Wednesday, August 17, 2016

4 steps to emotional selling

By Mary Ellen Fricke, Creative Director 

Think of the last time you bought a candy bar. Did you choose that candy bar because you weighed all the facts and made a well-informed decision? “This Snickers has the highest nut-to-calorie ratio for my dollar. Wow, what a ROI!”

I didn’t think so. Whether it’s a sugary treat or a legacy memorial, people base decisions on emotions and then justify them with logic. You wanted a Snickers because it reminded you of your childhood. Or because you felt smart buying it on sale. Or maybe it’s just because Snickers satisfies.

Once you understand that we are by nature, emotional beings, you can spend less time describing details that customers don’t care about and more time helping them find memorials that speak to their hearts.

Here are four steps you can take to help families make the decisions that are best for them.

1. Find out what families really want.
Maybe your customer is looking for peace of mind, fearing that tough decisions will fall on the family. Maybe they are looking for a sense of security, wanting to know the “right” decisions are made. Maybe they are looking for respect, desiring a memorial that reflects a loved one’s accomplishments. Listen to your customers. Find out what their heart wants, not their brain.

2. Ignore the feature. Focus on the benefit. 
Now that you know what your family wants, you need to give it to them. A woman nervous that she will be forgotten by time, doesn’t really care if her bronze memorial is carved or casted, but she does care that the precision of carved lettering will last for generations. Don’t sell the feature of your products. Highlight the emotional outcome of the feature.

3. Remember you are addressing emotions, not playing on them.
You are serving families during emotionally trying times. That’s why we in the death care profession need to give special attention and understand what families are really feeling and care about. You want your customers to feel good about their decisions and share that good feelings with their friends and neighbors.

4. Practice, practice, practice! 
This approach to serving families may feel awkward at first. It may feel time consuming, too. After all, it’s easy to give a family a catalog or quickly show them your “go to” choices. With every solution you find for a family, you will become more and more comfortable and confident with the process.

My advice to you? Sit down with your favorite candy bar in one hand and a product catalog in the other. Choose one feature and think about how it can fulfill an emotional need. By the time you’re done with your candy bar, you’ll have at least one new benefit for your customers. Now that’s a real treat!

This article originally appeared in Modern Memorialization, Trigard Memorials' weekly electronic newsletter featuring information for the funeral industry. Sign up for your free subscription at

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