The Final Arrangements News Journal

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News Journal Front Page

News Opinion Article from the Final Arrangements News Journal

Cemetery Lots For Sale Service Adds High Tech High Touch to Buy Sell Equation

By RW Ward, Death Care Consultant
©The Final Arrangements News Journal
Press Release December 14, 2005

Having Cemetery Lots, Grave Sites, Burial Spaces or Plots to sell has never been an easy situation for anyone who has tried selling them, even cemeteries. It has proven especially difficult for consumers.

Enter The Final Arrangement Network with an innovative, some say revolutionary, approach to how cemetery plots for sale get sold and you have, possibly, a new paradigm. The result, at least, is a unique new service: sellers and buyers communicating in hyperspace, information passing in real time and matches being made with those who need to buy with who want to sell.

Now, just to make it a bit more interesting, not to mention Cemetery selling on high tech steroids, put this service on the Internet, make it interactive, allow it to go global, put a service team in the middle, just to make sure the buyer and sell do actually get to communicate with each other, make that communication at the speed of the Internet and you have what The Final Arrangements Network calls its Cemetery Property Exchange.

The Exchange is the culmination of lessons learned by Final Arrangements in its five years of working with cemetery property sellers and buyers. The new service incorporates and consolidates, into each cemetery property listing, of which they have thousands, more than just the basic information. There in the layout is a virtual cascade of descriptive and contact data for the consumer. Instantly accessible is data on funeral and burial services and products for that cemetery in that city.

Currently the service is available on Final Arrangements Search Team’s side of its services. If you go to the Exchange you would find the request to purchase cemetery property from a buyer, as it has in the past, but with more detail than in the Index section of the Buyer Requests listing, Final Arrangements has had for several years.

This new display is where the Exchange begins to break with what consumers expect from a typical listing of property for sale or want to buy. There, in the display layout, is detailed pertinent information, someone looking to buy cemetery property may need besides the property itself. Waiting, for simply the click of a mouse, are the Funeral Homes that service that Cemetery and City. Alongside are the icons to caskets, grave markers and cremation urns for sale that can be gotten to via this high tech portal.

The opportunity for a registered seller, be that a private owner or, as will be more prevalent in 2006, a Cemetery, is to present directly to the buyer in real time, as quickly as a click of the mouse. Within seconds a message from a seller is sent to Final Arrangements to present that seller’s offer to that particular buyer and the offer is on its way to the buyer to begin the negotiations. All is accomplished by a few clicks of a mouse in seconds in a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) simple format for both the seller and buyer. All the high tech and back server protections are handled by Final Arrangements behind the scenes.

The Exchange could quite literally signal a paradigm shift in cemetery property selling for private owners, if not the industry. For a private owner, up to now, to even have a chance at selling his property, he needed to advertise somewhere buyers could see that the property was for sale.

Placing a cemetery plots for sale classified ad in the local newspaper, along with used cars, old couches and garage sale announcements never seemed to get the results one hoped for. All that ever happened for most cemetery lot owners was another expiration notice and another shelling out of money to keep running the ad. This, until the gravesite seller realized the classified ads would eventually cost more than the gravesite he was trying to sell.

The Cemetery Property Exchange may be on the leading edge of a better, faster, more direct and eminently less costly method to buy and sell Cemetery lots and Grave Sites. It also may be demonstrating how final arrangements funeral, cemetery and cremation service providers may reach out to their potential customers in the future, where the call may come from a family member living thousands of miles from the death of the loved one and arrangements must be made, quickly. Services needed will take precedent and override any in market familiarity or word of mouth reputation a provider thought they had been able to count on in the past.

For a seller to get in touch with a buyer or visa versa one only need click a link and the communications has begun. The cemetery property seller’s offer gets sent to the buyer. The buyer gets the contact information and negotiates directly with seller. The result is there are less time, money and wasted searching by both parties.

“We know this is how it will be done in the future because it is already being done today, by us. It isn’t a hope or pipedream on our part. It is how we’ve experienced it. We also don't see this as a limited opportunity for private owners only, either. Well over 60% of the Buyer Requests we handle, and there are thousands of them, have no private seller offer to look at. We see this as a way for a Cemetery to get their message to a potential costumer they probably never would know was even interested in buying cemetery property, let alone at their facility. It could make all those costly telemarketing and mailing campaigns seem like a waste of money.” Said, Lori Campbell, The Final Arrangements Network’s Corporate Communications Director.

“We get a call from California in the morning. A family needs property and funeral plans done in Miami. We go to work matching up needs with providers and by the end of the day, property is bought and funeral services secured. It is done before the family ever gets on the plane to Miami for the funeral. This is how it is beginning to happen. We wanted to make sure we had all the buzzers and bells in place before we took it to our clients in this full-scale service form. We needed to assure ourselves we could deliver with this level of real time capabilities on a 24 hour 365 days a year basis.” Ms Campbell continued.

“We suspect it will be awhile before we have full Funeral Home and Cremation Services information and contact for all the thousands of Cemeteries in our Cemetery Registry database, but we are expanding our service staff to help us move this along faster in the coming months. In the meantime we can give our visitors most of what they are coming to us to find right now. Critically important to us and our obligation to our client base is we give them the ability to exchange cemetery property, efficiently and directly without delay.” Ms Ward added.

Whether the Final Arrangements Network has indeed brought forward an idea that allows for more utilization of the Internet by the funeral and cemetery industry for direct marketing is still to be seen. What is clearly being demonstrated by death care companies like The Final Arrangements Network, however, is that the Internet is moving ever closer to becoming a real tool for the industry. Innovations, along the lines Final Arrangements is pursuing, may lead to a further development of the Internet as a powerful communication tool, the professional death care industry will be able to use to reach out to the consumer in a practical, measurable and transactional way. This, to many professional, would mark a real change from the Internet’s current use as merely a static website presence that may cost much more than the actual business it can be measured to have delivered.

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About the Author
RW Ward, Essexville, Michigan, USA
Final Arrangements Mail @
http://www.finalarrangementsnetwork.com/
http://thecemeteryregistry.com/

The author writes and studies marketing and consumer trends in death care around the world. 
His industry experience includes some of the world's largest death care providers.

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Final Arrangements Mail @

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