Every week I take at least a couple of hours to read
over my personal marketing journals. They’re nothing
too elaborate looking, just a series of note books
that I’ve kept for years…but they’re worth a
fortune to me. In these journals I record any
marketing “wisdom” that I come across or that I
learned from my own experiences. If my office ever
catches on fire these journals would the first thing
Here’s something that I recorded in 2002. It will
definitely help you grow your funeral home…..
(if you apply it)
Take a moment to ponder this question….why don’t
people buy a full memorial service from your funeral
Don’t read my answer until you’ve answered it for
(pause here until you have an answer in mind)
First I’ll give you the generic answer that applies
to every business regardless of the industry, then
I’ll apply it to your funeral home.
People don’t buy something for one of the following
Let’s say someone is trying to sell me dog grooming
services. Yet, I don’t currently have a dog so I
definitely don’t have a desire for what they’re
Or if I do have a dog but the groomer doesn’t look
like they know what they’re doing…I won’t buy.
Or if the price is $75 but I only have $10 to my
name…I won’t buy.
Too many business owners make the mistake of
believing that money is always the deciding factor.
That’s far from true…
The reality is that today’s consumer is very quick to
over spend on things that they really want, even if
they can’t afford it.
Need proof? Drive through a trailer park and look at
home many trailers have satellite dishes. The high
percentage will shock you. Here’s a person who’s
barely making ends meet yet they paying $150 a month
for access to 400 channels of the same old junk.
Need more proof? Take a look a the size of an average
wedding these days. One of my friends offered his
daughter $20k to elope because it was cheaper (his
wife over ruled him)
People will not hesitate to find a way to pay for
something that passes the first two criteria.
Do they truly desire what you are selling?
Do they trust that you can deliver the result that
you are promising them?
The person in the trailer park with a satellite dish
has a deep desire for a distraction and they trust
that they’ll find it somewhere in the 400 channels.
And so, they justify the purchase and find the money.
Now let’s apply this to your funeral home….
Revisit my earlier question….why don’t people buy a
full memorial service from your funeral home?
A lot of funeral directors think that the only issue
is money. Hopefully the example that I gave above
illustrates that money is rarely the true issue.
Money is only relevant if you’ve already passed the
first two criteria
If you’re struggling to sell full service funerals
these days it’s because people do not have a big
enough desire for what you are selling and/or they
don’t trust that you can do a good job at it.
This is a huge problem and you’re not going to
overcome it by getting into a price war with the
discount service provider in town.
This is fundamentally a marketing problem….
Marketing’s job is to present your funeral home to a
family in such a way that they instantly see how you
are uniquely able to satisfy their desires (i.e., to
help their family heal during this difficult time).
Good marketing then backs it up with enough proof
that they trust that you’ll deliver.
Two weeks ago I did a teleseminar with Robin Heppell
from the FuneralFuturist.com in which he interviewed
me about my new book the 2009 Strategic Marketing
Plan for Funeral Service Professionals.
At the end of the interview I spent 2 more hours
answering questions that were emailed in from the
One of the questions comes to mind (I’ll leave out
the name)….”How do I market to the baby boomers who
want more event based versus product based services?”
Here’s how I answered…
The solution is very simple…sell them event based
Baby boomers have a deep desire for event based
services. You can push products all day long and they
won’t buy them but show them how a funeral event will
satisfy the emotional needs of their family and
they’ll find the money somewhere.
The paradox is that baby boomers will also buy a ton
of products while they’re at your event. Lead with
the event and you’ll sell your products. Lead with
the products and you’ll lose everything.
People still have a basic human need to say goodbye
to their loved one. They have a deep desire to gather
as a community of friends and family and celebrate
the life of the deceased. If they are not buying a
service from you then your marketing is failing to
connect with this desire.
Remember people don’t buy things for one of the
following three reasons
Once you’ve connected with their desire, getting them
to trust you is actually pretty simple. (hint…..use
testimonials). With enough desire and trust, money is
rarely the deciding criteria even in today’s economy.
To connect with their desire you’ve got to fix your
marketing. As a starting point, pick up a copy of my
new book the Strategic Marketing Plan for
Funeral Service Professionals.
******End of Article******