Hello everyone! This is Albert with Parting Pro. Today I’m going to talk about what to do if your competitor is doing the old “bait and switch.” This is a common problem that a lot of funeral homes bring up, I would say pretty regularly.

Essentially, what I’m referring to is when your competitor may be advertising or quoting families a certain price point that is substantially different from the price that the family typically ends up paying.

So this can happen if, let’s say for example they’re asking for a direct cremation, your competitor will quote the price, but this price might not include maybe the alternative container, or the removal fee, mileage, or sometimes even the crematory fee in the quote.

Often times, the low price they’re getting quoted is a deciding factor in whether or not they choose to work with your competitor.

And the problem is when the family calls you, you give your “all-in” price so the family isn’t really comparing apples to apples. And by the time they find out about all the extra fees, it’s usually too late because your competitor already has their loved one in their care.

The frustrating part about this, is that a lot of times your price might actually be the same as or even lower than your competitor’s price after all the fees are accounted for.

Another problem is, there’s often times a lot of important benefits that the family is missing out on by going with your competitor.

I think almost everyone has a story where a family called them, shopped their pricing, didn’t really listen to your explanation and then went with the competitor. Then later, after finding all the fees they call you back and ask for help because they’re so frustrated with your competitor. Right?

And often times at this point, it’s too late because the loved one is already in their care and they’d have to pay for transportation… and you’re just there thinking... man “told you so”.

Ok so… why is this happening and how do you prevent this from happening?

If you haven’t seen my other video on the power dynamics between buyers vs sellers, you should check that out. But to summarize, the power dynamics between buyers and sellers have drastically shifted to the buyers because of internet and technology and how available information is these days.

So a lot of consumers are more fickle, and want information right away and have less patience.

So even though you try to explain everything to them over the phone when they call, there’s often times where they don’t really listen or don’t even give you the opportunity to explain everything.

Even though there are a lot things that they need to consider, they don’t know about because they don’t know what to ask and won’t listen to you when you try to explain it to them.

So for example, maybe the family will need to wait 5 hours for the removal with your competitor but with you it’s right away…Maybe you have an in-house crematory and they don’t. You include an urn in your package and they don’t.

OK so this is 100% a communication issue… right? You have the better option, but the families can’t understand it.

So the question is… do you keep doing what you’re doing and hope the family to change and start understanding you… or do you change your process?

Obviously the more financially rewarding answer is to change your process.

So how to prevent this from happening…

1.       Fully understand your competitor pricing and details of what’s included

2.       Come up with competitive advantages that you have over the competition in family centric format

3.       Understand how to communicate this information

Basically, you need to find out if their prices are even higher than yours.  And based on this result, you will want to adjust your messaging.

Sometimes I talk to funeral homes that tell me they’re losing cases to a bait and switch, but don’t actually know the details of what their competitors offer. So this would be the first step. You might find out your price is actually cheaper and that makes this even easier… if it’s not, no worries either, just go to step 2.

Come up with your competitive advantages in family centric format

So this will be a list of all the things that you offer that are objectively better and may be worth the extra cost (if you find out you’re more expensive after step 1). And I’m sure you probably already know this list of information, but the problem is that you need to rethink this in a more CUSTOMER CENTRIC format.

So… let’s say you tell your families you’ve been around for 50 years… who cares? How does that affect the family? You have your own crematory… who cares? How do you explain to your family how this affects them? You’re a full service funeral home… and they are just a storefront. What does this actually mean to the family? We’re local and family owned… who cares? Why does that affect me?

These things need to be spelled out very clearly to the family. I would you even want to over-explain these things. They don’t buy cremations every day. They don’t understand how it benefits them.  

Now onto step 3: Understand how to communicate this information effectively. So even after you fix your message, our problem is that the family isn’t listening or understanding your explanation.

We need to think about how the family takes information in. If you’re having trouble having people listen to you over the phone, then maybe you need to adjust this process.

For example, I would suggest that you lay these points out directly on your home page. If you’re losing business to a competitor on a regular basis for a COMMUNICATION issue, this is an important issue in terms of dollars you can gain from fixing it, but it’s very easy issue to solve.

A lot of funeral homes, for some reason, are scared of sharing information online. I’m not sure why.

Think about it… this is information you wish, you want, you hope that every family that called you would have, right? This is information that you wish every family that didn’t call you would have. So why not make it possible? Why not customize your website so that it does exactly what you need it to do! Communicate more effectively with your potential customers.

So anyone who sees your homepage should completely understand the value that you offer within the first 20 seconds on your page. And, you can get creative on how to lay this out.

Maybe you have all the important benefits listed up front in bullet point form… our have a price chart with your competitors pricing… or if you don’t want to be that aggressive, maybe you have a video up front that just has you explaining how pricing works… explain how these fees are extra costs work and you train the families to ask your competitors about these fees. Set the stage and lay those traps for your competitors… right?

So even if they don’t call you, you’ve successfully conveyed the information they need to choose what’s best for them.

So in summary, to solve this problem, you need to first acknowledge this is a communication issue. And to fix this issue, you need to create a very clear message and how that benefits your family, and finally you need to be able to explain this information in a very effective format that is easy families to understand.  

I have another video on a framework on how to think about your website. You can check that out. Otherwise, we’ll see you in the next video.