Tim had an interesting post on Final Embrace regarding internet shoppers and how they’ve affected the funeral industry. The internet has made a dent in the funeral director’s world. But the funeral director needs to look in the mirror.
Cue up Cher, “If I Could Turn Back Time”. On the local scene I’ve interviewed funeral directors that left me shaking my head. Several years ago, we (me, myself and I) surveyed the local market to determine what the cremation landscape was like. The numbers reflected growth, but were low compared to other parts of the country.
Frankly, what I saw was a market not being properly served. Insert disclaimer here: “We do not actively pursue sales in the state of Missouri.”
I was looking at the big picture, reading the trades, looking at the projections. I knew that the growth was there.
So the conversation on the local scene was a surprise, when these middle aged men admitted that:
- Cremation was growing
- Cremation families usually didn’t purchase an urn
- Many of their cremation clients HAVE money and choose not to spend it at the funeral home.
While discussing sales numbers with an experienced gentleman who retired from the highest volume operation in SW MO, he was surprised at the number of urns I sold per month. Waaaay more then he imagined.
Another operator who morally despises cremation, admits that cremation is now 30% of his business, and continues to climb said, “If I was 20 years younger, I’d do things a lot different.”
Right. What are you doing today?
And the real kicker? The one that still makes me smile: “Buying an urn on the internet is undignified.”
Why? Is it because I’m not wearing a suit while I run the client’s credit card?
Some funeral directors have told me they have “exclusive” arrangements with their vendors and only carry what said vendor doles out. This usually comes from the director that just said the families aren’t buying an urn.
I understand about relationships with your vendors and I’m all about the service. But if the product is not working for you or your families… then maybe it’s time to look at options that DO serve your interests. I have years of experience dealing with sales weasels representatives and trust me, if you are a good customer, your “friend” will do what is necessary to keep your business.
Most of my clients are Boomers and X’rs. Most know what they want, many have been to the funeral home and didn’t find what they were looking for. And some, well, I’m doing the funeral directors a favor by shielding them from the frustration of the family that googles “cheap urn”.
Note to self: Add category for cheap urns.
As a consumer, I don’t want to spend a great deal for funeral goods. Most people I know feel the same way. Certain members of my family prefer burial and that wish will be honored with services likely to be held at the funeral home. Personally, I like one stop shopping. I don’t see myself shopping online for a casket. But if $5000 is the national average for a burial, it’s still more than I want to spend.
Today’s Thought for the Day: Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.