Hopefully, you aren’t reading this blog because you are struggling as an owner of a manufactured home dealership. But if you are, then this blog might give you some insights into what we think are five of the biggest mistakes that business owners make in the manufactured home business. As a manufacturer in the mobile home industry for fifteen years now, we have seen many dealerships come and go.
The manufactured home industry is always evolving, and business owners must evolve with the times. Changing markets and industry conditions mean businesses must be nimble. Here are some of the biggest mistakes we have seen happen with manufactured housing dealerships over the years.
“We’re Open So the Job’s Done, Right?”
Just because the sign says “open” doesn’t mean that the people will come. A common mistake in the manufactured home industry, and across many small businesses, is assuming that once your doors are open, your job is complete and customers will knock down your doors. However, getting your customers to know you opened your doors is where the real work begins.
Before you even open up a manufactured home dealership, you need to narrow down your target market and identify your ideal customer. Questions you need to ask are:
- Where is your target market?
- Who is your perfect customer?
- How many miles would you go to deliver a house?
Some walk-in traffic will come to you naturally just by people driving by your dealership, but it will not be long-lasting if you are also making some of the other mistakes on this list.
No Work, All Play
Spending time at your dealership sounds rudimentary, but it is truly fundamental to the success of the dealership. Opening up the business late or closing early on the weekends does not emulate the patterns of a successful business. Even if you have a good business with great foot traffic, that does not mean that you can let up.
If you want to have a successful dealership or any successful business for that matter, you have to be on location working your team to close sales. Both your customers and your employees need to know you are reliable, immersed in the business, and are willing to do whatever it takes to make the business successful. Playing golf the majority of the week while your sales team runs your business is ultimately going to impact sales and profitability. There needs to be a balance of hard work, and occasionally some play when the hard work is done!
Giving your team feedback and following up on past customers with persistence and consistency is a crucial part of sales in any industry. Follow-up sales team meetings should occur weekly, or daily if you feel your sales talent needs more guidance. Here are some key questions to ask of your sales force:
- Are they posting on social media? Facebook? Instagram? Pinterest?
- What are they posting on social media and why?
- What are their results from social media?
- Are they following up with customers?
- Have they obtained any new leads that week?
- Do they need help closing a sale?
Depending on how your dealership is structured, you might have a General Manager who is more hands-on with your sales team than you are personally. But you still need at least a broad overview of what your team is accomplishing and where there are roadblocks to success.
Keep It Professional
Make sure your sales lot looks tidy and clean and that your sales team presents themselves as professionals. A great way to keep your dealership appearance professional is to get your sales team on a unified front. For example, having everyone wearing a dealership branded polo or other clothing item reinforces your brand image. As in the mantra goes, look professional, act professionally.
Here are some other ways to keep up the professional decorum at your dealership:
- Keep cell phone usage non-existent or limited only to emergencies around customers
- Refrain from using curse language
- Tidy up offices and desks nightly
- Take out trash and recycling
- Offer coffee and refreshments for customers
- Have business cards at the ready
- Create a welcoming waiting area
Keep your product line to a maximum of two manufactured housing brands. The most successful dealers in our industry seem to carry no more than two brands at their dealerships. Offering a third or fourth product line for your customers creates brand confusion between models offered at your sales lot and can lead to customers hesitating in their purchase.
Many successful dealers are exclusive to one brand of manufactured homes at their dealership. It’s important to note that “used homes” or “repo homes” are a brand of their own since they are going to attract a different set of customers who are interested in purchasing a used home. When you are selling to a customer, you are going to be comparing the homes on your lot, so it’s recommended to have two distinctly different manufacturer brands at different price points to compare and contrast the homes to your customers.
Importance of Local Dealerships
People outside of the manufactured home industry create labels for people who are in the industry just by generalizing based on outdated notions. Selling affordable housing in your local town is just one of many ways you as a business owner are giving back to your community. You not only are selling affordable homes to people who need affordable housing options in the area, but you are also providing jobs for those in your community.
If you would like to start a dealership in your area and fill it with the most functional and affordable manufactured homes in the industry, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have future aspirations of building a manufactured home park and will need homes to fill the lots, please email email@example.com.
Please leave your feedback in the comments section below if you think we missed one of the biggest mistakes business owners make! What could they do better? We would love to hear from you.