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Chad Albertson

Chad Albertson Business Development

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Google ZMOT 2.0 What? Statistics don't sell cars, conversations do!

"People don't just walk up to a dealership and pick out a new car." - Google Automotive ZMOT Study.

Are you sure Google?

There are loyal consumers that will choose your dealership for their next car purchase and they are possibly in your service drive right now. These consumers are truly in a different ZMOT category and deserve a conversation! da7de381ee7a099e4fb29ad86e588f44.PNG?t=1

If you prefer, you can avoid them and wait for ZMOT to prove itself right. Let them go to 18.2 different sources for information and then finally pick your dealership out of the 1.3 dealerships that they will visit to purchase a vehicle.

But why would you do that when you can have a conversation with your customer to guide them back to your dealership all over again before Google tells them what to do.

What am I talking about? 

It's simple. You potentially see thousands of consumers visiting your service department each month. You simply need to find a way to engage these consumers in conversation that is targeted to their place in the ownership cycle. Google Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) is a case study of consumer behavior in that focuses on the process of researching and finally making a decision to purchase a vehicle. That first moment of truth (FMOT) happens after collecting information and working through a decision process that inevitably brings consumers to a dealership.

What if the consumers are already at your dealership, but you do not know?

Most dealerships, focused on retention, have these consumers consistently coming back to their service drives every 60-120 days. Don't be afraid to embrace the conversation you can have with your consumers by engaging in ownership information sharing that will help sell a service contract, maintenance plan or vehicle.

Try it out, its simple!

Sample Script

I work here at the dealership. Do you mind if I call you <CUSTOMER FIRST NAME>?  

As a service to our customers, we like to make sure you understand exactly where you are in your time and mileage on your  <VEHICLE DESCRIPTION>. Do you have a minute? Great!
....... to continue  

You will be surprised what comes of a simple conversation without involving the power of Google and the Internet. A simple conversation about a factory warranty expiring or their current position with their lender will, in no doubt, lead to the next sales conversation.

.... continued
The problem is, you are at <VEHICLE MILEAGE> and <MILES TILL EXPIRED> miles from now the manufacturer is no longer going to consider your vehicle an insurable risk so they are putting that exposure on you. 
<CUSTOMER FIRST NAME>, we have a couple of options to alleviate that exposure for you. 

Don't let ZMOT hold back your sales operation! There is no such thing as ZMOT 2.0!

Engage your next service drive consumer with a targeted conversation. Those dealers that are willing to take the service drive challenge are able to break the ZMOT case study theory. They will hold their sales and service teams accountable to a process that will improve consumer satisfaction and drive additional revenue before the ownership cycle calls for a typical purchase or a trade.

Les Hall
Should a dealer have a conversation with their customers in their service department? Absolutely, but I do not think it should be this one. IMO, this conversation makes the assumption that Fear is the best way to sell. And the conversation suggested never took the customer's point of view into consideration. Before having this type of conversation, the sales person better be 100% sure that the customer did not buy an extended service plan, which may have been sold based on the same fear. No longer an insurable risk - then why would a customer buy another that is going to be in the exact same position in the not too distant future? And no customer is going to think that their uninsurable risk is therefore not worth as much - right? Why not offer the customer something that does not create fear? Does not make them think that you want them to make a buying decision - especially after being at the dealership for service was probably not the thing they were looking forward to that day. Why not offer them a guaranteed valuation of their vehicle that they can take with them and that, if they liked, you would write them a check and drive them home? And guarantee the value for X number of days or XXX number of miles beyond what is onthe vehicle? All, with no pressure to buy anything - just the knowledge that the valuation is real, because they could get a check. And the customer did not even have to make a special trip to CarMax to do this! I will admit that this conversation might work for a small number of customers; I am betting that a much larger number will simply have their belief that sales people at dealerships are not to be trusted reinforced. And I wonder how OEM's would think that this is a great conversation starter - when the customer's vehicle may have the same miles and be the same age as some of their certified pre-owned vehicles?
Chad Albertson
Les, thank you for the reply. Great comments and insight. Your exactly right, the sales person should be 100% certain with their knowledge of the current status of coverage of the vehicle in which this customer owns. This means that they should know whether the vehicle was sold as a certified pre-owned, with a service contract (and what coverage), with/without a factory warranty. They should also know when these are going to expire or if they already have. The conversation is around the current coverage the customer has or does not have; and if they choose to continue to own the vehicle they will incur additional responsibility these products cover or the manufacturer covered with a certified pre-owned or new vehicle warranty. Is the customer willing to take on that responsibility? Or is it time to trade or continue coverage with a product that is available today to cover this exposure? The script is not complete. This is only a portion of the full word track. The script would continue to educate the customer of their existing position (warranty, no warranty, certified, not certified, vsc, no vsc). Which would include an offer to purchase, trade or provide protection if they choose to keep the vehicle. Offering only one option, an offer to purchase, is limiting the conversation to only a car deal or purchase that without an appraisal by a used car manager is not a guaranteed value. Carmax does a great job slowing down that customer when entering their showroom, however that process takes a lot longer than the 5-10 minutes you have in the service lounge to make that value stick with a check that the customer can take to the bank. While I may encourage a real appraisal in the drive, sometimes it just starts with a conversation and most of the time that conversation leads to an offer in the showroom. When we as a customer service organization have the opportunity to have a conversation about the protection options available to a customer we should take it. Those products that are available to them at their time in the ownership cycle, should be discussed with the customer before another service visit occurs. The customer appreciates the knowledge and the info only reinforces what the factory and our F&I departments certified, vsc, and warranty products represent. Certified Pre-Owned programs are a great way to start a conversation about protection at the time of sale. However not all vehicles are certified nor are covered with any kind of protection. Customers that do not have coverage and our sales staff is alerted of this, have an opportunity to retain a customer by having a conversation with the customer about the benefits of vehicle protection. Regardless if their vehicle matches the same criteria for time or mileage of a Certified Pre-Owned in the dealerships inventory, the customers vehicle is not covered, therefore a conversation about this point in the ownership cycle should be had.

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