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 [email protected]