4 Surprising Ways to Stop “Selling” To Families

Before you read anything, watch the video above.

How did it make you feel? Pretty emotional, right?

When I watched this video, I nearly fell out of my seat. I felt moved. I felt inspired. I felt like I wanted to do something. ANYTHING.

Isn’t it funny how much emotions can inspire you to take action? Not just sad emotions, either. According to this chart below, there are eight emotions that boast the most power. These eight powerful emotions include:  rage, vigilance, grief, amazement, loathing, terror, admiration and ecstasy.

One of my biggest marketing secrets is exactly that, creating an emotional connection. When you create an emotional connection with people you drive action, but what’s even better, is that you can make a real difference.

That’s why you’ll never catch companies like Coca Cola, Apple or Google bragging about their product features. Nope. They’re smarter than that. They know the real way to get you to buy their product is to spell out the emotional benefits for you. And it’s not like these companies are taking advantage of your emotions to make you buy. That would be just mean.

Instead, they invest in the research to find out how their products solve their customers problems, and how it makes them feel. That way, they’ll never have to actually sell to you… because you already know how valuable their product is.

The good news that your funeral home can market like Google, Apple and the other big guys, too. Here are some ways you can stop selling to families by tapping into emotions:


Be positive

Some researchers over at the University of Michigan conducted a study a while back to find out exactly how positivity affects the way we make decisions. In the study, they worked with three different participants who were booking a catering service for their wedding. An actor was hired to play the business manager of the company. He told each of the participants that he would have to increase the quoted price of $14,000 to $16,995 because of market pricing fluctuations. Each participant was told the same information, but with either positive, negative or neutral emotion.

The result? Those who were approached in a positive manner were two times more likely to accept the new price than those who were approached in a negative way.


How to do this at your firm:

Let’s face it, no one likes to talk about the details of their loved one’s funeral. But what if you could make it less of an awful experience by remaining positive with every single family you talk to, everyday? I once read a quote from the  Dalai Lama that said “in order to carry a positive action, we must develop a positive vision.

This isn’t just true for life, it’s true for work as well. Funeral service is not your job, it is your calling. You were given the gift of helping people when they’ve experienced loss, and you are here to share that gift with them. The second you stop thinking of families as customers and start thinking of them as the recipient of your gift, you will project positivity without even trying. And the moment families realize how positive, professional, compassionate and confident you are, they will give you the sale. Every single time.


Solve their problems

In my opinion, the best way to provide value to anyone is to solve their problems. Soap brand Dove created one of the most genius marketing campaigns I’ve ever experienced by keeping that idea in mind. Their campaign, called the “Dove Face Sketch”, asked women to describe themselves to an artist, and the artist would have to draw the women, without looking at them, based on how they described themselves.

The messaging behind the campaign was “Many women don’t see themselves for how pretty they really are… let’s change that.” Not only did this campaign tap into some very strong emotions, but it helped women solve an issue they have… the issue of low self esteem.

Watch this video describing the campaign here:

How to do this at your firm: Stop for a moment and take the time to get familiar with your families’ pain points. Then, figure out a way to solve them through a genius campaign like Dove’s. One example of a successful “problem solving” campaign in funeral service is FAMIC’s “Have The Talk Of A Lifetime” Campaign which helps families spark the conversation about end-of-life decisions with their loved ones. Your efforts can be as big or small as you want them to be. The key is to show families that you’re here to make their life easier. And once you do that, you’ll find it to be a lot easier to sell to families than you ever imagined.


Make them feel comfortable

I personally hate when people sell to me, which is why I always try to avoid the section in any mall that has those little “belly-button-ring-remote-control-airplane”  stands in them. However one day, fate didn’t go my way and I fell victim to one of these sales people. He was trying to sell me one of those RC Helicopters. I had no idea how much the helicopter cost. But, he invited me to sit down on a chair, took all of my bags out of my hands, offered me a water, and put my feet up  for me.

And after 45 minutes of telling me about his story, asking me mine, and showing me all the awesome things this RC helicopter could do, I was sold. I know, I know, silly me. But I couldn’t help it! The guy was so nice, and the helicopter was a great product. Plus, there was a lifetime guarantee. What’s the worst that can happen? Unfortunately, for this guy, his cheesy sales tactics snuck into the conversation when I asked about the price (It was nearly $200, by the way). So, I didn’t end up buying the helicopter. But the point is, I felt so comfortable and had built such a relationship with this guy in 45 minutes, I was ready to buy!


How you can do this at your firm:

Find a way that’s a bit more relevant to your profession to make them feel comfortable and at home. You can do this in many ways – from the way you decorate your firm to the way you talk to families when they call to ask about pricing. Once you’ve made your families feel comfortable enough to trust you, they’ll be much less hesitant to choose your firm every time. Here are a few articles to help you get your wheels spinning on ways to make families feel comfortable:

12 Ways to Create a Funeral Home Ambiance Your Families Will Fall in Love With

4 Habits of Remarkably Likeable Funeral Directors

11 Phrases You Should Ban At Your Funeral Home Immediately

Do something for the public good

They say the best way to win someone over is through their heart, not their mind. So why not do some good in your community to boost your presence? Actually doing good is easy, but telling people about the good you did in a way that’s engaging is hard. Take American Express, for example. They could’ve just donated money to small business development and called it good, but instead they went above and beyond and created a national holiday dedicated just to small businesses. Coined as Small Business Saturday, Amex’s holiday falls on the day after Black Friday, encouraging shoppers to support their local brick and mortar businesses (rather than the “big guys” you’ll find on Black Friday).

Learn more about #SmallBusinessSaturday below:

How you can do this at your firm:

There is a lot of good to be done in the world, and it doesn’t always necessarily have to do with your funeral home. Brainstorm ways your funeral home could help people out in your community, and then how you can share their story.

For example, what if you offered a free funeral service for a family during the holidays, then sent in a press release to your local newspaper to let your community know what happened? By letting the world know about the good deeds you’ve done, you’re dispelling the funeral professionals bad reputation and showing your community that they can trust you. Don’t ever underestimate the power of one good deed… especially when it comes to business!


Final words

In the end, it’s all about proving value to families, isn’t it? And instead of sending out one-way marketing messages that no one wants to hear or read, why not roll up your sleeves and connect with your potential families on an emotional level? When you’re taken the time to show and share positivity, professionalism and care, your families will not only listen more, but they’ll also give you the business. Why? Because when you show that you’re human, your families will be on your side… every time.

Joe Joachim


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