In lifting others we rise

A funeral home owner client had a price shopper problem and needed my help. 

If she answered the phone, she almost always won the call despite not having the lowest prices in the area. But if her staff answered the phone, they rarely won the call.

She had tried training her staff but had a hard time explaining something that came naturally to her.

We role-played a few price shopper calls, with me playing the role of an at-need caller. I started by asking the price for cremation and paid attention to where she took the conversation.

I noticed that she always started by saying, “Families choosing cremation typically pay between X and Y depending upon the services and merchandise they select. Can I ask you a few quick questions so that I can give you a better estimate?”

That’s a standard response, so there wasn’t a big surprise yet.

Then I noticed that her follow on questions were about the nature of the loss and the impact on my family instead of focusing on services and merchandise. I gave her a variety of responses to see how she handled them. 

In each scenario, she eventually offered to send me some information that might be helpful. For example, when I told her I had two young children, she offered to send me a l short article about how to explain death to a child.

I pointed out the pattern and asked why she always offered something. She smiled and said, “Whoever helps first wins the call.”

Let that sink…

Whoever helps first wins the call.

The caller will always appreciate the gesture even if they don’t accept the offer.

My client had a folder on her computer filled with helpful information she had collected over the years. Whenever she took a price shopper call, she asked questions to identify which document to send the caller.

Consider how most price shopper calls are handled…

Caller: How much is cremation?

Funeral Director: Our basic cremation package is $2,250 (or whatever the price is).

Caller: Thank you (and hangs up)

In that scenario, did the Funeral Director help the caller?

Not really. The caller asked for your price, but their real problem is that a loved one had died, creating a series of new issues they don’t know how to solve or navigate.

Most Funeral Directors assume that a price shopper only wants the lowest possible price. In my experience, that’s a bad assumption. 

They only ask about the price because it’s a reasonable starting point for the conversation. If you don’t ask any follow on questions and end the conversation right away, you’re not being helpful. You’re being rude.

Here’s a small sample of the “helpful information” my client shared with callers.

  • How to explain death to a child.
  • Understanding the stages of grief.
  • How to unravel your parent’s estate.
  • Navigating the first 30 days after losing a loved one.
  • How to send a body to another country for burial.
  • How to select an urn.
  • Where and how to scatter the remains.

You probably already have articles like this on your website. You simply copy it into a document, format it, add your logo and contact information, convert it into a pdf, and email it to a caller when the opportunity presents itself.

Most funeral professionals will do just about anything to help a family once they are in their care. I recommend that you focus on being helpful the next time you get a price shopper call and see how it changes the dynamics of the call.

Remember what my client said, “Whoever helps first wins the call.”

I reference that saying a few times in my new arrangement course. And yes, we’re finally finished with the editing process.

Over the next few weeks, I will be creating all of the marketing materials and will have a big launch promotion in late August. In the meantime, I’ve decided to make it available without a lot of fanfare at a 50% discount.

The course is called the Family Support Arrangement Process, and it consists of 3 hours of video training plus a handout called the Family Support Plan that you can use when making arrangements with a family.

There are two different prices depending on how long you want access to the course materials. For $275, you will have 30 days of access; for $975, you will have lifetime access. I created the 30-day package for Funeral Directors who need a quick jumpstart and the lifetime package for funeral home owners with an ongoing need for training arrangers.

Be helpful when you take a price shopper call, and you will have more arrangement meetings.

Be helpful in the arrangement meeting by showing them the Family Support Plan, and you will have more funeral services.

Be helpful during the funeral service, and you will win the unending loyalty of the family.

That may sound simplistic, but when you experience the loss of a loved one, a little help goes a long way.

Here’s the link to the Family Support Arrangement Process course. 

Until next time



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