Benefits of a Group Partnership

June 11, 2007
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It’s not unusual to see strategic alliances between HVAC equipment manufacturers and HVAC contractor groups. That’s been the modus operandi for years to enable individual contractors to enjoy the perks of volume discounts and additional training from manufacturers in return for brand loyalty.

In keeping with this important trend, HVAC manufacturer Nordyne recently announced its partnership with Nexstar™ Inc., a membership organization of HVAC, plumbing and electrical contractors. “The Nexstar Strategic Partner Program is a valuable part of the portfolio of services we offer to our membership,” said Greg Niemi, president and CEO of Nexstar. “By adding Nordyne and its brands, we have a partner that understands the needs of today’s dealers and will go the extra mile to ensure they have the tools they need to succeed.”

In the same press release, Doug Jones, vice president of sales for Nordyne, said, “The industry is changing. It is critical that dealers have the information, tools, and training they need to differentiate themselves. By partnering with Nexstar, we’re teaming with an organization that shares this vision and implements it superbly.”



PLANTING THE SEED

According to Susan Tigner, Nexstar’s strategic partner manager, the meeting with Nordyne came at an industry trade show where she was introduced to David Garvin, Nordyne’s technical services manager. A Nexstar contractor, Jeff Leone of Air Temp Mechanical Services, made the introduction.

“It was determined then that a win-win-win opportunity existed for Nordyne, Nexstar, and the Nexstar members,” said Tigner.

The main benefits for this strategic partnership were obvious to both sides. “It provides Nordyne and their Maytag, Frigidaire, Tappan, and Westinghouse distributors access to untapped contractors,” said Jones.

Tigner added that Nexstar has the best independent contractors in the industry, with proven business practices. “Nordyne has recognized this and wants Nexstar members representing their brands in the marketplace,” she said.

Beyond the goodwill created by brand identity and recognition, there are other benefits to this type of relationship, especially to Nexstar contractors. For example, Nordyne offers various technical, sales, and marketing training programs, which its distributors make available to contractors. Many distributors offer additional training programs if they’re not offered in their current portfolio.

“Nordyne works with distributors to help offset costs of training programs targeted to the contractors,” said Jones. “Certainly, we believe that training is important for the contractor to be able to develop good business practices and grow their business.”

Tigner recognizes the value of the programs, especially to Nexstar members. “It is mutually complementary and beneficial,” she said. “This partnership couples Nexstar’s business development and practices with Nordyne’s superior products, technical sales, and marketing training and support.

“Nexstar members come to the table with a full complement of proven business practices in place that continually improve profitability, customer satisfaction and employee satisfaction, therefore, a successful growing business. Existing Nordyne dealers have the opportunity to join Nexstar to improve their business performance and grow.”



IMPORTANCE OF MEMBERSHIP

Several different contractor groups in the HVAC industry are designed to bring unique products and services to their member companies. Both Jones and Tigner agree on the importance of membership.

“In today’s competitive market, it is very important for contractors to be able to tap into resources that offer business skills that may be expensive to seek on their own terms,” said Jones. “It also gives them the opportunity to meet other contractors and share ideas and best practices.”

Tigner noted that Nexstar’s guiding principle is to raise the bar by educating contractors. “We understand that they (contractors) may be the best technicians; however, they may want to improve their business skills,” she said.

“This is where Nexstar can really help them achieve a higher level of success. By the contractors using our proven systems and solutions, they are able to operate more successfully. This provides an environment for company growth, employee satisfaction, and outstanding customer service.”

And what about the benefits to a manufacturer-distributor for partnering with a strong contractor group? “Most of the more-aggressive distributors understand that when Nexstar helps a contractor grow and sharpen their business, they as distributors will win as well through increased purchases,” Tigner said.

Partnering with the right contractor group can have its benefits for forming strong relationships between the manufacturer, distributor and dealer. “The key to a successful contractor program is that the objectives and the outcome must be beneficial to all parties involved in the partnership,” said Jones.

Publication date: 06/11/2007

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