Selling Preneed Short

This article was written by GaryK, on July 31, 2012

Coming from a four-generation
line of funeral directors,
I have to admit that I am pretty fond
of those who choose this profession.

But fond of doesn’t mean that I don’t have my frustrations here and there.

In particular, I am surprised by the number of funeral directors who are still gun-shy or even apologetic about preneed sales. It’s something that some still see as a “necessary evil” or something that you have to do to keep up with the competition.

Preneed is, in fact, the single most controllable factor in the future of your funeral home. While I don’t think I need to go into how important securing your future market share is, I would like to address our industry’s perception of selling preneed.

When funeral directors have a conference with an at-need family, they approach it with professionalism and with full confidence in the quality of products and services they offer. Why then, when they sell preneed, do some of those same directors lose that confidence, and worry that we might bother people in the community?

Preneed is an extremely valuable service, but most people don’t understand just how valuable until someone like you or I explains it to them in detail. I would argue that selling preneed is much more similar to selling at-need services than most people would think. That is, if you can have full confidence that it is being pursued with the same professionalism that you would expect in one of your at-need conferences.

Answer a few questions for me.

In an at-need conference, does a funeral director…
  • Ask families about their personal situation, needs and desires?
  • Talk them through available options regarding their situation?
  • Discuss their financial means and the ways they might pay for the services they choose?
  • Make recommendations that you think will help them based on their unique situation?

Sure they do. That’s sales pure and simple. Those are exactly the things that happen in a preneed appointment – except that in preneed we have the advantage of planning these things with the family before they have to experience a personal loss.

Everybody sells. Doctors, mechanics, engineers, CPA’s, receptionists, dry cleaners, and funeral directors. They are all in sales.

Sales is nothing more than empathetically understanding what it feels like to be in another person’s situation, offering them advice about things that could solve their problem, and then helping them obtain those things.

The primary difference is that in at-need, after a death occurs, the family comes to us. In preneed we have to go out into the community, engage people professionally, and tell them why this is a smart thing to do ahead of time.

For that reason, it is vital that a funeral home partners with a provider like Security National Life who understands the funeral industry. When you have confidence in the professionalism of your preneed sales staff, you will find that much of your hesitancy about pursuing preneed more actively will fade.

If you would like to receive a personal preneed consultation, contact your local Security National representative here and see the difference a professional program grounded in the funeral industry can make.

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