October 24, 2022

What Makes a Salesperson Successful? Empathy, Experience, and Leads!

For most cemeteries that are reliant on cash flow, there is no bigger issue than hiring a salesperson. This is a constant and recurring problem. Salespeople turn over constantly. It seems the only ones who don’t turnover are the bad ones. Hiring, training, compensating, and keeping them productive is a most difficult part of the job for any owner or general manager. While much of this article will be the same for funeral home advance sales sellers, I do not want to try and cover the two different fields of funeral and cemetery. The DNA of the sale itself is different. In a funeral home you are selling a service (albeit there may be some merchandise, but the service of the funeral is what you are selling). In a cemetery you are selling a product (albeit the service is getting […]
October 24, 2022

Finance 301: Chapter 10: One Critical Question

As you might imagine, when planning my scheduled columns so many months in advance, I keep them organized using the Dewey Decimal System and color coding. This allows me to write something in January that will be published in April and read in May, thus making my editor happy. Well, everything was running smoothly until NFDA published its 2022 Cremation and Burial Report, which ruined my nice, orderly life! Now, even though my life is upended, I have no desire to ruin yours. Therefore, before you read another word of this column, stop and get a copy of this report. It’s free for NFDA members. If you’re not an NFDA member, you have two options: Steal a copy from a friend who is a member or pay the nominal fee to get your own. Why? Because I think this NFDA […]
October 24, 2022

Ask the Expert: Competitor Pricing

We want to continue to provide you with insight and guidance on Pricing. For this month’s column, we spoke with Doug Gober again as he answers more popular pricing questions. Continue reading below as we provide information on competitor pricing. Question: Should I set my prices lower than my competitors to gain market share? Doug Gober: The critical factor when determining your pricing should be how you want to be seen in the marketplace. Since the funeral and cemetery market is segmented, it is a challenge to be all things to all people. It would be in your best interest to focus only on your business and define who you want to be in the marketplace rather than what your competitors are doing. This idea of determining your position is certainly more important than seeing what your competitors in the market […]
October 24, 2022

Ask the Analyst: Understanding Property Value

Understanding the value of your business is vital. Not only is it needed if you were considering selling your funeral home or cemetery, but it is also important to know to operate strategically and efficiently. One of the major components in your valuation is the property value. We asked Senior M&A Analyst, Jarod Bernat to further elaborate on this significant element of your business valuation. Question: Why do you value my property at “X” amount in your valuation when surrounding commercial real estate is worth X+100? Jarod Bernat: Real estate values seem like a straightforward topic since it is public record to see the exact sales price of recently sold comparable properties in your market. Thus, it would make sense to think your property would be comparable to those in value. However, this real estate value is decided by the […]
September 29, 2022

HR Reality Check: Case Study #24

Scenario: Troy and Tammy Lexington run Lexington Funeral Home & Cemetery, a generational funeral home/cemetery combo in the southern United States that has served their community for almost 100 years. Currently they serve more than 600 families a year with case count on an upward trend. Troy and Tammy bought the business from Troy’s father and uncle 10 years ago. They are both licensed funeral directors but find a significant portion of their time is spent managing the business. However, they still roll up their shirt sleeves to help with daily tasks as needed. Several of their employees were inherited when they purchased the business and have many years of experience in the funeral industry in various positions throughout the operation. Their business has grown steadily over the years, leading them to increase their staff. A few of the “original” […]
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