Poor grammar“Hundreds of vehicle’s to choose from.” If you can’t spot the two grammatical errors in that sentence don’t open a car yard anytime soon. According to the specialist American auto industry news service Automotive News poor grammar is proving to be a sales turnoff to potential customers. When they see statements like that one they’ll drop a dealership’s website and go onto the next.

Maybe only pedants would get upset about the sentence ending in a preposition, but many, many people would find the possessive apostrophe in ‘vehicle’s’ annoying. Some would be enraged. And they would then decide that a car yard that lacks the professionalism to get it’s advertising right will also lack professionalism in its sales and customer service.

“Hundreds of vehicles for your consideration” wouldn’t offend anyone.

“First impressions matter when it comes to attracting online shoppers,” Automotive News advises. “Dealerships should ensure responses to potential customers are not only thoughtful and informative, but also grammatically correct,”

According to a survey by EFG Cos, a product and training company in Texas, nearly half of consumers hold that poor spelling, grammar and punctuation are enough to turn them off from a car dealership before ever walking in the door. It’s probably the same across all retail.

In the survey, customers were asked to name the top three reasons that would lessen their consideration of a dealership for buying a car. The number one reason was a general feeling of distrust, but poorly worded, nonprofessional communication was the second highest, followed by a salesperson’s lack of product knowledge.

“A typo on the store website or in a message to a customer signifies inattention to detail and lack of professionalism,” the survey concluded. “One person’s grammatical error will likely make the entire dealership seem unprofessional.”

Jenny Rappaport, EFG’s chief marketing officer said that a consumer shift to online shopping put a premium on rapid response times. Many dealership employees believe the first message to reach the customer makes the sale.

“What you saw was this groundswell of canned responses and then very rapid and hurried communication back to the consumer about that vehicle,” she said. “In that hurry, a lot of poorly worded, information was going to the customer that was not scrutinised.”

She said deals were lost because of small, but costly typos.

“A simple proofread can protect, and enhance, an image.”


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