LP Gas

Next wave of PERC sales training has new educational options

The research and development pipeline at the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) is beginning to produce advanced propane technology products at a rate that warrants stronger emphasis on commercialization. In other words, selling these products in the marketplace.

After an initial funding delay, the second generation of technology training, Marketer Technology and Sales Training (MTST), is being launched. One of PERC’s first attempts at commercialization was Marketer Technology Training (MTT).

PERC has successfully trained more than 1,500 propane marketers in the MTT program. More than 60 sessions of the popular program have been conducted in 31 of the 38 propane associations across the country.

Now, PERC is doubling down on the training by adding improvements that include integrated sales process training and expansion of the post-classroom experience with webinars, an enhanced Marketing Resource Center presence and a “hotline” for quick responses to sales challenges. This expanded and improved program has been renamed Marketer Technology and Sales Training (MTST). The MTST program is designed to help propane marketers recognize new markets, as well as maximize existing ones as a way of offsetting lost gallons and increasing overall propane sales.

Pat Hyland, director of industry programs for PERC, is excited about the sales opportunities that MTST will bring to propane marketers.

“The timing is right for the more aggressive MTST program, with propane prices favorably positioned in comparison to other energy sources, an abundant propane supply and a pipeline full of advanced technology propane products spilling into the marketplace,” he says.

For those who attended the old MTT program, expect lots of changes in MTST. The half-day modules have been expanded to daylong sessions per module, due in part to the expanded sales process training included in each one. Each module will have customized learning objectives that include:

Understanding the market opportunity

 Understanding the benefits of propane over competing energy sources

 Knowing the target market

 Understanding the sales strategies

 Knowing how to prepare for prospect meetings

 Creating effective call openings

 Knowing the target questions to ask a prospect

 Creating a step-by-step sales action plan

 Understanding gateway sales opportunities

 Knowing available resources for use after training

Amy Impara (pictured above right) is the owner of Sales Transformation Now Inc., the new PERC partner in the development and delivery of the MTST program. Impara, who will be handling much of the MTST training across the country, is excited about the opportunity to work with the propane industry.

“Propane marketers will learn proven sales techniques that focus on best practices used by successful companies in real-world situations in many other industries,” she says.

I assisted PERC and its previous partner in the development of some of the modules in the old MTT program and filled in as a trainer. I recently participated in a “Teach Back” session with Sales Transformation Now to prepare myself to teach MTST, if needed, and I will tell you that the improved training is just what the propane industry needs. Innovative propane products are here now, and it is time that propane retailers take on the challenge of taking them to market. If you don’t, who will?

Contact your propane association or go to www.propanecouncil.org/MTST today to see when MTST is scheduled in your area.

Tom Jaenicke is the owner and principal adviser at ATomiK Creative Solutions LLC, a company that provides marketing services, technical advice, continuing education solutions and business development assistance to energy companies and support organizations. Jaenicke can be reached at 810-252-7855 or tom@atomikenergysolutions.com.