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Posts Tagged ‘Louisville Show’

What is it that we Manufactured Housing Professionals want?

September 3rd, 2014 No comments

The industry's politics are what they are. When you get past the politics, what we find is a broad consensus. I do not think that should come as a surprise to anyone! What is it that we manufactured housing professionals want? We want to make a good living, to provide a product/service that is appreciated by our customers and to be respected in the community.

If you took the words 'manufactured housing' out of our discussions, think about the fact that we sell homes for less than conventional builders can. Doesn't that suggest we ought to be able to outsell them? If they are going to do 1 million new single and multi-family starts this year, and we can offer home and site for lower cost monthly, shouldn't we be able to outsell them?

I'm looking at the manufactured housing professional's calendar for 2014. Two industry events were well promoted. Both of those grew in attendance. Two industry events that are coming up have had limited promotion. Word has it those two will be declining a bit or maybe roughly the same. Isn't that a reflection of MH in a microcosm?

Steve Lefler and Modular Lifestyles is doing something different, they are promoting it. And guess what; they are getting results with an upscale product in land lease communities that may have lots of older units in them.

Scott Roberts has invested in improving a once failed location in TX, Brian Fannon is doing the same in MI. Scott's community improvement plan has been around long enough for both he and his customers to see the good results.

Bob Vasholtz puts a finger on one issue in his Dueling Factions. Some individuals are more interested in getting credit than they are in advancing the actual solutions. It is in the solutions where we should all be sharing in the glory and the profits.

We obviously have to invest in our own businesses and locations. Beyond that, as an industry we are very small in size compared to the rest of the housing industry. I believe it would be wise for us to spend more time thinking about ways that we can team up with others via our state associations and move the ball ahead in our individual markets.

My apologies to those who have called or emailed about my previously advanced idea for a collaborative 'solutions' and 'business development' style meeting. It was well received, Tony Kovach tells me it was widely read and some large players raised their hands privately to say we should do this. Perhaps we can organize that event to take place the day before the Louisville Show. That would provide for a one low cost trip to an already well attended meeting. A trans-corporate, trans-associational meeting designed to drive more business and get to the heart of the issues that are holding us back.

In years gone by, I was a leader in some large organizations; these days I'm a modest sized independent that continues to grow. My point is that I can relate to those who are big, small or in between. Let's forget the finger pointing, let's move past the chains that hold us back. In a trillion dollar per year housing market, we can and should do better than we are today.

We are either part of the problem or part of the solution. ##

By Rick Rand, president of Great Value Homes, has been and still is actively involved in small and large scale MHC operations. You can contact him at:

rick-rand-great-value-homes-manufactured-home-pro-news-industry-voices-guest-blog-Richard J. Rand, President,
Great Value Homes, Inc..
9458 N. Fairway Drive,
Milwaukee, WI 53217-1321,

414-352-3855
414-352-3631(fax)
414-870-9000(cell),
RickRand@gvhinc.net

(Editor's Note: While Rick Rand is on the WHA board and serves as MHI PAC Chairman, he is sharing his own opinions, which may or may not reflect that of any given association. Other perspectives are welcome, send letters to the editor or OpEds to: latonyk@gmail.com or tony@mhmsm.com.) 

Finance Expert Dick Ernst of FinmarkUSA: introduction at Tunica Manufactured Housing Show 2014

May 20th, 2014 No comments

Editor's note. This public introduction was videoed during the business building seminars held during the 2014 Tunica Manufactured Housing Show.

Note that the Speakers knew they were being filmed.

Dick-Ernst-Financial-Marketing-Associates-tony-kovach-mhpronews-com1

An exclusive interview with Dick Ernst is planned to be featured in our upcoming June issue. Dick moderated the finance panel at aDick-Ernst-Financial-Marketing-Associates-tony-kovach-mhpronews-com3 packed room of industry professionals at the 2014 Tunica Show. Dick Ernst also moderated MH home lending and commercial panels, in an overflow crowd during the 2014 Louisville Show.

Dick is a key figure in meetings with industry and public officials, including the CFPB, FHFA and more.

Dick-Ernst-Financial-Marketing-Associates-tony-kovach-mhpronews-com2

You'll get exclusive insights into the widely acknowledged top man in the manufactured home finance business, into industrymhpronews-interviews-with- finance issues, how to generate more profits and much more. Watch for it – and the. Watch it – in June!

More video Interviews available today are found at this link below.

http://www.MHProNews.com/home/industry-news/industry-in-focus/7540-global-eyes-on-manufacturedmodular-home-movers-shakers-and-news-makers

Our thanks to Dick Ernst at FinMarkUSA.com for his profit-making and protecting leadership for businesses, associations and others, and my thanks too for his kind words shared in the video above. ##

(Image and video credits, ManufacturedHomes.com in association with MHProNews.com)

Dynamic Performance and Excellent Speakers

February 5th, 2014 No comments

I’ve seen the Louisville show near its zenith, when it took up the exhibition hall, and at its nadir, when it was not even held. The show slowly has been on the mend.

This year’s event was a dynamic performance with a pantheon of excellent speakers, covering topics critical to the industry; an expanded floor show with the latest models on display; and a handsome group of service and supply representatives on hand with their banter, wit and stockpile of knowledge.

But even more than those important things, the Louisville show remains a foremost industry venue to meet and interact with people from across the nation. For example, I met a communities’ representative from California there this year.

Finally, with the number of state association booths in prominence in 2014, the Louisville show remains an important crossroads for members and nonmembers to meet these hardworking staffs and learn the value of being part of the larger organization.

A big thumbs up. ##

andy-gallagher-executive-director-west-virginia-manufactured-housing-association-louisville-2014-industry-voices-mhpronews0com-.jpAndy Gallagher
Executive Director
West Virginia Housing Institute (WVHI)

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!)

The IBISWorld Controversy and the Manufactured Housing Industry

April 13th, 2011 3 comments

Exclusive MHMSM.com Industry In Focus Report

The March 2011 IBISWorld report that cited manufactured home dealers as a ‘dying industry’ has made news inside and outside of the manufactured housing industry. MHMSM.com has contacted a variety of Industry leaders and personalities from coast to coast to get their comments. On-the-record comments have included national association leaders, as well as professionals in factory-built housing from the manufacturing, retail, communities and lending sectors.

Messages, comments and calls to MHMSM.com from manufactured home industry professionals dribbled in at first, and then gained in volume as publications such as The Atlantic and Business Insider covered the IBISWorld report. As an example of mainstream media coverage, a TV station in Houston reportedly called a regional firm to interview them about the developing IBISWorld story.

Derek Thompson, associate editor at The Atlantic, penned a commentary that included these words:

“At the center of a perfect storm of boomer burnout, a brutal recession,
and a rapidly changing industry, the mobile home retail market
could be the worst industry in America. Here’s why.”

Photo from The Atlantic
Photo from The Atlantic

“If I asked you to name America’s least fortunate industry, your mind might go to record stores, obliterated by on-demand apps; or photofinishers, left in the cold as digital cameras turn Americans into our own photo editors; or fabric makers, where business is booming … in Shenzhen, China.

“But when it comes to unlucky industries, it’s manufactured home (aka mobile home) retailers who really hit the trifecta. First they missed out on the housing boom. Then they felt the gut-punch of the recession. Now they might yet miss out on the recovery. That makes them America’s fastest dying industry, according to a new report from IBISWorld.”

Paul Bradley with Resident Owned Communities USA (ROC USA) was one of the first in the manufactured housing world’s leadership to publicly respond to this IBISWorld report. Bradley wrote a feature article for MHMSM.com that analyzed the IBISWorld report. Quoting from Bradley’s analysis:

“The (IBISWorld) report states ‘demand is dwindling’ and ‘sales are stagnant because the industry is not innovating, and that sales are likely to continue falling in the coming years.’ They go on to say, ‘Manufacturers have made cosmetics changes to manufactured homes, but they have not been significant enough to alter their life cycle stage.’ The report puts MH retailers in the ‘Industry stagnation’ category of declining industries.

“Are you kidding me? These are ‘deeply researched answers’?

“First, the headline clearly comes from their marketing division as a means of grabbing headlines. The research is not about a dying industry but a declining industry segment – one of two long-standing distribution channels in the business.

“With MH shipments in 2010 at 50,000 or 20 percent of 2000 levels, it’s not news that retailer revenues over that period declined. On that data, I’m surprised establishments are not down more than 56 percent. It suggests that the segment has excess capacity and additional closings are likely.

“Most surprising to me is laying the blame at the feet of manufacturers on the issue of design! From a ground-level market vantage point, that’s misplaced.

“The industry’s great declines came about as a result of, first, an industry-created chattel collapse where the seeds were sown in run-up to the 373,000 shipments in 1998. The collapse, and the repossession overhang which followed, began the decline like a skilled boxer’s well-placed left jab.

“The right overhand came next in the form of aggressive sub-prime and predatory lenders in the site-built market. In that run-up, traditional MH buyers – who were harder to finance for MH as a result of the chattel collapse – were lost to site-built housing in an eerily familiar boom market.

“Dazed by the right hand blow to our collective heads, the left to the body that has people reeling now is the regulatory reaction – the SAFE act, etc. – to the clearly consumer-eating lending practices of the last decade.

“The results of this three punch combination are declines of the magnitude widely reported and felt, and like a good whack, the pain lasts a while.

“Innovation in housing design, however, is not the industry’s chief failing.

“For those of us in the community market segment, in fact, innovation in new homes is a small issue – not a non-issue but a mere shadow of the aforementioned home financing issue. In fact, we are seeing demand for replacement and in-fill homes but only where we are able to arrange decent home financing. People want more efficient homes and the cost savings with new EnergyStar homes can be dramatic based on buyers with whom I’ve spoken.”

(Editor’s Note: The complete analysis by Paul Bradley can be found at this link.)

Other commentary in the form of articles proposed for publication, private and public comments followed. Thayer Long at the Manufactured Housing Institute issued this email as part of his response:

“State Execs & MHI Board:

“A very well articulated response to the IBIS report from last week by Paul Bradley which was just posted on www.MHMSM.com.

“I’d also just add that the sentiment at the Tunica Show, the Louisville Show, and the expected strong turnout at the Congress & Expo and the Tulsa Show and York Show later this month certainly don’t indicate this industry is going anywhere.

“Tony/Paul – I hope you don’t mind me sharing. We’ll see you in Las Vegas. Thanks for your support.

“Thanks-

“Thayer”

MHMSM.com spoke with Danny Ghorbani at the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) and to Thayer Long at the Manufactured Housing Institute.

Danny Ghorbani stated in a telephone interview that his comments were not the official position of MHARR, but represented his own views on the IBISWorld report and related.

Ghorbani stressed that the IBISWorld report represented the “failure” of “the post-production sector of the Industry” [meaning, MHI] in “serving that segment of its membership.”

The MHARR official then referenced two previously published documents that do represent MHARR’s official position, which were previously published on MHMSM.com in August and October 2010. These MHARR Viewpoint articles called for ‘the post-production segments’ of the manufactured housing industry to form their own national association; a thinly veiled vote of no-confidence from MHARR towards MHI.

MHMSM.com spoke extensively with Thayer Long at the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI). The typically soft-spoken Long was quick to respond.

Long was at times tongue-in-cheek, at other points direct in his comments about the IBISWorld report and Ghorbani’s often pointed comments on the matter. It should be stressed that Long’s comments, which follow, should be viewed as his own, and not necessarily reflective of the official view of MHI.

In an exclusive interview with MHMSM.com, Long shared the following thoughts:

Thayer Long:
“If it is a dying industry, then ok, then I guess I quit! And if Danny wants to blame it on us [MHI], okay, what else is new? … I am still struggling to figure out what he (Danny Ghorbani) is doing right now. Name one thing that he has accomplished … in the past three years? What has he accomplished…? I would love for you to think about that and get back to me. What has he accomplished? We [MHI] win and lose some battles. But at least we try. We have accomplished some things. Except, except, except… [MHARR]…nothing….

READ THE FULL INDUSTRY IN FOCUS REPORT

The Need to Support Industry Shows

February 1st, 2011 No comments

I do want to restate my position on the need to support industry shows. While I was not able to attend the Louisville Show last month, I was certainly hoping to be able to do so and intend to be there next year.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I have had the pleasure of serving as chairman of The Great Southwest Home Show for three years running. Like the Louisville Show, The Great Southwest Home Show is held in an indoor facility (The QuikTrip Center). No rain problems during set-up, show days or tear-down. No generator rentals or air conditioning expenses for the manufacturer exhibitors. The Tulsa show is located at almost the geographic center of the United States and is serviced by several major airlines including Southwest. The 10.5 acre QuikTrip Center is also configured in such a manner as to provide adequate security to allow for several Public Days following the retail period of the show. Supplier exhibit booths are conveniently located in and amongst the area where the homes are displayed.

Retailers, especially in the states contiguous to Oklahoma should not miss the opportunity to travel a very short distance to experience the thrill of seeing a huge display of exciting homes all located under one roof at one time. Supplier booths are also conveniently located indoors and in the same area as the homes.

The educational seminars are a bonus. This year the focus will be on financing, with several lenders and industry experts participating.

Our host hotel is the luxurious Hard Rock Hotel just minutes from the show site. The facility has expanded recently and the majorities of the rooms are in the new addition and are very spacious. Special low rates are in place for industry members attending the show.

An “All Industry Night Reception” starts at 6:00 p.m. Thursday in the QuikTrip Center at Expo Square. The location of the reception is to the side of the display homes so manufacturers can easily access their display models to promote their particular benefits during the reception.

I believe we should support all of the industry shows that we can possibly attend. In addition to attending The Great Southwest Home Show last year, I took the time and the travel required to attend the Tunica Show, and I enjoyed doing so. I hope to attend the Tunica Show again this year. As industry members, I believe we should support and attend all the shows that are within reasonable travel access.

by Doug Gorman

IMHA-RVIC News regarding the status of the Louisville Show

October 9th, 2010 9 comments

IMHA-RVIC logo

Please see the message below from the Midwest Manufactured Housing Federation regarding the status of the Louisville Show. We encourage all IMHA members to support this event.


As a part of the manufactured housing industry, you know how tough business conditions have been for the last several years. These same business conditions have taken a toll on the Louisville Manufactured Housing Show, reducing the number of show homes in 2009 and forcing its cancellation in 2010. As caretakers of this industry event, we’re doing everything possible to make sure it happens successfully in 2011 but we need your support to renew this tradition.

Maybe you’re a manufacturer who can take one home to the show. Maybe you’re already taking two homes but can take one more. Maybe you’re a supplier who has not yet committed to the show. Please call Dennis Hill at 770-587-3350 and make that commitment today! Maybe you’re a retailer or community owner who can call your manufacturers and tell them you hope to see their products at the show. Let your suppliers know you’ll be in Louisville in January. Maybe you can even make arrangements to purchase one of the show homes.

We’ve cut expenses by eliminating set management fees and reimbursements to the Midwest Federation members and have revamped the advertising campaign. With 7 manufacturers, 20 floors and 45 booths already committed we’re just 6 floors away from being able to finalize our contracts to make the 2011 show a reality.

We are quickly running out of time to get these final commitments. Everyone has a part in making this event happen, and with the support of the industry it will happen. Please do your part to support the Louisville show and plan on being there in January.


3210 Rand Rd., Indianapolis, IN 46241 • 317-247-6258 • Fax: 317-243-9174