How To Provide Value To Every Family Walking Into Your Funeral Home

funeral home

When it comes to finding business success, there are all kinds of workshops, classes, blogs or seminars out there that promise to hold the secrets to prosperity. Some experts might swear by a closely guarded sales pitch, or a recipe of tried and true marketing tactics that bring in new customers. But the truth is, the key to finding success in any business (big or small) is much simpler than that… yet it’s something that some of the biggest businesses in the world still manage to fail at.

Ready for the big secret reveal?

If you know and understand your customers better than anyone, you will find huge success in whatever you do. That’s the big secret.

So if the key to business success lies within the simple task of understanding the people walking through your doors, why do so many businesses still manage to fail? Because they are too single-minded when it comes to crafting the complete picture of their customer base. They see a customer with one need or one buying goal, and then they assume that all of their customers are the same. “John Doe has X problem, which can be solved with Y product or service, and we will use Z sales pitch to tell them about it.”

But, just like there is no one-size-fits-all funeral service, there are an endless combination of needs, wants, desires, motivations and goals when it comes to the families walking into your funeral home. And there are an equal number of unique methods for providing value and assistance to each of them.

Understanding The Personalities Walking Through Your Door

While we were at the National Funeral Directors Association convention earlier this year, we were lucky enough to sit in on a session hosted by Debra Schmidt, one of the nation’s top customer loyalty experts. The session was called One Size Doesn’t Fit All and in it, Schmidt talked about how funeral professionals can utilize something called DISC Personality Types to better serve the families who were seeking them out for help.

If you’ve never heard of the DISC personality profiling system before, it’s essentially a way to better understand people’s behavior, temperament and personality by identifying certain patterns of behaviors that they exhibit. The personality system was introduced way back in 1928 by renowned psychologist Dr. William Moulton Marston, and it’s since been supported by decades of research, validation and studies.

In this profiling system, it is believed that people’s behavioral differences can be broken down into four categories:

1. Dominance – someone who puts an emphasis on accomplishing results, focuses on the bottom line, and exhibits confidence

2. Influence – someone who puts an emphasis on influencing or persuading others, and focuses on openness and developing relationships

3. Steadiness – someone who places an emphasis on cooperation, and exhibits sincerity and dependability

4. Constraint – someone who places an emphasis on quality and accuracy, and values expertise and competency

By learning how to recognize these four categories in your families, and then better understanding the motivations, values and purchasing criteria of each of these personality types, funeral directors can not only uncover the secret to future success, but they can also unlock the secret to better serving their families.

Luckily, Schmidt put together a DISC personality cheat sheet specifically for funeral directors who are looking for help doing just that. Here’s a breakdown of how best to approach each personality category…

1. Dominance Personality Types

How do you spot them? Someone with a Dominance personality type is likely to challenge you in a number of ways. They drive the conversation, they’re competitive and determined, they’re impatient, and they are direct about what they want. “I know what I want. Let’s just get this done.” Every single thing about them is fast-paced, from they way they talk to the pace at which they make decisions.

How do you communicate with them? People who are strong Dominance personalities will buy from people they respect. They will do limited research and data, instead looking to trusted experts who can prove to them that they know the best options to fit their needs. 

How do you motivate them? Focus on things like status, cutting-edge benefits and great bottom-line results

How you SHOULD sell to them:

  • DO: Get to the bottom line. Don’t waste your time or beat around the bush. Be clear, specific and get right to the point.
  • DO: Show them how you are in influencer in your community. They are on the lookout for high credibility and status.
  • DO: Be prepared to answer challenging questions. They want choices and options for each of their needs.
  • DO: Be organized and prepared with your materials, products and costs in one concise package.
  • DO: Show off your cutting edge technology.
  • DO: Focus on status-related benefits and provide detailed information about the probability of success.
  • DO: Offer a business-like approach in your arrangement conference. No chummy small talk… stick to business.

How you SHOULD NOT sell to them:

  • DON’T: Try and build relationships through chit-chat.
  • DON’T: Forget things, lose things or come unprepared to meetings.
  • DON’T: Leave loopholes in your pitch or be cloudy on issues.
  • DON’T: Ask rhetorical questions.
  • DON’T: Speculate or offer high-risk guarantees.

2. Influence Personality Types

How do you spot them? Someone with a Influence personality type will often focus on building contacts and connections. They are very sociable. “I want my funeral director to treat me like a special friend. I need to talk about my feelings.” They are often optimistic, very trusting and good at persuading those around them.

How do you communicate with them? People who are strong Influence personalities will buy from people that they view as friends. They highly value socializing, and will make extra time to have fun, tell stories and talk over their decisions.

How do you motivate them? Focus on things like the emotional value and personal benefits of your products and services.

How you SHOULD sell to them:

  • DO: Listen to their ideas and ask for their opinions. Try to involve them as much as possible in the planning process.
  • DO: Keep things stimulating and fast-moving, but allow plenty of time for relating and socializing.
  • DO: Demonstrate enthusiasm and a sense of urgency.
  • DO: Use personal testimonials or a little name-dropping to give a personal element to the value of your services.

How you SHOULD NOT sell to them:

  • DON’T: Act distracted or indifferent when giving opinions.
  • DON’T: Focus too much on facts, figures and statistics.
  • DON’T: Leave any decisions up in the air.
  • DON’T: Cut the meeting short or act too businesslike in your demeanor.
  • DON’T: Talk too slowly or give too much detail.

3. Steadiness Personality Types

How do you spot them? Someone with a Steadiness personality type values consistency. While they are adaptable and patient, they are also systematic and logical. They are relaxed and unhurried when it comes to planning. “I need someone who will listen patiently, explain every step thoroughly, and reassure me along the way.”

How do you communicate with them? People who are strong Steadiness personalities will buy from people that they trust. They want to see a proven track record of success from businesses before they make a purchasing decision.

How do you motivate them? Prove to them that choosing your funeral home provides reliability, stability and guarantees.

How you SHOULD sell to them:

  • DO: Go slow with your information and be easy going. Lower your tone of voice and slow down your actions.
  • DO: Focus on earning their trust and friendship. Inquire about their family and their hobbies.
  • DO: Be patient and listen carefully to their ideas.
  • DO: Provide personal assurances that they can count on you to get the job done. Present your case logically, softly and non-threateningly.
  • DO: Allow a lot of time for them to make a decision. Follow-up with them, including setting up repeating calls or visits for reassurance.

How you SHOULD NOT sell to them:

  • DON’T: Rush too quickly into business talk or the agenda.
  • DON’T: Force them into making a quick response.
  • DON’T: Interrupt them. Instead, listen carefully to their needs and concerns.
  • DON’T: Mistake their willingness to go along with your suggestions for satisfaction.
  • DON’T: Promise something that you can’t deliver.

4. Constraint Personality Types

How do you spot them? Someone with a Constraint personality type likes compliance. They are precise, orderly and meticulous. They are perfectionists when it comes to planning anything. “We have procedures and rules that we follow. I’m concerned about cost.”

How do you communicate with them? People who are strong Constraint personalities will buy from people that exhibit knowledge. They want to go to whichever service provider can prove that they have the most expertise for their situation.

How do you motivate them? Sell your products by providing proof, research and facts to back up the value of your services.

How you SHOULD sell to them:

  • DO: Get right to the point. Approach their concerns and needs in a straightforward, direct way
  • DO: Provide background information and share your research. Build credibility by looking at all sides of each issue.
  • DO: Give them time to absorb details and digest facts. A good way to do this is to point families to educational information on your website so they can learn about the value of your services at their own pace.
  • DO: Present them with a timeline that includes scheduled dates and milestones.
  • DO: Provide cost-efficient options.

How you SHOULD NOT sell to them:

  • DON’T: Be disorganized or messy.
  • DON’T: Be vague about expectations, but also don’t over promise about results.
  • DON’T: Try to appeal to their feelings or opinions. This is strictly a business relationship.
  • DON’T: Force them to make a quick decision.

To learn more about how you can turn your funeral home website into the ultimate educational resource for your families, click here to talk to one of our website success specialists.

A big thank you to Debra Schmidt for providing insights into how funeral professionals can use the DISC personality profile to better serve their families. If you want to read more about how One Size Doesn’t Fit All when it comes to building customer happiness and loyalty, be sure to check out Debra Schmidt’s website:

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