Partners In Comfort attendees tour the Aprilaire plant to view how IAQ products are assembled.

More than 200 contractors from 23 states accepted Aprilaire’s invitation to attend the company’s Partners in Comfort Celebration and Training Conference in Madison, Wis., in October. Attendees had the opportunity to visit the company’s corporate headquarters and manufacturing facilities, participate in two special sessions on selling techniques, and be inspired by Vince Lombardi Jr. at a special tailgate-themed dinner banquet.

Lombardi’s message of the importance of winning despite countless failures along the way, resonated with the contractors in attendance, who responded with a standing ovation.

Mike McGowan, Aprilaire president, stated, “We wanted to combine an inspiring message with some solid business training, have a little fun along the way, and send them home with some positive experiences and real ways to help them grow.”

Attendees received a close look at the inner-workings of how Aprilaire humidifiers, dehumidifiers, filters, and controls are made. After the tour, Al Carey from Carey Plumbing and Heating in Sanford, Mich., said, “Knowing the work that goes on behind the scenes, the attention to detail in production, safety, training, and the strong values that exist within the company, all adds value to our partnership.”

Training sessions at the event included overall sales techniques, where Aprilaire training director Marc Marchillo shared proven, effective ways to talk to homeowners. “It’s a lot more than just learning how to close a sale,” Marchillo disclosed. “In today’s world the successful business owner has to know the best ways to reach consumers with their message, and then know what to do after they’ve successfully delivered that message. It might be offering a discount on Facebook, or knowing how to evaluate IAQ needs in the home, or it might just be a matter of learning how to listen to what customers are telling us, and then knowing how to respond.”

Brandon Glancy, Aprilaire sales trainer continued the education by focusing on how technicians can sell in the home.

Glancy summed up his message: “It’s all about getting technicians comfortable talking to homeowners and getting them thinking about future replacement business during a service call. A lot of the folks who attended get that. I could tell by the all the nodding heads. That’s encouraging!”

A Big Idea session allowed contractors to share their successful approaches to selling IAQ products. Candy Hoffman from Sunshine Air in Belleview, Fla., shared how she keeps service needs in front of her customers by sending them calendars with reminder dates when clean and checks are due, as well as warranty and maintenance agreement expirations.

Patti Wuich of Wuich Mechanical in Huntley, Ill., suggested holding IAQ seminars with allergists and other health professionals to provide a better understanding of how we can provide solutions to healthier indoor environments.

Paul Graham, Aprilaire vice president added, “We know that the success of our business is totally dependent on the success of our contractor partners. This is what drives our Partners in Comfort philosophy, and it’s really what drove the agenda of this conference: to bring great people together, share successes and build relationships.”

Aprilaire also used the conference to unveil a new program available to Aprilaire contractors; Partners in Comfort, where members can take advantage of a host of business building tools at little or no cost. “I like the Partners in Comfort program,” Carey continued. “The resources available to the contractor definitely help sales, and the products are superior and easy to promote.”

Sidebar: Membership Program

Aprilaire unveiled a new cost free contractor membership program at its Partners in Comfort Celebration and Training Conference in October. The program, called Partners in Comfort, provides easy access to business-building tools and services. Member benefits include a minimum of $1,000 annual advertising funds and 60 percent payback on advertising, free imprinted literature and in-home selling tools, Internet marketing programs, and discounts on seasonal sales promotions.

Membership is open to any established HVAC contractor who sells IAQ accessories. According to the company, application is easy and can be completed online in a few minutes. No dues or special purchase requirements are necessary to be a member. “We encourage all contractors to take advantage of our exclusive member services simply by providing some basic information about their business, said Mike Rimrodt, director of marketing. “Our Partners enjoy proven-effective sales and technical training, business-building marketing programs, in-home selling tools and much more. We develop these programs for Aprilaire Partners because we know that their success means our success. That’s true partnership.”

New members are provided with their own unique PIN code, used to log in to a special secure membership dashboard web page on, where members can view all Aprilaire co-op advertising activity in which they have engaged, including current available funds. Members can order free customized literature, in-home selling tools, and have access to exclusive online sales training webinars. Soon to be added will be a complete section devoted to Internet marketing services. A number of helpful industry links are also part of the membership dashboard web page.

“I like the way Aprilaire is doing it,” said Rebekah Wright, operations manager of Wright Heating and Cooling Inc. of Kent, Ohio. “We don’t often see an organization invest their time and money to sow the seeds of knowledge in order to get more people involved with their products.”

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Publication date:11/29/2010