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Posts Tagged ‘business’

MHGrassroots: A Call to Action

June 17th, 2014 No comments

As I sit comfortably in a 737 at 30000 feet coming back from a thought provoking meeting at the MHI Expo in Las Vegas I don't have to go in great detail on how the world has changed since 2001.

From how we fly, how we communicate, and even how we conduct business, it has all changed in ways none of us truly imagined then.

Every day I read more about how a government I have grown up loving, is making changes that contradict the core beliefs and attributes it was built upon. With that said, let's look at a few issues that have faced, primarily as it relates to the manufactured home market in the past 15 years.

In Texas we were asleep at the wheel in 2001 when House Bill 1869 took effect. I was but one of the many independent dealers who were wondering how this could have happened. I even looked Gov. Rick Perry in the eye and told him point blank that this bill would cost Texans jobs and would reduce home order sales, which in turn would force the closing of several fine manufacturing plants.

Unfortunately I and those around me were right. Even though the TMHA through a lot of hard work was able to have this poor piece of legislature repealed in 2003, the damage was already done.

I won't go into the specifics of the law itself, but I will say it was a killer from day one. If you have any questions about it, just Google it. I have heard the experts’ state that 85% of the independents who were in the market at that time were wiped out by this law and the recession that hit us in 2008. And guess what. Those folks are gone, probably never to return again.

So let's take a look at where the train came off the tracks.

We were too late to stop one train simply because we weren’t aware it was heading for the station.

If we want to be successful in the legislative arena we have to stop the bills before they get that close to the tracks. We, the industry as a whole, must be vigilant in being aware of any laws, in every city, county, state and federal arena that could negatively impact not only us, but the people around us.

This means we have to know, and have a relationship with, the people in charge. Governor Perry signed that bill even after I told him the truth. Why? Simple, he didn't know me from Adam. No relationship equals no traction. We have to build those relationships in order for our voices to not only be heard but to be accredited.

How was it fixed? A grassroots effort. From the ground up. TMHA called upon every member….who in turn called on every state senator and state representative to repeal a bad piece of legislation. And it worked! Why? Because the industry stood up as a whole, and worked together for the common good of all. I call this a victory for the good guys.

Let's look at another victory.

Last year I received a phone call from a landlord who was my ‘competitor’ in Plainview, Texas. I use that word competitor only because we are after the same pool of customers. I call him a friend.

Basically this city was in the process of creating a city ordinance which would require an inspection on every rental inside the city once it was vacated by a tenant. Never mind the fact that this would be in direct contradiction to the HUD code on a manufactured home. Every house, apartment, and mobile home would have to be brought back to current code if this law passed.

This would mean thousands of dollars spent to update every unit.

One unintended consequence of this law would have forced the citizens to pay rent in excess of three times the current rate.

Another would have riddled the city with homes to be demolished due to the repair cost being more then the value of the home.

Yet another would have been a mass exodus of good paying tenants to the surrounding communities which didn't have this law.

So how did we stop this calamity before it was passed like Texas House Bill 1869?

We showed up in droves. There was standing room only at every hearing. Meetings with every city official we could get and we killed it before it could even be heard by city council. How? It took one phone call from each of us who took the time to make that call. And another victory ensued.

So what does all this mean to you, the reader?

It's time. It is time to make a difference and make a call of your own.

I know you are busy, but don't blow this one off.

Dodd Frank and the SAFE Act are not going away. So what are you going to do? I am calling not only those of us in the industry, but all of us.

The government doesn't need us, but this country does. We are this country's answer to affordable housing. But if the people can't get financing for that home what good are we to them?

If you don't know who to call that's ok. Call your state association. If you are not a member, sign up. If you are a member, get active. Make a difference. You can. ##

shawn-fuller-d-r-housing-new-deal-texas-industry-voices-manufactured-housing-mhpronews-com-75x75-Shawn Fuller
D & R Housing, LLC.
New Deal, TX 79350

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!)

ObamaCare and Manufactured Housing, Take Two

December 19th, 2013 No comments

In Obamacare, a Different Perspective, a well meaning Texas retailer advances his speculation that through the wonder that is Obamacare, fewer of our housing prospects will be forced into medical bankruptcy and a typical manufactured home retailer or stick built homebuilder might enjoy an increase of five or six sales per year. I believe our Texas retailer is well meaning with his speculation but several factors are not included in observation.

First: Having Obamacare does not mean you will be free from a risk of medical bankruptcy. Given the higher premiums being forced onto unwilling buyers along with massive deductibles, the risk of bankruptcy has in all likelihood been increased. Although we encounter very few medial bankruptcies, most of the ones I have encountered are able to find a path to home ownership because the medical burdens of the past are behind them. Under Obamacare the misleading information that premiums would drop has proven to be one more burden on the current administration as it proves to be untrue.

Second: Employers have laid off workers, decided to cancel expansion plans that would have required new workers and cut back the hours of existing workers due to the regulatory burden of complying with Obamacare. I have lost far more sales in 2013 due to these factors than a hypothetical increase in sales might have brought about had Obamacare been in place at the first of the year. We can get the bankrupt prospect past that event in their life and onto a path to homeownership. I can’t say the same for a client whose hours have been significantly reduced to the point of not budgeting for a reasonable house payment or a client who has lost their job.

Third: This same client will now be forced to purchase a federally mandated level of coverage which is an even greater drain on his discretionary income. Lower discretionary income means a lower likelihood of qualifying for the loan.

Fewer jobs, lower income, part time jobs, higher outgo, lower discretionary income will most likely not add up to an increase in business for the housing sector whether it be site built or factory built. Off topic, but to this mix you can add the new Qualifying Mortgage and other Dodd-Frank rules that will further erode sales. We need to dig in and adapt the best we can to all the changing rules that are headed our way. I respectively suggest that Obamacare will not be a boon to sales as was suggested.

doug-gorman.jpgRespectively,
Doug Gorman
Home Mart
Tulsa, OK

You Might Be a Redneck!

December 12th, 2013 No comments

You might be a redneck if: It never occurred to you to
be offended by the phrase, 'One nation, under God..'

You might be a redneck if: You've never protested about seeing
the 10 Commandments posted in public places.

You might be a redneck if: You still say ' Christmas'
instead of 'Winter Festival.'

You might be a redneck if: You bow your head when
someone prays.

You might be a redneck if: You stand and place your
hand over your heart when they play the National Anthem

You might be a redneck if: You treat our armed forces
veterans with great respect, and always have.

You might be a redneck if: You've never burned an
American flag, nor intend to.

You might be a redneck if: You know what you believe
and you aren't afraid to say so, no matter who is listening.

You might be a redneck if: You respect your elders and
raised your kids to do the same.

You might be a redneck if: You'd give your last dollar to
a friend.

You might be a redneck if you are tired of government overreach, such as ObamaCare, Dodd-Frank, the SAFE Act, CFPB and an alphabet soup of federal agencies that want to throttle our businesses or run our personal lives.

You might be a redneck if you've read this far, and you've nodded in agreement more than half the time. When I read some of the above from an article that had no author's name, and I added the last ones which impact manufactured housing home owners, professionals and the rest of our country too.

God Bless America! ##
Submitted by Larry Hahn

Whew! What a Whirlwind 44 Hours

October 20th, 2013 No comments

That is the NCC Fall Leadership Forum: “Building a Vision For The Future” held this past week in Chicago. First and foremost, kudos to my very good friend Jenny Hodge. Jenny is Vice President of MHI’s National Communities Council (NCC) and responsible for organizing and bringing forth this exceptional event. David Lentz is to be commended for his leadership and vision for the NCC.

While on the train from Milwaukee to Chicago I reviewed the agenda just to be certain I was up for the show which began in earnest Thursday morning. There was no doubt in mind that we were in for a very intense Thursday and Friday morning!

Wednesday evening’s reception was a very nicely arranged meet and greet with appetizers and an open bar. It has certainly been some time since we've seen MHI in a position to host such an event.

The real work began Thursday morning. The fact is that there was something to learn for everyone involved in the Manufactured Housing Community industry (MHC) whether you attended one session or attended all of the sessions.

The attendees were made up of a mix from the community business. When there was a show of hands early Thursday morning it appeared that there was a fairly even split of community owners present. One third were smaller owner with less than five communities, one third with less than 10 communities and one third owners or more than 15 communities.

rick-rand-great-value-homes-l-sam-zell-equity-lifestyle-properties-els-chairman-jim-clayton-clayton-bank-chairman-industry-voices-manufactured-home-pro-news-.jpg

Rick Rand, Great Value Homes (l) Sam Zell, Equity Lifestyle Properties (ELS) Chairman (c),
Jim Clayton, founder Clayton Homes and Chairman of Clayton Bank (r)

In addition, in attendance were lenders specializing in community financing, manufactures who are interested in serving the community owners needs to provide homes for vacant sites, Real Estate Brokers who market and sell communities along home lenders and other firms providing resources to community owners.

As is not uncommon at events like this, networking opportunities were abundant. I am more than certain that new relationships were forged, deals discussed and ideas exchanged. That is part of what makes these interactive events such great opportunities for all segments of the industry.

For those who focused on the Build A Vision For the Future agenda, they were rewarded with session after session of individuals both from within the industry and from other industries sharing their knowledge and experience. Topics relating to marketing, selling, community relations and all the important component of customer service which forward thinkers in the MH Industry are working to accomplish. Not only did the presenters share their knowledge and experience, they also made time for provocative interaction and dialog amongst all of us in attendance. ##

(Editor's Note: Read more of Rick's commentary – plus photos – on the NCC Fall Leadership forum at this link here.

You can see NCC dinner cruise and event photos at this link here.)

 

rick-rand-great-value-homes-manufactured-home-pro-news-industry-voices-guest-blog-.pngRichard J. Rand
President
Great Value Homes, Inc.
9458 N. Fairway Drive
Milwaukee, WI 53217-1321
414-352-3855
414-870-9000 (cell)
RickRand@gvhinc.net

Most Manufactured Home Lenders Facing Major Changes Revenue Cliff for Some; Business As Usual for Others

October 10th, 2013 No comments

Wall Street calls this a “revenue cliff.” A sudden drop in cash flow. Dodd-Frank regulations that are set to take effect in mid-January 2014 will result in major changes in guidelines for most of our industry’s major Manufactured Home (MH) personal property lenders.

Among the non-captive lenders, the hardest hit will likely be 21st Mortgage Corp. This lender is expecting a decline of up to 47% in loan volume.

MH Retailers who rely on 21st Mortgage should brace for a sudden revenue loss of 50% – 75% including overall loan volume and an adjustment in origination fees.

This will be devastating for many.

An informal survey of our four credit facilities who primarily bankroll the MH chattel financing aide of the MH industry has revealed major changes expected by most, and business as usual for one lender.

Our lender headquartered in San Antonio, CU Factory Built, is at present reviewing their loan products and origination fee policies. Committees have been assembled, reviewing the new regulations and their guidelines.

Informed industry sources tell MHProNews, who advised us, that CU’s very popular “Step Rate” loan product will likely remain intact, surviving the new regulations.

However, this lender’s origination fee schedule could be cut by up to 50%, more closely resembling the origination fee guidelines of their competitor, Triad Financial Services. The final outcome is yet to be determined.

Thus MH reatailers and loan officers who rely upon CU as their primary lender need to brace for a “revenue cliff.”

Our office has learned that Triad, based in Jacksonville, FL, is expecting “business as usual.” Apparently their loan products and origination fee guidelines have been in compliance with the expected changes in regulations.

Our industry’s other major lender, US Bank, with their regional office based in San Diego, is being very tight-lipped about any changes. Their spokesperson recently declined to comment to us.

The anticipated changes in loan products and origination fees will impact everyone in the MH industry. As loan brokers, quite a few of our employees will be devastated.

Analyzing the changes at this juncture is like shooting a bullet at a speeding train. The best advice we can give you is to dig in and redouble your efforts in support of HR 1779 and related.

If each of us contacts our Congressional Representative and two U.S. Senators in favor of HR 1779 and its planned companion bill, there is still time to avoid this fiscal/financial cliff our retailers and communities who sell are heading towards. ##

dave-shanklin-mhmsm-com.jpegDave Shanklin
Loan Consultant
Empire Homes, Inc.
Santa Rosa, CA
800 – 401 – 3372
NMLS ID # 314463

(Editor's Note: All views expressed on MHProNews are those of the author, and may or may not represent those of publisher or our sponsors. We recommend that you contact the representatives of the lenders you work with and see for yourself what they expect. Take Action! You may also find this related article of interest.)

Dick Moore’s Industry and Finance Perspective

November 16th, 2011 2 comments

 

Dick Moore's Industry and Finance Perspective
 
Well, it seems that I struck a nerve with our friend up East. He mostly disappeared for a couple of years, quit writing his newsletter, and went dormant. I figured maybe his conscience was bothering him, after the spin he put on our industry.
 
Now I see a new post from our buddy in “Industry Voices,” the guest platform on Tony Kovach’s e-zine MHMSM NewsLine (MHMSM.com = MHProNews.com), wherein he goes on and on about me in a general mis-representation of my writings. I certainly never opinioned that he had powers akin to Superman. He did, however, invent some mystical losses derived by using losses from Brigadier, Conseco, and other lenders who did not know or understand how to buy MH paper. He then reported those loss figures to Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac, keeping them out of the (Manufactured Housing) markets.
 
This lack of competition had a negative impact on the other lenders that were still major players in our industry.
 
He admitted to me in Louisville one year that he was an “attorney” and was being “paid” by Fannie to advise them. He later denied all that, but everyone knows the credibility of lawyers and politicians. After all, who else gets “paid to have an opinion”?
 
My ex-neighbor was a college professor who taught business
administration at Memphis State University. After listening to his
many goofy ideas and theories, I realized the source of the old adage “If you can’t do it, teach it.” If you were a failure in the finance business, then go out and advise others how to do it!
 
The Mortgage Industry produced paper much worse than the MH
industry ever dreamed of, and that was the paper that our friend
advised Fannie to buy (instead of MH paper). Fannie’s losses are the worst losses the United States has ever endured, and it continues still. (How good was that advice?)
 
It is easy to measure or analyze a situation the way you
want it to look – just choose the measuring criteria needed
to give you the end result you want and ignore any thing
that doesn’t.
 
The MH Industry (its survivors) remains the only low-cost housing that is un-subsidized. Just because less qualified people enter the business and lose money from their poor business decisions does not equate to a ‘subsidy.’ Maybe our friend does not know or understand what a subsidy is. He sounds like Obama explaining the debt ceiling and how someone else created it.
 
I’m sure there will be another argumentative letter, but I have work to do and do not have the time to continue with fruitless exercises in writing.
 
********
 
This industry and its recourse lenders fared well and made good money from the 50’s to the 90’s, with no taxpayer subsidies.
 
This industry faces a number of problems, with the main one being lack of financing. The lenders and the learned professors of the industry like to blame the dealer for all the woes. True, we have had some bad apples in our business, just like every other industry. But the level of damage from that kind of dealer falls way short of the debacle we as an industry are paying for now.
 
One major issue our industry faces concerns resale values of our houses, which directly affects the lender’s recovery on defaulted loans. We as dealers have very little influence in that arena.
 
Many MH Communities will not accept houses over 10 years old; lenders will not finance homes over 10 years old. Somehow, when the house hits its 10th birthday, it suddenly is worth ZERO!?!?! And this is the dealer’s fault?!?!
 
When free enterprise existed in this country and banks lent money to their dealers with recourse, our industry performed well! Lenders were selective about who they would take on (based on the dealer’s financial condition and track record in the community), the dealers would take care of their funding pipeline by not sending them dead-beats (since the
dealer would have to repurchase if the loan fell out), and the dealers were paid endorsement fees for this guaranty. The dealers worked to re-sell the bank’s repos with good unpaid balances, and the paper overall performed quite well. It was that performance that led to the influx of the non-recourse lenders that we saw in the 90’s.
 
Long-gone lenders such as Bombardier, Conseco, Greenpoint Credit, BAHS, et al, saw the performance of recourse lenders’ portfolios, due to good resale values on houses sold under recourse agreements, and made the mental jump to they can do that too! Soon tactics such as withholding of proceeds and diverting rate spread and the odd-days’ interest into non-interest bearing reserve accounts became the norm from the lenders, at the expense of their MH dealer network.
 
In their headlong rush for gold, they also opened the funding gates to credit buyers who (like in today’s meltdown) had NO reason in their track records to get approved for loans at low rates and low down payments.
 
So, they kept the endorsement fees, put that rate spread into a reserve account for repossessions, and bought non-recourse.
 
Their inability to manage the repos, refurb and re-sell them (as the recourse lender/dealer relationships had done) created massive losses for them. Again, I fail to understand how this is the dealer’s fault.
 
********
 
President Obama is railing against corporate jets, while flying around on the most expensive jet in the world. The tax deductions on all the corporate jets in the US would not pay for Air Force One. Is this leading by example or “Do as I say, not as I do?”
 
Good leaders lead by example. They don’t accept favors from lobbyists and major contributors to their re-election campaigns, and they don’t spend the taxpayers’ money recklessly.
 
The crash of the housing/mortgage industry was caused by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which is govt. money invested into private enterprise, wherein all the profits go to the cronies of powerful govt. people, but the risks and losses go to the taxpayers. # #
 
post submitted by
R. C. “Dick” Moore