B.T. Hathaway, funeral home manager and writer of the Funeral Words blog writes about changing sales strategies to reach out to the people who make 80% of family purchasing decisions:  women.

So what happens if we reorient the approach (to casket sales), eliminate the technical terminology and equate the quality of the product with something more familiar to women such as the thread count of sheets? What happens if we actually show the difference in the thicknesses and let people handle a square of the metal just like women will feel the difference between 200 count and 600 count sheets?

He goes on to suggest that if Martha Stewart can sell housewares this way, we can sell funeral services in a similar fashion.

I commented on his blog (the nice thing to do when someone gives you great material, like B.T. has done) with this:

I’m positive (from years running a funeral home and my discussions with other profesionals) that this same disconnect with the real decision-makers is fueling the rush toward direct cremation.
I don’t believe that the majority of people in my state (Florida, with over 50% cremation now) really want a simple cremation. But if professionals aren’t willing to offer the real alternatives or explain the options in ways the clients can understand, they’re just going to continue throwing up their hands in defeat and crossing the street to find the low price direct disposer. At least he/she is willing to be honest about what differentiates his/her business (hint: it’s spelled P-R-I-C-E).
I’ve just finished reading “The Martha Rules” by Martha Stewart, in which she explains how she built her business. She doesn’t aim for low price (her products are not the least expensive in any category) or for design that everyone will love.
Martha creates products that are convenient (easy to use), solve a need and are desirable to her target market: people who desire “good things” and affluence.
I’ve seen a few funeral homes that act similarly (Anderson-McQueen is one) and have been successful. Maybe Martha should open a funeral home.

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I think Martha’s funeral home would cater (no pun intended) to shoppers looking for a unique funeral experience.  She’d market her services as an alternative to “cookie-cutter” funerals offfered by other companies. 

How do I know what she’d do?  In her book, “The Martha Rules” she lays out the steps she believes create good businesses.  She encourages entrepreneurs to create the “best products” and not to focus on being the cheapest.  She suggests that good products should be easy to use, but that convenience is not a substitute for good design or for using your expertise to create something superior.  And she describes the way to create trust in a community by building a reputation as an expert in your field.

You can get a copy of her book from our Amazon Store by clicking here.