Skip to main content

Propane as a Differentiator alt fuel report vol 1 issue 2

Propane as a Differentiator

by Ken Haverkate, Holland Bus Sales, Michigan

How can you use ROUSH CleanTech and Blue Bird to help you sell? Let me show you an example.

Once a year our salesman would stop in to visit the president of ABC Student Transportation, a local school bus contractor servicing Detroit Public Schools. For the past 20 years he has been loyal to another bus manufacturer.

About a year ago we got them interested in the idea of propane by showing the significant operating and maintenance savings they would see by making the switch. We organized a meeting at their facility with representatives from Holland Bus Sales, Blue Bird, and ROUSH CleanTech. We even had one of our Michigan-based customers drive their propane Vision to the meeting to demonstrate the technology (we’d recently sold out of all our demos).

We know we have the best bus, best partnership with ROUSH CleanTech / Ford engine, and fuel system.  So we sell our propane against the competition’s diesel. We present all the positives of propane versus all the components of diesel engines that have failed.  If the parts aren’t there, they can’t fail!

Having a team approach with Holland, Blue Bird, ROUSH CleanTech, and a Ford dealer is like going on a group date: you never run out of things to talk about. If I didn’t know the answer, we had the experts there who did. There was no saying, “I don’t know. I’ll get back to you.” You can only say that so many times before your customer doesn’t think you know what you’re talking about.

With this unified show of force, we always had an answer to why propane is a differentiator in the school bus market. The experts can answer all questions at the first meeting. The customer knows that they have a strong team standing behind them during the purchasing process and beyond.

Blue Bird and ROUSH CleanTech folks will travel, and will help when you need them to. We like to think of ourselves as a pretty low-key dealer — we don’t need them every day, but they’re available when we do. I appreciate that. Having this team has helped us close many deals, and has made Michigan one of the top markets for total Blue Bird propane customers.

If you haven’t invited them to participate in one of your meetings, or to come do some training with your sales staff, give them a call and change that.