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Posts Tagged ‘salespeople’

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!)

Act Today to Preserve Manufactured Housing Lending!

September 4th, 2013 No comments

Our congressional delegation will be heading back to Washington DC soon after being in their districts for most of August. If you haven’t already done so, please contact your elected Representative today about the harmful impact new financial regulations will have when they go into effect.

The primary focus of our industry nationwide is to remove harmful provisions in federal financing and consumer protection law that are set to begin in mid-January.

One of the primary issues is the fact that industry lenders could be held responsible for the discussions and actions of salespeople on retail lots and in communities.

The other issue is government restrictions on how high interest rates can be for home loans. Manufactured housing loans are usually lower balances and shorter terms than site-built housing which causes the rate caps to be restrictive.

Some manufactured housing lenders are considering exiting the business if these provisions are allowed to take effect and this clearly is something the industry cannot afford.

The industry is attempting to amend these harmful regulations out of federal law before they go into effect in January. HR 1779, the “Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act” was introduced in the United States House of Representatives and currently has more than 60 co-sponsors. The Manufactured Housing Institute estimates we need about 120 co-sponsors nationally in order to move this legislation.

We need your help!

So far, two of Indiana’s nine Representatives have signed on as co-sponsors of this legislation – Congressman Marlin Stutzman and Congresswoman Jackie Walorski – and we need more support.

The current House recess is a good opportunity to contact your elected Representative to discuss the legislation is critical to Indiana jobs, our industry and your business. Get with your state association and/or MHI to see what are the best wasy that you can team up with others to move this into a win column for our industry. ##

mark-bowersox-indiana-manufactured-housing-association-rvic-posted-mhpronews-com75x75-Mark Bowersox
Executive Director
Indiana Manufactured Housing Association – Recreation Vehicle Indiana Council
 

What Manufactured Housing Competes Against

August 7th, 2012 5 comments

l;ance-inderman-mhpronewsI think we need to take a serious look at what our industry is competing with in the housing marketplace and the regulation that each of our housing competitors are facing.

We worry way to much about what one of the 3-C's of manufactured home building are doing than we should. As a percentage of new homes sold, we just keep loosing ground.

The site builders are pushing us further and further into the rural abyss. I have a partner that builds homes with me in Lubbock and we are able to build a brick home with porches and 6/12 roof pitches for around $40 a square foot including material and 100% subcontract labor.

I have another friend that builds about 125 new homes a year with annual sales of about $35,000,000 and a little over 10% net bottom line. He does this with 9 employees, no multi-million dollar building, total work in process and finished goods of about $1,500,000. He has no licensing requirements. His company and his salespeople have no continuing education requirements. He does not offer paid vacations to his employees or laborers. He is not faced with massive unemployment taxes if he does not have a house to build tomorrow. Government mandated health insurance does not affect him. Basically he has almost no regulation and very little overhead. He builds a quality product and is very successful.

I drove down the beach between Beaumont and Galveston and pass one RV park after the other with all types of RV's up to buses that cost over a million dollars.

I saw manufactured homes that were at least 12 feet in the air to protect a $40K double wide from flooding. The construction cost to complete these jobs has to be close to exceeding the cost of the home itself. This does not appear to be a very efficient way to supply housing to me. It looks to me that the RV industry is getting a big piece of our pie and the site builders are getting an ever increasing bite as well.

We have to become more efficient at what we do from the factory to the finished product.

I think the factories do a fabulous job building 16×76's, its the most efficient 3 bed 2 bath housing I have ever seen. But by the time we: 

  • market that 16×76 to our customer at retail,
  • deal with all the regulatory requirements to install and complete the home,
  • deal with private finance against government subsidized financing on site built's,
  • escrow over priced insurance and taxes and
  • then deal with the cost of servicing a home in the middle of nowhere,

our monthly payments are as much or more than most people can buy a new starter home including land in a tract home subdivision.

We must do everything in our power to control these costs, including, but not limited to:

  • getting our finance on a level playing field,
  • getting higher deductible lower cost insurance in our market,
  • factories working with the retailers/installers to do everything possible to lower the cost of installs and
  • last but not least keeping the regulators at bay.

I think our industry has a remarkable product that we can build and a great story to tell but all you hear and see is "I don't want a trailer in my back yard."   Most of those yards now include a brick home with an RV in the driveway.

I've said it a 1000 times that if we did not have FHA, FNMA and Freddie Mac that our industry would be producing the most affordable quality housing option on the market. What gives?

Lance Inderman

l;ance-inderman-mhpronews(Editor's note: Lance Inderman is arguably one of the most successful independent retailers of manufactured homes in the country. Champion Homebuilders recently purchased Athens Park Homes, a HUD Code, modular and park model builder that Lance and his associates operated. He was the Chairman for the Texas Manufactured Housing Association in 2010-2011 and remains an active player there. Lance plans to attend the TMHA annual event.)  

Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing

April 24th, 2012 4 comments

The manufactured housing industry has been confronted with the most serious challenge to its existence in its history in the form of the Dodd-Frank bill. Supporters of the bill failed to take into consideration that, as written, the Dodd Frank bill effectively eliminates chattel (home-only) financing for loans under approximately $78,000. The bill essentially lumps chattel lending criteria in with the same real estate lending restrictions, thus ignoring the higher cost of funds for home-only loans. As the loan amount declines, and the higher cost of funds plus the fixed costs of making a loan effectively kick home-only loans into the predatory lending category once the loan amount hits some $78,000.

H.R. 3849 is a proposed bill that has been introduced into the House of Representatives by Indiana's Congressman Joe Donnelly and Tennessee's Congressman Stephen Fincher. The bill is aptly titled the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing ActIn addition to limiting the impact on manufactured chattel loans from the restrictions described above that were introduced by the Dodd-Frank bill, the proposed H.R. 3849 would exempt manufactured housing salespeople that are not deriving income from the proposed financing the salesperson is trying to arrange.

Oklahoma was the second state after Mississippi to have its entire congressional delegation signed on as co-sponsors of HR 3849. I was able to help secure the backing of Oklahoma's congressional delegation through meetings with either each of our congressmen, or with their staff member with responsibility for housing issues. The following points were helpful in securing their support:

  • Manufactured housing is not only the most affordable housing available in the United States, our production capabilities are the most efficient in the world for the production of entry level housing.
  • The manufactured housing industry although monitored by HUD, is self-funded through label fee payments to HUD. How many functions of the federal government have no financial drain on the government's resources?
  • Failure to act will eliminate the financing options for all potential purchasers in the very lowest economic sector of our market, those people trying to purchase homes under $78,000. Our industry's average loan is $58,000. The single-wide market would essentially be destroyed.
  • Failure to act will eliminate all financing options for about half of the existing 8.8 million manufactured home owners who may try to sell their homes, so they also have an incentive to contact their congressman and senators.
  • Your congressman should be receptive to our industry's message. You do need to get in front of him or her. Getting to Washington, D.C. may be cost prohibitive, but getting to the congressional offices in each of your home states should be doable.

A pressing need at the moment is to find a Democratic senator to help roll out a senate version of H.R. 3849. Senator Tom Coburn (R, OK) has agreed co-sponsor the bill on the Senate as long as we have a Democratic co-sponsor who has the approval of Senator Harry Reid for the roll out. Please inform me if that occurs and I will inform Senator Coburn. # #

Post submitted by MH Retailer

Doug Gorman

HomeMart, Tulsa, OK

doug@homemart.us

(Editor's Note: the link to the online resources above were added for your convenience. You can find your elected representatives at this link here. You can pass along a free 'third party' resource for manufactured home owners and residents to consider and engage on this issue at this link here. Our thanks to Doug Gorman for the column and for his years of ongoing volunteerism and service in manufactured housing. Others are encouraged to comment or share their own Industry Voices Guest Column about this or other topics of Manufactured Housing Industry interest. You can submit a column by emailing tony@mhmsm.com with the words Industry Voices Guest Column submission in the subject line.)