I have enjoyed all the special guests I have spoken with so far, but I think everyone will agree that what Jamie Sarche sells is theoretically the easiest deal to close, yet in reality it takes a very special skill set. She is the Director of Pre-Planning at Feldman Mortuary – which means she is selling people on the idea of pre-planning for the one thing we all have in common: death.
In Part 1, Jamie and I talk about:
- The difficulty in selling something that theoretically seems easy/needed
- Dealing with buyer procrastination (about planning for their own death)
- Using persuasion and empathy
- Knowing your target demographic
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Connect with Jamie on LinkedIn
My calling is helping people be less afraid of death. By helping them to provide their loved ones with a planned and funded funeral or memorial service, they create a path for bereavement, long before it’s needed. Truly, I help people live a better, more meaningful life.
A seasoned speaker, I bring deep experience in death care to a broad range of audiences around the country, sharing insights and approaches on how to have those difficult conversations and how to address sensitive issues. Extending well beyond death and dying, my message resonates across industries and individuals, bridging my passion to demystify death while enlightening communicators on overcoming challenging conversations.
Her Links & Contact Info:
Interesting Videos of Jamie:
E156 – Transcript
Jason: Welcome to the sales experience podcast. My name is Jason Cutter. On today’s episode I have Jamie Sarche. Her LinkedIn title is one of the most interesting I have ever come across and here it is “tackling taboos and fighting fears by pre-planning. The one thing that all of us will face.” What does that mean? Well, she sells the funeral and Memorial services. Jamie, welcome to the sales experience podcast.
Jamie: Thanks so much for having me. I’m really excited for today.
Jason: So when the great networker, Frank Agan connected us, I remember being truly excited and fascinated by the thought of what your sales career focuses on. I know that most people listening have probably never thought about the sales side of pre-planning and what that actually means, and I wanted to start off with reading your profile summary to kind of give some context for people. So it says, “My calling is helping people be less afraid of death by helping them to provide their loved ones with a planned and funded funeral or Memorial service. They create a path for bereavement long before it’s needed. Truly, I help people live a better, more meaningful life. A seasoned speaker. I bring deep experience in death care to a broad range of audiences around the country, sharing insights and approaches on how to have those difficult conversations and how to address sensitive issues.” And I know that most salespeople listening are thinking about the challenging times that they have convincing prospects to buy their product or service. But like, you know, being honest, there’s two different sides, right? Yours is either the easiest thing to sell ever or it’s the most difficult and most sensitive thing to sell.
Jamie: I’m going to say it’s the most difficult and most sensitive because even though every single person on the earth needs what I offer, they do not want to acknowledge that and they are convinced that if they do , that will make them die.
Jason: That’s so interesting because on on when we first talked, I was thinking like this is easy, right? Because it’s the one thing we all have in common. It’s the one thing we need, right? People don’t necessarily need a new car, a new server rack for their business, their servers or social media marketing or even a consultant like me. Like not everyone needs that, but everyone’s going to die. Yes. So how do you address that then if it’s this thing that we all have to face but it’s super like sensitive, like how do you deal with that?
Jamie: Well, I’m really working on helping people understand that it is just a natural process. I’m helping them to talk about this stuff that they’re so afraid of and then they lean back in their chair and think this is so much easier than I expected and now I never have to think about it again. And then one of the things that I find, and you know, I’ve been doing this for like 11 years, I still have trouble getting across the armor that people put up. Even today. This morning I went to a great networking event and these people, it was my first time there and they were so welcoming and they were so interested and it just was great how they responded to me. But then I ran into a woman in the parking lot who said, Oh, I don’t want to need your services. I had to say to her, remember, all of my clients are living, so it really is this, you know, I tell people that in my introduction and yet they don’t hear what I’m saying to them because they just get so kind of afraid that they can’t even hear what I’m telling them.
Jason: And it’s fascinating you say that because it sounds like literally you’re the grim Reaper walking around with the sickle and literally going after people and if they sign up with you, that means they’re signing up to die and soon. Right. Like thinking about it means it’s going to happen soon. If I plan this, then if I’m thinking about it, then I’m, you know, putting that out there. Yeah. And then it’s going to make it happen. Or maybe you’re making it happen. They, they’re worried about what kind of package they’re signing up.
Jamie: Yeah. Well, and sometimes they think, I know when it’s just funny. The other thing that I discovered years ago, I did a Sandler training course on a sales training course and I was really kind of pushing back against what I was learning because I said to these guys who were teaching me, you know, I can’t talk about this because if I do, people will think, I think they’re going to die. And then that training course really helped me to understand and embrace. I do think they’re going to die and I’m right. So yeah, I’m not making it happen. They can die with or without a plan. Either way they are going to die. The question is are they going to make it easier on the people who love them or not? Are they going to drop that burden, that financial burden and that emotional burden in the laps of the people who love them to handle on the worst day of their life when they are least able to. That’s the choice to either make the plans ahead or do that to the people you love.
Jason: And so what kind of objections are you facing? Like what would help salespeople in general? Again, like I said, people who are selling for managing salespeople and they think they have a hard product to sell and maybe like I said, they’re thinking you have an easy thing to sell, but it’s obviously the opposite cause no one wants to deal with it or talk about it. Everyone thinks they’re invincible until they realize they’re not. So like how do you approach that? What is the, you know in the questions, I know I’d sent you in advance and anyone listening to this knows that I’m not the greatest at going through my canned questions, but how do you create that great sales experience where you’re leading someone from where they’re at now to thinking about this inevitable place that no one wants to think about?
Jamie: Well, so I’m going to tell you a couple of things. I’m gonnaI tell you how people in my business typically do it and then I’m going to tell you how I do it, which is very, very different. For any of your listeners who are over 50 they probably have gotten something in the mail that is from a funeral home or a cremation society or the Neptune society or whatever that says, come to red lobster. We’re going to talk about pre-planning. You’re going to get a nice free lunch and we’re going to talk about this. That’s how most people do it. They send that out to 4,000 people, 25 people arrived. They buy them lunch and they talk all about funerals or Memorial services and they do a very hard sell and they don’t take questions from the audience because they don’t want anybody in the audience to bring up objections.
Jamie: They just really are there to push something with a PowerPoint. They have a very canned script and that’s how they do it and I imagine that successful for some of them. However everyone I’ve ever met who’s gone to one of those presentations feels like that was such a hard sell that that person who was doing the sales didn’t care about them, only wanted them to buy and they just felt pushed to do this. And often they kind of run out of there screaming because they don’t want to be part of that. And so I do not do it that way. And when I started in this business, I had no background at all and I didn’t get a lot of training because nobody had been in my role before me. And so I didn’t know that, that that’s the way that people do it. So I had to completely reinvent the process and that worked beautifully for me.
Jamie: So what I did is came in and thought, okay, I need to figure out how to get people to talk about and think about deaths, which they do not want to do. I have to figure out how to get connected with them. So I am going to partner with organizations that serve the same community that I serve. So in my case, I work mostly in the Jewish community in Denver, and so I went out to an organization that had a great support network and serves a wide range of people in our community and we created a series called before the mourning, M. O. U. R. N. I. N. G. we had it hosted at a retirement community and we did a series that was six weeks in a row and I was the speaker only one week and I did not talk about prearrange funeral planning. Then I brought in other speakers and they invite their network and we talk about things that are death adjacent.
Jamie: And I’ve been doing that for 11 years and because I’m the host of that event, I’m the emcee at that event. I do all the reaching out ahead of time. I do all the following up for those events. People get to know me and I have literally gotten groupies who come every single year to that series. They become my friends. They look to me as a trusted advisor and then maybe three years in they decided to do their prearrange funeral plan because they know I’m safe. They know that I truly care about them and they know that I want them to get their needs met. This is not about my needs. This is not about my sales cycle. It’s about their needs. I have some clients who I’ve been connecting with on and off for decades, but finally we’ll put a plan in place and it’s cause they weren’t ready and that’s okay. And I keep a big enough pipeline that I’m not desperate for a sale. Nobody feels sold. They feel that I am there to support them. Honestly, they don’t even, I think I’m a salesperson.
Jason: Well, and I think in, in what you said, especially in the beginning where you were talking about not knowing the business, not knowing how it’s normally sold, entering the business and kind of doing what you felt was right is one common thing. I know I work with a lot of salespeople and companies on too and my own process, which is just do the opposite of what everyone else is doing, right? Like there’s obviously there’s some things that work and then there’s some fundamentals that are just true, like relationship building and trust and helping someone out for their reasons and not your own, which in this world of sales and how sales are typically done or end at least viewed. That’s not how it’s done. It’s done in in certain ways that you know, might not be the most effective. So when in doubt, you know, kind of figure out your own way and create something that works for you that fits you and that, you know, and then tweak that over time. But stick with that. Right. Be authentically you.
Jamie: Exactly. And there are a lot of people who do what I do, who go out and meet with families right after they’ve had a death. I know someone who’s extremely successful at this and she goes out right after somebody’s had a death. She educates them as to some of the steps that they have to take to settle someone’s estate and all the things that they need, and then she says, and now we’re going to do your free range funeral plan. You know, and she is tremendously successful at that and when I learned that process, I thought, Oh, I’m going to try that. And then I realized, I am not comfortable with this at all. This doesn’t feel authentic to me. Although I know for the other woman it’s completely authentic, so I don’t question how she does it. I just know I can’t do it that way and I figured out just like you said, what works for me, that makes me interact with my clients in an honest and transparent and authentic way where I feel like I’m doing the best thing for them.
Jason: All right, everybody. That’s it for this episode, part one of my conversation with Jamie Sarche, please make sure to go to cutterconsultinggroup.com you can find the transcript, all of her notes well in advance of the final part of this four part series where she gives her links, but you can find them now. If you don’t want to wait, please make sure to subscribe so you can get all of these episodes as soon as they come out. I appreciate your support. Please leave a rating and a review. All that helps. If you have any feedback, if you want to get in touch with me, please go through the website. You can also follow me on LinkedIn where I post a lot of content and as always, keep in mind that everything in life is sales and people will remember the experience you gave them.