce closing costs to attract customers. As reported in CNNMoney.com, Hawaii has the highest closing costs at $2,919, while Wisconsin posted the lowest average at $2,119. MHProNews has learned more consumers shop for the best interest rate than for the best closing cost. Negotiate the closing, says da Costa.

(Image credit: texaslendingtoday)

Residents want to Buy their Community

February 27th, 2013 Comments off

Under Massachusetts law, MHC residents have the opportunity to match an offer by a third party to buy their community once it is offered for sale. Wheel Estates’ owner Morgan Management has a signed purchase agreement from Real Estate Seekers LLC for $2.73 million for the North Adams, MA community that the Wheel Estates Tenants Association is trying to match, utilizing a low-interest loan through ROC (resident-owned communities) USA. Iberkshires informs MHProNews the North Adams Rent Control Board is wrestling with ROC USA’s need for a guarantee that the rents will be sufficient to pay the interest on the note. The city ordinance does not allow for rent increases to cover “debt service.” While Mass. law encourages resident ownership, the ordinance basically opposes loans that make this possible. Of the 185 occupied homes, 101 have each paid a $100 membership share to be part of the cooperative. While members of the board generally support the residents desire for community ownership, they are reluctant to commit to a hypothetical rent increase, but have agreed to meet again March 13 to further explore the issue. Meanwhile, the residents group has until March 27 to line up financing.

(Photo credit: ROC USA)

CFPB Region Director Could be Watching You

January 8th, 2013 Comments off

OriginationNews reports the person who helped plan staffing, enforcement and direction of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is now the regional director of the West Region office of the agency in San Francisco, covering 18 western states including Alaska, Hawaii and Guam. Edwin L. Chow is responsible for consumer protection and supervisory activities of regulated depository financial institutions with assets over $10 billion, and also in charge of non-depository financial services companies, supervising staff and managers in those locales. Consumer complaints against mortgage companies can now be filed on-line with the CFPB, and the company has 15 days to respond, at least to the CFPB. Lack of a response could bring the heat of investigation from the Bureau. Commissions for the loan originator (LO) are a fixed percentage based on the loan amount, with a focus on the best deal for the customer rather than the best percentage for the lender and/or the LO. MHProNews has learned that as of Jan. 28, FHA-approved lenders and LOs must provide accurate, timely and complete and pertinent company identification information to the FHA; and lenders need to regularly  review and update TPO (third-party origination) information in the Sponsored Originator Registry. How the agency will define Qualified Mortgages is yet to come.

(Image credit: Federal Housing Administration)

Sun Clinches Deal, Builds Portfolio

November 22nd, 2012 Comments off

As we reported Oct. 9, 2012, Southfield, Mich.-based Sun Communities, Inc. (SUI) announced it was purchasing four manufactured home communities in eastern Mich., with 1,996 homesites for $70.8 million, and providing mezzanine financing for two other MHCs that it will manage, with 1,598 homesites, all being acquired from entities of Rudgate. MHProNews has just learned from 4-traders the completed transaction totaled $71.1 million because Sun also purchased related manufactured homes, promissory notes, and installment contracts. The $15 million mezzanine financing is subordinated to $45.9 million of third-party senior debt for the two MHCs the company has agreed to manage. Gary A. Shiffman, Chairman and CEO, says, “We expect to stay active in the market as we continue to see attractive opportunities to enhance earnings growth”. This real estate investment trust (REIT) now owns and operates 171 communities comprised of 61,300 homesites.

(Image credit: Sun Communities, Inc.)

As of market close Wed., Nov. 21, Sun’s stock was down -0.87 to 38.71.

Dirty Water

October 2nd, 2012 Comments off

Widespread environmental management problems at 73 manufactured home communities led to the imposition of a $1,339,000 penalty for violating state and federal clean water and waste treatment statutes. All the communities are connected to Frank Perano of Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, who has signed a consent decree to pay, pending court approval and a 30-day public comment period. The result of a multi-year investigation found 5,200 violations of state and EPA drinking water and sewage standards in 45 communities in Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. The various corporations of Perano have been cooperative, according to investigators, and have agreed to the required upgrades. As MSNBC tells MHProNews, a third-party environmental consultant will periodically perform quality control audits at the communities to assure compliance.

(Photo credit: Localism–Melody Lakes Country Cub Estates, one of the communities affected))

Exec Change at T.J.T. Inc., from One Kling on to Another

August 24th, 2012 Comments off

Stockhouse reports T.J.T. Inc. of Emmett, Idaho announced the resignation of Shawn CJ Kling as President and CEO as of today, Aug. 24, 2012 to be replaced by Larry E. Kling, who has been on the board of directors since 2001. The new CEO served in that same role for Morgan Drive Away, Inc. from 1972-1983, when he founded Transit Homes of America, Inc., a transporter of manufactured homes, serving as president until it was sold to Morgan Drive Away in 1996. T.J.T. supplies axles, tires, and set-up equipment to the manufactured housing industry. Shawn CJ Kling remains as an outside director of T.J.T. As MHPronews noted in a story April 1, 2012, the company filed suit against four former management employees on the grounds of the alleged wrongful use, disclosure and acquisition of trade secrets, breach of fiduciary duties and tortuous interference with third-party relationships.

(Image credit: T.J.T. Inc.)

Modular Home Construction Compliance Found Lacking

January 23rd, 2012 Comments off

CapeCodTimes tells MHProNews.com a couple in South Yarmouth, Massachusetts, purchased a modular home from a company in Pennsylvania and allege that it was fraught with manufacturing defects. Upon receiving delivery of the home and noticing problems, they contacted the Massachusetts Department of Safety who ordered the house gutted to evaluate the construction. In their letter to the newspaper they say the insulation, electrical wiring, and plumbing all had to be replaced. The roof sheathing was improperly secured, and materials used to frame the second floor were below standard. They said highly flammable adhesive was excessively and carelessly used to coat framing members. In addition, the couple says, the manufacturer and a third-party inspection agency signed the inspection certificate ensuring code compliance two months before the house was manufactured.

(Photo credit: ModularMusings)