For HVAC contractors, one of the most reliable conduits to learn about industry products and trends is through the distributor network. Contractors often depend entirely on distributors to provide training for their employees — training that otherwise might not be readily available.
Manufacturers know this and place a big emphasis on using the distributor network to bring their products and services to the training rooms for installers, technicians, and management personnel. It is important to research and educate contractors on customers’ changing needs and develop additional special services to fit with what they feel interests the majority of customers.
Repeatedly going beyond clients’ expectations can keep contractors one step ahead of the competition. This is especially true in the air duct cleaning (ADC) industry, as business owners struggle to compete in a business climate highly susceptible to economic changes.
Rotobrush International LLC, a leader in the ADC industry, offers an opportunity for distributors to develop industry leadership skills to better serve their clients and stay ahead of their competition. Participants who attend Rotobrush’s Distributor Training course leave with a full understanding of one of the ADC industry’s hottest trends: whole-house contracting.
WHOLE-HOUSE IS HOT
The phrase “whole house” has quickly moved to the top of conversations when it comes to the HVAC industry. Contractors are finding that it is not enough to simply install a new system or replace an existing one. The trend for successful contracting is to evaluate the entire building envelope in order to determine what system and components will maximize comfort and efficiency. That’s the nerve Rotobrush wants to strike with its training.
“Contractors who attend these sessions are trained to become more aware of an entire house and what it might need, which can help lead to sales of higher efficiency products and accessories,” said Clint Harris, vice president of sales and business development at Rotobrush, and the program’s main trainer. “We teach them to look at the entire home environment, not just sell boxes. This includes things such as customer lifestyle, air duct leakage, indoor humidity, and air quality in general. It also includes reviewing all aspects of energy efficiency, such as the attic insulation, rather than just looking at the HVAC system.
“This training makes them a better educated and differentiating contractor, which in turn makes them more valuable for their customers. They won’t lose a job because they know how to position the importance of whole-home to the homeowner, and naturally knowledge and expertise is more attractive to homeowners overall.”
During training, HVAC industry experts John and Vicki La Plant teach a session on maximizing profits. The La Plants own Vital Learning Experiences, a training and consulting business with close ties to the HVACR industry. Their session includes information on whole-house importance, basic diagnostic steps to the contracting approach, expanding the contracting approach to whole-house solutions and other techniques contractors can use during the “kitchen table presentation” part of their visit.
“We feel very lucky to have the La Plants as part of our training course,” Harris said. “They have more than 50 years of combined experience working with top-producing contractors and distributors across the nation, providing training programs designed for one simple purpose — to transform organizations into profitable business enterprise. Those who go through our training program benefit in many ways from what the La Plants have to share. They teach attendees how to do whole-house and how to generate profitable revenue from it.”
Teaching contractors to become whole-house experts means better solutions for homeowners.
Rotobrush supports its dealer networks through membership in RotoVantageSM, a members-only networking opportunity providing lead generation, marketing support, advertising programs, and a lifetime warranty on equipment.
“Being able to network with other industry professionals can help distributors and contractors immensely,” said Harris. “We teach our attendees to present themselves courteously and professionally, and having a network of contacts to discuss issues can help perpetuate this behavior.
“For example, research performed by an independent firm for Rotobrush indicates women influence over 70 percent of HVAC purchases. In addition, 56 percent of ADC purchasers are women over 40 years of age who own older homes. If these women are single or single with families, they have to feel safe letting a stranger into their home. The contractor needs to know best practices for dealing with female customers, and our training and the experience of other contractors will prove invaluable for assisting a newer contractor with this type of scenario.”
Further research performed for Rotobrush also supports the need for training and professionalism. “Of the 300 U.S. homeowners we surveyed, almost 50 percent said they relied on word-of-mouth or recommendations from family and friends when deciding to purchase ADC. A poorly handled call due to lack of training and professionalism can be shared quickly with everyone a homeowner knows, especially through social media tools. This not only hurts business but the industry as a whole.”
With its focus on attracting distributors, teaching them why it is important to know whole-house methods, instructing on basic diagnostic techniques, explaining how to earn revenue, and backing everything with research and hard data, this training course puts Rotobrush in a unique position to assist the industry, Harris said.
“Teaching distributors to be- come whole-house experts means better solutions for homeowners, better jobs for contractors, and better contractors for the distributors and homeowners,” said Harris. “Our main focus is training participants to present the entire industry in a better light. Overall, this means an educated and growing industry. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.”