There’s opportunity out there. . . go get the business
Last week was a great week to be inside in Minnesota. While many people were trying to get home for the holidays we had temperatures of 15 below zero with winds gusting into the 30 mph zone. That made it a good time for me to hunker down and get a little reading and computer work done.
During that time period my “The Director” magazine arrived in my mail box from NFDA. So, it was a good time to sit down and take a look inside of it. I made it to Page 4 where I read the article by editor Edward J. Defort. In his column he brought up some survey results from the NFDA “Value of a Funeral” survey as well as some results from NFDA’s “Consumer Awareness and Preferences Survey”.
And, I’ll tell you right here that I agree with Editor Defort that the results of certain questions seem to say “There is opportunity out there. . . go get the business”.
I’m of the opinion that the days of the quiet funeral director just sitting back and waiting for the phone to ring are over. The new consumer world is one in which you need to engage your customer to let them know what is offered. And, quite frankly, we don’t even know who the potential customer is. . . . that 65-year old couple next door may take much of their consumer purchasing advice from their children. In any regard, the more information that we can get out to the public of what our services are, what they cost, the availability to pre-pay, and all the other questions consumers may have, the better position your business will be in to get “their business”.
Mr. Defort comments on a few questions from the above mentioned survey and I will center my comments on just two of them. The first is a question to those families who chose either Direct Cremation or Immediate Burial with no services. They were asked if, in hindsight, they wish they would have had some type of memorial or celebration service. According to the NFDA article, 29% said Yes, 32.3% said No, and 38.7% said they weren’t sure.
So, take the Yes answers and the “weren’t sure” answers together and they total 67.7% — more than 2/3 of the “direct no services clientele” were possibly open to some type of service. That number indicates to me that clientele is open to “services” if they know what those services might entail. . . . maybe they don’t want the traditional church services. Can you advise them on the “Celebration” services available to pull them more towards a “service” inclination?
The second question I’ll comment on has to do with community events like preneed seminars. 17% said they had been to that type of event and 44% said they had not been to that type of event, but would not go if invited anyway. Finally, 39.4% said they had not been to that type of event, but WOULD consider going if invited.
So, there again, we have about 56% of the people that have either been to a preneed seminar event or would consider going to one.
Let’s see, we’ve got 67% of “direct no services clientele” that would consider a service and we have 56% of potential clientele that would consider attending a seminar giving this type of information. What are we waiting for? Can we give this potential clientele the information that they may want which may in turn give you more business? You will never find out if you don’t try.
If you have never done a preneed seminar by advertisement or invitation don’t be nervous about doing one. Our funeral home did it the first Tuesday of every month and sent out invitations to those 55 and over. We promised less than one hour of their time and I presented on the local costs of traditional burials and direct cremation with memorial service. I also talked about how one could take advantage of setting aside funds now to pay for the costs at a later date.
It took me about 25-minutes for the presentation and then we opened the floor for questions.
Finally, at the end of the seminar we asked the attendees to fill out a survey of what type of service they would think about having for themselves. The final question asked if they would like to visit with us about pre-arranging and pre-financing their plans. Over 50% wanted to do that. . . . and, they were then great leads for our preneed counselor.
if this is something you are totally uncomfortable with there are those in our profession like Pat Zalusky of Laker Planning Service who specializes in this. He will do everything from getting an invitation list to sending out the invitations. . . as a matter of fact, once he understands your pricing situation and company culture, he will actually lead the seminar. You can contact Pat at LakerP@aol.com
Editor Defort’s article pretty much proves that the customers are out there if you take the time to reel them in. After the first of the year, make sure you put a plan in place to do just that.
More news from the world of Death Care:
- A gift of healing: Tribute Technology launches first-of-its-kind online grief resource. Yahoo
- How much does a funeral cost? Sound Dollar
- Green burials are becoming more popular in Calgary. Here’s why. Yahoo News.
- Keene adopts green burial cemetery plan. Adirondack Almanack. (NH)
- Local funeral home wins chamber award. The Outer Banks Voice (NC)
- Website of Gallop Funeral Services
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Love the analysis of the survey data. Agreed that the segment that is unsure is sellable. Thanks for sharing your process!