You won't find many HVAC companies that haven't already automated most of their business processes. The advent of business management software seemed to sweep the HVAC industry during the 1980s. The growth of the Internet made some services available in online versions and things haven't been the same since.

The News' second annual Dealer Design Awards first place honor in Contractor Services and Software went to York International (Norman, Okla.) for its Net.Prophetâ„¢ program. Wrightsoft (Lexington, Mass.) received the second place award for Right-Salesâ„¢, and Coleman (Norman, Okla.) earned third place with its Customized Direct Mail and Reverse Directory Search.

GOLD: The York Net.Prophet online learning tool brings proven resources and real experts to the aid of York Liberties dealers.

Gold Winner

York International UPG ( received the first place award for its Net.Prophet online learning tool. It's designed to support York Libertiesâ„¢ dealers by offering downloadable business models/processes, materials, forms, and lead generation systems, and access to other successful dealers. Net.Prophet contains a library of HVAC solutions, training via the Internet, and expert advice from industry professionals.

According to Jeff Revlett, York UPG training manager, North America, "Net.Prophet evaluates any or all aspects of a dealer's business operations, offering needs prioritization, operating plans, and implementation procedures. The program contains a powerful search engine for fast results. Training is delivered through Word, Excel, PDF, and PowerPoint files, and template document downloads."

The judges were impressed with the thoroughness of the program. "This is a very useful tool for the growing HVAC business. It is geared more towards residential than commercial, but there are some nice features for all contractors. It's like having a ‘real time' business advisor at your fingertips," said one judge.

Dealers that subscribe to Net.Prophet have access to the online learning tool 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to use at their convenience and pace. Net.Prophet has a complete business evaluator for a contracting business. The business evaluator is a series of questions that dealers answer in the areas of pricing, accounting, financial principles, leadership, residential add-on replacement, service agreements, and service department operations. Based on how the questions are answered, the evaluator will link the contractor to articles and templates, and put them in touch with other successful people in the industry.

SILVER: Right-Sales from Wrightsoft reflects an integration between sales management and the sales process with the customer.

Silver Winner

Right-Sales from Wrightsoft ( provides an easy-to-use sales system with customized in-home presentation capabilities and sales management organization.

It is designed to separate a contractor from the competition and increase sales and profits, while involving the customer in creating a personalized comfort system. It incorporates Manual J load calculation procedures while automating the entire sales process, including proposal generation, purchase orders, and Internet updating of product, pricing, and data sheets from manufacturers and distributors.

Wrightsoft marketing communications manager Lisa Skoczylas described the product application this way: "Right-Sales is designed for managers responsible for company performance, sales managers, salespeople, and marketing professionals. It's easy to create a repeatable sales process by including product data sheets, videos, PowerPoint slides, and other information unique to the company to help the sales staff present the company with the same consistent front."

"This is a very useful product for the residential contractor. It has a nice integration between sales management and the sales process with the customer," said one contractor judge.

A manager can view the latest details of any salesperson regarding the person's closing ratios and sales against company set goals. Drill down further to view the sales performance regarding all proposals, whether they are won, lost, or still pending. Another judge commented, "This has the potential to make the contractor/salesperson more productive and effective."

BRONZE: The Coleman online Customized Direct Mail Program and Reverse Directory provide Coleman Liberties dealers with lead generation and direct marketing.

Bronze Winner

The Coleman ( Customized Direct Mail Program, which is an online component of the Build-A-Brochureâ„¢ Program, won third place in the Dealer Design Awards competition. One reason the judges chose this product was that it serves as a good means of marketing support for HVAC contractors. "This is a nice marketing concept for the residential HVAC business. The direct mail capabilities are very useful for small contractors who may have organized their lead generation systems. It looks like a handy way to track a company's marketing efforts."

The Direct Mail Program is available to Coleman Libertiesâ„¢ dealers. The customizable Web-based system is accessed through the Coleman dealer extranet. It allows dealers to send solicitations to new and existing customers, via a zero-targeted reverse search capability. Dealers can send their solicitations to homeowners by zip code, street address, or custom database.

Mickey Smith, Coleman brand marketing manager said, "Dealers may select as few as 20 addresses, making lead generation and tracking manageable for any size effort. It provides an economical customer relationship management system for dealers. Coleman's Direct Mail Program and Reverse Directory search keeps existing and potential customers informed about promotions, seasonal announcements, and products."

Honorable Mention

One product received honorable mention from the judges in this category: TOM-Total Office Manager from Easy Street Inc. (

Publication date: 07/18/2005