A person prepping a presentation in an office

 

Written by Jenny Goldade

 

Weren’t able to attend the 2019 NFDA Convention in Chicago? Or, didn’t have time to attend all the sessions that you wanted to? That’s okay, our content specialists attended many of the sessions to learn what’s trending in the funeral profession.

 

This is part two of a four-part series about some of the most informative 2019 NFDA Convention sessions.

 

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Is it Sexual Harassment?

In this session, presenter Jamie Hasty defined harassment, how to report it, and, most importantly, how to prevent it.

 

What Is Harassment?

Hasty described harassment as what the recipient finds inappropriate. As for the harasser or recipient, it can be anyone, from a member of your staff to a customer. A victim of harassment also doesn’t have to be the person directly harassed. It can be anyone who is affected by the harassment.

 

How to Protect Your Staff and Families

To protect your staff and families, make sure you have an employee handbook and update it regularly. You also should do any necessary training to make sure people know how to report harassment if it occurs. If someone does report harassment, get all the facts and documentation that you can. Then, use your best judgment to determine if you have enough information to investigate it further.

 

FTC Funeral Rule: Reducing Your Risk

Presenter T. Scott Gilligan discussed the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Funeral Rule, from the importance of knowing it to possible new considerations for the rule.

 

Importance of Being Aware of the Rule

To prevent your funeral home from having any violations, you want to make sure your entire staff is educated on the FTC Funeral Rule. Make sure everyone is on the same page about the guidelines and how your staff will go about them in your day-to-day operations. By doing this, you’re reducing your risk and know that your staff is all following the same guidelines.

 

Possible Considerations for the Rule

Gilligan also discussed a few funeral trends that may be up for consideration to add to the FTC Funeral Rule. One funeral profession trend is technology. Technology has a major impact on the funeral profession, from how funeral directors prepare the bodies to how they memorialize a life.

 

Another change is online shopping. More families prefer to shop online, so many funeral homes now have a payment center for families to pay the funeral expenses online. Since technology advances and online shopping weren’t topics funeral homes needed to be concerned about many years ago, they might be considered for adding guidelines about them to the FTC Funeral Rule.

 

Creating WE Relationships

Presenter Steve Yastrow discussed how funeral directors can work with families as a team to create a meaningful funeral service. He said to earn customer commitment, you need to take the time to understand their story and work together.

 

Importance of Creating WE Relationships

First off, Yastrow said when you interact with a customer, there are three possible outcomes: the relationship gets better, stays the same, or gets worse. To make sure those relationships continue to get better, you need to work as a team.

 

When funeral planning, don’t just give families a sales pitch. Families can detect your tone of voice and can tell it’s a rehearsed monologue. Instead, during the arrangement conference, focus on having genuine conversations rather than giving a memorized presentation. Families want you to listen to them, not talk at them.

 

How to Have Genuine Conversations with Families

A few characteristics of conversations that matter are:

  • Both people are interested
  • Agree to disagree
  • Participation from both people
  • Listen and talk equally — aim to have the customer do 50% or more of the talking
  • Body language that shows you’re listening

Ultimately, you should focus on your client families’ wants and needs, not your business. Instead of just pitching your products, understand their life story and funeral desires and suggest what’s appropriate for their situation.

 

Did you attend any of the 2019 NFDA Convention sessions? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!