By Leader Contributor Mollie Lacher, Founder of Sunny Care Services
In my line of business, I often find myself talking to groups about what they need to do to get their estate organized, and one of the points I harp on is how important it is to tell your family what you want to be done with your body and what you envision for your services.
It’s a subject I feel strongly about because I think that planning a lost loved one’s services is really just the beginning of a myriad of decisions to be made and tasks to complete. Why wouldn’t you give your family a head start and be as explicit as possible about what you want?
During one of my recent presentations about estate planning, a woman in the audience shared that her father took it one step further and prepaid for his casket, burial plot, and services.
“He could not have given us a better gift because the minute we walked into the funeral home, the director let us know that my dad had already selected everything and it had all been paid for. I cannot tell you what a moment of relief that was for us,” she said.
Until hearing this story, I had never heard anyone paint a clearer picture of the benefits of prepaying for funeral services. Every time I have heard a funeral home “pitch” why people should prepay for services, it’s always been compelling but never personal. Without knowing it, this woman’s account of her dad’s prepaid services sold me and everyone else in the room because we could easily picture ourselves in her shoes. Who wouldn’t want to give their surviving family members the gift of everything being handled and done for them?
Because I am also in the business of loss, I often see that people do not want to acknowledge that they will die someday. Intellectually, we all know we are not immortal, but I think most people dislike or even despise talking about death. So, when we talk explicitly about the funeral services and paying for them in advance, we are talking about death and dying. Not palatable.
What is more palatable and gets people to act is when we talk about offering peace of mind, reducing stress, and caring for our family members. However, we must remember that it’s not enough to say that prepaying for funeral services will give your family peace of mind – they need to hear stories about how this decision was game-changing for families like their own.
It’s also important to share what happens if you don’t act and don’t prepay. Sharing stories about families struggling to pick burial versus cremation and agonizing over the selection of a casket can also help people understand why they don’t want to put their loved ones through that process.
I must acknowledge that I am not a sales expert and that many of these basic principles are drawn from Donald Miller’s Storybrand methodology. My hope is that sharing this powerful moment in my life will help you improve how you share the benefits of prepaid funeral services and equip you to better explain why others should care.
Tips for your firm moving forward:
- Ask families who you’ve assisted through the prepay process for testimonials and stories about why they chose to do this and how it affected their family.
- When you receive these stories, share them – whether that’s during your presentations to groups within the community or on your social media pages or blog.
- Consider adding a section about prepaying to your website. Explain exactly what this process entails and the value it provides for families.
Want more advice from Mollie on services you can offer for your clients? Visit her website at SunnyCareServices.com.
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Wonderful article, Mollie. Giving specific examples of how pre-paying offers relief to the family is the best way to “sell” this important service. MKJ has created many advertising concepts to communicate this to families as it is extremely effective.