American Standard distributors had a full agenda facing them as they gathered in Indian Wells, Calif., earlier this year to celebrate a record sales year, prepare for major market changes on the horizon, learn about new products, and kick off a major sales promotion event. The three-day national distributor meeting took place at the Marriott Esmeralda Resort. This was the first of three informative distributor meetings slated for this year with another held in May and one upcoming in August.

Upbeat Sales Numbers

According to company officials, 2004 residential and light commercial sales were up 11 percent over 2003. Dale Green, vice president of sales and marketing, cautioned the group that continued growth would depend on their ability to "get more of your existing customers' business, while helping them become more successful and profitable."

He also stated, "The increase in customer expectations, and the resulting demand being placed on our dealers offers American Standard and its distributors the opportunity to provide dealers with the necessary skills to meet the expectations of today's consumers head-on."

Paul Groundwater, vice president of marketing, informed a group of distributors that American Standard was rated the “most trouble-free brand among the leading manufacturers of gas furnaces” in the February issue of a consumer publication magazine.
At the first meeting, distributors were given an overview of new product directions for the company with major launches scheduled for May and August of 2005 in anticipation of the new 13 SEER efficiency standards. Paul Groundwater, vice president, marketing, said, "Almost 90 percent of the equipment we sell today will go away in the coming months. This means the equipment we are all so comfortable and familiar with will be gone, and new models, technologies and efficiencies with take its place."

A new line of programmable thermostats was introduced in the first and second quarter and other indoor comfort products are scheduled for the second half of 2005.

Stars And Stripes

The company's popular Stars and Stripes sales promotion program will be continued through 2005 with increased promotion and prize levels. Participating American Standard dealers will be able to offer consumers "No Payments Until 2006," plus a free comfort control with the purchase of a complete 14-, 15-, 16-, or 18-SEER high-efficiency air conditioning and heating system.

Dealer sales people will also receive special "spiffs" from $10 to $200 for selling high efficiency products.

Joyce Warrington, American Standard brand manager, revealed a special sweepstakes program as part of Stars and Stripes.

Joyce Warrington, American Standard brand manager, created a buzz in the audience when she announced the grand prize in the company’s Stars and Stripes sales promotion event. The winner will receive a time-share condominium in Hawaii that can be used for “the rest of the winner’s life.”
"This year, we thought we would center all of the grand prizes around the idea of ‘finding paradise,'" said Warrington.

She announced a third grand prize of a trip for two to the 2006 Super Bowl, and a second grand prize of a $15,000 dollar allowance to completely renovate a room in a dealer's home.

The first grand prize was a vacation in Hawaii, which she explained, was "not for one year, or two years, but a time-share condominium for the rest of the winner's life."

Warrington also outlined several new advertising and public relations initiatives including the sponsor ship of "Ask This Old House" on public television, the development of a mobile marketing van, and a corporate sponsorship with Ronald McDonald House Charities.

This year, American Standard HVAC will begin providing heating and cooling systems to the more than 150 Ronald McDonald Houses across the United States.

"This allows us to take our commitment to the comfort of the American family out into the community where we can really make a difference in someone's life," Warrington said.

Publication date: 07/04/2005