What’s So Hard About Doing This? – & MORE…
What’s So Hard About Doing This?
90% of MHRetail Salecenter & LLCommunity Sales/Leasing Consultants Do Not Do What’s Described in the Following Paragraphs, Yet Every One of Them Should!
Note to regular readers of this weekly blog! No, we’re not turning this timely, informative and widely read communication tool into a tutorial about signage, Mystery Shopping; and this week and next, telephone and in person, on – site salesmanship and leasing. Rather, we’re taking a short hiatus to ensure everyone reading this blog can say, once the previous and following suggestions have been implemented and supervised, “We’re doing our part to put the MHIndustry & LLCommunity asset class back on track as this nation’s Best Source for truly affordable, attractive, quality, non – subsidized, ‘green’ housing, along with highly Desirable Lifestyle Environments in professionally managed landlease (nee manufactured home) communities!” So here goes….
The phone rang six times before someone answered, saying “Whadaya want?” When I asked if it was ‘so & so’ MHRetail salescenter in ‘such & such’ landlease community, they answered: “Yea.” Such is the too frequent beginning of MOST initial telephone inquiries to MHRetail salescenters, in and outside LLCommunities. Folk, it’s time to ‘shape up’ and start performing professionally as leasing and sales pros, or admit defeat, and get into some other line of work.
Here’s how the initial incoming telephone inquiry from an otherwise interested, and let’s for the moment assume, ‘qualified’ prospective homebuyer and rental homesite lessee, or eventual resident, should be handled.
Answer the phone on the second ring; not the first, third, fourth, fifth, or sixth. Why? Several good reasons. First, use the initial ring as a reminder to put a SMILE into one’s voice! Use the first ring to ‘get motivated’ to sell and or lease! As Zig Ziglar oft said, “I’d rather be greeted with a fake smile (in one’s voice), than with a genuine frown!’ So, give your new customer a genuine SMILE! Think about it. Furthermore; answering on the ‘first ring’ is akin to pouncing on the potential customer – like you’ve got nothing else to do but that. Answering on the third, fourth, fifth, or sixth ring conveys the opposite message: ‘Hey, I’ve got better things to be doing than talk to you!’ Surely you’ don’t want to convey that turnoff message, do you?
So, what Greeting to use? Longtime readers and clients of mine know, I prefer how the Newby Management team, of Ellenton, FL., ‘does it’: “Good morning (or afternoon); Thank You for Calling Newby Management (or salescenter name). I’m (name), how may I serve you?” Oomph! Did you catch that? Don’t know ‘bout you, but I want to get to know folk better who want to SERVE me! And here’s your opportunity to begin to do likewise. Perhaps it’s high time you start wowing your prospective homebuyers and site lessees when they phone!
Early on in the initial telephone conversation, Ask for caller’s name, and Make a record of it on the Daily Traffic Report (You do have such a daily record of phone calls and on – site visits, right?) on the clipboard right next to the telephone. After all, you just shared your name during the Greeting, so ‘fair’s fair’ to ask for theirs – and use it during the conversation. Besides, if you’re like me, and sincerely believe this initial phone contact is a critical first key step to developing Good Resident Relations = More Resident Referrals = Great Resident Retention (a.k.a. ‘6Rs of Really Good Resident Relations!’), then ‘Get this relationship off to a good start!’ And by asking for prospect’s name that serves as a good and timely reminder to get their contact information as well – adding it to the aforementioned daily traffic report. Let me know if you’d like a ‘free’ copy of such a traffic recording form.
At this point, inquire as to caller’s housing needs. What’s needed? When is it needed? How will they be paying for the home and site rent (qualifying question). Just be careful not to discriminate during this important first conversation. How to know? Just recall that old bromide: ‘Realtors Can Really Sell Housing Fast Now!’ The first letter of each word is a reminder of each of the seven protected classes of citizenry: Race, Creed, Religion, Sex, Handicap, Family, and Nationality. Think I’m kidding? You won’t, the first time you get caught practicing ‘linguistic profiling’ by an agent contracted by the federal government to ensure you’re playing fairly. During this part of the conversation, offer some pricing information as well (housing price range, site rent amount), as a further non – discriminatory way to qualify prospects.
Furthermore, if the caller is interested enough to have phoned the salescenter and or property, given you their name and address/phone number, and worked through the housing needs and qualifying conversations, by all means ASK FOR A DEFINITE APPOINTMENT TO VISIT on – site!
But the job is not yet done! Don’t forget to offer Travel Directions to your location. Don’t cop out and suggest they use Map Quest or rely on a GPS system. While popular tech options, there’re still many folk not so technically inclined, and need help finding your location. While you’re at it, ask How They Learned of the salescenter or property. Why? This is the easiest and best way to gauge the effectiveness of whatever marketing means are in effect at the time, e.g. referrals, billboard, drive – by, newspaper ads, online information (e.g. MHVillage.com), Yellow Pages directory, local Chamber of Commerce, brochure picked up at a local hotel, resident referral, and on and on.
Well, that’s about it. Those are the most basic of touchstones used by the most successful of leasing and sales consultants working in today’s MHRetail salescenters and on – site in landlease communities. How confident are YOU, your staff is following that or a similar routine? Maybe time to find out! How? Mystery Shop them! Call the MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 and ask for a ‘free’ copy of the Standard Shopping Report form.
OK, let’s turn our attention to what happens when the prospective homebuyer and or homesite lessee arrives to see and experience housing product and lifestyle features.
Do you have signage off – site and on – site to guide visitors to your location? In last week’s blog we talked about bootleg signs at interstate exits, adopting the last quarter mile of highway leading to your property’s entrance, WELCOME HOME entrance signage, and vacant rental homesite signs suggesting BUILD YOUR NEW DREAM HOUSE HERE! Call (information center’s phone number). Are these signs now in place? How ‘bout getting prospect from the entrance to the Information Center (Hopefully you’re not still calling it an Office). If it isn’t right there within eyesight of the entrance, plan on putting small signs out enroute to it. And reserve best parking spot with the sign: RESERVED FOR FUTURE RESIDENT!
OK, prospect arrives on – site, at the Information Center, gets out of their vehicle and comes into the salescenter. What does your staff do? Do you have any idea? You’d better! Here’s what they ‘should do’…
We’re going to stop here, for now, for two reasons: Some blog readers have suggested these postings are too lengthy. And perhaps they are. What do you think? Please let me know, via response to this specific posting at this website, or via email to email@example.com or at above phone number. Other reasons? Have some breaking Good News to share with you in the following paragraph or two.
SSBRA Announces affordable, frost resistant foundation!
Today, 1 July 2010, the Systems Building Research Alliance (‘SBRA’) announced the release of the FROST FREE FOUNDATION® design, an affordable foundation solution for placing homes in areas subject to frost. The design is far less costly than either poured concrete footings that extend the foundation below the frost line or concrete (‘floating’) slabs, the two alternatives recommended by HUD for complying with the Manufactured Home Installation Standards in areas subject to frost, which includes most of the U.S.
The FROST FREE FOUNDATION® is based on this simple concept: if a home is installed in a manner that assures the ground under the home is dry and will remain dry, the soil will lack sufficient moisture to heave. For such homes, installing components intended to resist frost heave, such as concrete footings below the frost line, adds cost but provides little value. The concept follows from the manufactured housing industry’s decades of experience installing millions of homes in the Frost Belt with few problems. As industry expert George Porter, an early and tireless advocate for the project explained, “The concept is simple; keep the ground dry, no frost heave. It’s not rocket science.” The design is a variation on the shallow, frost protected foundation systems increasingly popular with site builders.
The FROST FREE FOUNDATION® was developed with financial support from several state MHAssociations and companies involved in manufactured home product, supply, community operators (including the author of this blog posting), and MHRetailers. Seven home manufacturing companies also provided funding. The work was guided by a technical committee chaired by Mark Ezzo of Clayton Homes. In developing this foundation solution, the SBRA (a division of the Manufactured Housing Institute) engaged the services of Paul Hayman, PE. Explaining the dynamics of frost heave, Hayman emphasized ground heave can only occur if three conditions are met: the soil is frost susceptible, outdoor temperatures below freezing are sustained for long periods, and the soil has sufficiently high moisture content.
Interested in more information on this timely and critical subject? Visit www.research-alliance.org/pages/frostfreefoundation.htm Also reach Emanuel Levy, executive director of the Systems Building Research Alliance via (212) 496-0900X14 or firstname.lastname@example.org
What’s Really Happening Throughout the MHIndustry & LLCommunity real estate asset class these days? Next week, 13 – 15 July, in Washington, DC., MHI will host its annual Summer Meeting & Legislative session, also the National Communities Council (‘NCC’) division. Second meeting of the CONSORTIUM of Print & Online Trade Publications will occur at that time, along with a planning meeting for the previously announced Grand ‘Once & For All’ Tour of seven regions during 2010 & 2011. Contact Thayer Long @ (703) 558-0678 for MHI/NCC details.
Week of 23 August 2010? If in Chicago at the time, and a LLCommunity owner/operator, plan to attend a networking dinner for LLCommunity execs, a two day Finance (Chattel) Finance Seminar, the one day Manufactured Housing Manager (‘MHM’) professional property management training and certification seminar. For info call (317) 346-7156.
And, 15 – 17 September, plan to be in Phoenix, AZ., for the 19th annual International Networking Roundtable event, featuring Community Series Homes (‘CSH’) on display; dozens of LLCommunities ‘for sale’ around the U.S.; Randy Rowe, of Green Courte Partners, as leadoff keynote presenter, along with 20 additional educational and panel discussion offerings! For a brochure and or to register as a LLCommunity owner/operator or event sponsor, phone the MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.
George Allen, Realtor®, CPM®Emeritus, MHM
Consultant to the Factory – built Housing Industry &
The Landlease Community Real Estate Asset Class
Box # 47024, Indianapolis, IN. 46247