No funeral director, however brilliant, can stimulate an appetite for their product – because we pass their way but once. But a funeral director can sign up tomorrow’s customers today by the ingenious means of selling them a pre-need funeral plan.
Pre-need plans look like a very good bet. They’re inflation-proof. And they are easy to sell. Just tweak people’s consciences by telling them that it’s a helpful and thoughtful thing to do for those who will be charged with disposing of you and you’ve got a win-win-win.
The Co-operative Group and Dignity, in particular, have done an incredibly good job of selling their pre-need plans. So much so that the independent sector is finding that tomorrow’s market increasingly belongs to these big conglomerates. As turf wars go, this one is looking very one-sided.
The more so with the Co-op’s proclamation on 5 March of a staggering 21 per cent growth in sales of pre-need plans in 2009. If I were an independent I’d be writing off my future.
Are pre-need plans the best way of paying for a funeral? I haven’t the financial literacy to work that out. I wonder if any reader of this blog has a view or, better still, an analysis.
What is certain is that consumer choice is under grave threat from funeral providers who, for the most part, cannot rival independents for personal service or value for money.
Read the incredibly depressing Co-op announcement here.