Caravan Terminology – Guide For Buyers

A Frame – This is the triangular frame that is at the front end of the caravan. It is usually covered by a piece of moulded plastic. It also houses the handbrake and the electrical leads.

ABS – Most caravans are now built using ABS (acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene) as it is light, shiny and repairable.

Aquaroll – A roll-along container for fresh water which connects to your caravan water inlet using a submersible pump.

Awning – Similar to a three-sided tent which attaches to your caravan through the awning rail, located on the side of the caravan. Awnings range from either a full awning, which runs the whole length of the caravan, to a porch awning which fits over the caravan door.

Awning Rail – The rail on which the awning threads into which runs along the sides and top of the caravan.

Berths – The number of people the caravan will sleep.

Breakaway Cable – A steel cable which is permanently fixed to the lower end of the handbrake lever with a clip on the other end which attaches to your towbar. This cable would apply the caravan brakes if, for instance, the caravan became unattached from the car.

Butane Gas – The gas sold in blue cylinders. It burns at a slightly slower rate so it is a more efficient heat provider, which usually makes it the preferred choice of Caravanners. It cannot be used in freezing temperatures and is heavier than propane. If you switch from propane to butane you will need to switch regulators.

CaSSOA – Caravan Storage Site Owners Association – using a CaSSOA recognised site will often get you discounts on your caravan insurance policy.

Corner Steadies – The legs which wind down from the corners of the caravan which ensure the stability of the caravan when pitched.

Coupling Head – Also referred to as the “hitch” – the part of the caravan which couples to the towball on your car and locks on.

CRIS – Stands for “Caravan Registration and Identification Scheme” and is the national register for touring caravans in the UK.

Delamination – When the adhesive bonding the caravan floor layers become unstuck, allowing the floor layers to start to creak and become spongy.

Full Service Pitch – A pitch which has water and electricity supply, as well as a connection to the waste system. You may also have a direct TV aerial connection. Can also be known as a multi-service pitch.

Garage – Part of the caravan, usually bunks which fold up when not in use, that opens from the outside so that you can put in large items for storage, e.g. bikes.

Gross Train Weight – The combined maximum allowable weight of the loaded caravan and car, which the law states should not be exceeded.

GRP – Glass Reinforced Plastic used for the construction of the caravan panels (not used on newer caravans).

Hitch Head Stabiliser – Works by applying friction to the tow ball, therefore stabilising the caravan.

Hitch Lock – The hitch lock is a metal lock which fits over the caravan coupling head, therefore preventing the caravan from being stolen. This is essential to most insurance policies.

Hook-Up Lead – The lead which connects the caravan to the site mains electrical supply.

Jockey Wheel – The small wheel at the front of the caravan ‘A’ frame which you can use for maneuvering the caravan and which supports the front end.

Maximum Towing Weight – The maximum weight that the manufacturer will allow the car to tow under any circumstances and which must NEVER be exceeded.

MIRO – Stands for “Mass in Running Order” – This is the weight of the caravan when equipped to the manufacturer’s standard specification (before being loaded with all your equipment).

MTPLM – “Maximum Technically Permissible Laden Mass” – This is the manufacturer’s top limit for what a caravan can weigh when it is fully loaded with all your caravanning gear.

Motor Mover – An electric device which is fixed to the caravan which allows the caravan to be moved when not hitched up. It uses a remote control to move the caravan and works using the caravan battery.

Noseweight – The maximum amount of downward force which the car manufacturer will allow to be exerted on the towball.

Outfit – The car and caravan are known together as an “outfit”.

Roof Light – A window in the roof which can be opened.

Single Axle – A caravan with just one set of wheels, usually a smaller caravan.

Stabiliser – A stabiliser helps to keep the caravan stable when being towed. It uses friction to damp down movement around the tow ball and will help to correct any excess movement. Do not rely on a stabiliser alone to keep the caravan stable – you must still load the caravan correctly and keep the caravan tyres in good condition.

Steady Locks – These lock the caravan steadies (legs) in the down position, which makes it difficult to tow the caravan away.

Supermule – A safety device which is wound down from the caravan’s floor when you are parked which will prevent the caravan being towed away, as the more the caravan is pulled the more the Supermule digs in to the ground.

Twin Axle – A caravan that has two sets of wheels.

User Payload – The total weight of the accessories you can carry in the caravan.

Wastemaster (or Waste Carrier) – A container with wheels which holds your waste water until you need to empty it at a service point on site. It connects to your caravan’s waste water outlet, and will slide under your caravan.

Wheel clamps – They fit around the caravan tyres and wheels to prevent the wheel rotating, which therefore prevents the caravan being stolen.

Give Your Home Curb Appeal and Watch it Attract Many More Buyers

Curb appeal is all about bringing out the beauty of the front part of your home. Curb appeal is that subtle quality that makes your home welcoming, inviting, warm, fresh, appealing and interesting. It is what makes a potential buyer want to see more of the house as he/she looks at it for the first time. There are countless stories from real estate agents of buyers refusing to get out of the car to view a house simply because the outside was not well kept. If you have already given the inside of your home a makeover, it is time to deal with the outside so that it does not drive potential buyers away.

It is true that money is not easy to come by, but do not hold back on giving the outside of your home a beauty treatment. You do not have to put yourself in a financial bind to give your home curb appeal, but do not neglect it or buyers will go on to the next house on their list.

The first thing you should do is walk outside and view your house objectively. Try to find the above-mentioned qualities…welcoming, inviting, warm, fresh, appealing, etc. If you cannot see them, then it is likely that no one else will either. Try to remember what attracted you to your home when you drove up and looked at it for the first time.

Perhaps you saw an attractive front door with a well-painted door frame. If the paint on your front door and door frame has faded and/or cracked, then it is time to sand it down and repaint it. If your door is natural wood, then clean and varnish it again. You will be surprised how your wooden door will glow with a good cleaning, treatment and varnish.

Artists use focal points in their artwork to draw the viewer’s eye. No matter how modest your house is, you can find a focal point or something of interest to draw attention. There are details such as shutters, brackets, moldings, eaves, windows and window frames which can be used to draw potential buyer’s eye. You should use contrasting, not too bold, colors that show attention to detail.

People walking up to your home will look at your lawn, and they will notice any worn, brown or missing patches. Make sure you take care of those and also make sure that you mow the lawn. While you are at it, fill your planters with bright flowers if you have them. If not, you may want to go to your local flea market and find some planters to fill. And while you are at the flea market, pick up some hanging pots and plant flowers in them.

You do not want your house looking like the rest of the houses in the neighborhood and strategically placed flowers will make sure that it does not. The idea is to make your house say look at me, without going over the top with colors that will detract rather than add to its beauty. Look at the other houses in your neighborhood and then make yours different and more attractive. That is curb appeal, and it will make your home look much better and it will hopefully sell much faster.

Buyers Guides Vs Unbiased Product Reviews – Why More And More Consumers Are Preferring The Latter?

If you are on the look out for a buyers guide before going on your next shopping spree, here’s something that can help you make a smarter choice! We all know there are buyers guides written and compiled by product experts that are served along with the newspapers and magazines. You can get a buyers guide for buying a new lip color to a new car. Usually these buyers guides tell you everything about your new buy and aren’t you excited at these when they talk about the best features of a new Nokia phone or a new motorbike that is just launched? There isn’t any doubt that these guides are packed with information and still are very powerful tools in today’s markets. Often these guides are compiled by a publishing house and sponsored by manufacturer of products for which the guides are meant for. But let’s keep in mind that most of the time these guides are nothing short of adverts in disguise.

There are several compelling reasons for these buyers guides to mimic an advertisement. One is most of the time the guides are sponsored directly or indirectly (through advertisements) by product manufactures and so the authors cannot really write against the products and therefore have to toe the line of the manufacturers. And since there is no way that the primary players of the buying and selling game, i.e. the buyer, manufacturer or an existing consumer of the product can interact it becomes basically a one-way conversation where the buyer gets to hear all good things about the product. This is more of a biased representation of the products which it features and in most cases the authors of the guides are the company representatives or other hired people having an interest in promotion of the product.

Appropriately a buyers guide, as the name suggests should be buyer or consumer-centric and primarily cater to the betterment of the consumers. If we think hard, we would know that customer satisfaction goes a long way to strengthen the business. So a true buyers guide will not only help the consumers but also the manufacturer of the products in the long run. Once a buyer criticizes a product it actually presents an opportunity for the manufacturer or the sellers to rectify that defect or lacuna or respond to the changing taste of the consumers. But unfortunately such buyers guides are not abundant in circulation and still the vast majorities are the one-way communication types where reporters and paid experts write a product review more as a part of a business deal than a critical review. Probably the authors and publishers of the buyers guide failed to realize the need of the consumers; the consumers are looking for more than brochures in the buyers guides.

So what is the choice before the consumer in the absence of a true buyers guide? Consumers gradually are learning to differentiate between biased information and true feedback. They cannot be just fooled anymore and already many consumers are turning their back to these sponsored guides. They are increasing relying on fellow consumers for information about products and services. Gone are the times when a company can form a consumer opinion by clever advertising and influence buyers to select their products. The consumers in the 21st century have a very powerful tool within their reach and that is internet. There are already hundreds of blogs which anyone can access and these online journals tell us the real consumer experience about products and services. They also narrate the harrowing experience that some consumers had to face due to unscrupulous companies and or inferior products. The information is voluntary and not paid for and so people perceive them as authentic as compared to the adverts. There are positive feedbacks too which are actually recommendations and consumers are taking cues and choosing smartly.

But the battle against biased information that seek to influence and misguide consumers can only be won if there is a larger participation. It is time for consumer action that makes sure consumers reclaim their rights and their voices are heard. Also they deserve timely action as they are tired of the slow and often ineffective consumer forums that have a very poor record in India. In the backdrop of a weak consumer rights protection system and many vested interests only consumers can help fellow consumers and they can do so without spending any money or much effort. There are already few websites available where a consumer can find out feedbacks about a product and also write a review for others to read. But again discretion should be applied as some of the websites contain many bogus reviews and also paid inserts. Consumer blogs are also very good source of unbiased and authentic information. The best part is that a consumer can also interact with the author and can ask specific questions before making a buy decision. So if you are a smart consumer better listen to your folks than an expert when you want to buy a product next time. Don’t worry too much about the experts, you can be an expert overnight and all you just need is to write product reviews which are eagerly waited by other consumers who want to read them.

Seinfeld’s Soda Machine Theorem of Converting Your Prospects Into Buyers

One of my favorite Seinfeld episodes is the car dealership, where Jerry is looking to buy a new car in a dealership from Puddy, his mechanic and Elaine’s boyfriend at the time (George does a hilarious candy bar lineup, but I’ll talk about that one another time). Anyway, Elaine is trying to break up with Puddy, and she’s trying to convince Jerry (and herself) that their relationship has finished in one mighty blow. Jerry says there’s no way that’s possible and that: “breaking up is like trying to tip a soft drink machine over – you can’t do it with one strong push, you have to rock the darn thing back and forth until it finally tips over”

Words of wisdom indeed.

But wise old Seinfeld’s proverb can be applied to more than just dating.

That idiom is right for making a sale too – rarely does it happen with one mighty blow of conviction (that does happen once in awhile, but only with people who know, like and trust you already, i.e. they’re on your house list, usually past customers).

So how do you rock the proverbial soda machine into a sale?

Well, the first obviously (and popular) way is through emails.

Now, one important thing you need to remember when building your email sequence (that your competition is probably not doing because they don’t know what the hell they’re doing) is

People don’t want to be taught – they want to be entertained

The emails are where you bond with your audience and they get to know you, so don’t try too hard teach your audience. Rather, give them some entertaining content with a bit of soft teaching (i.e. tell them what they need to do to fix their problems but NOT HOW to do it), so they enjoy (and even look forward to) your emails, and they get the sense they’ve learned something informative while enjoying themselves.

Another way to rock your audience back and forth until their wallet falls out, which I’ve written about in previous articles, is engaging with them offline.

Direct mail still is, contrary to common belief, a very effective (and much less crowded nowadays) way to connect with qualified prospects and get them to bond with you even faster.

How come you ask?

Because sending someone direct mail with some attention-grabbing mechanism (check out my article about Dan Kennedy and the “grabbers” concept) creates 2 strong beliefs in your prospect’s mind:

That you’re a real person, not some virtual bot or a wet-behind-the-ears newbie trying his luck online, and…

That you’re a serious business – who else sends stuff by mail nowadays? Only big corporations, insurance companies, and the government. Although this is usually a much-hated crowd – they’re perceived as VERY serious, so being a part of that crowd gives the same sense of seriousness to your business.

To stand out of the crowd, go to the extents that your competition will dare not follow.