Friday, July 31, 2015

Do you need a Facebook Bluetooth® beacon?

This small, plastic pod-like device is making big promises about the future of business. The Facebook Bluetooth® beacon promises to boost your social connections to your customers while protecting their privacy. Installation is simple and you can’t beat the cost: FREE.
We’ve requested beacons for all of our Sunset Funeral Home and Camino del Sol Funeral Chapel & Cremation Center locations. (Only a limited quantity are currently available. You can request yours now and it will arrive sometime in the future.)

It’s always exciting to have the latest gadget, but do you really need one in your funeral home or cemetery?

Just because the Facebook Bluetooth beacon is free, it doesn’t mean you should absolutely request one. Making it worth it is going to take some time investment and expertise. You’ll need to regularly engage with people using the tool. It’s not just a “set it and forget” thing like printing a brochure. If you don’t have a plan for the beacon and how you’ll use it, I suggest waiting to request one. Focus on other priorities right now, but keep it on the list.

If you’re an early adopter, you’ve probably already requested a beacon (or five). We’ll be doing lots of strategic testing to see what really makes it worthwhile to the families we serve, but I’m confident we’ll focus on two things no matter what:

Creating lots of value on the Facebook page.
Value doesn’t have to mean discounts, although we may consider offering a small gift to people who visit our page. Following the best practices of Guy Kawasaki (link to his website), we curate articles, images and ideas from around the web and serve them up to our Facebook fans without asking for anything in return. We create a culture of service, sharing information and ideas that our customers want to know – not just what we want to tell them.

Encouraging check-ins.
People are tired of hearing me say that getting people to attend a service at Sunset Funeral Home is the single best marketing tool we have. Once they do, they immediately see the value, understand why we’re different and start thinking about their own legacy. Facebook beacon promises to encourage check-ins, which would allow friends of people in attendance to see where they are. The more people checking in, the more attending a funeral becomes normalized. The more “normal” it seems, the more people who will make the effort to come pay their respects.

I’ll keep you posted on how our Facebook beacon installations are going. If you receive one, would you let me know what’s working for you and what’s not? You just might see your story in an upcoming newsletter. You can email your stories to

This article originally appeared in Trigard Tuesdays, our weekly electronic newsletter featuring information for the funeral industry. Sign up for your free subscription at

Thursday, July 23, 2015

What is good grief all about?

Erin Brodbeck, LCSW,CT
Sunset Funeral Home,
Director of Grief
On the first Monday of every month, Sunset Funeral Home hosts a lunch for anyone who is grieving the loss of a loved one, called the “Good Grief Lunch.” It’s been a great source of support for many individuals who are learning to live their lives without their loved ones. It truly has been good for their grief.

This lunch got me thinking about how good of a job we are doing as funeral professionals in promoting good grief. Do we even know what it really is? Funerals and other rituals are one of the first steps in good grief, but are something that our culture tends to avoid. Rituals can help the newly bereaved to face grief head on; something that is essential to healthy healing.

I would encourage all of you to stop and take a minute to think about the grief side of our industry. Maybe some of you can relate to the grief the families you serve endure. If you can remember the way you were feeling after the loss of your loved one and what helped you through it, then those feelings could potentially help do something for the families you serve during the worst time in their lives. By taking the time to empathize with them, some truly remarkable ideas can emerge that will help them start on their grief journey the right way. And that is what good grief is all about.

If you are looking for some ideas on how to help encourage good grief, contact me at


This article originally appeared in Trigard Tuesdays, our weekly electronic newsletter featuring information for the funeral industry. Sign up for your free subscription at

Monday, July 20, 2015

Are you ready to go public?

Linda Darby-Dowers,
Chief Executive Officer
If you haven’t heard of "Have the Talk of a Lifetime" by now, then you haven’t been reading my articles in Trigard Tuesdays. This campaign makes me so excited for the future of our industry. And, it is about to get even better! Until now, we have been sending the message of “Have the Talk of a Lifetime” through a grassroots effort across the funeral and memorialization industry. Now, we are introducing a brand new public awareness campaign and reaching out directly to the public.

Can you tell I am excited? I hope so, because the number of people we will touch with this campaign will truly be amazing. We will be educating families on the importance of what we do and why we do it, all while helping them with their journey of healthy healing.

You may be asking, “What does this campaign do for me?” Whether you're a funeral home, vault dealer or cemetery, your customers look to you as a resource and the tools provided to you through the campaign helps get the conversation started. The “Have the Talk of a Lifetime” campaign reintroduces the heart into our industry, which is where we need to focus, no matter our role.

Are you ready? Are you ready to answer questions about the campaign? Are you ready to talk passionately about healthy healing? If you need a refresher on everything the “Have the Talk of a Lifetime” campaign has to offer the families we serve, visit FAMIC’s website. As a member of the Trigard family, you get free access to tools to help you educate yourself as well as your community. Just call our Customer Service team at 800.637.1992 for the login information. I encourage you to start thinking of ways to incorporate the “Have the Talk” campaign into your daily business efforts. You won’t regret it!

This article originally appeared in Trigard Tuesdays, our weekly electronic newsletter featuring information for the funeral industry. Sign up for your free subscription at

Friday, July 10, 2015

How to negotiate without confrontation

Stuart McDaniels,
Materials Manager
Negotiation can be a scary proposition to a lot of people. For some it comes naturally, but for others it can feel awkward, intimidating and maybe a little confrontational. Whether we realize it or not, if we interact with others frequently we may be negotiating more than we appreciate. Maybe you’ve had a recent discussion with your significant other about what’s for dinner, or maybe you worked out a deal with your child over television times versus bed times, or even perhaps you talked your way out of a speeding ticket at one time or another. These situations all involve a measure of negotiation. It’s likely you solved these issues by coming to some sort of agreement without confrontation.

In order to avoid an uncomfortable or confrontational negotiation, try approaching it as joint problem solving instead. If you actually approach a negotiation as a confrontation it will likely be confrontational.  Instead, focus on finding a creative solution and not on what either of you will have to give up. You obviously don’t want to be a complete pushover during the process though so keep in mind that joint problem solving includes your needs as well. This viewpoint can make negotiation a little less intimidating if it’s something that makes you uncomfortable.

This article originally appeared in Trigard Tuesdays, our weekly electronic newsletter featuring information for the funeral industry. Sign up for your free subscription at

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Positive attitudes fuel success

Jeff Miller,
Vice President of
Business Development
Let’s face it. We’re all wired differently and view things differently. But, in the professional world, whether you feel the glass is half full or the glass is half empty can greatly determine your level of success or lack thereof. Optimistic people typically have an advantage on those in business who opt to think negatively. We all have a few clients that tend to always think the sky is falling. They tend to operate with an attitude that frankly drains their energy and ability to succeed.

I believe optimism and positive attitudes definitely are contagious and fuel success. Next time you are with a client, colleague or business associate who seems to focus on the “glass is half empty” approach, make a point to turn them in a more positive direction.

Often times in our profession, we will talk about how the business has changed. We will talk about the fact that cremation is growing and less families are choosing funerals and memorial services. And, in situations like this, it is important to respectfully speak up and bring the positivity back to the conversation. For instance, I was recently at a training session with a group of funeral directors. During the session, it became very obvious that one of the directors had a “glass is bone dry” perspective on the information being discussed. He was self-defeated and convinced that our “best days” were far behind. Going out on a limb and taking a bit of a risk, I switched gears and addressed his beliefs and opted to share my own. At the same time, I tried to motivate the others in the room to start a more positive conversation. Some may call it aggressive behavior, however, we drew him back into the fold and convinced him to think more positively. Doing nothing would have enabled him to drain the positive energy from the room and the ability for us to have a successful training session.

I believe that if we take a step back, re-focus and surround ourselves with the positive, energetic people, our best days are ahead of us. I challenge you to speak up and spread optimistic and positive thoughts about the future of our industry. It can only lead to success.

This article originally appeared in Trigard Tuesdays, our weekly electronic newsletter featuring information for the funeral industry. Sign up for your free subscription at