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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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Larry Bruce

Larry Bruce Founder / President / CEO

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SEO, PPC, Inbound Marketing, Online Marketing, Internet marketing, Search Optimization, Conversion Optimization, CRO, Landing pages, Landing page optimization, email marketing, database marketing, behavioral marketing, retargeting, remarketing, ZMOT,One of my most favorite sayings in the world goes like this:

 
“A sale, like a war, is won by many battles and lost by one”
 
This is true across every industry and business and why there is no single ZMOT (Zero Moment Of Truth). There are multiple events that take a customer to the point of decision to contact your dealership or buy your car.
 
Our own studies have shown along with many others that a visitors will visit a site multiple time and even see and click multiple ads before they convert to a lead basically showing that there is no one single moment where a visitor decides to convert or buy.
 
So what is ZMOT?
 
Well for the car business I believe it’s a name for the process a visitor goes through before…
“You get a seat at the table”. (I talked about this in “The Currency Of Trust” post in March of 2010)
That’s really all a lead is… “ a seat at the table”, like any other marketing you will still have to sell yourself, sell the dealership and create rapport with the customer to get the dealership visit and / or ultimately the sale.
 
So what has ZMOT changed?
 
Actually nothing, the most it has done is made us aware that customers and visitors have more places than they want to get the information they want about buying a car and that we need to be transparent, something we have all known for some time. It has made us aware that the first point of contact and decision is on the web not on our lot, again something we have known now for many years.
 
At the MOST ZMOT may have made more dealerships see that the conversion is the point of your web marketing, without it you don’t have a chance to gain the rapport and relationship you need to sell the car.
 
That brings me to the ONE THING… there is a single action that can dramatically affect your ability to convert leads and sell customers today. That is NOT giving the vital information needed to make the decision to consider you dealership in the buying process.
 
Marketing is so fragmented today and every visit is so fragile that it only takes ONE THING to not look right to your visitor, ONE THING be clouded, one moment where you message isn’t clear or its too hard to get the information the visitor or customer wants or needs for the them to just move on or that lead to just not email you back or just not answer the phone when you call.
 
“It is all too easy today for consumers to just cut you out of the buying process for you not to be ultra-transparent and more importantly HELPFUL. The bottom-line the consumers web shopping experience when it comes to automotive is more of a process of elimination not one of inclusion”
 
So the ONE THING is more of a ZMOL (Zero Moment Of Loss) if you have marketed or sold in the car business long enough you have experienced it, you have even seen it physically, that moment when you know you just lost the sale.
 
That’s just my perspective… What say you?
 
Larry Bruce @pcmguy
James Bazuik
I agree with many points that you make in this article. But ZMOT also agrees with you. I think you might need to re-read the e-book if you haven't already. Zero moment of truth's name is a little misleading; but it states that it is only ONE part of the selling process that has been added since the internet became a shopping tool. ZMOT isn't the decision its just information added. The book states that it is a game you need to be in to have a chance or be in a position to grab that online shopper. Your points are all valid and great article...you might have missed the point. BUT i commend you for creating a controversy since its kind of a hot topic right now. Happy Selling
James Bazuik
Just to add to my last comment. Many ZMOT articles on driving sales, relating to the car business are a stretch. It is not an end all practice and the articles written need to be taken with a grain of salt since it is just one guys interpretation that didn't write or had no part of the book. But he does do a great job teaching it, and his intentions are good. again Mr. Bruce Great Article
Brian Pasch
Larry Happy Thanksgiving and it's appropriate for such a turkey of Blog Title that was created to draw some fire. It was effective. You open this blog post with this statement: "This is true across every industry and business and why there is no single ZMOT (Zero Moment Of Truth). There are multiple events that take a customer to the point of decision to contact your dealership or buy your car." If you read the book, which you must not have, the Zero Moment of Truth defined by Jim Lecinski, is not a singular event. For auto shoppers, its the 18+ points of influence that consumers particpate with BEFORE contacting the dealership. Now that we are clear on the facts, you are correct that ZMOT doesn't share data that is ground-breaking but it does create a language that dealers are starting to understand. The book is not filled with terms like SEO, SEM, IRM, etc. which tend to baffle dealers. It's a smart way to show dealers that their offline stimulus needs to be supported by ZMOT and FMOT investments. It means that dealers have to UNDERSTAND that their TV investments don't drive consumers directly to their lots. Stimulus just sparks consumer research on the Internet, and that's where dealers need help. I think that the ZMOT conversation is the starting point to encourage dealers to have a comprehensive marketing strategy that spans all mediums and technology platforms. If you think that's BS, that OK. I expect you to be the contrarian voice...and like that.
Mike Fitzpatrick
The ZMOT book has definitely done a great job at defining a period of time where a consumer is "in market" and how important it is to be there for them. The car industry is interesting in that just about every franchise dealership in the country has spent A LOT of money over the years branding themselves. That coupled with the fact that we are talking about local brick and mortar. Google already knows how relevant dealers are for what they sell, making them a barn walls that are hard to miss when a consumer is shopping for a car. "ZMOL (Zero Moment Of Loss)" I think you hit the nail on the head with this one, and this helps define how to handle ZMOT in the car business. There is no magic bullet to selling with ZMOT. Just be your best all of the time, continually build relationships, and train your salespeople well. If someone at your dealership doesn't represent you the way you want and causes problems with customers. Handle it right away and as publicly as your client wants to so that other potential clients in ZMOT see that those rare cases that cause bad reviews aren't a reflection of your dealership but isolated cases. It takes 18.2 interactions in the automotive business because people are afraid they will be the next bad car experience story. Make them comfortable that isn't going to happen and you won't have a ZMOL (Zero Moment Of Loss).
Larry Bruce
James I am aware that ZMOT states there are several points my problem is that no one person can guess at these points you must test to find the right message for each channel the only people who know are the consumers. Secondly that ZMOT and FMOT are just different acronyms for what we know as integrated marketing and getting this done is not as much a dealer issue as it is a provider issue. Providers of marketing in our industry are fragmented therefore our marketing is fragmented and why we miss ZMOT. It’s been suggested that dealers don’t understand this I think it is the providers that don’t or wont.

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