When you are developing and advancing your funeral home’s overall preneed strategy, asking for customer referrals should certainly be on your list. Word-of-mouth advertising has always been a solid way to generate leads and secure new clientele. This is especially true for customer service-based businesses, such as funeral homes that wish to increase marketshare. If you initially feel uncomfortable about asking for referrals, you can easily overcome that feeling with a little practice implementing a few effective techniques.
Approaching Preneed Referrals by Email or Letter
An easy and efficient technique for requesting referrals is to send the request via email or letter. You might send a standard follow-up email to all of the people who have used your services recently and in the past. Be sure to include your contact information in the email, so customers may easily forward it to people they know who might be a qualified preneed prospect now or in the future (and be sure to point out that forwarding the letter is a quick and simple way to refer your business to others).
Here is an example of how you could word the content of the email:
“Dear Mr./Ms. (Insert Customer Last Name Here),”
“It has been my privilege to serve you, and I sincerely hope that I have adequately met your advanced funeral planning needs and exceeded your initial expectations. If you feel that I did so, it would be an honor for you to recommend me to a friend or family member that may benefit from a prearranged funeral plan.
We strongly believe that by making more people aware of the benefits of advanced funeral planning, our entire community can benefit.
I sincerely hope that I have earned your trust and confidence for a referral.
“(Insert Your Name Here)”
Requesting Preneed Referrals by Phone
Another way to reach out for preneed referrals is by phone. When you use this method, you may want to use language that is a bit less structured and formal than the contents of a letter or email. You might also ask specific questions that will guide the customer to focus on potential prospects:
“Mr./Ms. Customer, I want to thank you for using our services – did we meet and exceed your needs and expectations?”
(When the customer responds favorably, then proceed):
“Mr./Ms. Customer, we are always happy to serve others who know our clients – are you aware of anyone else who might benefit from the advanced funeral planning services that we offer?”
Face-to-Face Preneed Referral Requests
Asking for referrals in person, when done correctly, can be the MOST effective form of getting a preneed referral. This type of conversation is virtually the same as a referral request via the phone, but you have the advantage of using body language and facial expressions to invoke a sense of rapport. Be sure to smile, and shake the hand of the customer. Additionally, asking for a preneed referral in person gives you a chance to examine the non-verbal cues of your customers, so you may determine how to proceed during every referral conversation.
Once you have practiced these basic skills and techniques, you will probably discover that asking for referrals is not really an intimidating process (for you or your clients). You can easily include this strategy in your preneed program with ZERO cost associated with it. When you provide excellent service to your clients, they will likely be willing (and often, eager) to tell others about their experiences with your business.
Do you have any Preneed Referral approaches that are not listed here but that work well for you? Please let us know by responding in the comments section below!
Good Luck and Happy Selling.