Four years ago, the team at Rheem embarked on a journey that has now taken its brand on the road with training. Due to expanding, technologically advanced product lines, and shrinking opportunities for distributors and contractors to travel, the Rheem High Efficiency Air & Water Road Show is a new way to facilitate one-on-one, hands-on training. Training takes place in an expandable, 53-foot showroom in an 18-wheel trailer that doubles as a high-tech learning center.
Rheem developed the road show in direct response to requests from distributors that were challenged with space limitations and the demands of accommodating unpredictable and unrelenting contractor schedules with training. For Rheem, the mobile facility ensures consistent and immersive training across multiple product lines. Despite upfront costs, the efficiencies of mobile training centers are undeniable: manufacturers can offer cross-platform training, and contractors save expenses and time spent away from businesses and service calls.
Featuring the largest mobile touch-screen monitor in the U.S., the road show easily transforms from a static classroom into a truly interactive experience. Designed to mimic a modern, contemporary training center, that seats up to 60 people, the state-of-the-art, Wi-Fi-enabled, mobile learning lab can be customized to offer product training, host special events and serve as a trade show booth.
“The road show was conceived using insightful feedback from Rheem and Ruud wholesalers, contractors, and our sales teams. Our goal is to not just make training easier and more efficient, but to provide business value all around,” said Doug Hunt, manager of education and content development at Rheem. “Taking our training sessions on the road gives us the opportunity to offer more advanced training and gives the contractor a more interactive way to learn.”
Hunt said by instituting training sessions that focus on product design and engineering, Rheem is able to dive deeper and provide a more complete presentation of product features and benefits. With this greater background knowledge, contractors can better sell high-tech and high-efficiency products their customers, because they truly understand how they work.
“We can show how easy it is to service the products and contractors get their hands on the components and see the technical advances in on-board diagnostics,” Hunt said.
Selling, installing and servicing
Rheem employs a team of speakers and trainers to facilitate sessions that focus on business development, as well as product technical support. The company’s training philosophy, extended by the road show’s cross-continental reach, is all about growing resources for channel partners and providing educational opportunities that address sales skills in conjunction with installation and service skills.
“In the competitive service-provider landscape, contractors need to know not just how to install and service products, but also how to explain the value of premium equipment for greater value and customer service delivery,” Hunt said.
Supporting contractors means helping them really understand the value of what goes into each product. By traveling to contractors with a mobile showroom, Rheem can provide a complete story of each product line’s development alongside the features, benefits and technical specifications. It is with this full, well-rounded understanding of the concept behind the nuts, bolts, dip tubes and anode rods, where contractors can differentiate their expertise and provide the highest level of customer service.
The road show is the most visible addition to Rheem’s advanced training offerings. But, the company’s commitment to training also includes expanded online learning opportunities that complement the road show curriculum. Other opportunities include a larger team of trainers, and a more nimble department, under Hunt’s leadership, that can quickly respond to the needs of contractors and other stakeholders who provide front-line support.
“We are working with best-in-class contractors who are looking to partner with Rheem, while advancing both their technical expertise as well as their business acumen,” Hunt said. “It’s the focus on the whole customer experience that builds business beyond the standard service call.”
Homeowners have proven their willingness to pay for high-value, trustworthy and knowledgeable service providers. The Rheem advanced training program is ideal for contractors who want to elevate their businesses.
“Even often overlooked possibilities, such as the ability to provide financing options, can help contractors double the size of their ticket when selling and installing premium products, coupled with superior service,” Hunt said.
Rheem is also expanding its brick and mortar training facilities, with a new center opening in Dallas later this year. More locations are also on the horizon, which will provide bi-coastal training in regional offices and with distributor partners. Combined with a mobile tour that will be on the road for 48 weeks, the Rheem training program is a flexible resource designed to meet business partners where they are and when they want to learn.
“We know we’re only as good as our partners. It’s about standing with and behind them, as well as our products, to create the best, most efficient business model,” Hunt said.