Friday, September 25, 2015

Staying proactive during the winter

Jason Murphy,
Director of Family Services,
Sunset Memorial Park
With fall upon us and winter right around the corner, sales people tend to become a bit anxious about a lack of productivity during this time of the year. As Director of Family Services, it is my job to make sure our sales staff doesn’t buy into that belief. Our goal is to always maintain or increase our sales during the colder months of the year. Here are some tips that may help your firms do the same.
  1. Prepare and schedule community seminars and events during these months. We like to schedule our events at local restaurants and provide free meals or snacks to those in attendance. Most of the time, the cold weather does not prevent the general public from missing a free meal. This will allow you to get your sales staff in front of a large group during the months where walk-in business is low. 
  2. Another idea is to plan some fun holiday-related events at your location. Whether it is inviting the public to decorate some Christmas ornaments, or hosting a cookies and apple cider event in the fall, you will be surprised with how many people will attend.
  3. Schedule appointments in the homes of families you serve. During the winter months, many elderly people don’t want to risk driving to the funeral home or cemetery office to meet with a sales rep. So, take that cancellation opportunity away from your clients and go to them. Bad weather is one of the biggest reasons and excuses for salespeople during these months. So, not only are you giving them a better opportunity to close the sale, but you are also keeping them more accountable at obtaining their sales goals.  
No matter if your business is a vault dealer, a funeral home or a cemetery, by utilizing some or all of these strategies, you will be surprised at how successful your cold season months become. In 2014, we had our largest sales month in December, so I know for a fact that these techniques work. Now, give them a try.


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, September 21, 2015

Thank you to the vendors and sponsors of the Trigard Synergy Convention

A special thank you to all the vendors and sponsors of the 2015 Trigard Convention who were able to attend. If it wasn't for you, we wouldn't have been able to pull it off. 



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, September 18, 2015

Ways to improve your cash flow

Beth VadeBonCoeur,
Accountant
Cash flow is the gasoline that makes your business run. When you have positive steady cash flow, your business can run smoothly with no delays in paying vendors or worries about paying payroll. But when your cash flow is slow or negative, it is hard to continue to operate a business. These steps can help improve cash flow for any business.
  1. Invoice promptly – The quicker you invoice your customer after the service or product is delivered, the sooner you will receive the payment.
  2. Consider giving a discount for quicker payment – Many businesses offer a discount for early payments. This can help improve cash flow. A 1 to 2% discount, if paid within 10 days, is a common business practice.
  3. Actively work on collecting past due accounts – The tasks of identifying past due accounts and following up with phone calls or letters need to be done on a regular basis.  
  4. Control inventory levels – Keeping inventory levels at an adequate and consistent level can help keep cash flow more even. Try to reduce excess inventory. Try to purchase inventory in smaller batches more often instead large purchases less frequently.  
  5. Pay bills only when they are due - Pay your bills according to your vendor’s payment terms.
These are just a few suggestions to help your business with cash flow.  When your business has good cash flow, you can respond faster to opportunities and resolve unexpected problems that occur.


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, September 14, 2015

What happened at Trigard Synergy Convention? Part four.

It's our fourth week of recapping the 2015 Trigard Dealer Convention in Indianapolis.

We began our final day presenting sales awards for achievement during 2014 to select vault dealers. Superior Vault Company of Merrill, Michigan (pictured) received the “You Get It” Award. This special award recognizes the dealer who showed extraordinary commitment to serving families. Watts Vault and Monument of Des Moines, Iowa, was recognized for highest overall sales volume.

In the large business division, awards went to Southside Grave and Vault Inc. of Skipwith, Virginia, for the highest growth percentage; Rocky Hill Vault, Inc. of Cromwell, Connecticut, for the second highest; and Mark H. Bott Co. of Ogden, Utah, for the third highest.

Oxford Grave and Vault of Oxford, Alabama, was recognized for outstanding growth for the midsize division. In the small business division, Bates Vault and Services of Tylertown, Mississippi, was recognized for outstanding growth. 

We finished off the day with a great presentation from Tim Massen, Graystone Associates out of Houston, Texas. He shared statistics and information on the state of the funeral industry. You'll find some of his most quotable quotes on our Facebook page.


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, September 4, 2015

A funeral director's view of Trigard Convention

Drew Edwards,
General Manager,
Sunset Funeral Home
Last month, I attended Trigard Convention in Indianapolis. As General Manager of Sunset Funeral Home, I usually only attend the conventions that are held in the home office of Danville, Illinois, but since it was so close, we made an exception.

During my 22 year career as a funeral director, Trigard is the only burial vault brand I have ever sold. I might be biased, but I truly believe that the Aegean® is the best burial vault ever made. And, by attending this year’s convention, I confirmed my assumptions. In Indianapolis, I saw that the Trigard dealer network is more than burial vaults. I don’t only buy Trigard brand products because of the product. I buy them because the dealers are a group of individuals who truly care about their businesses, the families they serve and even the industry.

For those of you that were able to attend, I want you to know it was an honor to spend those few days with you. It reaffirmed my dedication to Trigard, and I understand why we continue to grow in such a competitive market. I learned so much in those three short days. I learned that it isn’t about the concrete, the liner or the mold. It’s about the people that represent this great brand all across the country.

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? Part three.

It's our third week of recapping the 2015 Trigard Dealer Convention in Indianapolis.

After presentations from Creative Director Julia Sullivan, new Manufacturing Manager John Albers and Project Manager Blake Swinford, our big day of continuing education continued with Creative growth strategies and succession planning by Jeff Miller. He continued the message of growth, opportunity and encouragement as he offered creative growth strategies to our dealers. He discussed the importance of breaking out of your daily routine to focus on growth. He emphasized the importance of making time to work on your business, not just in your business. He also talked about an often difficult subject, succession planning. He explained that the time to make a plan is before you need to have one.

We were thrilled to welcome Sarah Fisher to Trigard Convention. She is the first female Indy Car team owner, and the fastest woman to ever qualify for the Indianapolis 500. She talked about her journey building a family business in an otherwise corporate industry. She shared an exciting video and held a lively Q&A session. We've been sharing some of her most quotable quotes on our Facebook page.


"Working together is just as important as working in competition." ~ Sarah Fisher


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 are your long-term goals?

John Albers,
Plant Manager
When the school year starts and the fall weather begins showing its face, it reminds me that the end of the year is just around the corner. So, why does that matter? It is only September. This matters because it is the perfect time of year to begin thinking about our goals for the next year and maybe even long term.

Do you have long-term business goals in place? Do you work in a business culture that encourages strategic planning? Are you only working “In” the business and not “On” the business? If you don’t have an answer for these questions or you don’t like the answer you do have, then maybe it’s time to step back from the daily grind and consider creating a vision for the future.

At Trigard Convention in Indianapolis, I was given the opportunity to meet many of you for the first time. I learned a lot about this industry as well as about you. One fascinating thing that I brought back with me is the vault dealer’s positive approach towards some of the skepticism that exists in the burial industry. I have brought that back to our offices and I try to encourage our staff to have a positive attitude toward strategic planning. I believe it will better support the customer and improve the quality for the customer. I realize this is a marathon and not a sprint. We’re embarking on a journey of continuous improvement which requires small improvements over the life of the company. This will help your company have a long and prosperous future.


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.