Discussing Trane’s plans to meet new minimum efficiency standards are (from left) Dale Green, vice president of marketing and sales; Paul Groundwater, vice president of marketing; John Androski, a Trane district manager; and Charlie Walters of Gensco Supply, a Trane distributor from Tacoma, Wash.
DENVER - Trane distributors and company executives met at a Denver area resort this fall for the company's 2004 National Distributor Meeting, but their focus was clearly on 2006 and the mandated change in minimum efficiencies to 13 SEER.

The theme of the meeting was "Own Your Game," and right from the beginning Dale Green, vice president of marketing and sales, let the audience know that things were going to be different when he stated, "The change to 13 SEER is sweeping, and it will reshape the way Trane and its channel partners manufacture, market, sell, distribute, and service our products in the future. That is why all of us must go into training now.

"We must energize our teams, we must elevate our skills, and we must accelerate our goals of excellence. Only then will we truly own our game."

Green outlined a three-pronged strategy for growth, urging distributors to become the primary source of light commercial replacement systems for Trane dealers, to achieve a clear leadership position in the premium segment of the residential market, and to become the preferred supplier of the ideal home environment.

Dave Pannier (left), president of Trane Residential Systems, discusses the company’s preparations for impending 13 SEER government regulations with Lee Force, manager of the Trane distribution center in Raleigh, N.C.

New Rules

Paul Groundwater, vice president of marketing, said the new efficiency standards would "change the rules of the game." He pointed to 2006 as a pivotal year. "It will change the pricing rules, and the rules that say efficiency and energy savings are the best reason to select a brand or trade up to a better system," he stated.

He noted that 2006 will signal a major change for Trane, its competitors, and its dealers. It will necessitate a change in focus to "the homeowners' comfort rather than energy savings."

Groundwater informed the group that product changes were under way to prepare for the 2006 deadline. He assured the distributors that Trane would have a "major league staff of 13-SEER products that can go head to head with anybody, anywhere."

He also emphasized the need to prepare dealers for 2006 by helping them improve their sales and technical skills. Several new initiatives were outlined in the area of training and the continued improvement of the company's Trane Comfort Specialist Program.

Groundwater announced a significantly increased emphasis on consumer marketing. "We will invest in marketing that not only builds our brand, but generates leads for our dealers."

One of the highlights of the meeting was the announcement of a new dealer advertising program that specializes in advertising campaigns for Trane dealers in local markets.

Trane revealed how dealers in test markets were able to work together and leverage their combined power to run high-impact, full-page, four-color ads that drove sales leads for all participating dealers.

Publication date: 10/25/2004