Market Research

March 14, 2017

My salespeople say our prices are too high. Should I listen to them and lower prices

If your salespeople think your cemetery’s prices are too high, does that mean you need to adjust them? Not necessarily. Maybe you need to take a look at what you’re selling beyond interment rights and how you’re selling it.     Dear Cemetery Impossible, My salespeople are telling me that our pricing is too high. Should I lower prices? What should I do?                 Price Sensitive in Sedona   Dear PSS, There are two issues involved in this simple question. The issue of pricing is critical. Your salespeoples’ sensitivity is another issue. Let me address each. I have written previously about the concept of “good, better, best.” In designing a cemetery’s inventory, we are creating consumer options. People can spend what they want. They will ultimately find value. It might be with you, or with another cemetery. That being said, […]
February 14, 2017

Turn Price Shoppers into Clients

Dear Dan, Come on, man, be honest with us! You’ve said price shoppers are not a big segment of the market, yet every day or so I get a call asking, “How much is a cremation?” How is it that I am getting these calls and you keep saying, “It’s no big deal”? Signed, Be Honest Dear Be Honest, You are sitting in the front row of the Shamu splash zone and I’m in the arena telling you that only 10 percent of the attendees are getting wet. Which of us is right? Allow me to address this analytically, historically and with an eye to the present and future. In order to do your question justice, let us establish that there are three levels of price consumers: Price sensitive. Price sensitive means someone is aware of price and uses it […]
January 17, 2017

Consumers (And Competitors) Are Watching

Your funeral home having an informative, customer-focused, strong online presence is no longer a choice. It’s a matter of survival. For those of us old enough to remember, The Jetsons, a 1960s cartoon we watched on Saturday mornings before going out to play, was about a family living in a futuristic utopia. Robots, holograms and other wild inventions provided a whimsical glimpse of life in the future. Fast-forward to 2017 and some of those contraptions have been made manifest in our daily living. Now, there are still those funeral professionals who scoff at the insertion of technology into our business. However, as more and more of the families we serve rely on technology for gathering information than ever before and are outpacing our adoption of “newfangled ideas,” we might just be positioning our business toward extinction. How can the funeral […]
January 14, 2017

Why isn’t my combo generating advance sales?

Dear Cemetery Impossible, I own four funeral homes and two cemeteries. The cemeteries are each in the same town as one of my funeral homes. In those towns, I have made the funeral home manager the cemetery manager.Every cemeterian I speak to tells me that having this“combo” is great, but I get very few advance sales at the cemeteries. Most of my cemetery sales are at need. What am I doing wrong? Sincerely, Confused Combo Dear Confused Combo, In the eyes of the public, a funeral business and a cemetery are aligned. They both deal with providing solutions when a death occurs. One large brokerage firm in the 1980’s even gave an all-inclusive name to the two businesses, referring to it as the “death-care”profession. While the public and Wall Street think funeral homes and cemeteries are related, in reality they […]
November 14, 2016

What do you do when the well runs dry?

Dear Cemetery Impossible, My cemetery is almost 80 years old. We use a well for our groundwater source. The wellis starting to dry up. My city has told methat if the well dries up, I will be requiredto use a low-lying area for a retaining pond.The alternative is to buy water from the city,which is very expensive.The retaining pond idea scares me,because I have not developed that area yetand the local land architect estimates it wouldcost about $250,000 for a quarter-acre lakesite. What can I do? Sincerely, High and Dry Dear High and Dry, Frankly, based upon today’s interment market, you are lucky that you need to create a lake. I say this from the perspective of cost, features and revising your masterplan. The city water could cos t$20,000 a year in perpetuity. Alternatively, you can finance the cost of […]
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