Two businessmen shaking hands

 

Written by Jacob Terranova

 

As a small business owner, trust is your most valuable asset.

 

Think about it. People only buy from a business they trust. You buy a car from someone you trust. You get your groceries from a store you trust. People want to work with a funeral home they trust.

 

In the United States, people trust each other less than they did 40 years ago. The good news is that Americans do trust small businesses more — 3 times more, in fact — than they do larger corporations.

 

This means trust is key to standing out from your competition. It also makes it important to continually invest in building trust in your community. Here are some tips to not just build trust, but to maintain it.

 

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Give Your Funeral Home a Face

The funeral business has a powerful trust-building tool — you. Funerals are extremely personal, so your funeral home should be too. Don’t just be a brand or a business, be human. People relate better with other people than they do a corporate image.

 

Use real photos of you and your staff. Tell your stories on your website and share them on social media. You’ll know you’ve achieved this when people think of your funeral home, they think of you personally.

 

Provide Valuable Information

Trust is about honesty. It’s about transparency. And these traits are especially important in the funeral profession, where decisions are often based on powerful emotions.

 

A great way to gain trust is to give families all the information they need upfront. Not all questions can or will be asked in person or over the phone, so have answers to common questions on your website and on brochures in your funeral home.

 

Create blog posts answering questions about funeral practices. Use your experience and knowledge to leverage trust within the community. And don’t forget to make it simple to understand. Not everyone will understand funeral terms and traditions.

 

Always Look Your Best

This applies on two fronts: in real life and online. People base a lot of trust on first impressions alone. A study at Northwestern University found that it takes just 100 milliseconds for a human to decide if they trust someone or not.

 

In the real world, this means putting effort into appearance. Keep your funeral home maintained inside and out. If your lobby is looking a little out of date, consider taking the time to update it.

 

How does it look on the outside? Take a walk up to your funeral home the same way a family would. How does your view from the sidewalk look? Is it beautiful and pristine, or looking a little rough? Don’t let litter or overgrown weeds be the first thing a family sees.

 

It’s the same in the digital world. Your website represents you the same way your funeral home does in the real world. If it’s a bit dated or hard to use, it hurts your credibility. If your website hasn’t been updated in a while, it’s also a security issue, which opens up a whole other layer of trust issues for families.

 

Just like a lobby, you want a website that’s up on the latest design and usability trends. If you don’t have the time to do the upkeep yourself, get a website provider that will.

 

Build Social Connections

Businesses do better when they invest in client relationships. And just like appearances, this applies in two places, in real life and online. Both are equally important to establishing trust.

 

As a funeral director, you’ve probably already done a good job at building active relationships in the community. Things like joining the rotary club, holding memorial services, and putting on educational seminars help build trust in your community.

 

But don’t stop there. Go where your families are. According to the Pew Research Center, 64% of adult internet users ages 50 to 64 are on Facebook, and 48% of internet users that are 65 and older use it.

 

Being active online can get the same results. For a funeral home, a social media presence can mean:

  • Quick communication. You can respond to requests and questions instantly. This helps build opportunities for free testimonials from families.
  • Community engagement. It doesn’t always have to be about business. A social media presence can be a way to share fun and engaging topics in your community. Talk about recent events in the town, or share insightful ideas and tips.
  • Sharing valuable resources. This goes back to building trust through your knowledge. Share grief resources, funeral options, and other information families might need.
  • Sharing your values. Does your funeral home have a mission statement? Do you have social or environmental issues that are important to you and the community? Use social media to share your values and vision with your families.

Listen to Your Families

This is probably the easiest way to invest in trust. Listening shows you truly care. No matter how a person reaches out to you, whether it’s a phone call, a Facebook comment, or in person, take the time to listen and give them a genuine and personal response.

 

Even if you get negative feedback, don’t delete it or ignore it. Address it. It can be an opportunity to turn that negativity into a positive experience — and maybe a future testimonial.

 

Trust doesn’t come overnight. It’s a long-term investment. But by practicing these tips, you can maintain families’ trust for years to come.