17 Mar 4 Simple Ways to Increase Paint & Fabric Sales in F&I
Car shoppers today have quite a selection of aftermarket products to choose from when they step into the F&I office. The digital menu is loaded with anywhere from 6-12 items on average and in the short amount of time you have to decide what you need and don’t need, it’s easy to overlook something that could be more valuable than you may think.
One such product is paint & fabric protection. F&I managers know how tough it is to sell this and judging by the low average penetration, no wonder. Customers always have their guard up and assume that some store-bought wax and a can of Scotchgard is all they need to keep their new car looking great.
So maybe there are better ways to approach this sale other than the usual negative angle of ‘if you don’t have it, your car will look like crap’. Ok, well no one would actually say that but there are some variations on the tried-and-true sales methods that may be worth a look.
Here are 4 tips to an easier paint & fabric sale….
1. Start with ‘Why’- F&I managers sometimes get caught in the trap of starting with the ‘what’, describing what the appearance package is and what it’s designed to do. Understandable but what if they start with the ‘why’.
Why it’s necessary, why it helps with resale or trade-in value, and why it may make perfect sense for their unique lifestyle. WHY ties emotions to it in a way that WHAT does not. WHAT is dry and quite frankly, they can read all that on the brochure sitting on your desk.
2. Educating the Car Buyer – Buyers will make a lot of assumptions about how protected the paint and fabric are when the car rolls off the line. Often that is the main objection to buying an appearance warranty…’It already comes that way from the factory’. True… but only to a point. They must be educated on the limitations of that and that DIY products are simply not the same either.
Since the painting process at the factory is automated, less paint is needed. But the cost to repair damaged paint has increased exponentially over the years, too. Explain that and further explain about the difference between clear coat and paint sealant.
Then explain that there is little to no protection applied to the interior at the factory and describe the importance of today’s chemicals that shield the fibers in upholstery and carpet so that most spills can simply be blotted to remove. Explain the importance of antimicrobial application to the hard surfaces and how that makes the interior hostile to viruses like COVID-19.
The more they know, the more likely they are to buy. You are the expert…educate them.
3. Ask the Right Questions – ‘Where will you be parking your car? Garage or lot? Lots of trees around your house?’ Or the classic ‘Will this car be the primary vehicle to have the family in?’ And no F&I manager should ever forget this question…’How long do you usually keep a car before trading in or selling?’ All these questions serve to make the customer talk themselves into taking the product but that last one is particularly powerful.
It’s a perfect lead-in to educating them about the importance of appearance when the dealership assesses their car for trade-in value. If it looks like crap, the amount offered will not be as high as it should be. They have no idea what dealers have to do to get a car reconditioned to make it a frontline unit or sell for a decent amount wholesale.
It’s not about selling them…it’s about presenting the information in a way that speaks to their unique driving situation. Only good questions can drill down to that level.
4. ‘Seeing’ Helps to Sell – Use any visual tools you can to help the customer see the difference between a protected vehicle and one that has nothing. If you can find a picture of faded or oxidized paint or a stained interior, use them to explain this can happen to any car without an extra layer of protection inside and out.
Then show how much the typical fabric repair or paint repair costs either at your store or a nearby body shop. Numbers don’t lie…make them see how high it can go.
Lastly, make the point that even the manufacturers see the appearance of the car SO important that they send the cars to the dealership shrouded in thick white plastic shrink wrap or zippered bags to protect them from the elements. If the manufacturer goes to those lengths, why would the customer not take every measure they can to protect the car as well? Powerful stuff.