Roadshows serving to promote autogas

August 16, 2012 By    

The easiest sale you’ll ever make is the one an existing customer makes for you.

That’s one approach Mark Denton, vice president of business development for Alliance AutoGas, is taking as the company positions itself to promote propane autogas to consumers. That same Alliance approach has worked well, Denton says, throughout the first half of the ongoing Propane Autogas Roadshow Series hosted by the Southeast Propane Autogas Development Program (SPADP).

“What we try to do with the roadshow is have our customers tell the autogas story for us,” he says. “At the roadshow in [Birmingham], Ala., we had three or four of our autogas customers, like the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, there who were participants in the grant we received. We let our customers speak and share impressions of their propane autogas vehicles.”

SPADP has hosted seven roadshows in six states to promote autogas across the southeastern United States thus far. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the DOE Clean Cities Program fund SPADP, and Virginia Clean Cities administers the program.

Alliance AutoGas, which provides vehicle conversions and fuel, partnered with Virginia Clean Cities after it received a grant to convert 1,200 vehicles to autogas. The roadshows have played a role in moving Alliance toward that 1,200-vehicle goal and beyond.

“We have about 75 autogas customers now,” Denton says. “If you go back four years ago, we had maybe five. We didn’t have any references to give people. Now, if I’m looking to have a conversation with an airport shuttle service, for example, I have a source I can have them call.”

Turnout to some shows has been better than others, Denton says. Metro Lawn’s Jim Coker, who’s participated in the roadshows, agrees and adds that the success of the series boils down to how well a show is promoted.

“Besides the propane people, we want the decision makers of prospective customers to come and see what’s going on,” Coker says. “I went to the show in Alabama, and that Clean Cities program does a good job down there. You’ve got to bring some excitement.”

Although the grant issued applies to Alliance AutoGas, the roadshow series has been open to all autogas vendors to share their technologies.

The next roadshow is scheduled to take place Oct. 5 in Jackson, Miss. New Orleans; Macon, Ga.; and Harrisonburg, Va., are also scheduled to participate. – Kevin Yanik, Managing Editor

About the Author:

Kevin Yanik was a senior editor at LP Gas Magazine.

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