What Makes Your Funeral Home Truly Different?

Posted April 5, 2017

5 min read

A version of this post was originally published on aileron.org.

“Why should I choose your firm?”

That’s one of the toughest questions for funeral home directors to answer.

Your customer service, quality, or the ability to serve your families are all important factors, but those are factors that just allow you to be in business, says Tony Collins, Aileron Business Advisor and owner of TurningPoint Strategy.

In order to answer that question, Tony explains that there are several questions to ask that help uncover your firm’s true signature strengths, including:

  • What activities do we do for families that are really unique?
  • What channels do we go through that are different than others?
  • Where are our margins the highest?
  • Where is our families’ satisfaction the highest?

As Tony points out in the video, these questions help to reveal the real answer to, “Why should I choose your firm over another?”

Knowing Why Families Choose Your Firm

It takes courage and discipline to stay focused on what makes your funeral home meaningfully unique. A funeral home that can specialize in a specific market will have a clear competitive advantage in the marketplace. “In the end, when you can specialize in a specific market, it means you can solve a really tough problem that really matters to [families]. And that is valuable. [Families] will pay more for specialists than they will generalists,” says Tony.

How to Find Your Great Value Proposition

A great value proposition is anchored by the one great thing that you can do better than other funeral homes. To do this with a collaborative approach, bring your leadership team together.

Have each person, individually answer the questions found in the Signature Strength Finder in order to see what truly separates you from what families consider alternative options. The Strength Finder will guide each person through the process of defining what products or solutions are the most unique, which ones are the most profitable, and what customers/markets served are the most satisfied.

After completing the Strength Finder individually, have each person share their insights with the group. Sharing in this way will efficiently and effectively shed light on the ways your company is meaningfully unique, explains Tony.

You can write answers on a flipchart or on a white board, and refine as necessary until there is agreement on what you do better than your rivals. “Asking the question, ‘Why should I buy from you?’ is an indirect way of finding focus,” points out Tony. 

A Path to Continued Growth

Teams often walk away from the exercise knowing what to focus on when it comes to profitable growth – and just as important – what not to focus on. It’s not about no longer serving those that aren’t aligned with your core strengths, explains Tony, but it’s about knowing where to focus future resources. 

“The first thing I often hear from a business owner is, ‘Well, I can’t stop selling to these other people,’ and this is not about doing that. This is about shifting into what allows for very profitable growth.

This allows you to say, ‘I’m going to start emphasizing this market, and this customer segment. I’m going to invest more in it, and I’m going to de-emphasize these others. I’m not going to forget about them, but I have greater clarity going forward.’”

Many firms discover that embedded in this approach is the path towards highly profitable growth, says Tony. “And by profitable, we mean products that matter to targeted customers. Answering the questions in this exercise can help you know what markets you are going to invest more in, and what customer segment you will be focused on, and the narrower, the better,” he explains. “It takes a lot of discipline.”

With CRäKN, You Can Do More With Fewer Resources

CRäKN is a tool that provides everything you need to centralize your information and manage day-to-day activities in order to streamline your operations, prevent errors, and save time. With CRäKN you can:

  • Automate your processes: contracts, forms, files, and more
  • Collaborate and stay on track: calendars, resource usage, to-dos, and beyond
  • Create visibility: e-whiteboard, SMS messaging, satisfaction surveys, etc. To see how CRäKN streamlines and automates routine tasks to reduce costs—and allows your firm to spend more time serving your families—request a demo today.

About Aileron

Aileron is a nonprofit founded for the sole purpose of unleashing the potential of small, private businesses through a proven methodology – Aileron’s Professional Management System. The system helps you generate a strategic focus, develop your people, optimize your operations, and promote a culture of accountability.

Aileron’s flagship program, the Course for Presidents, sets business owners on the pathway to the next best version of their business. Through two days of interactive learning with peers and 6 sessions one-on-one with a Business Advisor, you’ll develop your to-do list for where you want your business to be. This is where you take possible and make it certain: Click here to learn more about the Course for Presidents at Aileron. To learn more about Aileron, visit http://www.aileron.org/

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