Our sales were up 50% this year, and a big part of that is a strict adherence to the “Salescope” report. In this episode of the Mobile Home Park Mastery podcast, we’re going to review what this report is, why it helps get homes occupied, and how it can spotlight management flaws in your operating system. If you want to break records in occupancy, you need this report in your toolbox.
Episode 182: Why The "Salescope" Report Is A Powerful Tool Transcript
Ronald Reagan once coined the phrase, trust but verify. And now four decades later, we've tried to apply that same technique to what happens in the field regarding selling and renting mobile homes. This is Frank Rolfe, the Mobile Home Park Mastery Podcast. We're going to talk about a tool we use called the sales scope, what it is and how it works. Let's start off with the background of sales scope. We sell or rent a lot of homes every year, more than 1,000. And if you want to try and go and hit those levels of production, you have to really work hard. It's not just the old casual, hey manager, here's the keys to the house, try and find a customer for it. To do the kind of scale that we do, we have to put a lot more thought and energy behind the entire process. And as we started to rethink the process, one immediate flaw was very visible. Our managers did not, in the field, have a lot of real oversight as to what technically happened each and every day.
So we started to have to trust them in many arenas. And the problem is our business is based upon their performance. So that trust is a little scary. We had to have a way to verify that they were worthy of that trust. And that is what created the concept of the sales scope report. It's a weekly report that the managers turn in. Now, they don't have to do it unless they have vacant mobile homes to rent or sell. If there's none of those, then the report, as you'll hear in a moment, doesn't really have a whole lot of importance. But if they have even one home to rent or to sell then we make them do a weekly sales scope report.
Now, here are the points of the report and let's go over what each of them mean. The first, they have to send us three photos. One of the entry, one of the office, and one of the vacant home signage to show us that it's up and that it's correct. On the entry, we're wanting to see a banner that says home for sale or home for rent. On the office, we again want to see something showing perhaps [inaudible 00:02:39] bulletin board there to the right of the office store, showing that we have homes for sale or homes for rent. And then of course on the home itself, we want appropriate signage, one in the yard, one in the window that says home for sale or home for rent. But I can't just depend that they have that done. There's too much at stake. So I make them send me those photos every week. That way I know the banner didn't get stolen by a customer, that the sign in the yard of the mobile home didn't get removed by a customer who made it into a garage sale sign. That type of thing.
Number two, I want to see a screenshot of Craigslist and Facebook and any other social media that they're using. Social media is a big part today of finding customers for mobile homes. Of course, it's not the whole exercise. What's more important is what they see when they get there to look at the home. But nevertheless, we need to get the phone ringing, we need foot traffic coming in and I need to make sure that those social media ads, Craigslist, Facebook, what have you, those actually are happening.
Number three, I want to see three photos of the inside and three photos of the outside of the home to make sure that it's ready. And when I say ready, I don't just mean the floor is solid and it's painted. I want evidence that it's actually in a condition that someone would want to buy it, that it's clean, that it's sightly. So I'm basically going to look at these pictures and I'm going to decide, gee, does this look like a home that I, myself, would want to buy or rent? And the answer is no. Then we haven't done our job yet.
Next, what is the price of the home? In our business, the customers are very point of purchase. They want to know right on the spot and who wouldn't? What does this home costs? You have to have the price. The manager cannot say, I'm not sure. Let me call the office. I'm not sure. Let me look at my computer. I'm not sure. I'll get back to you in a couple of days. That isn't going to cut it. So I want to know that the manager knows how much the home costs and if the home is for rent, how much the monthly rental payments would be.
Next, I want to know what the showing days and hours are at this mobile home park. I know what they're supposed to be. And the manager's told me in the past, but I want to reiterate one more time, what are they? Because I want them to be aware that if they said the hours will be evenings on two days a week and on a Saturday, that they actually are doing that. So I'm just trying to verify that they know what I know what they said, the showing days and hours should be.
Now, many of our managers are only part time as far as number of hours. So those hours may vary greatly based on what you're paying the manager and what your relationship is with the manager, as far as how many hours they work per week. But if you really try to hit big production numbers, you've got to be open on Saturdays. And you've got to be open a little later, at least one or two times a week, because most customers are working and you want them to be working because that's how they would maybe be able to pay for the home to begin with.
Next, I want to know the number of calls received this week. Now I already know that data because I'm going to already be capturing that through the VoIP system of Rent Manager. But if you don't have Rent Manager, then there's a service called Who's Calling that will also record every call that comes in, it will give you the phone number of everyone who calls in, it'll show you how long the call lasted, if the manager answered it, everything you'd ever want to know. So I've already captured that data. And I hardly recommend that anyone trying to sell or rent homes, first thing you do is you port that number through Who's Calling, unless you have Rent Manager, in which case you put it through VoIP. I want to know that they know that I know how many calls they got. And also I want to make sure that they actually have been tracking it.
So if they say, well, we received 7 calls this past week and my records show 20. We have a real problem. I want those numbers to match. I want them to be aware that every call coming in is extremely vital to the business.
Next, this next one is something that I'm going to do. I'm going to go ahead and listen to at least three of those recorded calls on VoIP or on Who's Calling. And I want to hear them professional in nature. I want to hear the manager answering the phone with the name of the property, proudly. Sunrise Estates. How can I help you? I want to hear what they say with the customer. Yes, we do have some homes. We'd love to show them to you. When can you come by? I want to hear enthusiasm, I want to hear professionalism. So I am going to be doing that one myself, just to make sure that the manager is answering the phone and managing those calls appropriately. And what is the key job of an incoming call? It's very simple. It's to turn that customer into a showing. No one has ever in the history of the world successfully sold or rented a mobile home over the phone. So phone as a tool is only of value if I can then convert that into a showing. I want to make sure the managers is actually pushing for the showing.
Next, I want to know how many showings we had for the week. 1, 2, 10. How many people coming in from the calls actually then came in to look at a home? There's a standard metric we've devised over the years called 9-3-1. 3 showings equals 1 sale. And 3 calls equals 1 showing. So you need 9 calls, which ends up with 3 showings to get 1 home sold or rented. So how many showings did they have for the week? If they had 9 showings, they should have had 1 sale or rental. If they had 18, then there's no excuse not to have had 1, but if they only had 2 or 3, then it's not enough.
Now, next back to my homework is I want to call at least three of those numbers captured through VoIP or through Who's Calling to do exit interviews with those folks on why they did or did not buy or rent a home and the property? I'm doing this because I'm trying to find out how we're doing. And also I want to be able to change what we're doing to make it more effective. If I talk to three customers and I hear the same story from all three, well, I really liked your property and your manager did a great job, but the home down the street is just a whole lot less expensive. Then I may need to readjust my pricing. That's information I need to know. The best manager in the world will probably not be able to sell or rent any homes if I'm ridiculously over-market.
But if the customer also says, yes, I went in at the appropriate time for the showing and the manager didn't show up, or the manager did a terrible job and actually scared me away from buying the home then I know I have a manager problem. So those exit interviews are extremely telling. There's probably no greater source of information on a mobile home park as to why you're not doing a very good job of getting homes out the door than finding out the truth from your customers. And the only way you can do this with exit interviews.
Next, I want to know how many homes were sold or rented for the week. So how many did we get out the door? And I then go and look at that log of calls coming in from Who's Calling or VoIP to figure out statistically, did I actually translate every nine calls into a sale or rental? It's not that mathematically precise, but I'm trying to get a handle if there's a problem in the sales process of what the problem is.
Is the problem is the manager won't answer the phone? Is it that they're not any good on the phone and therefore we don't get any showings? Is it that they don't show up at the showings or do a professional job? Or is it simply a fact that we're doing lousy marketing, which is why the phone's not ringing enough or our pricing is not appropriate and that's why we're not getting anything closed.
Finally, I want to know from the manager for that week, what our current promotions are, if any. Sometimes we'll run promotions, the promotion might be a reduction in the amount you have to have for the deposit, first month's rent or the all in moving costs. I want to know that they're paying attention to those promotions. That's why we do the promotions is try and spur sales to a higher level, but it won't do any good if they don't know what the promotion is.
Now will the sales scope revolutionize your ability to sell or rent homes? I think it might. I think even if you adapt only portions of what I've just said to what's going on in your property, I know that you will have greater performance. Because at the end of the day, trust and verify is a very important system. We have to let our managers have some degree of flexibility in the field. We have to trust that they will do the best they can, that they will do a good performance. But at the same time, there are some basics we must verify so they don't damage the business through their own shortcomings. So listen to what Ronald Reagan said back in the eighties, he was a heck of a good president, had a great, great performance during his presidential run. And trust but verify may just be the catalyst to help you sell or rent homes at a faster pace than you did in prior years. This is Frank Rolfe, the Mobile Home Park Mastery Podcast. Hope you enjoyed this. Talk to you again soon.