Selling to a bodyshop. Is your product/service vitamin or painkiller?


Since many of our readers are actually suppliers of bodyshops, trading partners, I would like to share some thoughts about how different could one product be in the eyes of a bodyshop manager or an owner, depending on their business, size and condition. Perhaps you already have heard about a theory that all products and services could be divided into two groups: vitamins and painkillers. Let me introduce to your attention how this sales concept applies to the collision repair business.


Vitamins are products or services, which are “nice to have”, but not “need to have”. They are optional. It is just like with real multivitamins we take from time to time. We know that vitamins are good for our health, but we do not know exactly how good they are. It is not measurable.


Painkillers on the other hand are the products or services, which solve real, tangible problems. These products are “need to have”. Without these products or services, the overall operation of a bodyshop has serious problems.

Vitamins or painkillers


In fact, car paint supplier carry both types of products in the range. Therefore, a sales rep should be in the position to distinguish what is what, applied to each bodyshop individually. For instance, if in a bodyshop there is a bottleneck problem in the preparation area, causing delays and long waiting times for sprayer, then additional sanding machine, more efficient abrasives and faster drying primers are real “painkillers”.

Another example. In a busy bodyshop, fast drying clearcoat could be a real “painkiller”, unlocking more capacity and hence higher profits and improved customer satisfaction. However, if a body shop experiences lack of customers and is struggling to survive, faster clearcoat is “nice-to-have”, but not necessary product.

Why is it important?

If your work is to sell car refinishing products (just like mine), you probably think of how to increase your figures, to upsell, cross sell etc. Nevertheless, it makes little sense to push products, which are not real “painkillers”. In order to identify such products, we should be genuinely interested in our customers’ problems. Only if we know where the pain is, we can offer the right “medicine”. By doing so, not only we will achieve sales, but also build long-term loyal business relationship.

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