In addition to the marketing departments at ROUSH CleanTech and Blue Bird, the Propane Education & Research Council is working hard to promote propane autogas adoption. PERC has taken a focused interest in promoting propane-fueled school buses. And, they have tools that you can use in your marketing and public relations campaigns to grow sales.
Monthly Archives: July 2017
School Bus Sales in Waterloo, Iowa, is taking their customers’ propane buses that have recently come off lease, and begun developing a new used bus market in their state. The Blue Bird dealer has found that school districts reluctant to purchase a brand-new propane bus due to acquisition costs may be more likely instead to consider a used bus.
Dealer Spotlight: United Truck Body
Interviewee: Tim Herstad
Title: Sales Manager
Q. What is your approach to introducing alt fuels to your customers?
A. I like to introduce the option of purchasing propane to all my customers — even the ones I don’t think will buy. Just five years ago, every Type C bus I sold was diesel. Then, in 2016, each Type C bus I sold was propane. That came from consistently chatting with customers to make sure that they hear the word propane, and get them used to hearing it. I think it’s especially important to bring up propane if a customer mentions any cold weather operation or regeneration issues. Propane buses don’t have those problems.
When I meet with a customer, I lead with the following selling points of propane:
#1: Reliability. What every school district wants — a bus that is on the road, not in the shop.
#2: Maintenance savings. Time saved in the shop.
#3: Fuel savings. Money put back in your pocket.
Q. Who do you partner with to sell alt fuels?
A. Having a propane provider that is knowledgeable about autogas and able to attend meetings is important. I work closely with COMO Propane to make sure my customers always have fuel and are saving dollars at the pump.
Q. What are some of the tools you use to sell alt fuels?
A. My two main tools are demo buses and propane fuel system knowledge.
Like many dealers, we believe that having propane demo buses and knowing about the fuel system is the way to go. But, we use them in a unique way. Here’s how we get the most from our demos.
We stock at least one, ideally a couple propane demos at all times. When one of my customers’ diesel buses breaks down, I bring them a propane bus to use while they get the diesel bus back up and running. This allows the school district to drive their routes in a propane bus without someone trying to sell them on the product the entire time. This also gives the district the opportunity to get a feel for how the propane bus would fit right into their operation. I also set up wet hose fueling with a local propane provider while the propane bus is in the customers’ hands so that they can experience the ease of fueling.
I’ve had a lot of success from this approach, and have converted at least five school districts from diesel customers to propane customers because of it.
I know the ins and outs of the propane fuel system in our buses. My feeling is that if you can service and fix it, you can sell it. Learning everything you can about the actual propane fuel system will help increase your sales.
Now 75, Roush is a legend in the auto industry. He’s chairman of Roush Enterprises and co-owner of Roush Fenway Racing. His teams have won more than 400 races, while Roush Enterprises has become a major provider of engineering and product development services for the auto industry, with clients that include Google and Ford Motor Co.
Roush will be inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame Thursday, July 20, here.
ROUSH CleanTech is one of the most active developers of autogas engine technology in the US. The company’s latest offering is targeted at class 4-7 (medium-duty) commercial vehicles, including our favourite school buses. The engine is by 75% cleaner than required.
Summer is in high gear, and like for many of you the Major League Baseball Home Run Derby and All-Star Game are highlights that bring back great childhood memories. Our national pastime is also a symbol of our freedom, and one of many great traditions we are fortunate enough to enjoy.
Cook-Illinois, a contract school transportation provider, likes what it sees with propane autogas and is looking to convert many more buses in a fleet numbering more than 2,000 units. That’s according to Good for Students, Good for Business, the six and final of the latest series of Straight Talk videos from PERC, the Propane Education & Research Council.
When something that seems complex suddenly becomes simple, you might experience an “Aha!” moment. Making decisions regarding which fleet vehicles to buy can involve layers of complexity. Understanding the total cost of ownership (TCO) of vehicles can help you cut through those layers with ease and confidence.