Monday, August 31, 2015

What happened at Trigard Synergy Convention? Part two.

It’s our second week of recapping the 2015 Trigard Dealer Convention in Indianapolis. Our big day of continuing education began with a warm welcome from Donna Darby-Walthall on behalf of the entire Darby family.

Continuing education kicked off with a high-energy presentation by Julia Sullivan, Creative Director. She talked about the importance of getting comfortable being uncomfortable, especially as the industry continues to evolve and grow. She reaffirmed our commitment to our dealers, emphasizing that they continue to be Trigard’s strongest resource.

The presentation transitioned from growth opportunities to specific tactics, focusing on ways dealers can invest in relationships with the funeral homes they serve, specifically by updating funeral home selection rooms. She used McDonald’s advertising through the years to show how just because outdated information is accurate, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s working for the customer.

She challenged the vault dealers to consider when a family’s last interaction might have been with the funeral home before coming in to make at-need arrangements. It might have been decades since the last time someone they love died, they had to make at-need arrangements for another family member or they pre-arranged their own celebration of life. Wouldn’t you hope that things have changed?

Vault dealers were particularly excited about the new flyer sharing a very personal story of the impact of the Healing Tree®. This art is available for any funeral home, cemetery or vault dealer to use to help share the impact of this graveside ceremony.


Next, new Plant Manager John Albers and Project Manager Blake Swinford talked about continuous improvement efforts. The technical details of some of the adjustments were discussed, but the most important takeaway was that all of the improvements came from dealer suggestions. More ideas, suggestions and feedback is encouraged.

This week: Stepping up your selection room (and our strategy)
Manufacturing improvements and how they benefit you

Next week: Creative growth strategies and succession planning
Special guest speaker Sarah Fisher

September 15: Sales awards
The state of funeral service

September 22: Sponsors and vendors


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.

What happened at Trigard Synergy Convention?

What happens when Trigard vault dealers gather from across the country for three days of learning, networking and exchanging ideas? Great things happen. Synergies form. Everyone gets better.

Two weeks ago, we held the 2015 Trigard Dealer Convention in Indianapolis. Now that we've had a little time to settle back into our regular routines, we're confident that it was a great investment of everyone's time. 100% of attendees said that they were able to connect with other dealers and exchange ideas. But beyond the new information and connections, our dealers told us how much they appreciated the positive atmosphere.

With so much negativity, doom and gloom, and fear buzzing because of the shifting landscape of our industry, Trigard Convention was a bright spot for everyone who attended. But we didn't want to "blow smoke" and make false promises. During the three days, we took a hard look at the challenges facing our industry, but instead of shaking our heads and resigning ourselves, we put our heads together and presented our best ideas for navigating the years ahead.

We'll be recapping these sessions during the next three weeks right here in Trigard Tuesdays. As we said during the convention, we all want to grow. By helping each other and sharing our best ideas, we all get stronger.

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, August 28, 2015

What are your greatest fears?

Sheryl Baumeister,
Human Resources
I know you hear us preach about the importance of educating your staff all the time, but that is because it is so important. Actually, last week a cross-section of our staff spent the day learning about the “Basics of Lean Leadership.” We were overwhelmed with information about "lean" – what it is and what lean tools can do. I believe at the end of the day, the majority of us felt this new way of thinking is the way to go. It will make our work environment better by developing procedures that assure smooth product flow and a decrease in inventory and operating expenses. Sounds like a no-brainer doesn’t it? Will it be easy? NO!

To get to where we want to be will require change. I know, I said a bad word. The evil “C” word. Often times, change is what keeps us from moving forward and from growing. We like the comfort of what we know and sometimes fear the unknown.

As Zig Zigler says, “F-E-A-R has two meanings:
  1. "Forget Everything and Run" 
  2. "Face Everything and Rise" 
The choice is yours.

Fear is something we have all faced and will face again. It’s inevitable in our life, career and business. So rather than fearing the unknown, let fear be a driving motivation to actually help you make the change necessary to succeed and rise. Moments like this provide us with an opportunity to show our resolve. Taking on uncertainty is a great confidence builder.

Where will you let your fear take you today? What successes await you just around the corner? I challenge you to be bold and step outside your comfort zone. Challenge yourself and do something you might fear. There are only two possible 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, August 21, 2015

What are you selling to your customers?

Donna Darby-Walthall,
Chief Financial Officer
If you ever need a reason to attend a convention, learning and networking with other funeral professionals has to be number one for me. A few weeks ago, we held our biennial dealer convention. If you weren’t able to attend, you missed out on a wonderful experience.

At the end of the three-day event, we passed the microphone around the room for everyone to share what they learned. One answer from a Trigard dealer has really stuck with me. He said that he never realized before, but the success of our business isn't based on the products we sell, it is about the experience they get out of the product. We are really selling the experience. And, he is exactly right.

If you haven’t seen our recent Healing Tree® advertisement, then you need to contact our Marketing department to get a copy. It is a real-life story about a woman who lost her mother, and at her graveside service she took a Memory Ring® from the top of her mom’s Healing Tree burial vault as a keepsake. She now wears it around her neck to make her feel closer to her mother. The Healing Tree and the Memory Ring are the products being sold, but what she experiences when she holds the Memory Ring in her hand after lifting it from the burial vault or wears it around her neck is what means the most. Now, that is selling an experience.

These are the types of things that come out of our Trigard Conventions. If you are a vault dealer, I encourage you to attend the next convention in 2017. If you are a funeral home or cemetery, I encourage you to get your vault dealers to our conventions. You will learn so much from your fellow dealers. I promise 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 http://www.trigard.com/tuesdays.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Trigard Convention was a success.

Another Trigard Convention has come to a close, and we are feeling rejuvenated, revived and recommitted to providing the tools and resources our dealers and their funeral home customers need to help families through some of the hardest days of their lives.

All of us at Trigard are so grateful to the dealers who took time away from their businesses to attend. If you joined us at Trigard Convention 2015 and stepped away from your daily routines,we hope you found it to be exciting, informative and valuable.

We are most excited about all of the ideas and new opportunities for synergy that came out of the three days. The Buchanan family was a great partner, and we are excited to see how they can help our dealers grow.

Be sure to check out all of the photos on our Facebook page from last week. Look for the special convention recap articles in Trigard Tuesdays during the next few weeks.



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, August 7, 2015

What does it take to be successful?

Rich Darby,
Chief Operating Officer
How many of you spend hours researching the internet, looking at excel spreadsheets and analyzing the ways to success?  How many of you are at your wit’s end trying to figure out what it takes to be successful in today’s marketplace?  I have a very simple solution for you and it only consists of 2 simple points:
  • Define what type of business you want to be
  • Outwork everyone else in that industry
In this fast paced world, we are so busy trying to compete with our competitors that we forget what kind of business we want to be. Do you want to be the type of company that low balls their prices? Do you want to be an internet company? Or do you want to be the local company down the street? Whatever type of business you choose to be, stick to it. Don’t waiver and don’t go against your gut. Be exactly who you want to be. Be committed, stand firm and be strong. Understand that the road to success is full of bumps, but true leaders will always prevail. Go to bed each and every night knowing that the path you have chosen is best suited for you and your growth.

Once you have defined your type of business, WORK it! There is no advertising campaign, pricing scheme, product display or magic potion that can outperform good old fashioned sweat equity. Today’s consumer appreciates great service. They place a high value on a great experience. They will seek out and pay more money if they find value in the company and business model you have built. I challenge each and every one of you to sit at your desk today and formulate a new plan that involves going the extra mile, going above and beyond, doing more than anyone else. Put that program together and the excel spreadsheets will automatically take care of themselves.

I want to thank each and every one of you for being faithful readers of our articles. We truly appreciate all the great feedback we receive from you. Until next time. Keep calm and work on!


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.