Manufactured Housing: “Ignorance Isn’t Bliss”

August 27th, 2014 No comments

While good or helpful MH news stories are growing in number, why are we still so often the housing of last resort?  Ignorance and poor experiences are “the Twins” holding factory-crafted home builders, retailers, developers, communities and all who service and supply them from reaching new record sales levels. These “Negative MH Twins” exist among our profession’s ranks, but are found more widely with the general public.

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Here at MHProNews and with our clients in marketing and sales
we refer to the ‘discontent” notion above as
Inspirational Dissatisfaction.

From time to time we hear from consumers who complain about this or that; but what’s interesting is when we dig a little deeper, the complaints are often about pre-HUD code (truly) mobile homes.

Certainly, there are some bad actors in every profession and some valid complaints out there. But most in MH today realize that if you fail to take care of your customer, the disgruntled in turn blast you with their buddies, costing far more in lost business than is usually the cost for doing something right.

But even consumer discontent is an opportunity in disguise. It is a chance for jiu-jitsu.

A resident group was forming at a property. They were asking us to publish their missive against their landlord. I invested a little time, listened and then explained to them that they were better of working with management than trying to create negative headlines, which would only serve to dampen their own home’s resale values.

We shared specific examples back and forth of how residents and management ought to work together. Their last message was a thank you, and a statement saying they would strive to work with management to resolve concerns. Management said thanks, so did those residents.

Similarly, this time at an MHC property I was overseeing, we took negative resident sentiment dating back prior to our arrival and rapidly turned that into enthusiastic home owners who touted their community; that’s jiu-jitsu done in a fashion where everyone in the mix benefited.

The moral is this isn’t pie in the sky, we need cultivate solutions that are positives for MH owners and forward thinking professionals alike.

Problems, Opportunities, Solutions 

It was frankly troubling to see manufacturers willing to sound off privately, but too concerned about retaliation to speak out under their own name, as was clearly evident in the article linked below.

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http://www.MHProNews.com/blogs/daily-business-news/hud-code-manufactured-home-producers-want-regulatory-fairness-and-stronger-congressional-oversight/

Some of those who contacted us where owners or C-Suite level corporate officials; off the record is helpful. But “on the record” also brings obvious value. Perhaps we need a few dozen retired guys – or those so financially comfortable – that they don’t fear speaking out publicly on touchy issues that matter to our industry.

The article above has had thousands of hits, which tells us this matters to professional readers.

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We’ve all had times with a parent, a boss, public official, client, member etc. when we were not ready to speak out on something that mattered to us. We all own that T-shirt!  

So it’s no surprise that we need volunteers ready to lead via a willingness to speak out on hot topics; please let us know who you have in mind for that sort of role.

A Rival Said It

It wasn’t a best friend, colleague or sponsor – but interestingly enough – a fellow who thinks of himself as a rival who enjoys publicly tagging us who told me privately,

Tony, you had the cojones to do what others wanted to do,
but didn’t have the guts to do.”

Thanks, others apparently see merit here in tackling serious issues.  

Millions of visits after launching MHProNews – and over a million visits on MHLivingNews in 12 months – we’ve obviously dialed into topics that industry pros and/or the public at large find of interest and value.

Working Together, we are making progress!  But we could make even more strides that would tap into the trillion-dollar a year U.S. housing market, by working ever more effectively together.

Let’s borrow the phrase from the Musketeers, “All for One, and One for All.” Apply that principle routinely to MH, and watch our industry flourish.

Lemmings…

Some just follow anyone or anything blindly. The classic example is the proverbial lemmings who follow the leader, right off the cliff, as captured in this drawing by Kaz Vorpal from FlickrCreativeCommons.

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The quote below was shared with me, so we turned it into a poster, to share back with you.

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An industry friend posed a question both obvious, yet profound (I’m hoping he’ll write it up). “What is it that we all want?”

Let’s use that poser to close with this thought:

“You can get out of life everything that you want, when we help enough other people get out of life what they want.”
- Zig Ziglar.

When we learn to look at other people’s concerns, needs and issues through their lens, and then share MH Solutions with their lens in mind, we’ll individually and collectively open more minds to the amazing solutions factory built homes offers. The public’s wallets will naturally follow their minds and emotions. That benefits firms of all sizes and MH professionals too. ##

la-tony-kovach-latonykovach-com-

By L. A. “Tony” Kovach

L.A. 'Tony' Kovach, MHM - Publisher, Marketing Director and Industry Consultant
http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach
Manufactured Home Marketing Sales Management trade journal
www.MHMarketingSalesManagement.com aka MHMSM.com aka MHProNews.com
tony@mhmsm.com
863-213-4090
 


Eye Opening, 8 day Manufactured Housing “Opportunitie$ in the News” Test 

August 22nd, 2014 No comments

Don’t miss out on opportunitie$ all around you! We hear from a variety of manufactured housing professionals, that too many MHPros are under-informed about the multi-billion dollar potential implications of the local, regional or national news we see or hear daily.  

So for the next week –  8 days – while Matthew Silver is on a well earned vacation,  your Masthead  scribe will fill in and give a slightly different take on the popular MHProNews Daily Business News (DBNs). For years, Matthew and Eric Miller before him selected DBN stories geared to be useful in navigating issues or spotting potential useful for opportunity-minded and forward thinking MH Industry professionals.

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Step in and solve a problem, while profiting by doing it.
Photo and credit in 4th DBN linked below.

For the DBNs through the balance of August, we’ll spell out the implication of that particular story to industry pros just a bit more.  Please email me – tony@mhmsm.com or latonyk@gmail.com – your thoughts and feedback during or after this news test. We hope you’ll find it useful and eye opening. Thank you!

Here are DBN examples from today, to make the point:

Residential Eye Sores to be Renovated with Federal/Local tax dollars for Affordable Housing

> Affordable Housing Irony – Hundreds on WilCo Waiting List near MH Production Centers

> All Parks Alliance for Change Lobbying Congress Opposing Minnesota Community Owners Support for a Floor Vote on the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act, HR 1779

> From Moscow with Love: Lawsuit Advances Against Manufactured Home Community Owner

FYI, this last link is another example of the ‘bad news image campaign,’ we covered a week ago. Let me suggest as well that the “Moscow” story finds potentially profitable solutions in the efforts of forward thinking professionals, see examples below.

Solutions to Challenged MHC Properties, like the one near Moscow…

Some may call this heretical, but I think it is self evident that Sam Landy led UMHPaul Bradley, Scott Roberts, Brian Fannon, “Frank and Dave” are each among those taking unique paths to make sometimes distressed or struggling MH Communities better.

Scott Roberts is doing that in a previously abandoned and abused MHC, that he and his team at Roberts Resorts are bringing back to life a now beautiful property for residents to call home. Not only do the Roberts Resort team deserve praise, but this is proving successful as a business model.

Brian Fannon is working on a similar scenario, that Matthew Silver outlined in a DBN linked here. Please look for a more detailed story soon on ManufacturedHomeLivingNews.com on this topic!

While many in our industry’s ranks see their choice of lingo as unfortunate, nevertheless we should give credit where it is due; Frank Rolfe and Dave Reynolds are buying and improving the communities they are investing in.

A More In Depth Look at a Solution Oriented Professional

Here’s my take on the latest in our popular Cup of Coffee with... interview series, specifically an aspect of the the one with Paul Bradley. Among the keen points Paul shared, the first quote below is part of a longer reply about practical ways to boost our industry’s bottom line results:

Implicit in that is fostering a healthy home resale market – helping homebuyers buy existing stock – that is vital to every community owner. We’re doing that through home financing, community marketing and linkages to local retailers and other intermediaries.

In reviewing APAC’s anti-MH professional statement, linked again here, I couldn’t help but think about this following quote from ROC’s Bradley.

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Advocates rattle cages by organizing and leveraging their political capital to level the playing field through regulatory and legal change. To some, a counter to a held position is an enemy, I get that.

To my ear, I actually think there’s more room for mutual understanding and progress than is being worked on. For certain, when people on both sides throw “enemy” around, they’re not on a path to talking about solutions.

That’s power politics and rallying the base – it’s polarizing – and we know where that gets everyone. On the other hand, ROC USA is a developer-type – we understand markets and business and we stay focused on business issues, on getting the job done. We work in the market, preserving MHCs through resident ownership.”

(Editor’s Note: Bold emphasis added above.)

MH News that is Trending!

While it isn’t part of this news test, let’s mention again to the report below, which has been trending as a Read HOT in the Daily Business News.

http://www.MHProNews.com/blogs/daily-business-news/hud-code-manufactured-home-producers-want-regulatory-fairness-and-stronger-congressional-oversight/

Industry News, Tips and Views Pros Can Use

If you aren’t one of the thousands already signed up for our free emailed news updates, please click the link below and sign up free in seconds.

MHProNews.com/subscribe

News for some is just entertainment or a distraction. You can certainly read the news for any reason you want, but we believe that a close look at the housing, economic and other news in our nation implicitly points to the value we in manufactured and modular homes provide millions. Stay informed. Teach your team to do the same. Everyone has a role they can play in the industry’s profitable advancement. ##

la-tony-kovach-latonykovach-com-

By L. A. “Tony” Kovach

L.A. 'Tony' Kovach, MHM - Publisher, Marketing Director and Industry Consultant
http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach
Manufactured Home Marketing Sales Management trade journal
www.MHMarketingSalesManagement.com aka MHMSM.com aka MHProNews.com
tony@mhmsm.com
863-213-4090
 


The Big Picture, MH Puzzle Pieces and More New Manufactured Housing Home Shows?

August 20th, 2014 No comments

There are times when industry veterans understandably ask us one or more elements of the following, given the:

  • U.S./Mexico border crisis,

  • the “recession,”

  • the FEDs pumping dollars into the system to keep stocks and the economy going,

  • Ferguson – MO,

  • China, Russia, ISIS and radical Isalmists,

  • drug wars,

  • the war on coal,

  • DC gridlock,

  • an ever more imperial presidency,

  • ObamaCare,

  • stagnant jobs,

  • mega-multi-national corporations moving offshore to avoid U.S. corporate taxes,

  • regulatory over-reach,

  • huge deficits and debts

  • and many more such U.S. domestic or foreign issues,

how do we possibly think little old manufactured housing can get its act together in such a tough regulatory, political and economic environment and thrive once more?

Interesting questions (there are many more like those, spanning the political spectrum) indeed. Touching on only one of these now, is the recent report that if you take Texas job creation out of the total U.S. jobs picture, the nation is still net losing jobs. Ouch!

sam-zell-chairman-els-equity-lifestyle-properties-manufactured-home-communities-mhpronews-com-MH Solutions?

While we are happy that MH is on a 4 year growth in shipments, those who say that shipments are still far too low, here on the Masthead, we concur. We as an industry should and can do much better. So let’s point to interviews with billionaires Sam Zell or Jim Clayton for powerful insights on issues, like those in the bullets above.

Revisiting what we published – linked above – from Sam Zell last year, you’ll see his concerns about the dollar were correct. We are seeing a new basket of currencies taking shape from international economic rivals. These threaten the dollar’s reserve currency status. The threats to the ‘property line’ and other issues Zell raised also continue.

But what did ELS Chairman Zell say? Didn’t the chairman of the largest MHC operation in the world strongly suggest that once you understand MH, there is no reason to lose confidence?! Didn’t Chairman Zell also indicate that you can position MH and factory home building well, regardless of what’s happening in the economy?

As they say in WI, youbetcha.

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Still credit from video interview produced by
ManufacturedHomes.com.
Click link below or photo above to see the video.

Jim Clayton Videos

We have reasons to feel good about virtually every collaborative video we’ve done this year. That said, please pardon me for drawing your attention anew to the two Jim Clayton video interviews, because of the many golden nuggets shared by a sharecropper’s son who grew to be the most successful retailer, lender and builder in the MH Industry. We routinely take our own advice. I’ve personally watched and listened to Jim’s powerful insights many times.

Want solutions to grow and get past the current sales levels? Please take the notepad out – paper or digital – watch and listen to Jim Clayton while making notes. Imagine you’re in a graduate level seminar, because you’ll not likely get this much quality insights from a legend as we brought you, thanks to his gracious willingness to share time and experiences.

Note that while Clayton Bank’s Chairman sounds off with numerous concerns, such as regulatory over-reach, Jim also has strong confidence in the future of MH. Like Sam Zell, both continue to invest in MH!

I’m betting on MH’s future along with them, how about you?

The interviews we share are packed with insights that every independent, every mega company and all in between ought to dial into! IMHO, Jim expressed his concerns for the nation and free enterprise, the political landscape, etc.. But he did so with a tone suggesting there is a way to deal with these issues. Quiting is the only option off the table.

There are also profitable ways for MH to benefit from these issues.

tim-williams-CEO-President-21st-mortgage-corporation-sepia-tone-masthead-blog-manufactured-housing-pro-news-Tim Williams, 21st Mortgage

21st Mortgage CEO, Tim Williams, raised the image of the industry’s members as a fraternity. This is more than just a nice phrase!

At the end of the day, that is precisely what we need to be thinking about, how to forge a renewed collegiality. Big, small or in between, we have more that unities us than ought to divide us.

It takes time for people to dial into and embrace that change in mindset. But is it happening? Slowly…perhaps, but we think, yes. It is and can accelerate.

More New MH Home Shows

Among the comments that came in this week was one suggesting that manufactured housing ought not do any more home shows. Such public displays, that industry veteran who wrote me suggested, burns into the minds of the public the images of a house on wheels. Okay, let’s look at that thought.

We are huge believers in showing digitally (online) showcasing our industry at its best, with articles, videos, graphics, photos, etc.. We and other forward thinking sponsors put our time, talent and treasure where our mouths are on that topic. So you’d think I might agree with the ‘lets drop the home shows’ notion? Not at all.

While some may buy a home from online articles, photos or videos, most have to see what they want first-hand. They need to touch, feel and experience it in person. That requires either a trip to an MHC, a MH retailer or a MH home show.

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Thousands came out in the rain and cool weather to see modern manufactured homes
at the Eastern Ohio Manufactured Home Show.

We applauded then and now the efforts of Tim Williams and the Ohio Manufactured Homes Association and their sponsors for their home show. We need more home shows done correctly, not less. We applauded what Nancy Geer and the NY Housing Association did with their Factory Built House on the Hill.

We should also not expect perfection out of the first or even second such efforts; human nature being what it is, getting the logistics and feedback worked out usually takes some time. Yes, it also takes money, to refine details making such efforts yield the maximum profits. That’s just business reality!

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So we applaud Ken Anderson and the AZ MH Association for their plans to do a home show in 2015, and for Steve Lefler/Modular Lifestyles, Mike Sullivan at Newport Pacific and Sheila Dey at the WMA for their “off the grid” Quest home at the California State Capitol this week. We’ll bring you more details on these – and other such efforts – that give public officials and the home buying prospects of tomorrow a chance to see our homes anew.

Yes, homes at MH shows must be properly displayed and promoted. The Tiny House Movement is a reminder that we in MH have a communication problem and an education issue (internal and external). Tiny Houses are often on wheels, are ‘trendy’ and they have their own TV series, for goodness sakes!

Does anyone who knows the facts, is objective and goal oriented think that MH can’t do as well or better?

About our popular Daily Business News report on HUD and Regulatory Over-reach:

This article linked below has quickly jumped into the top 1% of all of the 7500 plus pages accessed on MHProNews.com so far this month. Pros go where the subjects interest them, and this one obviously does.

HUD Code Manufactured Home Producers Want Regulatory Fairness and Stronger Congressional Oversight

Among the messages in after the Daily Business News report was published:

This sounds a little “over-the-top”, but certainly has some substance. I spoke with one of the third-party inspection firms last week, and they are probably as concerned as manufacturers, as opposed to co-conspirators looking for increased fees. You might want to make contact with them to get their perspective…It’s also probably true that the new regulations have a greater impact on the most affordable segments of HUD-code production, and less on the higher-end…”

Let me stress that every comment we’ve quoted, we used the respective industry pros own words, editing out in a pair of instances minor ‘tells’ as to the writer’s identities, which they certainly did not want revealed. These edits removed some word(s), did not change the meaning of what was quoted.

Among the more robust replies:

Well done and the inside practical scoop!” “Bulls-eye!” Or “Go, Tony, Go!” Or  You are becoming the voice of the industry.”

FYI, we reached out again to HUD for an on-the-record comment, we’ll let you know what takes place once Pam Danner is back in the office.

That said, let me thank all while politely modifying the ‘you are becoming the voice’ comment above. YOU – our readers, writers and supporters – YOU are the voice of manufactured housing!YOU are an MH ambassador! Mine is another face in the crowd, we are proud to give YOU or others a popular digital place to sound off and make a difference!

manufactured-housing-professional-puzzle-pieces-grow-farther-faster-together-masthead-blog-mhpronews-com-

Let’s close with the following. While epiphanies or 9/11 type events occur that cause huge overnight shifts, most of the time, change is a process.

One of my favorite industry’s pros, that very few know, but whom I respect and learn from a lot, is a fellow who keeps sharing Jim Collins success tips. He urges me to keep pushing at the flywheel. In turn, let me encourage you and your colleagues to do the same. Because the big picture – properly understood and responded to – makes our picture look not perfect, but quite hopeful. Our opportunities are many.

We are better working together. That’s the thinking of a growing number of MH Pros, how about you? ##

la-tony-kovach-latonykovach-com-By L. A. “Tony” Kovach

 

 

L.A. 'Tony' Kovach, MHM - Publisher, Marketing Director and Industry Consultant
http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach
Manufactured Home Marketing Sales Management trade journal
www.MHMarketingSalesManagement.com aka MHMSM.com aka MHProNews.com
tony@mhmsm.com
863-213-4090
 


MH Death and Disaster, It’s The Other Image Campaign

August 15th, 2014 No comments

The following 7 bullets are all actual headlines, a small sampling of their kind from this week.

  1. Suspected arsonist charged in car, mobile home fire

  2. HEMET: Son charged in parents’ deaths at mobile home park

  3. Armed woman barricaded at Castaic mobile home park

  4. Boy struck after trio flees mobile home park

  5. Des Moines trailer fire causes at least $25000 in damage

  6. 10 years ago, Hurricane Charley turned away from Tampa Bay…”Residents of Windmill Village mobile home park near Alligator Creek sit in the shade of what’s left of their damaged clubhouse…”

  7. 3 bodies found in mobile home; gas leak suspected

Murder! Mayhem! Fire! Death!

click2houston=credit-posted-masthead-blogmhpronews-com-

Lets look a few moments longer at the story from bullet #7, quoting in brown below, from click2houston, a story from Tomball, TX.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

SPRING, Texas -

Police say three people were found dead Wednesday night at a north Harris County trailer.  One other victim was transported to a nearby hospital.  According to authorities all the victims were children. 

When firefighters responded to 8500 Scotch Pines Place, they found a smoldering fire inside the trailer home.  According to Klein Fire Chief David Bessolo, carbon monoxide levels in the home were seven times higher than what firefighters consider a “danger level”. 

The Harris County Sheriff’s Office says the Klein Fire Department and Harris County Fire Marshall’s Office will be handling the investigation. “

black-eye-credit-wikicommons-posted-masthead-blog-mhmsm-com-Anyone who has used Google Alerts for MH sees lots of news items like these, day after day. These are the local news stories that create the impressions which gives us an avoidable black eye, costing our industry billions of dollars a year in lost sales.

The Other Side of such News “Stories”

In the Houston area story, what is utterly unclear from the “news” accounts given is – what caused the ‘smoldering fire’ that lead to the apparent deaths from carbon monoxide?

  • Where kids burning something they shouldn’t have?

  • Would the same problematic activity that killed those youth have just as tragically occurred in a site built house or apartment complex?

Far More Murder and Mayhem…

The reality is there are far more crimes and tragedies taking place in conventional housing, but that’s not how the media typically opts to tell the tale. We don’t hear or read ’3 youth tragically died in a site built house when the fire they set in the kitchen reached critical carbon monoxide levels.’

Windstorms!

Often in the mainstream media, the unspoken rule is, ‘if it bleeds, it leads.’  The story noted in the bullets above, from TampaBay, stated in part:

By the time it was done, Charley had killed 10 people and caused more than $14 billion in damage, making it the third costliest hurricane in U.S. history. It was the first of four hurricanes to clobber Florida that year, a nightmarish run of bad luck.”

What their report didn’t state was that after $50 billion in damage from windstorms that year in FL, the Bush Administration was exploring how modern manufactured homes built and installed to the new wind standards did so well. 1600 modern manufactured homes, properly installed, where hit that year in FL; none were lost.

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The IBHS hurricane wind study we reported on demonstrated that 80% of the damage done to manufactured homes in wind storms was caused by improper add-ons. The side by side photos shown on that linked page demonstrated that the site built house didn’t do as well as the least expensive HUD Code manufactured home in that same market!

free-vector-clipart-credit-thinkstock-posted-masthead-mhmsm-com-We have the Answers to all these tragic tales of crime and woe! But will the MH Industry Robustly Share them?

At the pinnacle of the top stories viewed last month on MHLivingNews  included the IBHS hurricane wind study. Every one of the negative stories local media often pounds on have good, solid, fact based replies!

Studies are available on fire safety being superior in a modern manufactured home than in conventional ‘site built’ housing.

In my experience in supervising the management of 7 to 17 MHCs, we learned about how effective resident screening was. We asked the local police for crime reports.  Our crime rate was lower than the surrounding neighborhoods, where most of the conventional houses sold for 3, 5 or as much as 10+ times as much money.  

Seasoned, level headed industry pros know such facts to be true.  So why are they still almost “a secret?”

The solution to the Death and Disaster, “negative MH image campaign” is amazingly simple. We have to tell our side of the story – plus share the good news about manufactured housing – when negative stories are told.

We also have to tell our story effectively.

We should also shine the spotlight on any slip-shod media coverage, while praising the media when they do a good job telling the facts.

Related Segue

On a related note, Marty Lavin tell’s me he’s getting a steady stream of comments (we are too…) about his Exhaustion Sets In  guest column. It’s been a hot read!  Our midweek reply…

Is Marty Lavin stirring the MH pot again?

…is running at a similar pace for readership and is driving even more readers to his witty and candid comments.

We collectively have the solutions. The reward is an ever growing part of the trillion dollar annual U.S. housing market.

We either define ourselves, or others will – tragically – define us to our detriment, which costs us billions of dollars annually. Have you done the math on how much that de facto negative image campaign cost you? ##

(Image credits: click2houston, WikiCommons, NBC News Today Show and thinkstock vector clip art)

la-tony-kovachBy L. A. “Tony” Kovach.

L.A. 'Tony' Kovach, MHM - Publisher, Marketing Director and Industry Consultant
http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach
Manufactured Home Marketing Sales Management trade journal
www.MHMarketingSalesManagement.com aka MHMSM.com aka MHProNews.com
tony@mhmsm.com
863-213-4090
 


Is Marty Lavin stirring the MH Pot again?

August 13th, 2014 No comments

We all do it. Mistakes have been, are and will be made daily. Even billionaires make them, but what sets them apart from us (besides their account balances) is the fact they strive to learn from mistakes.

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It’s obvious from our eMail bag and calls that some of you love Marty Lavin and his witty candor. Others are strongly opposed to what he says or fall somewhere in between. No surprises there! For those who’ve asked me words to the effect, ‘Tony, you do know that Marty appears to respect your can-do attitude, but that he disagrees with you that a more robust industry recovery will get done sustainably, right?’ Yes, that was understood prior to publishing Marty’s Pensées.

nice-mhc-trillion-dollar-us-housing-market-masthead-blog-mhpronews-com-

Agreeing with Tony has never been required here.

Healthy, spirited discussions are good for all!

Speaking of spirited, here is a publicly shared reply to Marty’sExhaustion Sets In.

Call me sentimental, but IMHO, Marty’s not being pessimistic. Rather, he’s trying with facts and humor to make the industry learn from past mistakes. That’s multi-billion dollar thinking.

As usual, private and for publication feedback are welcome.

Now, lets consider a common sense, proven path ahead.

Affirmation + Good Information = Manufactured Home Evangelists

Apple created raving fans – Apple ‘Evangelists’ – an important element of their success. Apple marketer, Ken Segall, made it Insanely Simple. Get people to love your product/service and they’ll bring you more customers.

Can that be successfully applied to manufactured housing? Of course. Some of our clients and other good companies are already doing it.

Stating the obvious can bring clarity. Affirmation + Good Information = MH Evangelists.

Not many want to be known as “trailer trash.” Duh, right?

So affirming manufactured home (MH) owners in their lifestyle is a no brainer! In touring a lender through a client’s clean, one star MHC, I made the point this was the Ultimate in Affordable Living. That lender looked at me and said, “I never looked at it that way before.”

How we say what we say matters!

MHC Residents and MH home owners deserve to be affirmed. They ought to feel good about where they live!

matthew-mcconaughey-minnie-driver-pam-anderson-manufactured-homes-masthead-blog-mhpronews-com-

The same principle applies to MH employees, be they building the next MH on the factory floor, keeping the grounds tidy at an MHC, in service, delivery, installation, sales, office, management or investors.

Affirm MH owners, residents and MH professionals, lead them into being Gung Ho MH Evangelists, and a large part of the battle for going mainstream and selling millions of more manufactured and modular homes will be accomplished.

This is done by sharing the truth in positive ways.

Evangelize everyone…

The doctor, accountant, teacher, media, public official, retiree or low wage worker all must be MHEvangelized.

Take a Fresh Look

With that backdrop, look as if for the first time at MHLivingNews. What do you see?

nice-80s-model-single-wide-manufactured-home-masthead-blog-mhpronews-com-

1. Affirmation of MHLiving.

2. Showcasing the famous or wealthy – which is affirming and intriguing to all – who live in MH.

3. Any form of digital communication can be used. Articles, photos, cartoons, posters, videos, infographics, social media, etc.!

4. We showcase the positive, and re-look at negatives in ways turning bitter lemons into lemonade.

Everyone in MH can benefit

Clayton, Cavco or Champion all want to sell more homes. So do small to mid-sized MH independents. This applies to every retailer, MHC with vacancies, lenders, vendors, services and suppliers, etc..

The magnetic attraction of MH trade shows can be echoed for the public atMHLivingNews.com. There are some 144 operating MH plants. If 30 sponsored the equivalent cost of putting one or two multi-sectionals on display at a trade show, we can fund more videos, staff, stories and reports with happy home owners, supportive public officials, industry pros, etc.. We’d influence media and politicos ever more. That would result in selling million$ in new MHs.

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MHEvangelism informs and fire-ups MH pros and consumer base! Give residents the MHLivingNews.com address via your company’s Facebook page or in print newsletters. Make sure your members and associates logon, learn more and earn more.

As a parallel path, we attract conventional housing renters, shoppers and buyers.

“Don’t tell me, don’t sell me, show me!”

1 million visits in under a year at MHLivingNews.com can’t all be wrong! Companies we coach use that site to close more sales. This isn’t theory, it’s a case of don’t tell me, show me.

We attracted visitors without a big budget, using no Google Adwords, etc.. Good content, organic searches, links and RSS feeds worked. In fact, the annual budget for Manufactured Home Living News has been smaller than sums a serious MHRetailer or MHCommunity may spend on ads monthly at 1 location.

So imagine what can be done with a real budget. Imagine millions visiting monthly… and since we don’t sell homes, they’ll find thee.

Marty, They Vote with their Time, Talent and Treasure

Nature abhors a vacuum. We either define ourselves, or others will define us. We have a great story to tell, but we must tell it well and often. Apple, WalMart, McDonald’s, RVs and automakers are among scores promoting and defining themselves daily.

As more MHPros learn to attract and successfully engage customers with cash or good credit, we’ll sell more financeable people. Fear not change, the credit challenged will still come too.

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If Marty Lavin ends up “correct,” look in the mirror.

For true MH believers – as we are by investing in the de facto MH image and education platform – proven correct by sound action, we’ll celebrate with MH home owners all the way to the bank. ##

la-tony-kovachBy L. A. “Tony” Kovach

 

L.A. 'Tony' Kovach, MHM - Publisher, Marketing Director and Industry Consultant
http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach
Manufactured Home Marketing Sales Management trade journal
www.MHMarketingSalesManagement.com aka MHMSM.com aka MHProNews.com
tony@mhmsm.com
863-213-4090
 


The Panama Canal of Manufactured Housing

August 8th, 2014 No comments

The Panama Canal impacts your life on a routine basis, even when you don’t realize it. Wikipedia says that in 2008, 14,702 vessels went through the canal, carrying a total of 309.6 million tons of cargo. That cargo includes the clothes, electronics, coffee, tea and others products in grocery, department stores or sold online. No wonder the American Society of Civil Engineers named the canal one of the 7 wonders of the modern world! Truly, every vessel is ‘lifted higher’ in the locks of the canal. The lift provided by the Panama Canal saves thousands of miles in transport time and fuel.

Does MH have such a time and money saving lift station? Yes, there are actually more than one in our industry, and they could be summed up in the phrase “understanding and applied knowledge.”

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Panama Canal graphic from Wikipedia.

Perhaps the biggest difference between the Panama Canal analogy and the application of understanding and applying professional knowledge is this. The canal can’t handle a ship that is ‘too big,’ but from the tiniest one person MH operation to the largest in factory-built housing, all sizes can find benefit here, at the table of “Industry News Tips and Views that Pros Can Use.”

Cautions Against Bad Behavior AND Encouragement, Facts, Tips and Good News for Growth

Ron D’Ambra’s article includes mention of the need for business ethics. Agreed. In our era when moral relativism is higher than say 50 or 75 years ago, there’s a greater need to caution against bad behavior. We don’t shy away from the reports of improprieties, witness the example in the story below.

http://www.MHProNews.com/blogs/daily-business-news/defendant-sentenced-in-fraudulent-hud-codemod-mortgage-scheme/

flickrcc_ag-makonts-posted-mhmsm-com-On Wall Street, professionals scour the news in the fields they’re investing in or considering. They’re looking for insights and facts that may help or harm clients and their own interests.

Attorneys, MD, engineers, accountants, teachers, athletes – you name the profession – and odds are excellent they’re studying and reading routinely in their field.

Our MH industry is no exception. We have the largest MH audience of its kind – with well over 5,000 logging on daily – we’re covering the largest part of the MH Industry’s readers, because only some 15% of the population ‘reads’ seriously. As exciting as our large and growing audience is – well over 150,000+ visits monthly and some 2 million page views in July! – we’re still just scratching the surface of what’s possible.

In a misunderstood industry that has great products and services, the opportunities are greater; but only when we give it superior effort!

Be it MH success legends, such as Jim Clayton, or any of the others who believe attitude and education are critical elements for success, it’s a fact. Sure, sometimes someone stumbles into success or wins the lotto. But it routinely occurs when people commit to long term excellence in their field!

Its in your best interest to encourage associates, colleagues and team members to do more than other industries, because even with MH’s 4 year uptick, we are only doing a small fraction of U.S. housing’s 1 trillion dollar annual market.

Encourage everyone – starting with your team members, current MH owners and MHC residents – to dig deeply and share often the link to ManufacturedHomeLivingNews.com. The elements for accelerated MH growth are there! The more it’s shared, the more MH image and sales will grow.

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MHPros must learn more about their chosen field from a professional perspective. More motivated, informed, passionate team members will naturally create more sales, fewer vacancies and happier customers.  Or fail to do that, and watch some brassy newcomer enter the market who does…and see who fares better.

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The red headers above are links to their respective modules, sections or “departments” on MHProNews. They’re shown here in no particular order. But they’re shared to underscore this fact. Each of these has value for a good professional to know! Agree or disagree with the writer’s perspective, but discover the value of learning from anyone…and everyone. OPE – other people’s experiences – are as important as OPM, other people’s money.

tarleton-edu=credit-posted-masthead-blog-mhmsm2-com-

You and Your Team Mates are the Billboard! What message do you send?

Like it or not, people judge our industry in part from its members. When they meet some sharp woman or man, and they learn they’re in MH, that sends a (good!) message. Another message is sent when the people they meet from our industry are not informed or ‘up’ on our products and services.

Here’s some true stories, experienced in various MH offices in the U.S.

  • Walking into an MH Community office, hearing two ladies in the office griping about problems at their location. They saw me, didn’t know my purpose for being there, and they kept on openly gripping…in front of what might be a prospective buyer.

It was obvious this wasn’t the first or last time they did that, and having walked into that office more than once, that was exactly what I experienced. Nor was this some 1 star location with 50 homesites.  So was it a surprise that property had vacancy issues? Do you think they needed an attitude adjustment – one they could easily find on the INspirations blog – or in hundreds of possible articles or posts on MHProNews?

Or how about this one…

  • I walked into a MH Retailers office. On the coffee table in the lobby was a glossy magazine, one of our MHIndustry trade journals. I asked the first sales person I saw, how did they like —- (I called the magazine by name), and at first the guy didn’t register at all. When I pointed the mag out, he said, “Oh, that! We put that out for customers to look at while they’re waiting for us.”

True stories – a riot if they weren’t so sad – and there are many more like them, or worse.

But the flip side also happens.

  • Tony, we’ve used the tornado video story posted on MHLivingNews.com to close customers that were on the fence between an MH or some other housing option.”

Or…

  • Tony, I was having a bad day. I clicked onto the INspirations blog, and spent 10 minutes reading. I walked away with a much better attitude. Now, I’m a regular reader there. It made my work flow better, thanks.”

We get that for Tim’s Words of Wisdom, Zig Ziglar’s articles and so many others.

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Why go the long way, when you can take the safer, better path?
Image credit Google maps

Get and share that Panama Canal LIFT

If I was buying a product shipped around the tip of South America past the Isla Herchel that could as easily have traveled through the Panama Canal, its prudent for me to mention that to the seller. They’d save time and money. Their benefit is mine too, and vice versa.

If I had a sales operation in MHRetail, home building, MH Communities etc. – and everyone on my team were already reading and inspiring themselves daily on MHProNews and MHLivingNews – would I want that run-down looking competitor down the road to become a reader too?

YouDogGoneBetcha.

Because their image either helps or harms mine! Get them inspired, let them improve, and guess what? As their operational results improved, mine would too.

In closing, let’s mention that the odds are good your operation benefits from the work our professional writers and sponsors make possible here and on our public sister site. Want to raise your boat higher? Save time and make more money? RSS, link, tweet or Facebook the stories you find interesting on MHProNews and MHLivingNews.

Please check out what version 3.0 of our planned updates and revisions will look like, click here…

http://www.mhpronews.com/blogs/daily-business-news/approaching-5-years-and-version-3-0/

YOUR feedback on the upcoming version 3.0 is welcome! Thank you, see you back here mid-week. ##

la-tony-kovachBy L. A. “Tony” Kovach

L.A. 'Tony' Kovach, MHM - Publisher, Marketing Director and Industry Consultant
http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach
Manufactured Home Marketing Sales Management trade journal
www.MHMarketingSalesManagement.com aka MHMSM.com aka MHProNews.com
tony@mhmsm.com
863-213-4090
 


Real Estate Agents and MH, “…it doesn’t work.”

August 6th, 2014 No comments

Here’s the paraphrase. “Tony, there are two kinds of real estate agents. Those who do a lot of deals, and those who only do a few every year. We can’t get those upper tier real estate agents to work with us. We’ve tried it, and it doesn’t work.”

First of all, let’s admit there IS a challenge, more than one, to getting real estate agents to work with MH. Successfully addressing those hurdles in a “mutual victories” fashion could benefit untold numbers of MH homeowners, lenders, producers, other businesses…indeed all involved. Healthy resales – more akin to how conventional real estate works – would significantly increase the understanding and appeal of manufactured homes, likewise boosting lending and investments.

Those in turn would lead to more new homes sold. The rewards are many. No less a figure than Warren Buffett said to Clayton’s president, “Kevin, it seems to me that the problem with your industry is resale.”

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Photo credit: WikiCommons.

Two RE-MH Projects

I’ve been professionally involved in two projects that utilized real estate agencies as part of the marketing and sales mix. One did okay, the other worked amazingly well.

We already know real estate agents selling MH works in higher-end markets, such as CA.

So long as we have examples of how it can work, there ought to be confidence in establishing a similarly successful dynamic in other markets.

Associations or Corporate Campaigns

Certainly associations could play a role in this effort. So too should forward thinking corporations. But an educated, motivated independent could make it happen too. I know, because that was the case with one project your Masthead scribe did. It was an independent with a game plan committed to success who made it happen.

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RV MH Hall of Fame 2014 Inductees. Read more:

RV/MH Class of 2014 Inducted at Record-breaking Ceremony

Education!

The secrets are motivation – incentives to earn and serve more – and the right education.

We can’t expect anyone, including real estate agents, to know our MH business like we do without some education. Real estate agents must clearly benefit, or they won’t come.

Doubling your sales force?

Some site builders use real estate agents to sell their new homes. It can double or more their sales force. Imagine having informed, motivated professionals who are already marketing to attract buyers, working for you on a commission basis.

Education takes time and money. In the more successful of the two cases, we spent 2 months laying the ground work, and that effort cost thousands of dollars. But here was the payoff. In the 8 days after Christmas, when we ‘threw the switch on’ for using those agents, 16 deals were closed at a location, which previously averaged some 2.5 sales monthly for the three years. In the next 30 days, 40 total closings took place. That MHC went from dozen of homes in excess inventory, to “sold out.”

Was it worth it? Yes. FYI, the other company’s location that didn’t have the same degree of success, didn’t invest a similar time/money commitment to the education and ramp up process. Less invested up front, no surprise there was a more modest result.

Other Options too, but…

Certainly there are other options – including existing ones online – to using real estate agents, but those too requires a commitment of time, money and education for them to reach their potential.

Imagine if only 1% of the 1 million real estate agents in the U.S. become involved in selling MH. Let’s further say they would each average 4 deals a year, or only 1 per quarter. That’s still 40,000 sales a year the MH Industry may not otherwise get.

Investing in Education Pays

We often hear that “our people are our most important asset.” If that’s true, more companies should invest more in their people!

Investing in an outreach to other housing professionals – including realtors – could yield long term, transformational results for MH.

Respectfully, when one person doesn’t get the result they wanted the first or second time, that isn’t the signal that it “doesn’t work.” Michael Jordan was a “failure” at first in basketball. Years of practice changed that perception. He later said,

“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.”
Michael Jordan

ive-missed-more-than-9000-shots-in-my-career-ive-lost-almost-300-games-ive-failed-over-and-over-again-in-my-life-and-thats-why-i-succeed-wikicommons-(c)2014-mhpronews-com-

Photo credit, WikiCommons.

One failure, or even many, doesn’t have to mean permanent failure. That’s the lesson of trailblazing legends like Thomas Edison, who failed 10,000 times before succeeding with the incandescent light.

The value of creating a robust resale market in MH – the value of synergizing with real estate agents – is too great an opportunity to miss.

The recent GAO, IBHS hurricane wind study and CBS news reports should all be parts of the arsenal of insights leading more housing professionals to embrace modern manufactured homes.

So long as we communicate that well and often, it will inexorability lead to the mutual victories home owners and all housing pros seek. ##

 l-a--tony-kovachL. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach ManufacturedHomeLivingNews.com | MHProNews.com Business and Public Marketing & AdsB2B | B2C Websites, Contract Marketing & Sales Training, Consulting, Speaking: MHC-MD.com | LATonyKovach.com | Office 863-213-4090 Connect on LinkedIN: http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach 

L.A. 'Tony' Kovach, MHM - Publisher, Marketing Director and Industry Consultant
http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach
Manufactured Home Marketing Sales Management trade journal
www.MHMarketingSalesManagement.com aka MHMSM.com aka MHProNews.com
tony@mhmsm.com
863-213-4090
 


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