Looking Ahead at 2023

John Ace Underwood

Our industry has just gone through two interesting years. Many homes were placed under contract, and many homes were ordered, but due to the prolonged delivery times, we’re still not totally sure of how many will end up delivered and funded. For many reasons, many retailers have excess inventory needing to move quickly. Combining that with a decrease in demand, looking ahead in 2023 doesn’t look easy.

There are still reasons for optimism. Homeownership is still the American Dream, we’ve never built a better product, and we literally own the words “affordable housing,” yet we remain one of the best-kept secrets in residential housing. If more prospective buyers truly knew the value our industry could deliver, sales would increase exponentially.

Why does manufactured housing only represent 9% of new, single-family homes, and modular housing represents around 3%? Many would argue that it’s about the availability of financing, which certainly has merit, although we must agree that one of the factors that influence the availability of financing is investor confidence in our industry. The fact is, there is always an endless pool of money chasing higher returns.

So, what can we do at a retail level to change the stereotypical perceptions of our industry, attract more and higher quality buyers, and sell more homes? It boils down to two words: Customer Experience. The customer experience does not begin when a potential buyer comes to our retail center, but rather is what the customer experiences from the moment they first become aware of our industry and begin making contact. This would include, but not be limited to, the ease of finding your website, the ease of finding the information they want when they are on your website, the response they get when they submit an inquiry, or perhaps even call, how our sales staff handles inquiries, the effectiveness of your lead management and follow-up, how effectively your team converts leads into appointments, etc. I think you get my point.

Here’s the simple truth. The degree to which you control the customer experience dictates the degree of success you will achieve in virtually any market. It’s just that simple, and it’s just that difficult.

All of you have heard the saying, “nothing happens until somebody sells something.” That’s not 100% correct. A more accurate statement would be, “Nothing happens until somebody buys something.” There’s a lot of selling taking place, but what we’re trying to achieve is to get more people to buy. We here at LearnMH.com are here to provide the tools and resources retailers will need to survive and thrive.

Let’s make 2023 a success for all of us. Let’s work together as we transition into next year. In the coming weeks, I will discuss the “3 Pillars of Success” every retailer must have in place if they wish to maximize sales. I’ll explain how each pillar ties into the customer experience and gives you greater control. Like so many other things, it’s not difficult, you just have to know what to do. Join me here; I promise you’ll be glad you did.


About John Ace Underwood

John Ace Underwood has a very successful 30-year career in the manufactured and modular housing industry. As a manager for a single lot retailer in the southeast, he managed up to 9 salespeople with sales typically over 45 homes per month. John has also served as Vice President for multi-lot manufactured housing retailer in the southwest.
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