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Coleman is a brand of equipment marketed by York UPG, which is part of York International Corp. - a Johnson Controls Co.
Jesus Gonzalez, owner of Air Central Heating & Cooling of Yuma, Ariz., said he uses the Coleman Website all the time, which is a stark contrast to what he did when he first started out in business. "I wanted to serve my customers better, and basically I just wandered aimlessly for many years. My only real source of help throughout all the '90s was that I read trade publications thoroughly and practiced my technical skills in my shop all night for 10 years.
"Now when we have a problem or question, and I can't solve it, I go to Net.Prophet [Coleman online learning tool] and all my office staff thinks I'm real smart. But I'm not - I'm just a Joe Blow mechanic who uses Net.Prophet."
NET.PROPHET FOR DEALERSNet.Prophet is available to Coleman LibertiesÂ® dealers. This business solutions library equips participating contractors with state-of-the-art training and business evaluation systems to help grow their businesses and put business plans in place.
This tool offers contractors downloadable business models/process, materials, forms, and lead-generation systems and access to other successful dealers.
(Net.Prophet won first place in the Contractor Services and Software category of the 2005 NEWS' Dealer Design Awards.)
When contractors use the "Business Evaluator" function, they complete a detailed Business Evaluator questionnaire that gives Net.Prophet the information required to create a profile of their businesses. The profile addresses areas in which a business needs improvement and directs users to the Net.Prophet "Learning Center" function for solutions to specific needs.
"Net.Prophet is unique in the HVAC industry," said Jeff Revlett, York Unitary Products Group (UPG) training manager, North America. "Through the execution of the principles presented on Net.Prophet, an HVAC contractor will have the ability to build a complete business plan that will allow them to consistently achieve double-digit net profits."
The Learning Center's business modules provide downloadable articles and templates on a variety of business-related topics, including business planning, market and lead generation, accounting, pricing, leadership, customer service, human resources, finance, sales and service, fleet operation and management, operations, and information technology. There is also an "Ask the Expert" function that puts participants in contact with some of the most successful people in the HVAC industry.
Another key feature of Net.Prophet is the "keyword search" option. Set up like an Internet search engine, the keyword search allows contractors to type in any topic they want to view, click on the "go" button and scan through all the articles and templates related to that topic.
"The new 13 SEER minimum efficiency standard, the threat of overseas competition, and a shift towards retail selling are bringing new challenges to the HVAC contractor," said Revlett. "Only those who know how to run a profitable HVAC business will thrive in this new environment, and Net.Prophet helps contractors succeed."
Accessible 24 hours a day, Net.Prophet is an offering of the Business Training University (BTU), part of the Coleman Liberties Program developed to help HVAC dealers stay profitable and independent, the company said. The program is slated to be simplified and refined in 2006, to provide the right mix of resources to Coleman dealers.
Gonzalez, a self-professed Joe Blow mechanic, has used Net.Prophet to help expand his preventive maintenance agreement (PMA) program.
"Since we started using Net.Prophet, it has hot rodded our PMA program," he said. "We were probably signing up 10 customers a year before, now in less than a year and a half, we are at over 800 PMAs. This includes all of the units I've installed since I was a kid. I'm going back and chasing them now. That's how Net.Prophet has helped me.
"Now I don't have to reinvent the wheel. When I have a question or a problem that is beyond my knowledge, I hit the books - the e-books, that is."
Publication date: 02/20/2006