First, let us discuss what we mean by “market share” in reference to opportunities through our atneed families. Market share is essentially the percentage of preneed’s your firm does relative to those firms around you that you compete with.

To illustrate this more simply, if your business handles 100 cases in a year, and the total number of cases in that service area is 1500, then you have an atneed market share of 6.67%. To affect your preneed market share, you will need to have a marketing strategy that matches your atneed ratio.

Let’s talk about our relationships with the families we serve. It is our honor and privilege to assist families at the time of need or before the need arises.

Many of the families we serve have never been in our firms, nor have they been put in the position of having to handle the final arrangements for a loved one.

This is a very difficult time for our families, and it has impacted them deeply.

Let’s define the word IMPACT. It means having a strong effect on someone or something. Both the family and our firms are impact by this event. Whether we are discussing current atneed cases or our future advance funeral plans, this situation has left an impact on them at every level.

We want to be visible in our communities. Consider the 4 impact groups that every funeral home should to be utilizing. Let’s take a good look at them to make sure you have a strong, visible presence when your company is needed most.

For example, the 1st impact group is the Arrangement Conference. If we make sure to take down the information for those in attendance, we can build our connection with them and stay top of mind by sending them a condolence card signed by both the funeral director and your advance planning counselors. The goodwill, good press, and good feelings generated by this act far outweigh any associated costs. This can also be done through email marketing, posting on your website, and sharing condolences on your social media page. If you serve 100 atneed families and are able to collect an average of 3 leads per family, then by the end of the year you will have generated 300 very warm leads since they have been exposed to your firm and the service you provide.
We all remember companies that go out of their way to show they care. From a family’s standpoint, these acts of kindness elevate your position in the community. They also advance your company’s reputation as a trusted partner and a caring, reliable resource.

Studies show that consumers prefer to do business with socially responsible companies. When your firm engenders trust, people are more likely to do business with you in the future.

Action Steps: 1st impact group
1. First call, intake introduce the concept of preneed
2. Next of kin & attendee’s information in the arrangement conference
3. Condolence/sympathy card
4. Pre-burial/cremation phone call
5. Thank you card to clergy/celebrant
6. 24 hr. email
7. Clergy letter

The 2nd impact group is the Visitation, Viewing, Wake and online community if the family chooses direct cremation. Using a digital platform to communicate about the service is a great way to serve our families.

Digital Guest Registry provides an easy and efficient means of capturing guest registrations digitally and results in professional-looking registration products that can be printed at the funeral home. Families benefit by receiving clean, legible registration products and a more efficient way to address and send acknowledgment cards to those who came to show their respect. If all we did was collect 20 leads per 100 families served, this would give your firm an additional 2000 warm leads since these people visited their loved one in your funeral home or at their place of worship.

Action Steps: 2nd Impact Group
1. Kiosk/registry book
2. Email marketing
3. Facebook opportunities
4. Funeral home website
5. Text to Registry

The 3rd impact group is the actual Service or Ceremony—whether at your firm’s chapel or at another location, we can use the digital platform Text to Registry’s, QR code technology to secure warm leads for our firm.

Many of the guests who attend services have little to zero contact with our firm especially our advance planning program. On average if we only perform 40 services with a minimum of 35 attendees in a year, we have the potential to tie 1400 families to our website, our Facebook page, and invite them to our Necessary Conversation Seminars (Lunch & Learn).

Using the digital platform and having your advance planning counselor be the kiosk greeter provides a very personal touch to the guests who are coming to our firms for the first time.

Action Steps :3rd Impact Group
1. Kiosk/registry book, supporting the family
2. Assisting Funeral Director, Email marketing
3. Facebook opportunities
4. Funeral home website, meeting the clergy
5. Rearview mirror hanger
6. Direct mail
7. Text to Registry, Floral App

The 4th impact group is what we call the “Death Block.” This refers to the street that the honoree lived on before they passed away. This lead source allows us to reach out to our community with direct mail, door hangers, onsite marketing (clover leafing). The concept is simple: after we serve a family in our community, we go to the homes to the left and right of the service call, the three homes directly across the street, and the three homes directly behind (making a cloverleaf pattern) to drop off a leave-behind advertisement such as a door hanger, business card, magnet, etc., with your firm’s contact information. By taking these simple steps to introduce your firm to potential families, you can have a long-term impact and help grow your business and exposure exponentially.

The numbers are as follows: If your firm does 100 atneed cases, you will touch an additional 800 families with this approach.

Action Steps: 4th Impact Group
1. Neighbor’s letter approach
3. Community letter
4. Onsite marketing (door to door) door hanger
5. Business Card
6. Magnet

Although Funeral Directors help families with funerals, burials, and cremation services at the time of death: it’s very important that we introduce the opportunity for each quest to be able to make their own arrangements in advance (well their emotions are at rest). Which leads to a greater sense of peace and security for themselves and their loved ones when they do.

When we help families with these sensitive end of life matters, he or she is positively impacting by our firm and their future experiences with us.

We have an opportunity to get a minimum of 66 leads per family that use our services through the atneed process.

The goal of these four impact groups to help market the funeral home to their community in a proactive way.

Funeral homes that are using the older methods of advertising are in a passive mode. They are putting ads in static areas and hoping that people either go to the medium (i.e. Yellow Pages) or remember their name (newspaper and billboards, church bulletins) With these advertising avenues, “it’s sit and wait” type approach.

In conclusion, doing impossible things does not work out because you tried, they work out because you kept trying and never gave up until they did. Anything is possible if you put your mind to it and take action. Today is a great day to reach out to our families. FBA

Keith E. Charles the National Trainer for Premier Specialty Markets. He is a licensed funeral arranger with over 30 years of nationwide sales experience. Adept at creating and implementing training programs, Keith conducts hands-on field training, teleconferences, video training, classroom sessions, and in-home presentations. He sets performance metrics, evaluates productivity, and helps counselors create long-term career objectives within the death care profession. He has earned many funeral, cemetery sales awards and continues to help shape our profession with new technology such as digital registry, text messaging, Facebook lead generation to name a few. He can be reached by phone at 562-688-2365, or by email at [email protected]