People in a meeting using laptops and notebooks.

 

Written by Jenny Goldade

 

Couldn’t make it to Las Vegas for the 2018 ICCFA Convention? Or didn’t have time to attend all the workshops you wanted to? Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered with these highlights from some of our favorite workshops!

 

This is part one of a four-part series about some of the eye-opening 2018 ICCFA Convention workshops.

 

Are You Standing in Your Own Way?

In the ever-changing funeral profession, your funeral home and its staff need to adapt or you’ll be left behind. Presenter Michael J. Watkins provided some insight on how you can continue to provide families with valuable funeral experiences.

 

When determining your growth as a funeral professional, Watkins identified four main questions/concepts:

  1. How have you changed?
  2. What’s your compelling argument?
  3. Do you see the value?
  4. Concept of “and” versus “or”

First, ask yourself how you’ve embraced change. Maybe you recently made a Facebook business page to become more present online. Or maybe you offer an educational class to teach families the value of funerals. Whatever the case, determine how you’re a thought leader in the funeral profession and for your community.

 

Then, dive deeper into how you’re a thought leader. How are you standing out from the competition and getting involved in your community? It’s more than just hosting an event; you should know the value behind it and the desired goal. Is it to educate your community? Bring awareness to your funeral home? Have a clear goal in mind and steps to achieve it.

 

By doing this, you can show families that you provide more than just this OR that options. Show families that you’re willing to go above AND beyond to exceed their funeral expectations. From alternative venue options and hotel suggestions for funeral guests to hosting community events, you can provide your families with more than just the basics.

 

Winners Always Quit

This ICCFA convention workshop, presented by Dave Shank, also discusses how to embrace change even when it makes you feel uncomfortable. By stepping out of your comfort zone, you can overcome your fears and better serve your families.

 

Recognizing that you need to quit or alter some traditions is the first step; next, you need to act for the change to happen.

 

The key to finding out what traditions need to change all comes back to one word: value. If something you’re doing doesn’t have value, then it’s taking up your time. Instead, you could do something else that truly adds value to your funeral home, client families, and your own wellbeing.

 

Some questions to ask yourself when determining value are:

  • Are your funeral home’s services/marketing strategy outdated?
  • Does your community involvement — events you host, organizations you’re a part of, etc. — add value or clutter to your life?
  • Are you regularly doing self-care activities that help keep you mentally and physically healthy?

15 Decisions to Make Before You Start a Pet Loss Business

Has your funeral home considered branching out into the pet loss business? Presenter Jodi Clock shared 15 questions to consider before starting.

  1. How will it impact your funeral home? — Determine if you need to hire more staff or provide additional training.
  2. Is your facility pet-friendly? — If your facility doesn’t have space to accommodate a pet loss business, you may need to consider expansion.
  3. How will you get the pets to your funeral home?
  4. How will you transport the pet into your vehicle?
  5. What method will you do for pet identification?
  6. Where will you store the pets? — Have a separate storage facility for pet remains.
  7. What cremation method/equipment will you choose? — Check your state’s laws to see your options, such as flame-based and water-based cremation.
  8. How will you package the pets? — It could be urns, velvet bags, or memory boxes.
  9. What memorial items will you offer your families? — Some memorial ideas are clay pawprints and ornaments with fur clippings inside.
  10. Do you have all the required paperwork? — Some examples are a general price list, client authorization form, veterinary clinic claim of custody, and planning form.
  11. How will you organize your merchandising? — Determine where to organize your merchandise in-person and online.
  12. Do you have the required credentials? — Be certified as a pet end-of-life care facility to show families that you’re a trustworthy pet loss business.
  13. What’s your marketing plan? — Decide how to market your pet loss business and consider local businesses like vet clinics to partner with.
  14. How will you educate your community? — You can host events and provide online resources to become the go-to pet loss resource.
  15. What’s your disaster/crisis recovery plan?

Why Having a Trustworthy Online Brand Is More Important Than Ever

Your online brand is the first impression you make on families, so it’s important that it represents your funeral home. These tips presented by Tyler Yamasaki can help your funeral home show families that you’re trustworthy.

 

A few must-know statistics about internet usage are:

  • There are approximately 1.3 million funeral searches per month.
  • The average user spends 15 seconds on your website — that’s only about 50 words that they’ll read.

These statistics show that families search online for funeral information and you need to grab and keep their interest right away or you’ll lose them. You also need to show that you’re a trustworthy business because people buy from businesses they trust.

 

A few tips that your funeral home can implement to make a lasting online impression are:

  • Having a modern website design with relevant content. Impersonal stock photos of doves, caskets, and other imagery don’t add any value or show families who you are.
  • Be present on social media and review sites. The main three you need are a Facebook business page, Yelp account for online reviews, and a Google My Business account.
  • Be careful with your wording and avoid overused words like “unique.” Instead of simply saying you’re “unique,” show families why you’re unique.

What were your favorite ICCFA workshops this year? Share them with us in the comments!

 

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