Business Financing

December 20, 2021

Making Your Cemetery the Trendy Hangout

How can someone make a cemetery a place that people will be happy to come to? The lore and fiction of our society have us avoid cemeteries. We even believed that whistling while passing a cemetery protected us. In the south, the Gullah Geechees believed in holding their breath to keep the “haints” away (“haints” is Geechee for haunts). Many people have their own personal experience of being in a cemetery typically involving saying goodbye to a loved one. So how can someone make a cemetery a fun place to visit? Well, I have seen it done well. It takes a reset of your mindset. Think about who your consumers are? If you think your consumers are the deceased who are interred in your property, I would ask that you rethink that answer. I think you have two groups of […]
December 20, 2021

Checking-in and Planning Your Success in 2022 Begins NOW

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”– Benjamin Franklin When we gather for the holiday this year, I suggest we take a moment to be thankful. This has been a very long, hard past couple of years. The death care profession has gained new levels of recognition in the media and society. The emergence of the profession as the “last responders” has propelled it to new heights. However, this recognition does not come without a price. Many are worn out, stressed and on their last nerve. The past couple of years have been difficult for most, but extraordinarily so for our profession. To continue to do the incredible work that you do, you must be at the top of your game. Make sure that you are taking care of your –and your staff’s – mental health. There […]
December 20, 2021

Chapter Twelve: The Economics of Preneed Theft

Competition is good, but theft by deceit and unfair business practices is anti-competitive. Sadly, the words “preneed” and “theft” can go hand in hand. I’ve seen people steal preneed deposits, falsify insurance claims and fail to make deposits into various trusts. These people, of course, are crooks. The thing is, they themselves would tell you they are crooks and knew they were breaking the law. There are others, however, who could be stealing preneed funds, but these individuals don’t think they’re doing anything wrong. They even commit their misdeed in the open, and if caught, will not be prosecuted. Who commits these nefarious acts, you ask? Some employees, when they leave a place of employment, choose to co-opt confidential business property and goodwill, then use it to try to convince consumers to move their established preneed arrangements to another funeral […]
November 23, 2021

No Slick Salespeople Allowed!

Purpose, Plan, Passion & Persistence Lead to Pre-Need Marketing Success Throughout my 35-plus years of working in the family funeral business, I have written hundreds of pre-need contracts. I have also actively managed a multitude of sales counselors and sales managers. To grow our department, I had the opportunity to work with some of the most talented pre-need consultants in the industry, such as Gary O’Sullivan, Quinn Eagan, Rob Meredith, and others. During my funeral tenure, I funded our program with trust accounts and insurance policies, partnering with industry leaders such as Precoa and Funeral Services Inc. So why do I share all of this with you? Because I’ve tried to take the best that all of them had to offer, and now, I want to share what I believe is key to success in pre-need and beyond. I call […]
November 22, 2021

Chapter Eleven: Protecting Your Investment

Estimating case count during/after a pandemic. Creating and implementing a strategic plan starts with estimating your revenue. While calculating revenue involves a simple formula, estimating it during a pandemic is very difficult. More on that later in the article. So, as I said, revenue involves a simple formula, R = C x $, in which revenue equals calls multiplied by $ or average dollars/call. For example, if you expect to serve 100 families annually and your average dollars/call is $6,000, then your revenue will be $600,000. Now, during normal, non-pandemic times, you would need to make two basic assumptions to calculate your revenue: Normal Assumption 1: Upon how many calls should I build my budget? Most people use a three-year average, while others look for trends up or down and make a pro forma estimate based on those trends. I […]
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