Two California HVAC contractors are using a lead generation program from Rheem and Ruud to get more leads and close more sales.

The DesignStar® program, now in its second year, helps HVAC contractors create customized solutions for customers in minutes. It also brings customers into the selection process, and makes them smarter buyers.

DesignStar features two web portals. The contractor web portal is a password-protected site that allows contractors to input information received from homeowners to create a comprehensive comparison based on the cost of a new system, comparative price to repair the existing system versus cumulative cost savings to invest in a new one, and loan payment amounts.

A consumer-friendly web portal allows homeowners to enter a few key details to determine their HVAC needs and approximate annual savings possible based on their specific home comfort and budget requirements.

“When a lead generated by DesignStar comes to us via email, it has the customer's name, address, phone number, and email contact, and it shows us what type of system they've designed for themselves,” says Matt Mauzy of Mauzy Heating & Air, San Diego, CA.

Mauzy, a Rheem contractor for 26 years, has used the DesignStar program since its inception. “Before we go to the job, we know if the customer is interested in high efficiency or standard efficiency equipment, air filtration, UV lights, and so on. This helps us ‘tailor make’ the sales call,” Mauzy says.

Mauzy says customers' preferences, as expressed on their self-designed proposals, don't stop his salespeople from talking to them about the benefits of higher efficiency or added accessories, but it helps to know upfront if a customer is bargain hunting or looking for specific system capabilities.

Mauzy is closing about 10% more DesignStar leads than he would close from a typical lead from the Yellow Pages.

“DesignStar allows contractors to physically show homeowners the cost comparison of purchasing a new system versus repairing an existing one,” says Gary Wehunt, manager of contractor retention and development for Rheem. “This powerful online tool significantly expedites the sales process, and positions contractors as industry experts.”

HASCO Heating Air Conditioning Service Co., Riverside, CA, has been a Rheem contractor since its founding in 1983. Sal Trujillo, Jr. says DesignStar saves time.

“All the information that DesignStar puts together into its proposals is available from various sources, but this brings it all together into one location. I used to have to hunt all over, and now I very easily get product information and literature, the AHRI performance numbers, financing, and return on investment information all at once,” Trujillo says. “I never used to do carbon footprint calculations, but that's becoming increasingly important to many homeowners.”

DesignStar brings all this information together for the consumers in a very professional package, Trujillo adds. “It really sets you apart from the contractor who gives an estimate scribbled on the back of a business card.”

For additional information, visit rheemdesignstar.com or ruuddesignstar.com.