Appearance Packages Should be an Easier Sell Now More Than Ever
Today’s car shopper is in quite a tough spot. Inventories still have not caught up to pre-COVID levels, many dealerships are charging MSRP or above on what they DO have, and now interest rates are creeping up…it’s all making for a rather uncomfortable experience.
Car shoppers today have quite a selection of aftermarket products to choose from when they step into the F&I office. In the last year, record high PVR has been a bright spot for dealers who are recouping lost revenue during the height of COVID. And while there are some products that may not have a direct correlation to challenging situations car buyers are in, there is one that should be an easier sale than ever.
That product is paint & fabric protection. F&I managers know how tough it is to sell this during a ‘normal’ market, but now? It’s still tough. 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 now other than the usual negative angle of ‘if you don’t have it, your car will look awful.’ Maybe not so harsh of course 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 in today’s challenging climate….
- 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 (especially now when so many buyers may be picking out a car they didn’t really want but intend to trade in when the car they wanted is back in stock), 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.
- Educate First- 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 that we are still not totally out of the woods with COVID yet.
The more they know, the more likely they are to buy. You are the expert...educate them.
- The Right Questions Make it Easy - ‘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 bad, the amount offered will not be as high as it should be. If this is a ‘placeholder’ car until inventory levels rebound, all the more reason to make sure the trade in value is the highest they can get and that starts with the overall condition of the car.
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.
- Make Them ‘See’ It- 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.
To learn more about how easy it is to set up a comprehensive appearance package for your customers today, reach out to us here at ExoGloss and let us help you help your buyers.
When a dealership includes a preloaded appearance bundle with each unit, then it really becomes a challenge. Salespeople are focused on selling the features and benefits of the car itself...the options, safety rating, performance, etc.