Positives in, Positives out!

January 7th, 2010 2 comments

In a computer class years ago, I recall those words: “Garbage in, Garbage out.” GIGO they called it.  True. But the opposite is also true! If you feed the mind positives and solution orientation, it is no surprise when positive solutions to real problems are achieved.

If you are an owner, executive, association leader or manager, what do you want your people reading? If they are ONLY reading how the industry has declined for 11 years, will they be solution and goal oriented? On the other hand, if you and your team mates are reading real world accounts of how individuals and enterprises alike are navigating the stormy winds – and are making those winds fill their sales to drive their business ahead! – then, then the idea of positives in, positives out begins to make sense.

Our pages are geared for the do-it-yourselfer. Read virtually any article or blog post since our inception, and you’ll see real world solutions by pros who are telling you how its done! If you want to hire the solutions out, call virtually any of our writers or bloggers at www.MHMarketingSalesManagement.com and you’ll hear forward thinking that makes sense on the other end of the line.

There are those who are selling homes and making money in this industry. They are doing it in the same markets where others are struggling to survive. What do you think those winners are doing with their minds? Do they feed it a bunch of negatives (garbage)? Or do you think they are looking at Positive Solutions? It makes sense to feed the mind with positive solutions, doesn’t it!

WalMart and McDonald’s are growing at a time when other retailers and restaurants are failing – they are promoting affordability. Some experts say 700.000 restaurants will go out of business this year…so why is the Texas Roadhouse packed night after night, while others are closing their doors?  Value and Appeal.  If you re-create your image in 2010 to send the message of value and appeal, you are bound to be ahead of the game.

Take  out the garbage.  Positives in, positives out! You are already here, feeding your mind with positives. Get others on your team and others in your circle of influence to do the same. Realize that this is the time to mobilize your people to input solutions and goals to output the performance that will get you there! ##

The new issue of www.MHMSM.com will go live next week. Download or read your favorite featured articles from the December issue now!  Thanks for surfing in and for spreading the word.

Your feedback on the comments section at this blog or to me directly via email at latonyk@gmail.com is welcome.

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

“Oh, Canada!”

January 4th, 2010 No comments

Emails and website reports are showing increased numbers of visits, messages and more from manufactured housing industry professionals in Canada. While many of our featured articles, news, photo gallery and other features will be of interest and use to Canadian readers, we realize that there are differences as well.


To state matters directly, we’d like to ask our Canadian readers and those who do business in Canadian markets to tell us what you’d like to see in our pages.  Help us serve you better with your feedback.  If you would check our Associations information to make sure the Canadian information is up to date and accurate, that too would be good for all concerned.

We also welcome feature article, association and news submissions from our great neighbors to the North!

Kindly post your thoughts on how we can better serve you below, or email me at latonyk@gmail.com, with Canadian Market Feedback in your email’s subject line.  Thank you!

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


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: http://www.mhmarketingsalesmanagement.com/featured-articles/189-short-and-sweet-just-how-easy-the-industry-turn-around-could-be

Optimist vs. Pessimist:


Synergy and the 7 Habits of Highly Successful People: http://www.mhmarketingsalesmanagement.com/featured-articles/191-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 www.MHMarketingSalesManagement.com 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 www.MHMSM.com  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
www.MHMarketingSalesManagement.com aka MHMSM.com aka MHProNews.com

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 latonyk@gmail.com – 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
www.MHMarketingSalesManagement.com aka MHMSM.com aka MHProNews.com

“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 (www.MHMSM.com) 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
www.MHMarketingSalesManagement.com aka MHMSM.com aka MHProNews.com

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 www.MHMarketingSalesManagement.com. 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 MHVillage.com, ManufacturedHomeSource.com 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 www.MHMarketingSalesManagement.com – free access available. <——


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

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 www.MHMarketingSalesManagement.com, 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 www.MHMSM.com, 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
www.MHMarketingSalesManagement.com aka MHMSM.com aka MHProNews.com