Study reveals ‘leading language’ dealers use to close deals

Words have meaning for car shoppers and new insight developed by CDK Global has identified those that resonate most and some that do not. In their award-winning “Language of Closers” research, CDK Global analyzed email responses from auto dealers to pinpoint the words and phrases most likely to result in car sales.

“People tend to assume that positive words like ‘love’ and ‘amazing’ will be the most persuasive to potential car shoppers,” said Jason Kessler, data scientist at CDK. “Our research found the opposite and proved that dealers who used proactive language articulating clear next steps for action in their email were the highest closers. Car shoppers need to be guided through the process and the research supported using language to help them on their journey.”

CDK used cutting-edge natural language processing techniques to analyze the email responses of car sales people. Starting with a network of 1300 auto dealers, they compared email responses to online mystery shoppers from dealerships within such networks that historically have had the highest email close rates to email responses from dealerships with the lowest email close rates, to determine what set them apart. The study revealed the importance of guiding the customer through the buying process. Phrases like “give me a” and “feel free to” were typically used by low-closers in requesting that a shopper contact the dealer at some indeterminate time in the future. Phrases like “give me a call when you are free” or “feel free to email any time” were ineffective because they put the onus back on the shopper.

Sharing clear and relevant information also set apart top-closing dealers. The top word used by high closers is “provide,” and it was used mostly in the context of sharing information. Vehicle descriptions, details about the buying process and quotes all help the shopper gain a better understanding so they can feel secure in taking the next step. However, words like “body style” and “options” were used more often by low closers, possibly indicating that jargon and industry terms are not persuasive when used to answer shopper questions.

“This research is exciting because it is so actionable,” continued Kessler. “By focusing on communication styles that shoppers prefer, dealerships can improve their effectiveness and sell more cars.”


Let us know! Which of the terms in this article do you use? Are there any others that you have found work more often than others?

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