Dealer Spotlight: Florida Transportation Systems

Dealer Spotlight: Florida Transportation SystemsPrint

Interviewee: Chris Rustman

Title: Owner / President

Q.  What has made you successful with alternative fuels?

A.  At Florida Transportation Systems, Ross Rayner, Steve Murphy and the team have been very successful in selling alternative fueled buses by using several sales tactics that focus on the customer experience.

First, we lend demo alt fuels buses to interested districts. We encourage transportation managers to put the demo bus into its regular operation. Don’t treat it any differently! We even put their lettering on the side along with route numbers so no one knows it’s a demo by just looking at the bus. Then, they put the bus into service on a regular route. See if the kids, or parents, notice any difference. The drivers will get to sit behind the wheel and technicians can see what’s under the hood. This technique helps alleviate any apprehension or anxiety about switching to something other than diesel. Lending out demo buses has been the best push over the fence for anyone teetering on the decision.

Second, we take the sales process off the table. By this, we mean that once we deliver the alt fuel demo bus, we let the customer experience it for themselves. We don’t call them every morning, but we are available for any questions they may have. When they have the bus for a week, and we aren’t there looking over their shoulder, it gives them a chance to get to know the bus in their own way. Once the week is over, we ask them how the experience went and if there were any obstacles or challenges. This opens a channel of honest communication where we can help assist. Giving the potential customer the freedom to think about their future purchase also helps to gain their trust.

Third, we let our current customers do the talking. Word of mouth speaks volumes. There’s nothing better than comments from a satisfied customer to promote alternative fuel buses. For example, when our customer Pasco County Schools finished demoing their propane school bus, they had comments like, “It was just unremarkable,” “It did what it was supposed to do every day,” and “It’s a bus and it works.” As a dealer, that’s exactly what you want!

Using these personalized sales tactics has gained FTS a reputation of trust and commitment to alternative fuels. And that has turned into sales for our team.

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