Using “The Sales Pitch” – Is It Part of Your Job?Guest Post From: Patrick Fahrenkrug – Patrick has been involved in funeral service since 1988 and has been a state of Wisconsin licensed funeral director since 1994, Patrick currently serves as Community Outreach Director and Advanced Planning Consultant for Wieting Family Funeral Homes in Kiel and Chilton Wisconsin. Patrick also owns and operates Forrest Run Pet Cemetery and Cremation Service in Sherwood, WI.
There aren?t too many funeral directors who like to call themselves sales people. But, whether we like to admit it or not, sales is a big part of our ?job?. We have all heard the car sales comparison in reference to selling funeral merchandise.
I was having lunch with a friend the other day and he was telling me about his recent experience with ?shopping? for cars. He and his wife stopped at a GM dealership first. The eager, thirty something salesman almost immediately steered them to the Chevy Impala, telling them how it is a ?really great car for a really great price?. My friend told me that they never said anything to the salesman about price being a consideration for the type of car they wanted to buy. The salesman just assumed they were looking for a great car for a great price. A fair assumption. After all, who isn?t looking for a great product or service at a great price? They went for a ride in the car, and came back with nothing special to say about it. It seemed to be a good car.
Their next stop was at a Toyota dealership. The thirty something saleswoman, first, sat down with them and asked them what they were looking for in a car. After telling her what they wanted she walked them over to the Toyota Venza. They hopped in and took it for a test drive. By the time they got back from the test drive there wasn?t a thing they didn?t know about that car. She took the time to explain all of the options to them. Some of them were options they were looking for, some weren?t. Nonetheless, everything was explained. They ended up buying the Toyota Venza. The best part??.it was $8,000.00 more than the Chevy Impala.
I got to thinking about how my friend?s car shopping experience can be related to funeral shopping. People shop funeral services more now than ever before. But, they aren?t always shopping for the best price. Maybe they are shopping for the best facility, one with a banquet hall. Maybe they are shopping for the best personality, someone they feel comfortable with, someone they feel they can trust. Maybe they are just shopping for the best experience! There are times when price is an issue and if that is the case, you can be sure the ?shopper? will tell you. But, we cannot always assume that they are shopping for the best price. This can apply to both at-need and pre-need families.
We need to take the time to listen to what our families are saying, and what they are looking for. Comply with the FTC rules and hand out your price lists?..and then ask questions and listen to the story. The skilled arranger will be able to ask the right questions, and based on the answers, be able to build the funeral or memorial service package that is right for that family. The same applies to the ?cremation shopper?. We assume because they are wanting cremation, they are looking for the least expensive price. Again, if they are looking for the least expensive, they will tell you. Do people choose a ?green burial option? because it is the least expensive? No, they are choosing it because it gives them peace of mind, knowing that they are being environmentally conscious.
A funeral director being compared to a sales person shouldn?t be such a bad thing. It is part of what we do. We sell ourselves, our services, and our merchandise. Let?s just be careful, not to sell ourselves, our services, and our merchandise??.too short!