Study: These Top 5 Words Help to Convert at Dealerships

Chart courtesy of CDK Global.
Image courtesy of CDK Global.

Reviews matter to customers, and they’re starting to matter for dealers too. New research from CDK Global, as a part of The Language of Closers study, has identified the top words and phrases playing a role converting potential shoppers through dealership reviews, an area dealers often ignore.

“Dealers typically assume that positive, five-star reviews should be front and center on their homepage,” said Jason Kessler, lead data scientist at CDK Global. “However, we found that reviews using specific and relatable words, even if their overall star-ranking is lower, are more effective at converting shoppers.”

Surprisingly, “test-drive” was among the lowest converting phrase for dealerships. This is contrary to the idea that pushing shoppers to test drive a vehicle may not be the best approach.

The research found that words such as “passing” (as in passing someone on the road) were high predictors for conversion in sedan reviews. This word ranked at the top because it helps shoppers visualize and understand the power of a car by its passing ability, while attributes like “torque” and “horsepower” are only meaningful to car enthusiasts. “Quiet” and “comfortable” were other highly ranked words for all vehicle reviews.

“Words that help a customer imagine what it might be like to drive the vehicle were consistently ranked at the top of the list,” continued Kessler. “While dealers can’t control what their customers say, they can highlight the reviews that will be most beneficial to their customers, and their business.”

“The top five converting words were passing, climate, blind spot, comfort and quiet,” says senior analyst Fernando Gomez of AutoTechCar IQ. “These converting words mixes a unique blend of performance, safety and luxuriousness measures that appeal to car shoppers.”

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With over 15 years of automotive journalism experience, Frank enjoys spending his times racing around Willow Springs and attending Cars and Coffee events. He's a sucker for sports coupes and dreads any assignments that involves him driving around a minivan.