The 5 Mantras of Funeral Personalization Everyone Should Follow

“Think Different.”

“Don’t be evil.”

“Move fast and break things.”

You may have heard these statements before. Perhaps you’ve seen them on a billboard, or maybe you read about them in a tech magazine. Either way, you probably remember them.

That’s because those statements are mantras – a Sanskrit term meaning “sacred utterance” or “sacred thought”. Often used in yoga and meditation, mantras are words or phrases that when repeated, are supposed to lead to transformation. When it comes to business, a mantra is simply a motto or slogan that should be simple, concise, repeatable, and most importantly… meaningful to your funeral home.

The best mantras will lead your funeral home’s everyday decisions – both internally and externally. But today, I want to focus on creating mantras that will lead your funeral home’s personalization efforts. There aren’t enough guidelines out there to help you ensure your success in funeral personalization, so why not create them yourself through mantras?

With that being said, here are five mantras to guide your funeral personalization efforts:

1. Focus on meaning, not money.

As in any type of business, of course you’ve got to worry about your bottom line. But a quick dollar isn’t as impactful on your funeral home’s business as a happy customer. By focusing on up selling when personalizing funerals, you’re not only limiting your families’ experience, but you’re limiting your own experience, as well. In order to offer the most meaningful personalized service, your focus should be honoring the loved one. After all, experience is what creates a lifetime customer who will spread the word about your amazing level of service in your community.

2. Speak less, listen more.

Greek philosopher Epictetus once said, “we have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak,” and his words still ring true today. It can be easy to talk your families’ ear off with all of the personalization options you have. But, instead of telling them what you offer, ask them what they’re looking for with this strategic set of questions designed to help you offer a meaningful funeral.

3. Always lead with hope.

In the world of HGTV and extreme makeover shows, it’s pretty obvious that people connect with “before-and-after” transformations. What if that’s how you marketed your personalized funerals? Sure, you don’t offer “makeovers” to families, but you do offer families a transformation (with an uplifting, authentic celebration of life) that gives them hope…Hope for a better tomorrow, hope that they’ll laugh again. What if you showed families what the end results could be if they choose to celebrate their loved one’s life in a meaning way? The results, I suspect, would truly change the way you’re able to serve them.

4. Take off your shoes.

Not literally, of course – no one likes smelly feet. But, metaphorically… take off your shoes. I like this metaphor because it has a double meaning. First, you should take off your funeral director shoes and put yourself in your families’ shoes. That means asking yourself “what would I do if I were a part of this family?”. Use your answer to guide you through the arrangement process.

Secondly, you should create an environment that is so relaxing and homey, you and the family might actually want to take your shoes off. By making your families feel comfortable, you’re building trust with them while also taking away any pressure they might feel to make a certain decision. After all, they did just lose someone and the last thing they want to feel is added pressure or stress.

5. Put the “extra” in extraordinary.

A few years ago I heard a customer service quote that went something like “there’s no traffic jams along the extra mile,” and it left an impression on me. If there’s one sure-fire way to leave an extraordinary mark on your families and community, it’s by going above and beyond their expectations. Maybe it’s an element of surprise that you incorporate into the personalized service. Or maybe it’s as simple as writing a handwritten note thanking your families for allowing you to get to know their loved one through planning their memorial together. You must remind yourself everyday to be extraordinary with every family you meet. If you don’t give every family your best, what’s the point?

Over to you…

I hope these five mantras have inspired you to offer your families an extraordinary, authentic and meaningful personalized funeral. But I also encourage you to create your own. Once you do, print them out and make them a part of your funeral home’s core beliefs. And when you do, tell us what you’ve come up with in the comments below. We’d love to hear what leads you to offer an amazing level of service at your funeral home, day in and day out.

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  1. Peg Wellendorf

    Nothing else matters if we haven’t cared first. Simple. Thank you funeralOne for your thoughtful approach and reminder to be truly caring of those in need. I address each funeral service I photograph with these three mantras in mind: Be Compassionate. Record History. Bring Healing.
    Each place I stand, each person I see, each photo I take, must at all times be compassionate and done with utmost respect for the family and their loved one as well as those in attendance. The personal book I create from the photos and readings is a recording of history in a way we’ve never considered before. Healing and comfort come in many different ways. Photo Memorials are a unique and treasured option for many families.
    Peg Wellendorf
    Morris, MN