December 30th, 2009 3 comments

In this time of reflection, as one year winds down and another is ready to dawn, the desire to recognize and honor the service of others bubbled forth within like a fresh spring. It is easy to begin with those whom we know: parents, teachers, role models in your business or profession. Beyond those note worthy’s are our nation’s service men and women – who have set aside months or years of their lives (or laid down their limbs and lives…) to protect the borders, patrol the skies and seas which make us as free a people as any on earth!

There are our law enforcement officials. Movies, books or news accounts may give us a glimpse into the lives and sacrifices that our military, police or fire fighters make to protect us…and far more important than their pay-checks and pensions are the sincere thanks due those who do their jobs well. We Salute you!

Turning next to our industry!

It is difficult to truly imagine all that a few noble souls do in Washington and in various state capital’s around our great land in their work of advocacy, lobbying, education and more that makes the day to day of our manufactured housing businesses more doable! You know who you are…and so, with deep thanks,

We Salute You!

Then there are those who volunteer to serve on boards and committees. One of many such individuals who comes to mind shares about a month out of the year of their time – involved both locally and nationally – to make this a better industry. How many more like that noble soul are there that makes what you and I do possible? What word of thanks are enough?

We Salute you!

Coming closer to home is you.

As a Manufactured Housing Industry professional, you’ve invested education, time, energy and money into yourself and your operation. You’ve survived the melt-downs. Some of you have even thrived during these challenging times. For those who have succeeded and for those still on the path…take heart! “Winter is followed by spring! It is always darkest before the dawn!” By doing a bit more, learning a bit more, reaching out more…day by day, your time is coming. You won’t allow the downturn to put you down and keep you down. You won’t let your education, time, energy and money to go for naught!

You do what it takes every day.

Then you get up, and do it again.

We Salute you!!

Let’s also be candid and clear. For many, the next 12-24 months is ‘do or die’ time. We don’t have another 10 years to turn this industry around. Many independent HUD Code factories would have already closed if not for Canadian orders and all sorts of gymnastics. Sure, some HUD Code and modular builders will make it for years…but we dare not lose all those independents who in some cases have fought the good fight by building good homes for less…for a generation, two or three!

As I talk with and read messages from industry pros and various leaders from across this land, it is obvious that for many (for all…?) it is a time of crisis and decision. It is do or die. When someone faces economic death, it is not lightly that one lifts up a lamp and says, “Don’t give up! Make the needed adjustments! Fight the good fight! Keep on going!”

Quitters never win, and winners never quit. We may fall – or get dragged down – but the next move is always the same. Get up! Be smarter and more engaged than you’ve ever been! If what you are doing is working great, keep it up. But if what you are doing isn’t getting the job done, bring in the talent and line up the resources that will get it done for you.

I don’t want to re-write here what was said elsewhere in articles or posts like

Short and Sweet – Just how easy the Industry Turn-Around Could Be:

Optimist vs. Pessimist:


Synergy and the 7 Habits of Highly Successful People:

Be Open to Change:


But suffice it to say, that those who DO adjust, who DO turn the corner are looking at the brightest possible future, because the economics and demographics of the country are very good for our Industry!

Let me also salute the many volunteers who write for us. Some do so with no interest in being hired or to get a fee for consulting. Others naturally want to let you know that they are open for business and offer the tools and experience needed to make your business sing in specialized areas! Please thank them, with your reading, with your messages and posts, by sharing their articles and when appropriate by calling on them for their services.

Now let me close on the note that we all hope for…the positive one.

We have a number of initiatives being prepared and lined up for 2010 here at Each of these in their own way we hope will contribute towards increased sales for retailers, suppliers, community operators, developers, more housing production for builders, shipments and service work for consultants and other industry professionals. We want to see more homes built, transported and set, more loans closed, more policies written, more services done – just as much as you do.

When the year 2010 winds down 12 months from now, if we are looking at increased new home shipments for the industry, no one person or organization will be able to claim to be the white knight. It will be a group effort! Good men and women like yourself will do the doing at your place, just as we will do the doing in ours or for those whom we do work for in this industry.

What we hope at  to provide in part is a unique online platform of innovation, information and inspiration for industry professionals. One of the things that makes this Factory-Built Housing Trade Journal special is that each of us are in the trenches. We aren’t spouting some theory…

…we get our checks the old fashioned way. We earn it. Through marketing, sales and management! Through taking risks, facing the challenges, shrugging off the naysayers and enjoying the thrill of seeing the efforts pay off.

We want to thank all of you who pass along our articles, web address, blog posts and more to others – a big reason we have moved ahead so rapidly is due to readers like you.  We Salute You!

We thank you too for your calls, posted and emailed comments.   We appreciate your feedback, and encourage it.  For those who tell us about similar ideas floating around out there, I think it is grand!  First, it is a big planet, and we are bound to have some similar ideas.  Some may seek to imitate – that’s okay – it is the most sincere form of praise.

Some will keep on doing what they’ve always done – that’s okay – it is their life, and they have to live it.

Some will climb aboard…you are welcome!  Bring an associate, or bring your entire list of industry connections!

But make no mistake. The long-hoped for turn-around won’t be the work of one or two, or even a few. It will be the work of many, many thousands – like you! – who make this industry the best value in new homes out there!

“No man is an island.” John Wayne and other hero or heroine movies can be great, but the reality is that each of us needs others. The higher the horse, the further the fall off of it. If you don’t want to fall, team up with the right people and resources, let others help you get your balance, put you on the path and do what it takes.

So when a year from now, we all look back and measure what has been accomplished in 2010, we can say…we did it! We each played a role, we each did our part.

It is do or die.

We will either act out of fear, ego or firm faith in our future!

Which will it be for you?
Here comes the year 2010…We Salute You!


L.A. 'Tony' Kovach, MHM - Publisher, Marketing Director and Industry Consultant
Manufactured Home Marketing Sales Management trade journal aka aka

Manufactured Housing Industry Discussion/Feedback Topic:

December 28th, 2009 5 comments

“If you could sit down with your Congressman or U.S. Senator, what would you tell them you’d like to see them do about issues relating to the HUD Code housing program?”

What are the legal, regulatory and financing issues that are on your mind?

What would you ask your elected representatives in Washington to do about the issues facing your MH business and the industry?

Please post your feedback below or email them to me at – Don’t be shy, sound off today!

L.A. 'Tony' Kovach, MHM - Publisher, Marketing Director and Industry Consultant
Manufactured Home Marketing Sales Management trade journal aka aka

“Twas Just before Christmas…”

December 23rd, 2009 1 comment

‘Twas just before Christmas and
In the stores and the malls
Millions where stirring,
Hunting gifts for their alls.

Near the darkest of nights of the year
They would find
A way to be thoughtful,
Caring and kind!

No matter the issues that would
Tug at their mind
The focus was on joy and to
Bring smiles all could find.

Wouldn’t it be cool, and wouldn’t
It be grand
If we’d carry this great Spirit
Beyond, throughout the land!

The “I can do!” spirit
Facing cold, long wet lines
Doing what it takes
The lessons so sublimes!

Recharge with your family,
With your loved ones bring cheer
Then don’t forget to use that
Throughout the coming new year!##

The Christmas Star - 'Twas just before Christmas..."

The Christmas Star - 'Twas just before Christmas..."
©Debbie Yarra

From all of us at Manufactured Housing Marketing Sales Management ( to all of you, Merry Christmas!

Here’s to a creating a happier, more prosperous New Year in 2010!

L.A. 'Tony' Kovach, MHM - Publisher, Marketing Director and Industry Consultant
Manufactured Home Marketing Sales Management trade journal aka aka

The View from the Trenches

December 17th, 2009 5 comments

The View from the Trenches
Capital First Realty’s MHC bold new Marketing approach from the Sales Person’s perspective

Along with conventional construction (a.k.a. site building), the MH Industry as a whole has suffered from what might be described as generally lackluster sales performance. There are, however, bright spots out there in retail, development, manufacturing and community operations.

To see what might be learned from the more standout performers, we interviewed Richard J. “Dick” Klarchek, president and owner of Capital First Realty for the November 2009 issue of This article drew considerable interest on the part of industry professionals. So a follow up on the topic makes good sense.

Capital First’s community based manufactured home sales program has implemented a number of noteworthy innovations that all segments of the industry can learn from. Having heard from Klarchek himself in his now archived interview, we now turn to one of the members of his sales team to get the view from the trenches on his bold new marketing approach and how it actually performs.

Against this backdrop, we spoke with Sue Ziemnisky – a sales associate at the TriStar Estates office in Bourbonnais, IL to get her take on and experience with Capital First’s innovative outreach to home buying prospects.

Q. Sue, you’ve been handling calls using this new marketing approach implemented by Capital First Realty for about a year now. How is it going for you, from a sales perspective?

A. Great! We get a steady stream of callers, as well as walk-ins and emailed leads too.

Q. Give us a sense of the numbers, please.

A. Okay, well, before we started it was pretty quiet. But when our marketing started putting up new web-pages, posting on YouTube and Craigslist plus the other marketing changes that were made, we saw an immediate jump in activity. I typically take about 50 new lead calls a week myself, plus what others are taking here.

Q. Interesting! Now, you mentioned Craigslist and YouTube. Capital First also is on well known industry websites like, and so on, correct?

A. Yes, and we get good leads from those. However, what we’ve seen is that by ‘stepping in front of’ the wider housing market and showcasing our upscale Manufactured Home product and the lifestyle, we are seeing people we wouldn’t have spoken with previously.

Q. Give me a sense of the numbers, please. That’s what our readers will want to know.

A. Sure. Last month (November, 2009), for example, I closed 9 contracts myself. We have a team member who is new to our industry who recently closed 12 in 60 days. Last summer I had a month where I closed 12 homes.

Q. Wow! That is a considerably higher result than the typical retailer or community sales office would achieve during 2009 market conditions! But were those just a fluke? How have your numbers been here for the balance of the year?

A. Well, we had times earlier this year when our financing tightened up, and that certainly slowed things down, but it didn’t stop us by any means. Without pulling the actual numbers, I’d say we closed about 100 here in 2009. I know I’ve done about 70 or so this year here myself.

Q. That’s amazing, and by the way, I’ve confirmed your numbers with your primary manufacturer and the corporate office. You and the team here should be proud of yourselves. Now let’s dig a little deeper. The way I understand it, what CFR’s marketing is doing is almost like a curiosity approach, right? You are showing photos of homes, a price on a website and a phone number. At least on some of your firm’s marketing outreaches, CFR doesn’t just spell it out that these are manufactured homes, right?

A. That’s right.

Q. Okay, well don’t some people get mad? Do some feel deceived? Don’t you have a big fall out rate?

A. Well, we had one man that called from Chicago. That’s about an hour’s drive from here. When he arrived, he was pretty upset at first. But what I did was say, “Look, you are already here, let me show you a home or two, you already saw the photos, now see the home for yourself.” He was simply amazed. He didn’t look at just one, we looked at several. Now, that particular man didn’t end up buying, it was a long drive to Chicago, and he didn’t want that type of commute. But he left with a totally different attitude than what he had when he arrived.

 1 fr DSC08592 small

(Capital First Realty model built by Hi-Tech Housing. This ranch style home has 9’ ceilings, crown molding and transom windows among the features. Natural lighting was used in this photo.)

Q. You mean totally different attitude about manufactured housing?

A. Yes, that’s right.

Q. Interesting. What percentage of your callers would you say arrive?

A. I get about 25 callers in the door out of every 50 calls.

 1 dr kit DSC08551 small

(Capital First Realty model by Hi-Tech Housing, DR and Kitchen view, using natural lighting.)

Q. My impression of you, Sue, is that you use a soft approach, is that fair?

A. Yes, I suppose that is. But I do invite everyone who comes to apply. My goal is to get the paper work at least started on their first visit.

Q. So you aren’t bull rushing your prospects, you softly bring them in by phone, show them around and then invite them to apply, right?

A. Yes, that’s right.

Q. Was there a learning curve or an adjustment process to this new marketing approach?

A. Well, yes, I suppose so. I closed like 3 during each of the first few months, but then the numbers really went up from there, especially when our financing kicked back in. In terms of ‘how to,’ I basically just use the outline that was provided for me. I ask the caller a few questions, how they heard about us, what their time line is and so forth. Common sense items that get them talking. Then once I have some basic information, I invite them in. I’ve had 8, 9 and sometimes more customers arrive in a single day. That can get a little hectic, even when you set appointments, because some may come early or late. But you do the best you can with each one and you do get your fair share of that business.

Q. So to sum up, by stepping in front of the wider housing market, you are converting people to the manufactured housing community lifestyle in significant numbers?

A. I think what Mr. Klarchek has done here and some of his other properties is brilliant. We put in this great new clubhouse and pool. We put in this upscale inventory. We tend towards the higher end of the site fees in this area, but when you look at what we offer and compare it to real estate prices in the market, when you look at the tax rates in the area, this just makes sense for lots of people.

We don’t compete against ‘mobile home parks’ – you might say that our marketing ignores them. We are focused on getting the site built customer! We will get the manufactured home clients in here anyway.

Let me give an example. A $225,000 conventional house here in Bourbonnais will have about $8000 a year in property taxes alone. So if we sell a similar size multi-section home with residential features at about half the price, and site fees are about 2/3 of the tax rate, it is obvious that the buyer is miles ahead financially. Plus with us, they are typically getting a new home, by an Energy Star builder with great features, quality and appeal. If you just tell your story, and show the homes, show them the lifestyle and how it makes sense, more than enough people will say yes. In fact, at the moment, we’ve got a backlog on (credit and residency) approvals, we are waiting to get more homes ready to close our next set of customers.

Q. A final question for our readers who aren’t familiar with your particular market. As I understand it, Bourbonnais isn’t a huge city, correct?

A. That’s right. The entire population for Kankakee County is like 112,000 at the last estimate. Bourbonnais is about 33,000 people. (End of interview.)

To put this interview and Capital First Realty’s marketing approach into perspective, these 3 focus properties at TriStar Estates in Bourbonnais, IL, Sterling Estates in Justice, IL, and Sunset Village in Glenview, IL are attracting a significant number of callers in their local area. The other properties get much higher call rates using this approach, because there is a larger population base to draw from. Capital First Realty’s price points are at the upper end of the manufactured housing spectrum by design, because these redevelopment properties are reaching out to a more residential style client. This dovetails nicely with Dick Klarchek’s vision of transforming old metro area ‘mobile home parks’ into sharp, residential style developments that feature beautiful homes in a setting that offers amenities, activities, a grand clubhouse and more.

At various points in the shopping process, the prospective buyers all discover that they are buying a manufactured home. But by presenting the homes as they are – beautiful, upscale and appealing homes – and without labeling the product in their marketing as a ‘manufactured home’ – the number of callers, arrivals and thus sales jumps! The homes, the lifestyle, the ‘math’ of the proposition all combine to sell a higher number of prospects.

This is one possible direction that the industry can go in order to grow!##

—————-> the article, “Time for a Cool Change!” is archived at
Archived at – free access available. <——

L.A. 'Tony' Kovach, MHM - Publisher, Marketing Director and Industry Consultant
Manufactured Home Marketing Sales Management trade journal aka aka

Be Open To Change

December 15th, 2009 No comments

As one of Bob Stovall’s recent blog posts and Rachael Biermann’s article remind us, the upswing from a recession is a great time to position yourself for the future. How do you do this? In these hi-tech times, it must include the willingness to re-evaluate what you’ve done and be open to changing to new ideas, because many new approaches can work even better for you! Obviously, you don’t toss out what works; rather, use the concept of ‘parallel paths.’ Think of it as you would diversifying your investment portfolio, and come up with multiple streams of marketing for your business. Then think to about the best sales approach for each of those marketing streams. If you do that, your business will see either steady or explosive growth…

Besides Bob’s wonderful series on internet marketing and Socialnomics, we plan to have a new series of articles and/or blog posts soon on just how to practically apply proven new strategies for your operation. We plan to have articles and guest posts by those who have walked the walk and have gotten the results. For example, I interviewed a sales person yesterday. The lady closed 9 homes solo during November! Not November 1999, but November 2009! In another case, a new comer to our industry closed 12 homes in 60 days, again, this year. In a third instance, one gent closed over 200 homes solo in some 3 years.

We’ll take you inside the stories of proven performers like these. If you’ve got a good – true! – story, please do call or email, we’d be interested in hearing and sharing it with others. Don’t given in to the temptation to be stingy, remember, if we don’t keep our factories building, even performers can suffer if we aren’t ‘total team’ minded.

By reading the facts about performers like these and others in our industry, you’ll see how to move yourself and/or your team ahead in 2010.

Being Open to Change is critical. I’ve met many a professional over the years who ‘thought of themselves’ as being open to change, but we all have that tendency to go into ‘default mode.’ We tend to fall back into our comfort zones. This is where teaming up with others on in your profession can be huge, because we often need another set of eyes to tell us if we are really growing and adapting, or if we are just kidding ourselves into thinking we are changing, when in fact we haven’t.

Speaking of change…

If you are a regular reader at, you’ve already seen that while some of writers are pros open do doing contract work for your firm, others are industry pros who are sharing their knowledge and insights with you in a do-it-yourself fashion! Some of our writers have zero interest in a new job, don’t do consulting, and have no service to sell – they simply love the industry and want to see it move ahead! We gladly showcase ANYONE of these categories!

The point is you are getting the best of both worlds here at, tips from top talent you can use on your own, or tips from top talent that you can get their professional services if you need or want that extra hand. Either way, you are the winner for reading and using new concepts you’ll find here. Either way, you have the TOOLS and RESOURCES that makes positive change a doable reality!

Thanks for making us the largest and fastest growing Trade Journal in the factory built housing world! Please keep on telling your friends and associates. In these challenging times tell your competitors too, because the rising tide will raise all ships. ##

L.A. 'Tony' Kovach, MHM - Publisher, Marketing Director and Industry Consultant
Manufactured Home Marketing Sales Management trade journal aka aka

The Masthead – December 2009 issue

December 10th, 2009 1 comment

The snow is falling here, with 6″ to 8″ is predicted by dawn. But regardless if you are in sunny FL, TX or AZ, if you are in the cold of Alaska, MT or Canada, or somewhere in between, there is excitement and energy in the air! Factory-built home industry pros are coming here in ever greater numbers – yes even during the Christmas shopping season! – and are thanking us privately by email or phone or publicly on posted replies for a positive, solution oriented content. Well, pat your neighbor on the back, because it is other positive, goal and solution oriented pros that are producing our content!

INdustry Professionals – in the trenches and with the seasoning – sharing their insights and positive solutions with other INdustry pros.

This issue will be like October and November, only on steroids!

We have returning writers and new to our Trade Journal talent! Names you know, and those who you will get to know. You’ll see more below on the good women and men who share their time and insights with you here at

Thanks to you for short is already the largest INdustry trade journal – after just two short months! – and we are the fastest growing MH industry professionals website too. Good folks like yourself are emailing, printing and handing out articles and blogs, linking in, texting and calling their associates and INdustry connections. In every sense, this site is for you, and thanks to you, we are growing more rapidly than we planned or hoped!

Thank you.

Thank you for checking our 24/7/365 INdustry news daily, for reading the classifieds, job postings, articles, surfing the photo gallery and signing up. Thanks for clicking through to our sponsors at rates 5 to 30 times ‘enhanced’ web marketing averages!

Let’s do a brief run-down of this month’s featured content.

Returning in December (and we hope in January, February and beyond!) is Tim Connor, CSP with a powerful concept: Want To Increase Your Sales? Build Psychological Debt. Some refer to this as the rule of reciprocity, but whatever you call it, implement this with your sales because it works!

The first of our EXCLUSIVE interviews with INdustry pros you know or should know begins with no less a personality than MHI’s Thayer Long! When you share this first cup of java with Thayer, you’ll certainly want another.

Suzanne S. Felber joins us for the first time with her report on Design_Trends 2010. Suzanne, the LifeStylist’s® work, first caught my attention some years ago, and this article will give you more than a clue as to the important merchandising trends this classy professional presents for your consideration and benefit!

Our next exclusive interview is with retail and manufacturing veteran, Doug Gorman! When you share a mug of hot brew with this giant of a gent, you’ll feel warm even if it is snowing outside.

Getting the Most for Your Marketing Dollars is a topic you’ve almost certainly ‘seen’ done online, but may not have considered much. Ken Sticher shares a dynamic way for you to get the best impression and for less money, all with the goal of bringing more clients to your doors!

GMHA President Jaime Hammons returns in December! Many of your ‘met’ Hammons for the first time in our last issue (available, as our all our articles free in our archives – one 30 second sign up is all it takes). This A Cup of Coffee with… Jaime Hammons gives you the unique perspective of an association director, and should make us all more grateful and supportive of our associations – national and local. Enjoy this pleasant and challenging read!

The Christmas Gift that Keeps Giving by Sue Frost introduces a topic that most larger firms appreciate and too many smaller firms ignore. Don’t ignore this timely topic, and hats off to Sue for taking time out of her busy schedule for sharing it with us here for you!

Speaking for myself and many in the INdustry who miss Chris Olvera’s insights and writing, we simply had to have Chris back for A Cup of Coffee with… Chris Olvera! See what Chris is up to, and take the time to let him know how much we still value all that he and the fine people at the MH Merchandiser Magazine did for our INdustry!

All Seasons Communications Rachel Biermann returns with advice that can position you for the coming uptick in business! Advertise during Tough Times for Lasting Benefits reminds us of why the winners keep on marketing, yes, even during a downturn! I follow this advice with my marketing, and I hope you will with yours too!

Dave Reynolds of The Mobile Home Park Store fame joins us in December with a winning analysis of How to Correctly Buy Mobile Home Parks in a Recession. As you’ve already noticed – and articles such as Dave’s fine one underscores – we present a variety of viewpoints for our readers here! While some are going after more upscale locations, Dave makes his case for why the ‘traditional’ MHP shouldn’t be ignored. A fine read from an experienced land-lease community owner, seller and coach.

Paul Bradley – President of ROC (Resident Owned Communities) gives you some facts worth considering if you are Selling your Community? If this concept as ‘scared’ some, Bradley brings on the witness – the people who have done sales to residents! – as to why this may be an approach to take if you are thinking about selling your land-lease community.

Mr. Electric Guitar – Mike Dupure, the Rocker Man! – shares the reasons why we should Remember it All Starts Here. Most of us have met at least one talented person who is…how shall we put this politely?… a bit taken with themselves? Sales talents like Dupure remind us that we are all a part of a team, and all that this humbling but important concept means.

I can’t give away Tim Saville’s insightful topic, only to say that I could TOTALLY relate to what he shared, and I’ll bet you will too! Don’t miss it – Say It Ain’t So by returning industry writer – and thinker extraordinaire – Tim Saville!

Let me take a moment and note that some of our ‘regular’s had past packed holiday schedules, and couldn’t make this December issue, but they plan to return in January 2010!

The Plus Sign by Greg McClanahan is the ideal book-end for Tim’s timely topic. McClanahan is another one of those modest but rarely gifted gents who glories in YOUR success, and shy’s away from his own notable accomplishments. If you want to improve your team in 2010 and beyond, a great place to start is by checking out Greg’s ‘Around the Campfire’ and this memorable story, The Plus Sign!

Common Management Mistakes by Tim Connor, CSP is another gem by this guru who has some 100 factory built housing industry clients to his credit! Want to improve management? Grow your sales? Cut down on CD? Take this Tim-bit and call Tim, AFTER you read this article!

SAVING THE PATIENT – is an MH Merchandiser flashback article. If you have a struggling MHP or MHC and want to fix the vacancy issue, this read shouldn’t disappoint you.

If you are sick and tired of MH Industry doom and gloom, please read “Short & Sweet” Discover why is focused on Marketing Sales and Management, and just how readily the numbers support the strong potential for MH Industry growth!

Speaking of growth, one of the reason’s this Ezine is growing so fast (besides our loyal readers like you) is the hard, behind the scenes work of our webmaster and Internet Marketing guru, Bob Stovall. Not unlike DuPure or McClanahan, Stovall is amazingly modest, and just as amazingly talented and affordable! If you want to do it yourself, follow his articles step by step, starting with: Are Websites Dead? by Bob Stovall.

Call tracking is the norm for many industries in America, and perhaps one reason why our industry has suffered so much is because too few of us are using this amazing tool to grow your sales, enhance your ROI in marketing and improve the telephone skills of your sales or leasing pros! Stop Losing Sales Opportunities by the Call Source team provides eye-opening statistics your marketing manager shouldn’t miss.

About a year has passed since Marty Lavin wrote ‘The Future?” for the Merchandiser. About 6 months has passed since the reply to that dire prediction was published there: Two Words. If you want an emotional boost – based on history and reason! – Two Words is for you.

Finally, this month’s extensive line up of featured articles wraps up with Synergy. Synergy is part of the fuel that will ignite the turn around of HUD Code Housing! Read it, practice it and encourage others to do the same!

We want to take a few moments to thank our sponsors – and you for clicking through to them! – and to remind those of you who haven’t found our News department to check it out. This is the most dynamic 24/7/365 – up to the minute news available at any one website online for the factory built housing professional! You’ll find association news, and news from a variety of sources, any time, day or night.

As robust as our writing line up is – and we hope you enjoy the diversity of styles, and upbeat solution oriented focus of this team – we are always on the look out for more good content for our readers! If you or an associate have a topic of INdustry interest, please don’t hesitate to send it in to

Also, we are looking for ANY or ALL industry pros to complete the TRENDS 2010 Survey. We will publish these replies in future editions, starting – of course – in January 2010! Download the survey from this link: fill in the blanks and email it in to, and your done!

Finally it would be my pleasure to ‘connect’ with INdustry professionals on Linkedin. If you don’t already have an account, just go to – like our website, its free and part of that Socialnomics that Bob Stovall is correctly sharing with our savvy readers. Not wanting to look too outdated, I set up a Linkedin account, and wow! Over 200 of you have already connected with me there!

Please go to: and let’s connect for the good of the factory-built housing business.

Please enjoy the December 2009 issue. Your feedback is welcome at the end of every article, on our forum or by email or linkedin to me. Working together for the future of our industry, let’s make it a grrrr8 day TODAY.

Tony Kovach – or or

L.A. 'Tony' Kovach, MHM - Publisher, Marketing Director and Industry Consultant
Manufactured Home Marketing Sales Management trade journal aka aka


November 28th, 2009 5 comments

They say that one excuse is as good as another. “I forgot” to: take out the trash, make the bed, return the call or message to a loved one may be an excuse for inattention. In our work, when one remembers to accept the pay check or direct deposit, but forgets or makes excuses for not giving their best effort or reaching a goal begs a deeper question. If one is not getting the results needed or desired and yet they aren’t reaching out for solutions and resources to resolve the challenge, well what excuse works for that scenario?

To the one making the excuse, any will do…ranging from “I forgot (perhaps, to care enough),” to the unspoken “My ego got in the way,” to “I’m stuck in my rut (what Zig Ziglar called an open-ended grave)” and of course “I was just too busy (doing things that weren’t meeting the goal or resolving the real issues, but man-oh-man, I sure am busy)”.

As even this brief – somewhat tongue in cheek – review reminds us is that inaction or the wrong action all have their excuses. One might observe that the excuse is there to protect the ego or projected image of the excuse-maker! But the excuse doesn’t change the need, and before you think – ‘Yeah, this reminds me of so and so!,‘ let’s be candid and admit we’ve all given an excuse to justify ourselves.

Okay, it isn’t even New Year’s, so why am I reading this pep talk on excuses that sounds like a message to make and keep resolutions? Because waiting until New Year’s is just another excuse! “But it’s the holiday season…” will sadly ring out more often this time of year than a Salvation Army bell!

Is your business, your team’s or your personal performance all that it could be? If you try to answer yes, go talk to the people closest to you, and ask them to tell you what they think or whisper to others! If we were doing our best, and working at getting better, shipments of new homes would be climbing!

To reverse declining sales trends, there are two levels of activity needed; one personal, the second our firm and the broader industry.

In a future post, we’ll talk about the incredible impact one more sale per location would have on our industry. I doubt there is a location in the nation that couldn’t close at least one more contract on a home a month. Clearly more than one is that much better! But the point is even a baby step towards growth is better than the excuses that are permitting constant declines!

Take the Baby Steps to Improvement. First, admit you need and WANT to IMPROVE!

Take 10-15 minutes a day for improvement. Look at what’s busy work and use that time more effectively to move you towards improved performance, or start a bit earlier daily. Catch up on industry news here at Read a feature article, blog or go into the archives. Ask yourself, “How can this idea or principle be successfully applied by me or our team?”

Next, “pass it on!” emailing, tweeting or Facebooking a joke or some cutsie thing is fine. But if more people in our firm and the industry start buying into the need for positive change, guess what? Positive changes will take place! At first it may be modest, but by losing the excuses, it’s like taking the breaks off enhanced performance!

Winners don’t make excuses.

Winners do what it takes.

So who wants to make excuses?

For those who are squirming a bit, that’s okay. Inside, the signals are coming that admit the need for change. Now, just follow the inner craving to grow! Take those daily baby steps!

Conventions and meetings are valuable. such as the Southeast Symposium II December 15-17, 2009  posted at Beyond participating in meetings, just remember, you don’t have to wait for improvement! You can start today, in fact, you already have because you read this far! Combine conventions, meetings or other training with what you can get from resources – including free ones like – by just taking the next step…

…daily. Make a new habit of daily growth, break out of the death trap of the busy work rut!

Looking ahead, we’ll offer features in our Manufactured Home Trade Journal Ezine on managing change, time analysis and effective use and the incredible value of teaming up and strategic alliances. For now, let’s conclude by saying this:

Learn, apply and share a few minutes daily. Remember, “when you are green, you grow, when you are ripe, you rot.”
For the many talented and successful pros out there, those who have ideas and solutions to share, jump on board and provide an article or column here with our rapidly growing numbers of industry readers! Email me at with your concept or article brief bio, you and your firm’s contact information and web address.  Be an every growing part of the Industry’s SOLUTION!
Don’t let the ego or any other excuse get in your way. Do what it takes, 10-15 minutes a day. Manage towards the enhanced goal you have or will set.

You’ll find free tips and business building resources here, or if you have more money than time, you can hire someone to help you manage towards your goal. People are buying homes, millions of Americans need what we have! So lose the excuses! As Nike says in their slogan;


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L.A. 'Tony' Kovach, MHM - Publisher, Marketing Director and Industry Consultant
Manufactured Home Marketing Sales Management trade journal aka aka