PERC Training Courses Reach Construction Professionals

The Same Train­ing is Start­ing to Catch on With Propane Mar­keters too

The Propane Edu­ca­tion & Research Coun­cil (PERC) is its 5th year of build­ing an arse­nal of train­ing courses for con­struc­tion pro­fes­sion­als.  Orig­i­nally the courses were designed to train archi­tects about propane and the ben­e­fits of related appli­ca­tions.  The propane indus­try had long felt that archi­tects were an impor­tant first step in the res­i­den­tial and com­mer­cial con­struc­tion process but had no way to reach this audi­ence.  The aver­age propane mar­keter can be intim­i­dated by the archi­tect com­mu­nity and unsure of the role they play in energy deci­sions.  PERC took the smart approach and did research to qual­ify the archi­tects as energy deci­sion mak­ers and find out the best ways to reach them.  The research showed that archi­tects need con­tin­u­ing edu­ca­tion to main­tain their State license and are espe­cially recep­tive to online train­ing.  It was also noted that no other energy provider was pro­vid­ing this type of energy related train­ing to archi­tects.  With the door wide open, PERC stepped in the first year with one course on under­ground propane tanks and over 300 archi­tects took the course.  The propane indus­try went from –0– out­reach to reach­ing over 300 archi­tects the first year.

What does the train­ing pro­gram look like now?  The Propane Train­ing Acad­emy has been estab­lished online and cur­rently houses 22 free online courses on a vari­ety of top­ics includ­ing new tech­nol­ogy that PERC grants helped develop.  Last year almost 5,000 con­struc­tion pro­fes­sion­als, includ­ing res­i­den­tial and com­mer­cial archi­tects and builders, remod­el­ers, engi­neers, and HVAC and plumb­ing pro­fes­sion­als signed up for the courses.  Included in those num­bers are 200 propane pro­fes­sion­als who found the train­ing a valu­able resource for con­nect­ing to the con­struc­tion mar­ket and propane end users.

PERC is able to cap­ture infor­ma­tion dur­ing the train­ing reg­is­tra­tion process and the amaz­ing results point out the true value that this train­ing is bring­ing to the propane indus­try.  An over­whelm­ing 70% of the con­struc­tion pro­fes­sion­als sign­ing up for the courses plan to build with propane in the next 12 months.  Of the builders with no pre­vi­ous expe­ri­ence in build­ing with propane, over half of them plan to build with propane in the next 12 months.  This points to the effi­ciency and effec­tive­ness of train­ing the con­struc­tion com­mu­nity and will result in incre­men­tal sales and gal­lons when you con­nect with those builders in the field.  All of the con­struc­tion pro­fes­sion­als train­ing with PERC at trade shows, through Buildwithpropane.com, and the Propane Train­ing Acad­emy are posted as leads on the Propane MaRC.  Find them and cre­ate new gallons.

Train­ing for your­self and your employ­ees can make a dif­fer­ence in the way you approach the chal­lenges before you.  Much of the coun­try had an unusu­ally warm win­ter that is now quickly turn­ing into sum­mer.  Warmer than nor­mal tem­per­a­tures, the con­tin­ued weak econ­omy, accom­pa­ny­ing con­ser­va­tion, and propane prices sig­nif­i­cantly higher than the pre­vi­ous win­ter have brought gal­lon sales down 20 to 40 per­cent for many propane retail­ers.  Some of those gal­lons are likely to come back with a nor­mal win­ter and an improved econ­omy but some gal­lons are gone for­ever.  For some retail­ers it may be time to face the real­ity that it is time to make a choice; down­size my busi­ness or cre­ate new gal­lons.  Cre­at­ing new gal­lons means cre­at­ing new users and increas­ing the num­ber of propane appli­ca­tions with cur­rent users.  That is true propane mar­ket expan­sion in the energy sec­tor, ver­sus steal­ing cus­tomers from your weaker propane com­peti­tor.  Cre­at­ing new propane users is a strat­egy while steal­ing cur­rent users is a tac­tic. While you may have oppor­tu­ni­ties in your mar­ket­place to use that tac­tic, it shouldn’t be your only one.  Add train­ing for your­self and your employ­ees to your tac­tics list.  The train­ing avail­able at the Propane Train­ing Acad­emy should be incor­po­rated into your slower deliv­ery sea­son, if cre­at­ing new and expanded res­i­den­tial propane users is part of your strategy.

Make spring­time learn­ing time, not down time at your propane busi­ness.  The train­ing avail­able at www.buildwithpropane.com/training will make propane retail­ers bet­ter pre­pared to sell to the con­struc­tion com­mu­nity and to end users.

 

Tom Jaenicke is the owner and prin­ci­pal advi­sor 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.  He can be reached at 810 252‑7855 or tom@atomikenergysolutions.com.

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