Saturday, April 9, 2011

Comfort the Confused

When a loved one dies, it can be a confusing time. A marketing point used by funeral homes in selling preplanning services is that preplanning eases the confusion for the bereaved.
     Another approach is offered by online funeral services. A Bloomberg News article featured Basic Funerals and Cremation Choices, founded in 2009 and already profitable by 2010. The benefits touted by the company include lower prices than at brick-and-mortar mortuaries and the comfort of making arrangements while at home, away from any face-to-face pressures to upgrade. Both these promised benefits are illustrated by a menu-style quote calculator on the site that covers extras like premium urns and caskets, limousine service, and event catering.
     A business such as Basic Funerals and Cremation Choices is most likely to be successful if potential customers have become acquainted with the company before the time of need. This is because consumers who are confused will be drawn toward retailers who have left memory traces of easing confusion. This is by no means limited to funeral homes. Hairdressers, tuxedo shops, and hardware stores can be places where the befuddled know to go for guidance.
     Whatever you sell, do it in ways that counsel the confused. Be ready to take the role of a superhero, coach, or guru:
  • The superhero retailer assumes responsibility for rescuing us. The customer expects the superhero to go above and beyond what most salespeople are able or willing to do.
  • The coach reassures us. The customer expects the coach to be available until the problem is solved and to encourage the customer to buy whatever is needed to solve it.
  • The guru brings experience and a sharp mind. The customer expects the guru to pretty much know the customer's needs without asking lots of questions.
     Recognize the true sources of the confusion. For example, with funeral homes, the piercing grief is sometimes experienced against a backdrop of positive emotions. The loved one with the lingering illness is no longer in pain. Relief. The extended family has gathered together. Joyful warmth. Maybe the inheritance. Excitement.
     Some cemeteries across America are acknowledging the emotional mix by amusing well in advance of the confusion. They’re holding band concerts, barbeques, and sky-diving exhibitions. The main objective is to position cemeteries and mortuaries as pleasant places that are able to be of service in the future. “Meet us before you need us.”

For your profitability: Sell Well: What Really Moves Your Shoppers

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Analyze the Role the Customer Expects
Engage Future Customers

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