MIAMI BEACH – Certain words and phrases car dealerships use in emails resonate with customers, while other terms, while often similar, have the opposite effect.
That’s according to a CDK Global study using data drawn from dealership computer systems.
The information technology firm looked at what salespeople with high sales-closing rates say in e-mails compared with what low closers write. An analysis of both sets of emails identified words that work and ones that fall flat, says Jason Jewert, lead consultant in the project.
Several studies have delved into dealer e-mail response times. The general consensus: Prompt replies to online-customer inquiries increase the chances of a sale.
“We focused on language, because no one had done that yet,” Jewert says, noting books have been written on effective email writing, but none specific to the auto industry.
“Language is the expression of persuasion, and we looked at which words triggered high close rates,” he says during a presentation entitled “The Language of Closers: Communication that Wins” at the DrivingSales annual Presidents Club conference here.
The computerized parsing of the e-mails indicates the No.1 word that stood out among high closers is “provide,” as in, “We will provide you with a best price” and “We will provide you with accurate information.”
Next is “quote,” as in, “I’d like to quote you a price.”
“‘Test drive’ also ranked high. So was “on my cell,” in the context of, say, salespeople offering their own phone numbers to customers. “It shows a personal interest,” Jewert says.
Negative words include “give me,” as in a dealership staffer’s e-mail response telling a customer, “Give me a call.” Jewert says: “‘Give me’ stood out among low closers.” His conclusion: Don’t tell people you don’t yet know to give you something.
Yet “give me” is commonly used in dealership word tracts. CDK detected it appearing in several store phone scripts.
“Body style” is a seemingly innocuous description indicating vehicle type, but it is another term to avoid in consumer communications, study results indicate. “It connotes jargon,” Jewert says. So does the synonymous “trim level.”
His advice to dealers who want to improve their stores’ e-mail skills to sell more vehicles includes:
- “Go through your first responses. Get rid of the language of low closers and replace it with the language of high closers.”
- Read sample emails aloud at team meetings. “Does an email read well and guide the customer to the next action?” Suggesting a test drive is better than asking for an appointment because it more descriptively “tells customers what will happen when they get to the dealership.”