1. Why do you charge a different rate for immediate need situations (imminent death and at death) versus pre-need planning?
Immediate need consulting is available 24 / 7 at the 20% of savings rate. We must have trained consultants on call plus the requirement for immediate research to meet our families’ needs. Families expect our full attention and top priority especially when dealing with heightened emotions. It is incredibly stressful for the consultants on call, and for the families. After the free consultation, once we determine we can help your family, we ask you for a commitment for pay 20% of the first $2500 in actual savings ($500). You are guaranteed to save 5 times that fee ($2,500) then 20 percent of savings over $2,500 before the funeral ceremony is scheduled by the recommended funeral provider. We will not take you on a client if we determine we cannot help you or if you are not willing to commit to paying our fee (payment due when you receive the information by telephone, email, fax, or mail). We spend hours doing research to prepare for families who need immediate help. Plus, the analysis takes a few hours to put in a format customized specifically for your family so you can understand your options and our recommendations. You can try it on your own and then call us.
Preneed consulting is available at the 15% of savings rate during regular business hours. This is generally less stressful for the consultant and the family since more time is available for research and families have more time to make decisions. Our free consultation enables us to determine if we can help your family. Before we give specific comparison and pricing information, we ask for a commitment of 15% of the first $2,500 in savings ($375) due when you receive our information via telephone, email, fax, or mail. We guarantee a minimum savings of $2,500, then 15 percent of the savings over $2,500 is due when death occurs before the recommended funeral provider schedules the ceremony. We will not take you on as a client if we determine we cannot help you or if you are not willing to commit to our fee. We spend hours preparing correspondence and spreadsheets to help you visualize all your options so everything is easier to understand.
A 10% of Savings Rate is available with the American Family Protection Plan Life-TIme Membership. The life-time membership has an initial membership fee of $250 for your entire family from great grandparents to great grandchildren. The 10% of savings rate is available before death and at the time of death. You are asked to commit to a payment of 10 percent of the first $2,500 in savings before you receive specific comparison information or recommendations. Payment of the $250 (10% of the first $2500 in savings) is due when you receive our information and recommendations via telephone, email, fax, or mail. Then at the time of death before the funeral provider schedules the ceremony, the balance of the 10% of savings is due before the ceremony is scheduled. Membership must be in force for 30 days before the 10 percent of savings rate applies.
2. How can I know Funeral Negotiators is saving my family money and how much? How is it calculated? During our initial, free telephone consultation, we will establish a benchmark (what you would have most probably done without our assistance). It is something we will both agree upon. When we do our analysis, you will absolutely know how much you saved and what you will be paying for the funeral, cemetery, and associated services. We use computer spreadsheet analysis and maps, which will be emailed or faxed and mailed to you. We prove the savings to you. If there is any doubt about how much your family is saving, we will adjust our fee in your favor. We want you as a satisfied client so you will tell your friends about our wonderful service.
3. Why can’t I do my own research? You can --- if you have the time and are up to it. But here are the difficulties families encounter: Before you do the research on specific funeral homes and cemeteries, you need to know all your options. Getting funeral homes and cemeteries to volunteer all your options, is like pulling teeth. The old saying applies,” If you do not know where you are going, any road will get your there.” Different funeral homes and different cemeteries do things differently. Some options are not allowed while others are encouraged (especially the more expensive options) while less expensive options are often not volunteered. Each funeral home and cemetery are different.
Then, once you determine what you want to do, the research and shopping (finding the who) is extremely time consuming and stressful. When doing research it takes about one hour on the telephone to learn all the cemetery options and prices (provided you know specifically what to ask for). The funeral home information can be obtained with price lists either emailed or faxed to you – but you have to know how to read them and what is and is not applicable for different procedures, services, and merchandise. Then after this, you have to analyze the information for different procedures, services, and merchandise. When Funeral Negotiators obtains information, we enter all the data in our computers and analyze the different pricing options. We also assess quality and future implications of dealing with different funeral homes. Keep in mind that when doing your own research, some funeral homes and cemeteries will give you a low-ball price to get your family in the door then steer you to more expensive options. Just like a car dealership.
Then when you are doing your research, there is the manipulation game and flawed analogies. You may know what you want, but your other family members may have different ideas. Sales people often double team the family and exploit family conflicts. And of course during family arguments, the sales person sides with the family member wanting to spend the most money and makes the more frugal family members appear like cheap-skates. The family member who wants to spend the most money is usually the one, or ones, not paying for the funeral.
4. Why is researching funerals so difficult? (It takes Funeral Negotiators about 3 hours to fully research one funeral home / cemetery combination).
The Federal regulation known as “the funeral rule” requires funeral homes to give price information over the telephone. It sounds easy and great – but it isn’t. Funeral homes and cemeteries want your family to come in to the funeral home and cemetery so you are on their turf. They are usually very nice, but some are just downright nasty. When arriving, you will be subjected to lengthy, manipulative sales presentations. Husbands and wives are usually required to come in together. Or in the case of a spouse passing, other family members are generally required to come in supposedly to support the spouse. The real reason is that the funeral home does not want to deal with a "one-legged sale" (See below).
5. The Federal regulation known as “the Funeral Rule” states that funeral homes are required to give price information over the telephone. If that is so, why is research so difficult? Often the receptionist on the telephone says that she is not allowed to give price information and there is not a funeral director or family service counselor available right now. Then they want to know, “What is the family’s name?” so they can call you back or they want to make an appointment. They almost always want to make an appointment at the funeral home or they will come to your home if you insist. For pre-death information, they require the husband and wife to be present. Reason – There is no effective sales close when either the husband or wife is not present. The industry refers to it as a "one-legged sale". In reality a skilled salesman plays the wife’s security needs against the husband’s provider needs. Plus wives are always bugging their husbands to take care of things. It is manipulative, it is emotional, and it works. If a spouse has passed away, they want at least another family member or members to be present, especially if they can get you into the funeral home.
6. My husband and I called to get price information and we made an appointment. They insisted that we both be present. Why is that necessary? In sales jargon, it is known as a “one-legged sale”. There is no effective sales close for “I need to check this out with my spouse.” They also want both the husband and wife to be present because they will play her security needs against his provider needs. Wives also often push their husbands ”to take care of it” because they don’t get around to it. The wives usually want it done and the husband has to deal with the “I knew you were not going to take care of it” criticism. The sales person will play this up big. And it works! The sales staff would not be employing these tactics if they were not effective in closing the sale.