Monday, March 30, 2015

What if you can't see the whole staircase?

Linda Darby-Dowers,
Chief Executive Officer
I read a quote the other day by Martin Luther King, Jr. “Faith is taking the first step when you can’t see the whole staircase.”  I just love that quote! I have been talking with members of our profession at all levels about the Have the Talk of a Lifetime consumer awareness campaign and the quote really resonates.

I have spent a large portion of my career watching this profession become so segmented that we spent more time fighting amongst each other than we do paying attention to how we can work together to meet the needs of the families we serve. I love the Have the Talk of a Lifetime campaign because it gives the funeral and memorialization industry one voice, sharing one message, which can impact our future. That excites me! We have the opportunity to lead this unprecedented step...one at a time!

I know that trying something new, like sharing the message of the campaign created by FAMIC, can be scary. People wonder "will it really work?" You might be saying to yourself, "I'll wait and see if it works for someone else before I do anything." But just like the MLK quote, it's going to take some faith. Trust me, when we get to the top of this staircase, it will lead us to a greater space than we ever imagined. If you haven't already, come take that first step! Visit www.famic.org/campaign or just email me directly to find out what you can do to get started.


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.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

What is your risk vs. reward ratio?

Stuart McDaniels,
Materials Manager
Risk is something everyone faces daily. Just the simple act of driving to work in the morning involves taking risk, but we do it every day. We get in vehicles made of metal, rubber and plastic, carrying flammable at 75 mph. We drive in all kinds of weather, while dodging other sleepy motorists texting on their cellphones without thinking twice about it. Why? We make either a conscious or unconscious decision that we are willing to accept the risk of the commute for the reward of a paycheck. That’s the risk versus reward ratio. How much risk are we willing to take for how much reward? Most would agree that taking the small risk of having a car accident is worth the reward of getting to go to work every day.

Other risk decisions we face may not be as clear-cut, particularly in the business world. Sourcing decisions are a great example. The purchasing group at Trigard has to make constant decisions as to how much risk is acceptable, and how much reward we (and our dealer network) will receive for that risk. Of course, in an ideal situation, minimal to no risk would be preferred. But, in the real world, it’s just not possible. Where and who we purchase material from is critical. It’s even more important than what we pay for that material. How many times, in either your personal or business life, have you taken the risk of trying to save a few dollars only to find out later that you should have bought somewhere else? Many times, I’m sure. Of course, you learn over time to adjust your acceptable risk.

What’s your risk versus reward ratio? Thinking about that question the next time you have a decision to make can help drive you to better outcomes.



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, March 13, 2015

Never underestimate the importance of training

Jeff Miller,
Vice President of
Business Development
As a funeral director, I can recall the early days of being thrown into the role with little to no training. I was forced to learn on my own, which ended up being at the expense of the families I served. Now more than ever, quality training is more important than ever because of the ever-changing environment we work. With families wanting and requesting alternative services, every funeral professional should be armed with the knowledge and skills to respond to their requests. This doesn’t just apply to those working a funeral home setting. It applies to cemetarians and vendors as well. It’s important to offer ongoing training to everyone including owners and managers.

Often times, large organizations seem to be better equipped to facilitate training, however, small companies, such as family-owned funeral homes, can also provide quality training. Many times, key suppliers will assist with training programs that are designed to focus on the specific needs of the organization, whether it is service offerings or product specific training. Don’t hesitate to ask them for assistance with training. Quality training provided in small doses will result in satisfied families, increased revenues for the funeral home, as well as the supplier. Everyone will benefit by knowing they did everything possible to provide exceptional service and value to the families they serve.

Please feel free to contact me at jeffm@trigard.com to discuss any specific training you’re interested in within your own organization.


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, March 6, 2015

It's finally clear to me. Is it to you?

Karen Darby-Ritz,
Advance Planning Manager,
Camino del Sol Funeral
Chapel & Cremation Center
A few weeks ago, I read a story on Connecting Directors.com about the Funeral Profession Predictions for 2015. And, as I read the article, something clicked and became very clear to me. Cremation is going to continue to rise at a rapid rate. Families will continue to educate themselves and will use social media and other forms of technology as their tools to do it. 

So, what does that mean for us as funeral professionals? It means that it's time that we start really thinking outside the box. How can we connect with the families we serve in the most meaningful way possible? Baby Boomers are growing older and are making the decisions for their parents and planning for their own futures. Many Boomers are looking for “nontraditional” experiences that reflect a life well-lived. Are we offering the products that allow them these experiences? Are we emphasizing creativity and family input? Or are we going with the status quo because that’s how we've always done it, and that’s where we’re most comfortable.

Now, more than ever before, we have the unique opportunity to open up new dialog with our customers, which leads to new thought processes in our profession. Each of us have the power to be the change needed in our industry. Are we really looking for what’s new out there? Are we open to new products and ideas which just might lead to new profits? Call us and let us help you think outside the box. Let us help it become clear 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.