Posted by Mark on July 14, 2000 at 10:01:46:
I really have no new information. My test ad was pretty much as prescribed by Lonnie. The relatively large number may have to do with the duration of the ad. But even on a weekly basis it did fine. The details follow.
The paper would run 3 lines for 3 weeks for around $25 if I included a price in the ad. Plus they give you a fourth week free if it doesn’t sell. If I wouldnot include a price, the ad cost was something like 3x as much for one week.
I should say this was not the Cincinnati paper that serves the entire metropolitan region. It was a smaller paper that serves the suburbs and towns on my side of Cinci. I don’t know if the larger paper would have done better or worse.
Since I was approaching this cautiously, I chose to run the paper’s bargain ad for less money and a longer period of time. That meant it had to include a price. It read:
3 bdrm available immediately. WILL FINANCE EZ TERMS.
The first week did well (~20) and surprisingly (to me) the second week performed equally well (~20). The third week dropped to around 10 and the fourth week only 5.
Some marketing types will tell you that an ad should run for a while because some of the audience will not respond initially; they have to see it several times. The repetition builds credibility. I don’t know if that was the case here or if these people only buy/read the paper occasionally so it takes a while to reach everyone. Anyway, that’s how it worked out for me.
Of course many callers wanted to know what “EZ terms” meant. So I followed the book and said is “reasonable and negotiable” depending on the MH and the buyer. Most the callers were disappointed that the home was no longer available.
I would ask if they currently rent (almost all did) and what they pay a month. They have no problem sharing that figure. This also lead to a lot of information I did not ask but was interested to here (lost job, new job, MH park throwing me out, etc). I would ask if that (rent figure) is a number that they are comfortable with and most would be…some would revise it higher or lower.
During that portion of the conversation I would remind them that in addition to the home payment they would have lot rent. This helped “test” their numbers. Also it rvealed who is familiar with MHs. I thought that might help qualify who would really like the home. Lonnie had said something to the effect that you don’t want to put people in the home who feel it is inconsistent with their living standard.
Then I would ask what a comfortable down payment would be and 95% would say an exact figure. I would also ask how soon they would be ready to move if I found a home. This helped identify who was really “hot” and often lead to additional information as well. Somewhere along the way I inquired if they really need a 3 bdrm or would 2 be OK? This helped refine my buyer?s list.
In some cases we used the $6000 home as a hypothetical so the caller could see how the terms would have worked out given their finances. Everyone liked what he or she heard. I am confident I could have sold a home if I would have had any. As you saw in my other post, I had some opportunities but was too conservative.
All of this dialogue makes for a long note but only takes a minute or two on the phone.
Hope that helps. Good luck.