If You Want People To Think Your Funeral Home Is Different, You Need To Actually Be Different.

March 2, 2016
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Article provide by: Ellery Bowker, Directors Advantage

Have you ever been swept off your feet by a company?  It’s like falling in love.  You’ll know it when it happens.  It’s the kind of extraordinary attention and experience you rarely encounter.  It’s a company going the extra mile. It’s a company with a culture of gratitude for the opportunity to meet your needs.

I’ve been to many conventions where presentations are given by very experienced marketers about enhancing the guest experience.  Creating opportunities to create personal “wow” moments designed to sweep that family off their feet.  I couldn’t agree more.  But the only thing missing, unless I missed it over and over, is how to make a family fall in love with you when they haven’t yet decided to use your firm.  The guest experience of attendees is a start but that’s experiential in a group setting.

What if your funeral home courted the undecided family with the same desire to sweep them off their feet?

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What is the protocol in your funeral home when someone calls in, or fills out a form on your website, requesting information about preplanning but doesn’t want to meet with a funeral director at this time?

This is a moment of truth for the funeral home because typically the only path that is defined is if they want to come in and meet with the person who handles preneed at the firm.   That is easy.   But if the caller just wants information, that’s not so easy. It’s not easy because “Bob” is the preneed guy  (AKA, the director who usually meets with families who want to plan ahead) and “Bob” doesn’t really have information that he sends out. He feels like it’s better to meet with the family in person so he can go over everything in detail.  (A kind translation would be that “Bob” only sells to walk-ins. )

The truth is if they’re not willing to come in, most funeral homes don’t know how to help them. If pressed, or maybe by default, a brochure is placed in an envelope with the funeral directors card and put in the mail.   “Give us a call when you’re ready!”

But, is the brochure made by your insurance company really what they are wanting?

We don’t really know what they want unless the person on the phone is trained to ask a few questions and find out the motivation of the caller. Just like someone calling in for a cremation price; if we can get a few key pieces of information, we can really personalize their request.

If you’re not afraid to probe, you give yourself a chance to show how you are different from other funeral homes (they may not be just calling you!) . If you want people to think your funeral home is different, you need to actually be different.

This is your chance to completely blow them away with your preparedness and personalized attention to their needs, even though they’ve not yet agreed to do business with you. It’s called salesmanship and it’s a muscle not used by most funeral professionals.

Are they calling and taking this first step because someone close to them passed and they realize the urgency or are they calling to make plans for the imminent death of a loved one?   Is it a Medicaid spend down or a widow trying to make sure her children have no additional burden when she passes?

Let’s assume that the person was calling (or emailing) about her ailing father and you learned that he is a veteran and she is now just “looking around and getting information.”

A personalized marketing approach might look like a package sent to her (Priority Mail) that includes the following:

  • A personalized letter from the funeral home owner that you understand the journey she is starting on
  • A FAQ document about funeral and cremation planning for Veterans
  • An explanation of the flag program and how to qualify.
  • A page of full color photos of previous veterans services.
  • A plain English explanation of how veterans benefits are qualified and applied.
  • Your GPL and an easy to understand sample funeral package.

I can already hear some funeral home owners saying “but…this info is already on my website.!”  Maybe, but in the case of an inquiry by phone or email, would you really just point them back to your website?  They are giving you an opportunity, a slight crack in the door for you to step through and show them how you’re different.   Put the work in, create a personalized marketing presentation every time you possibly can and you’ll earn more business.

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Game Over.

_______________________

Ellery Bowker is the CEO of Directors Advantage and also the founder of Preneed Builderswhich creates tools to grow your preneed sales.  He can be reached atellery@directorsadvantage.com

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