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9 Reasons Why You Need CRM

January 15th, 2014 No comments

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is nothing new; it’s been around since the days of the Rolodex. Tickler files, ledgers, manifests, and even the ‘little black book‘ are relationship management tools that date back for centuries. But CRM has never been more important to closing sales than it is today.

Unless you do business on a very low scale (or work for only one or two clients) you are wasting precious time and missing sales opportunities if you’re not putting a CRM system to work for you. Here are 9 reasons why you need an effective CRM in your business:

Speed

Face it – the bulk of your leads and new customers likely come from online advertising – your website, directories, etc. If your customers find you on the web, they expect you to do business at the speed of the web, i.e., instantaneously. An effective CRM system should capture leads from online sources and send a response to new inquiries instantly and automatically.

The Fallibility of Memory

“The weakest ink is better than the strongest memory,” so the saying goes. And it’s true. Today’s sales professional is just too busy – and the workplace too hectic – to rely on memory alone to follow up with potential buyers. Without a single, organized place to record all client data, you will end up missing important communications – and losing sales. If you’ve ever grabbed whatever piece of paper is handy to record notes from an incoming phone call (and then lost or thrown away that paper as trash), then you know why you need a better system.

Awareness

Once you’ve attracted and recorded a new lead, you need a means to nurture their interest and remain front of mind with them. An effective CRM system will prompt you to keep in touch with prospects with relevant communications that address their key interests. Really good CRM systems will allow you to automate much of this process, including emails, phone calls, letters or post cards, and appointments. The goal: encourage a face to face meeting in your sales center.

Response

Nothing says “your not important; I don’t care” like failing to respond to a prospect’s question. Or not following up with them in a personal way. Or forgetting their name or the model or lot they’re interest in. An effective CRM system keeps all that information handy and accessible by computer, tablet or smart phone, and alerts you when you to appointments, incoming emails, or when it’s time to follow up with a phone call. And really good CRM systems allow you to store all relevant files – letters, plans, photos, etc., in the same place, so you always have every piece of information you need at your fingertips.

Management

So far, we’ve given valid reasons why every salesperson should use a CRM system. But it doesn’t stop there. If you manage a sales team, you need to know what opportunities are in the pipeline, which prospects are the most likely to close quickly, and what you can do to help move those urgent sales forward. You also need to see that every prospect is being properly followed up with by the sales consultant, and to give additional training and help where it’s needed. An effective CRM allows you to accomplish all that, and more.

Reports and Projections

What are your most effective lead sources and ROI from advertising? What are your projected sales (units and/or dollar volume) for the next month, quarter, and year? What is the average closing rate for your sales team? For individual salespeople? What is your average closing time, from initial contact to close? An effective CRM answers those questions and allows you to better manage your sales team, your advertising and your cash flow.

Service

Because your CRM program allows you to schedule appointments, tasks and alerts, you’ll be able to keep up with service calls or punch lists quickly, without ever worrying that an important call with fall through the cracks. Do you do annual maintenance, reviews, maintenance or renewals? Schedule these in your CRM, with alerts 30-days prior to the scheduled date to send notifications to customers and/or service agents. A really good CRM will automate these notifications and communications so you won’t have to.

Referrals

It should be the goal of every sales group to increase referral sales. A good goal is 30% – 40% of total sales. How do you reach that? By keeping in touch, servicing and nurturing existing customers or tenants. Every effective Customer Loyalty or retention program is powered by a CRM system. A CRM program will allow you to include past customers in any marketing events, such as open houses, seminars, or home shows, as well as send cards or congratulations on move-in anniversaries, for holidays, etc. A really good CRM will allow you to automate all of these processes, including alerts and email notifications, so that everything takes place seamlessly and without staff time to schedule.

Connectivity

While stand-alone CRM systems can provide all of the above, many will also connect and share data with other programs, such as your accounting program, inbound lead sources, rent or tenant management system, or point of sale program. This connectivity expands the value of a CRM to keep all customer data, from lead source to rent history, all in one place, saving time and avoiding ‘multi-system chaos’ that stifles use and frustrates business owners/managers.

So, there you have 9 good reasons to stop using that old, outdated spreadsheet or restrictive paper system and step up to a CRM system that will save you time, streamline your sales and marketing processes, and make your team more effective in closing more new and referral sales.

You should check out additional reasons to consider CRM at this story by Jason Brady linked below:

Start the Year off Right!

l-a-tony-kovach-scott-stroud-jason-brady-mhpronews-com1.jpg

Want to learn more? Then, join discussion moderator L. A. “Tony” Kovach, Jason Brady from ManufacturedHomes.com and me at the Louisville Manufactured Housing Show on Wednesday, January 23 at 9:30am SHARP for a special panel presentation on CRM for the Housing Industry. Go to this link at the www.TheLouisvilleShow.com site for details. ##

scott-stroud-posted-mhpronews-com-industry-voices-.jpgScott Stroud
180 Enchanted Dr.
Somerset, KY  42503
p. 606.677.04547

email:  sstroud@builderradio.com

(Editor's Note: The entire business building seminar lineup for the Louisville Show is linked here. It is currently the hottest page on their site, immediately after the home page!)

Getting Results

May 9th, 2012 No comments

Every business professional wants better results. In 30 years of working with companies – many in the factory-built and log housing arenas – I've yet to see a client or prospect say, "We want to sell less and lose more money next year." That would be absurd, the CEO would be replaced or a mental institution would be called for such top leadership thinking. Business people want to grow results, period.

The question then becomes how do we get results? What are the things we must do differently to achieve our organizational targets? Who do I have to involve to get my goals done? What are the costs? What are the potential rewards? What are the risks? And so on.

I attended the informational/educational seminars at the Louisville Manufactured Housing Show last January. The array of practical business building topics was a solid. I didn't hear anyone say, gee I wish I had not come. Yet it rained all day on day one of the show, and snowed on day two. Nearly 1100 attendees from manufactured home retailing, land-lease communities, developing and installation were there, along with hundreds more who came to engage those professionals with their products and services. People drove or flew in from many parts of the country. Homes were sold. Products and services engaged.

It was a fine example of everyone involved winning.

Knowledge is power. Goal and solution orientation. A willingness to adapt to be more successful. These are among the keys to success.

Certainly Dennis Hill's office does a great job of organizing and running events like the Louisville Show. But let's not forget the role that Tony Kovach and the MHProNews team played, because certainly the Midwest Manufactured Housing Federation (MMHF) member state executives didn't forget their role. I've seen the positive comments on Tony's linked in profile from those execs. I've listened to people acknowledging his work on this trade media website.

For 2.5 years, Tony's MHProNews (MHMSM.com) online trade media website has gotten results for the Industry and his clients. Award winning retailer Doug Gorman said Tony is one of the best go to guys in the Industry. Hall of Fame award winning Dennis Hill and the MMHF execs have applauded Kovach's work. The seminars at the Louisville Show were all organized by Tony. I also sat in this year on a some training sessions on marketing and sales that Tony was doing for some retailers via webinar. The material was terrific, but more important, the client company was getting results.

Tony has been exploring ways we could deliver more training to more companies and their team members. I'm told that various states are keenly aware of the need and thirst for business building education. Tony will be at the Texas Manufactured Housing Association's (TMHA) event on August 19-21, presenting on How to Get More Customers with Cash or Good Credit. Now I imagine that many readers aren't in Texas, but would like to have quality business building information and training by multiple professionals like Tony and others. Well, I've been throwing out ideas to get it done Tony. A plan is being formed. When Tony gets involved in a plan, factory built housing pros should take note and listen. But before talking about the plan, a survey of the landscape is in order.

I've watched and worked with companies in this great industry for decades. What has often baffled me is that some things just don't seem to change. Some of the same old things keep plaguing manufactured housing.

For example, the subject of tornadoes.

How many times do we have to hear from the weather man that if you 'live in a 'mobile home,' you better run for cover or you may die.' Crawl into a ditch if you have to, but leave that mobile home.'

Isn't it beyond odd to tell people living in manufactured housing that they are safer outside then inside in a windowless room, say a bath or closet? Haven't these same TV weather men shown us video footage of cars and tractor trailers being carried up by the winds? Haven't they shown us photos and videos of leveled houses – and I mean conventional site built buildings – where the people inside we're carried off by those winds? Do they really believe that you are safer outside in a ditch, waiting to get sucked up by the winds than inside?

That's Absurd! But it has gone on for decades! Why? Because there needs to be a systematic approach by the Industry to solving the problem, that's why. If you don't like the results, you have to do something different.

With state association budgets at record lows in too many cases, there is only so much an association executive can do, their plates are full. But what can be done is to form a task force in every state to reply to the media – on behalf of the Association and it's members and under the guidance of the Association – to answer each and every time that negative news happens.

But what answer should be made that would help manufactured housing? What should the goal of such a task force be?

Glad you asked.

Every piece of bad news is an opportunity to engage the media and turn it into an opportunity for free – and positive – publicity. Hollywood stars have the mantra, there is no bad publicity. The very biggest companies turn negative news into a positive, all by engaging the media. They have the budgets for it, but guess what? If you start to turn media lemons into lemonade on topics like tornadoes and manufactured homes, you will sell more homes and you will have the bigger budgets too.

I've been talking with Tony about having a mix of online training and live events. The online events could be started in short order. They could tackle topics like engaging the media successfully, something Tony and others in this industry can talk about first hand.

We could do management, marketing, sales and other subjects online too. Ways to build your business without even leaving your desk, just an internet connected PC, laptop or tablet computer and a good telephone line.

I've been nudging Tony Kovach on this training and event topic for some time now. Because we need someone like him that can get the word out, and provide the promotion and audience we would need, and can connect with the various states that would want this for their members.

Think about this. How would you like your business to double in the next year? How many customers and sales are you missing that you ought to be closing?

i read what Tony Kovach writes, and MHMSM.com (MHProNews.com) has gone from 10,000 page views a month on this site two and a half years ago when he launched to over 800,000 page views from last month. Do the math, and you'll see that its is 8000% growth in 2.5 years. Doug Gorman, Dennis Hill and others are right. Tony gets results!

And that power can get you results too.

Watch for updates. Get involved. Don't let old patterns trap you. We could start with a topic like how to change negative tornado stories into positive publicity in YOUR state or market. We could start with a topic like change management, something I do. We can cover those or a vast array of topics from your favorite speakers and writers, because MHProNews.com has the platform and audience.

That audience is made up of smart business people like you. When you read this far, it is because you are ready to get results.##

Post by
Tim Connor, CSP
tel:704-895-1230
tim@timconnor.com