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Selling Paint and Fab

Selling only the benefits of paint and fabric products could be walking you right into an objection. F&I expert says there is a better, more tangible way to present the protections.

November 2015, F&I and Showroom - Feature

by Kevin Lannon

I recently went online to hunt for articles that could aid my dealers in the sale of paint and fabric protection products. After 30 minutes of reading comments such as “Don’t buy the snake oil,” “It’s a glorified wax job” and “Just buy a $10 can of Scotchgard and do it yourself,” I realized I was wasting my time.

So why all the negative comments, especially when it’s clear consumers and consumer advocates understand the value of these protections? In fact, a recent Top 10-style article I found on MSN Auto lists “Wax on, wax off” as the No.1 way to maintain a vehicle’s value. Other entries included “Watch where you park” (to reduce sun exposure) and “It’s not a restaurant, don’t treat it as such.” In other words, be aware of the avoidable factors that ruin both the appearance and smell of your car.

An accompanying article stated: “Your car has many enemies — some visible, some not. Emissions from industrial plants are released into the environment, where they are transformed into nitric or sulfuric acid. When deposited onto your car, in either a wet or dry state, these contaminants can eat paint and, in extreme cases, metal. When ignored, acid from dead bugs, bird droppings, tree sap and even fallen leaves can do the same.”

Heck, even the review site Angie’s List states that paint and clear coat damage can costs anywhere from $300 to $1,000 to repair. So, again, if everyone agrees your vehicle is a target for the environment, why can’t I find any press on the importance of buying appearance protection products in the F&I office? Now, many experts do recommend waxing your vehicle. That’s a good start, but it’s sort of like your doctor recommending you take medicine for your high cholesterol and then dropping your health insurance.

Personally, I believe the problem stems from us selling the wrong benefits. See, instead of selling the benefits of the product, we should be selling the benefits of the associated warranty.

Salespeople and finance managers often talk about the benefits of the “protective coatings,” all of which are true, if not fairly intangible. What would be more compelling to a customer, however, is if you explained that the product’s associated warranty will cover the repainting of the hood damaged by tree sap or bird droppings. And that’s how you can differentiate the coating you sell and the wax a customer can purchase on his or her own. Because waxing your car is all well and good, but you can’t go back to the store and ask them to repaint your hood if a bird uses it as a bathroom and penetrates your wax, clear coat, paint and primer.

The same goes for fabric protection. We all know it won’t prevent a lit cigar from burning a hole in a vehicle’s passenger seat. But with the right coverage, the warranty covering the protection would pay for the repair.

So the next time you pitch paint and fabric protections to a customer, try focusing on the benefits of the associated warranties. Everyone agrees there are a number of harmful enemies that affect both the interior and exterior of a customer’s vehicle. So let’s protect them with great chemicals and, more importantly, a fully insured warranty that backs the protection!

Kevin Lannon is an income development specialist for Great Lakes Co. in Kalamazoo, Mich. Email him at


  1. 1. Mackie Hughes [ January 20, 2015 @ 12:22PM ]

    I couldn't agree more. We train that you should educate the consumer on what they have and don't have from the factory when it comes to warranty coverage on the paint and interior. Then using the warranty coverage to show where Simoniz steps in and covers.

  2. 2. Larry [ January 31, 2015 @ 09:00AM ]

    Any idea which paint vendors offer the type of warranty discussed? I haven't seen any. I've only seen coverages that are consistent with the consumer critics. If there are reputable companies with warranties that actually provide value, I would be interested. It would change my mind and be a real benefit for the consumer.

  3. 3. Joe Skupien [ February 01, 2015 @ 12:40PM ]

    I have products that are backed by great warranties. Contact me and I will be happy to tell you about them.

  4. 4. Joe Skupien [ February 01, 2015 @ 12:58PM ]

    My email address is

  5. 5. Katie [ February 02, 2015 @ 07:13AM ]

    Larry, For more than a decade I've worked with a company that provides the best warranty coverage for paint, fabric and leather vinyl in the industry. Additionally the product is VOC Compliant which is a fantastic selling tool. What is your contact information? I'd be happy to discuss this further.

  6. 6. richard horkey [ February 03, 2015 @ 05:03AM ]

    I would like the company name and product that offers a warranty that covers the items that are described in this article.Thanks.

  7. 7. Wes Storm [ February 03, 2015 @ 07:19AM ]

    Larry and any others that may be interested - My company imports a paint/fabric/leather/alloy and chrome wheel product that is guaranteed for life. Our product has been sold throughout Europe, Asia, Russia and the Middle East for over 20 years. We carry the only product strong enough to cover any damage that may be caused by sandstorms in the Middle East. Our product has proven itself in the worlds harshest environments and in now being introduced to the Unites States and Canada.

    Ours is the only rock mineral petroleum product made. Others are either water or silicone based and therefore will wear off as time goes on. Was insured with Lloyds of London with no claims for 15 years. Now being reinsured over seas. All stateside policies will be backed by a top rated provider.

    Please email me at for more information.

  8. 8. Wes Storm [ February 03, 2015 @ 07:22AM ]

    sorry - first cup of coffee

    email is

  9. 9. Frank [ February 05, 2015 @ 04:56AM ]

    As a car buyer, there is one reason why I, and almost all of my friends and relatives, never buy an F&I product. That reason is not we do not see value in some of the products. It is the value of each product comes with a cost we are willing to pay. In all cases, that value is far less than the value the F&I manager attaches to the product.

    Take etch for example. We may consider a cost of $50 or so an acceptable cost for the minimal value we perceive from that product. The last time I encountered etch the dealer tried to get me to pay $299.

    Antoher time the F&I manager tried to get me to pay $500 for tire and wheel insurance, on an $18,000 vehicle. I may have considered $150 or so, but $500 was not commensurate with the value of that product, certainly not for a low cost vehicle.

    Some of the tips shown seem to suggest the only reason buyers do not buy is because the F&I manager has not educated the buyer as to the value of the products being sold. Seriously, how much education can the F&I manager provide in a period of a few minutes which would result in a reasonably sophisticated buyer changing from a no to a yes?

  10. 10. Jamie [ March 15, 2015 @ 10:41AM ]

  11. 11. Dan [ June 27, 2016 @ 09:41AM ]

    I find it impossible to believe that a dealership has some kind of exterior sealant that will last 5 years. No war, or sealant will last that long on one application....NONE!

  12. 12. Dan Arson [ March 30, 2017 @ 10:34AM ]

    Instead of offering "overpriced wax jobs" with confusing warranties, why not offer something that can actually benefit the customer? Clear bras are becoming more and more popular and offer serious protection from scratches and rock chips. There are lots of independent shops that install the film so you would need to price accordingly and actually train the employees on how to install the film properly. I am a die hard car guy and I have never bought anything from the financing department but I can assure you that if a dealership offered 3M paint protection film at a decent price and guarantee, it might be the first product I actually purchase.

  13. 13. Dann Williams [ September 09, 2017 @ 10:42AM ]

    Optimum CERAMIC Coating from the leader in aftermarket Ceramic Coatings Opti Coat is now entering the dealership side. Not only is the warranty backed by A+ rated Acuity Insurance, but the product is a real viable product that you do not have to feel dirty selling. Our products are all made in our own factory in Memphis Tn. Check our website and feel free to contact me directly


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