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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

Views: 1660


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Comment by Glenn Pasch on November 26, 2011 at 1:02pm
Again I applaud the point of focusing on what happens onsite or even online. I think what diminishes your point is calling Zmot BS. Throws your points into a one side or the other argument. All of it is important and just because it has found a clearer way to explain it and gain traction should not be dismissed

Love to see ZMOL catch on which would be a way for them to easily understand your message of conversion

Calling BS clouds the issue

Comment by Larry Bruce on November 26, 2011 at 12:44pm

Bruce the problem with reviews are that anyone can make one, you dont have to make a purchase to review you store on Google. In fact you can go on any given day and find an article on someone gaming those reviews.


We have done multiple split tests using Google Reviews, Dealerrater Reviews and Ebay Motors Reviews.


The Ebay Motors review had the most credibility getting the highest CTR and Higher conversions. Google Review came in second and Dealerrater last.


What I do believe about Google Reviews is that when Google figures it out they will become a bigger part of your site ranking.  


In the end I would never say discount review all together just understand what the goals for the review sites what their value truly is to your store and use them accordingly.


Thanks for the comment and great idea for my next post. I will release our testing on review sites and their impact on conversion.  

Comment by Larry Bruce on November 26, 2011 at 12:30pm

Glen I think  I am not being clear, so let me try again. 


The whole point of ZMOL is about conversion and addressing it at every point. ZMOT, FMOT and SMOT simply simply stated are points along the path to  that conversion. ZMOT in my opinion is not new and is bringing too much emphasis to the path and not enough to the real problem that is addressing why you are not getting the conversion, testing new ideas and fixing the problem with what you are already getting online and off.


I hope that is clear, if not sorry I will do my best to try and make it that way.  

Comment by Bruce Hartz on November 26, 2011 at 12:19pm


I think you underestimate the power of reviews and their impact on a shoppers ZMOT. has been a consistent provider of good leads and calls to our dealership resulting in an average of 5 to 7 tractable monthly sales.
                                                                                                                              Three months ago we got 5 bad reviews in a 30 day period and our leads and calls were cut in half and in those 3 months we sold only 5 vehicles from

That woke up the management team and they took my advise to make getting in showroom reviews as part of the delivery process. We bought an iPad2 and built a review site that makes it super easy for the salesmen and customers to post reviews while they are waiting to go to finance.

As expected only a handful of the salesmen (all under 25) got it and with-in 10 days we went from a 1 star to a 3.5 star ratting with 8 really good reviews posted to Cars.

Results were instant. Leads and phone calls went up and in the last 23 days we have sold 6 of those shoppers.

What statistics do you have to back up your statement "reputation will not be taken too seriously by consumers." It seems our shoppers do take it seriously and we will continue to get as many good reviews as possible. It's too easy not too!

As a side note here's what got the young guns hot on getting reviews was showing them that if their names are in the reviews they will be indexed and show in search for their names on Google. i asked them, How powerful would it be when your next potential employer Googles your name and he see's dozens of Great Reviews about you!

Comment by Glenn Pasch on November 26, 2011 at 10:05am


I understand that at each stop along the way there is a potential ZMOL so actually there are many different ways to lose the deal. 

Seems a better take is to get everyone to understand conversion at every step and how to review, test and improve each step vs only focusing on one aspect.

But I am still very confused that as someone who pushes dealers to address conversion at every point, that getting dealers to understand marketing themselves online properly is BS?

Comment by Neil Licht on November 26, 2011 at 8:57am

Seeing the experienced veterans recognize and talk about change is fantastic. I'm wondering, as an industry outsider who comments here, what is the perception of an outsiders ideas based on similar experiences but gained and solved in another industry?  Neil

Comment by Larry Bruce on November 26, 2011 at 4:50am

Glen the point is that it only takes ONE of the ZMOL instances you pointed out in your comment and you're off the list.

However it takes mulitple ZMOT, FMOT and SMOT instances to get on the list or a "Seat at the table" 

Comment by Glenn Pasch on November 26, 2011 at 4:17am

Very interesting discussion. ZMOT to me has been a great way to get dealers to understand how people are shopping. ZMOL should be a great way for dealers to understand how MANY places it is easy to get tossed off the customers research list. 

I have seen the effect of the ZMOT discussion in workshops, where the light goes off when showing dealers how lopsided their marketing budgets are, how many are really unaware of what is online about their dealerships, how they can be a controlling part of what is online and what is their responsibility in regards to their online presence. It has been a great bridge to getting them to understand that just having a website is not being online.

Larry, I disagree that ZMOL is only one thing. In a simplified discussion, yes but I think it is necessary to help dealers then understand how each step along the process, from ZMOT to FMOT can become a ZMOL so it can affect everything they do.

If I am searching online and their website does not come up, off my list

If the site is hard to navigate, off my list

If reviews are not present, off my list

Once I choose one dealership to get off my couch and come see, then the experience can be fraught with opportunities to blow it up once I meet the staff and interact.


A veritable minefield both online and off.


I agree with Scott, dealers need to look at why a sale did not happen with as much intensity as getting people to show up but many don't. Spend more, run more ads, salesperson just had bad day, economy, the list goes on.


So not sure why we all are fighting over a few letters. Each of us has a talent to help dealers somewhere along the process. 

ZMOT works to get dealers seeing the web correctly

Reviews necessary. process may not be perfect but can't stop.

FMOT: heading from online to human. better be good

conversion- critical. without it, close the doors.

ZMOL: EVERY step needs to be evaluated to make sure this does not happen

SMOT: how did we do is now broadcast widely and easily


Yes much of this WE in this forum get. That is why we are ON this forum. but for the thousands of dealers who don't know who we all are, or where this forum is, or where the next digital conference is, all of these "simple" explanations help us all help them which is what we should all be focused on.


Nice to be back from a short break on the forum. 


Hope everyone had a great holiday.

Comment by Larry Bruce on November 26, 2011 at 3:25am

Scott - AMEN testing failing and testing again and again is how you will learn and be more efficient with what you have and that is the big gain. 


Thanks for the comment it was a good one. 

Comment by Larry Bruce on November 26, 2011 at 3:23am

Tom I think many more dealers do understand online customer experience better than many think do. 


The real problem doesn't lie with the dealer it lies with the providers who are undeserving the dealer body for scaleablitily and the fast buck. With OEM's with HIPPO agendas that are based on what the OEM BRAND thinks is important with little reguard to what customers think are important.


Look closely there and you will find a lot of the problems  

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