Wednesday, November 26, 2014

How "warm" are your interpersonal skills?

Stuart McDaniels,
Materials Manager
A few years ago, there were some interesting studies released that discussed “warmth” being the most powerful personality trait in social judgment. The researchers predicted that by holding a warm or cold beverage it would increase the feelings of interpersonal warmth or coldness, without the person’s knowledge.

Two studies were conducted. The first demonstrated participants who briefly held a cup of hot (versus iced) coffee judged a target person as having a “warmer” personality. In the second study participants holding a hot (versus cold) therapeutic pad were more likely to choose a gift for a friend instead of themselves.

In other words, holding the warm object leads to a behavior that is more generous. This is great if you are trying to make new friends, but could be a problem at the negotiating table.

If you are planning to discuss a business deal, purchasing a new vehicle or even talking with your kids about what time you want them home for the evening, remember to put down that cup of coffee. Also, if you can, find a way to get a warm beverage into the other party’s hand. It could lead to a better outcome for you.
 


This article originally appeared in Trigard Tuesdays, our weekly electronic newsletter featuring information for the funeral industry. Sign up for your free subscription at http://www.trigard.com/tuesdays.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Are your goals set for 2015?

Jeff Miller,
Vice President of
Business Development
As we near the holiday season and the beginning of a new year, it's the perfect time to begin planning goals for 2015. Whether you’re a vault dealer, funeral home or cemetery, setting goals is an all-too-familiar task. How many of our goals are realistic and attainable? Sometimes, we can set them too high, which makes them impossible to reach. 

A great way to begin planning and setting goals for 2015 is to sit down with key people within your own business. They can help narrow your thoughts and help you establish:
  1. what is most important to accomplish
  2. a working plan and strategy
  3. who is responsible for fulfilling the goal
  4. who is managing the follow-up
It’s important to set goals and strategies to accomplish them so we don’t fall back into our daily routines and watch the market change around us. Don’t worry if you don’t accomplish every goal on the first try. When we work towards a goal, we continue to focus on our business and the changing market place. This may require several attempts, but over time, a well-managed plan will pay dividends. 

At Trigard, our goals for 2015 include continuing on our path of growth, continuing to support our dealers, and focusing on new account opportunities. I would love to hear your goals and strategies for 2015. Email me at jeffm@trigard.com.
 


This article originally appeared in Trigard Tuesdays, our weekly electronic newsletter featuring information for the funeral industry. Sign up for your free subscription at http://www.trigard.com/tuesdays.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Strong relationships are the pathway to success

Karen Darby-Ritz,
Advance Planning Manager,
Camino del Sol Funeral Chapel
and Cremation Center
When you look back on your life, what do you remember the most? Is it that new cellphone you recently purchased, or the days spent on the job? Or, is it the relationships you have built with colleagues, friends or family that made a bigger impact?

A successful life is not about the things we acquire during our lifetime. It’s about the relationships we cultivate along the way. Quality relationships can be the path to success in life and business. When we have a healthy relationship with others, communication becomes more seamless. Healthy relationships can help to make even the most difficult of situations end well.

Quality relationships consist of three important values: empathy, care and respect.
  1. When we empathize with the families we serve, we must put ourselves into their shoes and really feel and understand what they are going through.
  2. By empathizing with families, it also shows them that we care about them and the loved one that they have lost. 
  3. When we listen to a family's needs and help them as much as possible, it shows them that we respect them.
Relationships don’t happen by chance or continue to grow unattended. Any relationship takes effort, not just in the beginning, but throughout the life of the partnership. Sustaining a relationship may require us to step outside our comfort zone, but in the end, it is worth it because that is what helps make a strong relationship.

This article originally appeared in Trigard Tuesdays, our weekly electronic newsletter featuring information for the funeral industry. Sign up for your free subscription at http://www.trigard.com/tuesdays.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Stay educated and get involved

Blake Swinford,
Project Manager
How often do you leave the office to learn and connect with other people in our industry? Are you involved with regional, state or national organizations? I think one reason a lot of us are afraid of change is that we don’t make the time to refresh our knowledge and get involved.

At Trigard, we offer an educational program called Trigard University. It includes an agenda committed to helping vault dealers and their funeral home customers by handing over the tools needed to make their companies succeed in today's competitive environment. In just a few days at Trigard University, you can learn new ways to make a positive impact on your business that could last for years.

The curriculum is tailored to your specific needs, which can include:
  • A brief history of how Trigard got started
  • A lesson on the tools proven to help you sell the products that your family deserves
  • An in-depth tour of our manufacturing facility
  • A tour of one of our many funeral homes – where we test our own products
  • A few minutes with our pre-need manager on how to grow your business
Many organizations across our industry offer many opportunities to get involved, but one close to my heart is NCBVA. The National Concrete Burial Vault Association acts a single voice for all burial vault manufacturers, regardless of product brand. They offer training, membership and certification opportunities all year round and once a year they hold their Annual National Diversification Convention. This year it will be held February 13 – 15, 2015, in St. Petersburg, Florida.

I encourage you to get out of the office and take advantage of the educational and professional opportunities available to you.
 


This article originally appeared in Trigard Tuesdays, our weekly electronic newsletter featuring information for the funeral industry. Sign up for your free subscription at http://www.trigard.com/tuesdays.