Terry Corbell, The Biz Coach
By Terry Corbell
Business Consultant

Choice of Words Matter to Convert Prospects to Customers



Nearly all sales organizations insist their salespeople follow a specified process to persuade prospects to become customers.

Perhaps they understand and use the seven steps to higher sales, the five value perceptions that motive customers to buy, and they know how to overcome sales objections.

Such strategies are designed to guide the customer through the buying process.

However, many sales organizations would have an easier route to closing sales if they understood that the choice of words matter.

A great salesperson always manages the sales process.

In this regard, a 2016 study entitled, “Language of Closers,” by CDK Global makes a lot of sense.

The firm reveals that auto shoppers are motivated to buy depending on the words used by salespeople.

CDK did an analysis of emails from 1,300 car dealers to customers.

The objective was to identify the phrases and words that persuade customers to buy cars.

With more than $2 billion in revenues, CDK Global provides information technology and digital marketing solutions to the automotive retail and adjacent industries.

“People tend to assume that positive words like ‘love’ and ‘amazing’ will be the most persuasive to potential car shoppers,” says 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,” he explains.

“Car shoppers need to be guided through the process and the research supported using language to help them on their journey,” adds Mr. Kessler.

CDK compared the auto dealers’ email responses to online mystery shoppers – a comparison of emails of high-closing dealers to emails of low-closing dealers.

Typically, phrases such as “give me a” and “feel free” were used by the low-closing salespeople in suggesting that a shopper contact the dealer at some indeterminate time in the future.

Such phrases are nebulous because they’re unformulated and fail to encourage shoppers to act.

Why? They’re too open-ended because they put the onus back on the shopper.

A great salesperson always manages the sales process.

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

Successful salespeople make a better use of value propositions or benefit statements.

CDK confirms that that top word used by high closers is “provide,” and it was used mostly in the context of sharing information.

Additionally, 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.

But low-closing salespeople use words such as “body style” and “options.”

Auto dealer jargon and industry terms are not persuasive when used to answer shopper questions.

CDK’s revelations are not surprising. In my management-consulting practice, in marketing and human resources training for multiple auto dealers, I’ve found this to be true.

Another dealer word used ineffectively by salespeople is “inventory.”

Salespeople were advised to use the phrase “you’ll love our great selection” as opposed to the phrase “you’ll love our inventory.”

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related sources of information:

Tips for Your Success with Effective Follow-up Emails — Ever wonder why you’re waiting nonstop for emails – why you’re unsuccessful after you send follow-up emails? It might be because of your approach.

Evaluate, Negotiate and Implement the Most Affordable CRM — There’s a lot to consider in order for a great return on your CRM investment. Here are four due-diligence tips.

Sales Lessons for Car Dealers and Other Retailers — Increasingly, as you might guess, moms visit Internet sites to shop for cars but want face-to-face meetings before buying. But moms say they must be able to trust before buying.

11 Tips for the Best Business Mobile Web Site — If you operate a retail business, it’s increasingly important for your Web site to be easy-to-use for mobile users. The use of smartphones and tablets is skyrocketing, especially among Millennials — young adults aged 32 and under. Studies also show the majority of mobile aficionados use their devices to access the Internet. Such data continually changes — mobile sales and use of the Internet is consistently rising.

Marketing Warfare to Hit Your Target Audience — Because of heavy competition, marketing has become more difficult. Consumers are suffering from consumer overload; they’re inundated with marketing messages. So use these precautions to connect with your target customers.

Life is like a dogsled team. If you ain’t the lead dog, the scenery never changes.

Lewis Grizzard


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.




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Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.