Too often, funeral directors cross their arms and stand firm when a family asks for something out of the ordinary.

 Robert Falcon of Heritage Funeral Home in Harker Heights, Texas gave me the inspiration for this topic when he mentioned that if his car dealer had acted this way when he went to buy his last Cadillac, he’d have searched for a different provider.  He wanted the options and car that appealed to him, and his dealer, anxious for a sale, worked extra hard to find the car that matched his client’s needs.

So why do funeral directors feel justified telling a family that it’s “our way or the highway?”  Is it the necessary nature of the business?  We don’t think families have a choice, so we can afford to be jerks?  Unfortunately, the wholesale rush toward direct cremation (most evident in Florida, California, etc.) reveals that consumers are tired of not being given real choices.

Maybe we’re tired?  If so, get out of the way.  This is not your grandfather’s funeral industry anymore.  Of course, this might mean you’ll have to figure out how people in other fields sell their products.  I’d suggest you read a few business books. 

Robert Falcon’s funeral home sells unique funeral services with everything from horse-drawn hearses to dove releases (with their own birds).  Robert and I both believe that tomorrow’s funeral home (selling to experience shoppers) needs to take cues from other industries to be relevant to today’s consumer.  It requires remarkable funeral homes.  By remarkable, I mean Seth Godin’s definition:  something worth being remarked about.

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