For millions of Americans, financing a funeral has become a necessary reality.
It’s in the numbers. Statistics show that most Americans (57%) don’t have enough to cover a $500 emergency expense. There’s also a life insurance gap, as 41% of Americans lack any life insurance at all. And to top it off, the NFDA reported this year that preplanning funeral arrangements simply isn’t a priority.
It’s easy to see why families can benefit from financing. But it can still be a hard topic to discuss with families. Funeral directors aren’t salespeople — their main priority is the care and compassion they can provide families.
But by spending just a few extra minutes with a family during the arrangement process to cover financing options, a funeral director can make a world of difference in helping to relieve a family’s worries.
Below are some tips for discussing financing options with families.
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Train Your Staff
An effective financing program starts with a well-trained staff. You’ll want your funeral directors to be well-versed on the specifics of your funeral home’s financing program. This way they can answer any questions families might have. It’s up to you to decide who to train. It can be your whole team or just one dedicated staff member as your go-to financing guru. Once your staff is trained on the ins and outs of the program, engaging families about financing becomes easier.
Don’t Assume Families Will Ask
It’s important that the funeral director brings up financing first. Don’t assume a family will ask. For example, families might not be aware financing is an option. Or, a family might not understand the process and they think it might be more complicated than it is. They might also feel overwhelmed or too uncomfortable to ask about alternative payment options.
List All Payment Options
At the end of the arrangement process, simply list financing as an option along with all other payment options available to the family. By laying every available option on the table, you’ll create a sense of trust with the family. Present the full upfront cost, your financing program, and any other payment options available, such as crowdfunding and other funeral benefits. Then, families can choose the best option to suit their needs.
Have Information Readily Available
After mentioning financing as an option, present the family with further reading material on the program, such as an informational brochure or flier. Just make sure to ask the family if they have any questions about the payment program and how it works.
Calculate Monthly Payments
Talking in terms of monthly payments is another solution that makes it easier to discuss financing. Show them different monthly payments based on different service options available, such as cremation, traditional burial, embalming, and other options. But remember to let the family know these are just rough estimates, and the final monthly payment will vary depending on factors such as FICO scores and credit history. A calculated monthly payment can still be helpful for a family considering different options.
Discuss Financing Payment Terms
Make sure to let the family know the different payment terms available too. Remember, no two families’ financial situations will be the same. Some families might want to pay the loan off in six months. Other families might need more time than that. Just make sure to let the family know the specific terms available and that they can vary depending on certain financial factors.
Make it Easy to Apply
At the end of the day, your best option is to make applying for financing as easy as possible for families. With today’s modern programs (such as Tribute Loans), that’s no problem. A family can even apply right in the arrangement conference. They can see their offers from lenders, including monthly payments and payment terms. This means they can choose how to pay faster, and get back to focusing on planning. In many cases, offers also can be saved and viewed later. That gives the family time to discuss how they want to proceed. Either way, modern financing makes planning easier than ever.