How is your funeral home “pre-planning?” Death is inevitable but so are shifts in the funeral marketplace, consumer behavior, the economy, and so on. Pre-planning for funerals is a tenant of the funeral industry which millions of dollars are spent to compel consumers to make choices prior to their own demise. I am totally on board for all efforts to propagate funeral pre-planning for a myriad of reasons like easing the burden from those left behind, making personal choices and it most cases it makes good financial sense for the consumer as well as the funeral home.
As a matter of fact, take a look at what consumers are finding in the market place for planning. The conversation and topic is widespread for individuals to get their “affairs” in order. End of life planning companies like Everplans.com are providing planning platforms offering a vast array of services and advice from wills, trusts, closing online accounts to final wish funeral preferences.
So as an industry if we believe that pre-planning is so important, how are we pre-planning for the future at our funeral homes? Take a look in the employee break room (some places known as “the bull pen”) or where the work schedule is regularly posted. Is there a schedule for training anywhere to be found? Not CEU’s that frankly don’t have impact for maintaining or enhancing funeral directing professional skills (which based on the news reported by the Star Press in Indiana 30 Hoosier Funeral Directors Cited would have been a good idea). Planning for regular, intentional and relevant training should be on every planning calendar in every funeral home.
How about pre-planning for marketing? This Social Media thing requires more effort and thought than placing obits on Facebook pages (and as note, LinkedIn is NOT the medium for such). A recent article written by Ryan Thogmartin of FuneralSocial.com posted on funeralOne’s blog Do’s and Don’ts-Future of Facebook Obits should be a training session in itself. A well placed plan for posts, topics and editorial not only on Facebook but also funeral home blogs provide returns to the funeral home with positive exposure. Does your funeral home have a media manager that schedules and plans for messaging/content? My favorite mediums (yes, I’m being sarcastic) of the paper place mat ads in the diner or calendars don’t usually provide much planning effort, so it’s time to GET SOCIAL!
We all know it’s that time of year; price increases by casket companies which means the majority of funeral home owners change their price lists to reflect and offset rising costs. Of course, I have much to say on this subject, however for this post I’ll limit the observation to why only now? Why only once a year? What type of formula is used by your firm to calculate pricing? It’s all about planning.
Succession planning is a topic that should be put into place at every funeral home, it’s like having a will for the business. What would happen if the owner gets hit by a bus? Who takes over and more importantly, who is capable of replacement? By the way, some owners would answer this question with: “no one could step into my shoes, this place would fall apart without me.” What type of training is being provided for such an event? I have personally witnessed and know of funeral home owners making attempt to sell their business and retire only to be abruptly stopped come business valuation time. A rude awakening comes when dreams collide with reality. Our industry has professionals such as Succession Planning Associates for such advice.
The point of this post: are we as an industry practicing what we preach? What type of planning does your firm conduct, how often and what are the benefits being reaped from this ever-changing business? As we all know, life can change pretty quickly (or at least that’s what we tell consumers), what’s your plan? Speaking of planning, stay tuned for details about the best FN news and commentary show in the funeral industry:
From the desk of The Funeral Commander, cheers y’all! #thefuneralcommander