The program includes various vendor partnerships allowing discounts on items from gasoline to computers. "Not only does the program offer buying power, but it also affords dealers the opportunity to take advantage of sales tools, marketing programs, business software, and skills development training, to assist dealers in generating leads and increasing sales," Baldwin said.
For 2006, Carrier is offering the Full Dealer Alliance Program and the Basic Dealer Alliance Program. The program contains every element offered; the Basic offers a majority of the elements, with a few of the bigger items removed, at a reduced cost.
For the purpose of this article, we will look at one specific tool - marketing - and break down its advantages. Other parts of the program include purchasing discounts, training, business software, and business processes.
Donald Meyer, owner of D.G. Meyer of Daytona Beach, Fla., a Carrier Distinguished Dealer, knows that HVAC contractors like himself can use marketing help.
Meyer said he is good at marketing and started his business 19 years ago with a marketing blast. But he also knows it's important to maintain a consistent marketing message, which this manufacturer's program helps him with. "Carrier helps me fine-tune what I need and gives me a structure to follow," he said. "Its program has disciplined guidelines for us."
Meyer said he believes that a consistent message is what he looks for in doing business with other companies, and his customers should expect the same from him. "Everything I do is based on what I expect out of people I do business with."
MARKETING TOOLSA number of different components make up the marketing tools portion of the program. Here is the breakdown:
Michael Weber, president of Thomas & Galbraith Heating and Cooling Inc., Cincinnati, said his company has participated in many programs with Dealer Alliance, including Nextel, Staples, Custom Brochures, To Your Success, Profit Strategies, Carrier Comfort Builder by Wrightsoft, and Carrier University. He singled out one of the elements of the marketing package, the Dealer Newsletter, as a big contributor to his company's success.
"Home-Front [newsletter] offers a professional, flexible, and turnkey program to promote your business to your customers on a regular, seasonal basis," he said. "I highly recommend it."
B.J. DeWaal of BCS Mechanical, Barstow, Calif., also had praise for Home-Front. "The customer service is superb and the staff are always very helpful when we design and customize our mailings," he said. "Our involvement with Dealer Alliance has provided us with an extra financial and marketing edge to help our business grow and prosper."
A successful marketing campaign is one that can be measured and, most importantly, get the phones to ring. Contractor Charlene Allaine of CPS Corp., Marlboro, Mass., said that good newsletters stir up a lot of questions from potential customers. "Home-Front gets our phones ringing with customers who have questions or want more information on products discussed in the articles," she said. "Our customers like the information and they also look for the recipes," a feature of the newsletter.
Baldwin described some of the other marketing tools that have had a big impact on the company's dealers. "The custom brochure is full-colored, eight pages, and 8 Â½ by 11 [inches] in size," she said. "Dealers can customize it to include the equipment they sell and hand it out to homeowners and at home shows.
"The Custom Dealer Websites include up to 85 pages of content that mirror the brochures," she said. "The Websites contain dealership and product information and can include additional pages for testimonials, coupons, and a variety of other features, and maintain the consistent marketing message Meyer references.
"Phone On Hold marketing includes a free generic CD version for dealers to try, which talks about various Carrier products. Dealers can also order customized messages to highlight their own company. Skyline Exhibits includes discounts on signage for showrooms and booths and also offers a 10- by 10-foot professional exhibit booth rental program."
Meyer said he is grateful for the support that he gets from the manufacturer. "Carrier is someone we can lean on and follow up with," he said. "And having a uniform guideline to marketing is important and gives us greater credibility."
Publication date: 02/20/2006