Email lead closers have a language all their own.
And it’s not dealer-speak.
“While industry speak is second nature to dealers, unfamiliar shoppers may just be reminded of how unsure they are about the process,” according to a special report from CDK Global Retail Insights.
It turns out that the language of top closers includes words completely different from low closers.
“People are actually pretty bad at predicting what kind of language is engaging,” said Jason Kessler, a CDK data scientist who specializes in computerized analyses that identify whether a written passage – in this case email – expresses positive, negative or neutral evaluations or emotions.
“The common, but naïve, approach is to assume positive sentiment is the most persuasive,” he said.
But that often isn’t true, said the CDK report – The Language of Closers – written by Tess Karesky after the marketing analytics firm took a look at 1,300 stores from one vehicle luxury brand and one volume brand and then identified the top and bottom 10 percent of email lead closers.
In analyzing shopper vehicle reviews on third-party research sites, words like “love” and “amazing,” while positive, were not very persuasive in getting other shoppers to take the next step, the report said.
“What did drive shoppers to next steps were specifics about a vehicle, like ‘comfortable’ and ‘quiet.’ A three-star review with these words is actually likely to send a shopper to a dealer site over a five-star review that said ‘I love my amazing car,’” according to the report, written by CDK’s Tess Karesky.
Based on that digital experience, CDK set out to determine how dealers could use more persuasive email language to move shoppers through the steps to purchase and, ultimately, purchase with them, the report said. With a list of high and low closers in hand, CDK mystery shopped the 260 stores, representing 20 percent of the initial group of stores, gathering email lead responses from each one.
Words to the wise
Three themes emerged from the results, CDK reported:
- The importance of guiding a consumer. Phrases such as “give me a call to set a time” or “when are you available to come in for a test drive?” were almost exclusively used by high-closing dealerships. That’s because they give the shopper a clear next step, the report said, noting that “simple and direct questions have simple answers and are easier for shoppers to respond to.”
- The importance of clear and relevant information. The top word for high closers was “provide,” and it was almost always used in the context of providing the shopper more information. “Vehicle descriptions, details about the buying process and ‘quotes’ (another high-closer word), all help the shopper gain a better understanding so they can feel secure in taking the next step.” Industry jargon such as “body style” and “options” were used most often by low closers.
- If the shopper chose to make contact via email, there’s probably a reason. The word “give” – often used to suggest the shopper “give me a call so I can assist you” – was the highest predictor of a low closer, according to the study report. Dealers should not use email solely as a means to get shoppers on the phone or into the dealership but, instead, to be helpful.
Compare this list of words and phrases used by high and low closers identified in the study:
“Effective online communication requires businesses and their employees to use new skills, to carefully balance their own objectives and those of the consumers,” wrote CDK’s Karesky. “It’s important to remember that it isn’t just the words that are persuasive – it’s the context in which they are used. Craft [emails] that are useful and clear, and that guide shoppers toward exactly what to do next.”
For step-by-step help on crafting your dealership’s emails, see The Language of Closers at CDK Global.
And then turn your dozers into closers.
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