Preneed Dog PoundIn my time of the world of preneed, I have observed two types of sales reps:

  • Pit Bulls
  • Golden Retrievers

Pit Bulls are reps who work more leads (to the bone) and get more sales. These are usually professional sales people that have come into the funeral industry from other sales positions.

Golden Retrievers though are more nurturing and from what I have witnessed, have a higher average funeral value.  I think it is because these people have a deeper belief in funeral service – but they usually don’t “close” as many sales. Usually “Funeral Director to Preneed” converts are Golden Retrievers.

Instead of just dividing up your leads – “one for you and one for you” – you can start to segment the lead sources. Those leads that are from direct mail or from a direct response inquiry – where we have had to change their way of thinking – you can sic the ‘Pit Bull’ on them.

The people who have already made the decision that prearranging is a good idea will most likely be a phone inquiry or a walk in. These leads just need to be nurtured,  not sold, so they should be directed to the Golden Retriever.

I have noticed that the walk-ins and the inquiries were more people in that near need situation where they are in that category of twenty four to six months to live. Maybe they have just got the word from the doctor. You want to look after them and nurture them along the way. They don’t need to be sold on the idea of having a funeral pre-arranged because they know it is going to happen in short term. These people need that ‘Golden Retriever’ to take care of them.

Reflect on your preneed business. Check your stats. Do your preneeds that come from direct mail have a longer “shelf-life” than inquiries or walk-ins?

So Why Is This Distinction Important?

The other thing to be aware of is that more people are going to the Internet for information.  You have probably seen over the last year that you are getting more inquiries about pre-arrangements over the Internet – right?

Those people are not coming in because they received some “message” (via direct mail persuasion) to enter or change their mind about the importance of pre-arranging a funeral. I believe that they are in that near-need area.

I call these leads Virtual Walk-Ins. Either they have decided that they want to pre-arrange because they are planners and they want to get this looked after OR they have gotten the word from the doctor and they need to get this done.

As those inquiries come in through your website, who are you doing to give them to?

Are you going to give them to the Pit Bull so that you make sure that that sale is made or are you going to give them to the Golden Retriever who will look after that person when they need to be looked after the most (and hopefully have a higher funeral value)?

Who will be looking after your virtual walk-ins?


What are your thoughts? Do you think that leads via the Internet will need to be handled differently than a direct mail lead?  Please share your comments below.

2 responses to “Preneed Dog Pound: Pit Bulls and Golden Retrievers”

  1. We are Goldens…we hope …we have over 3,000 pre needs since
    1980… far this year we are running 2-4 per week since 2009 started.
    direct services and full funeral services.
    we have a flower dept. and a monument service in house and most state they “LIKE” one stop shop
    Our sites have brought us at need and pre-need services…

  2. Great Article. I’ve been in preneed since the late 80’s and hired,trained and established many preneed programs for funeral homes – and I couldn’t agree more.
    Personality profiling or styles seem to be more successful and profitable for everyone involved – not to mention what’s the most important factor – the consumer’s experience. Recently we revamped our own preneed team here at Clock Life Story Funeral Homes and have done just that. We have an internal team whose lead base and lead follow up is entirely different from our external team. We have made the decision to have a team internally sell the traditional preneed / insurance based and trust based program AND have independent contractors whose focus is final expense and aggressive asset protection. We are experiencing positive things in our infancy of both approaches.

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