Funeral Experts At ICCFA’s Wide World of Sales Won’t Stop Talking About This One Word

This week, funeralOne is in Las Vegas for ICCFA’s annual Wide World of Sales Conference. Over three days of “Sales Olympics,” the top marketing, sales and pre-need experts in the funeral profession are sharing their insights on what it takes to find success in the world of funeral sales. Here are some of the top tips that we have learned so far!

be consistent

We’ve learned a lot this week in Las Vegas at ICCFA’s annual Wide World of Sales conference. Experts in the profession have shared tips for gaining referrals from families, advice on perfecting your pre-need pitch, and even tools for communicating better with your funeral co-workers!

Stay tuned for a round-up of our top takeaways from the conference, coming next week to the funeralOne blog!

But there’s one word that we have heard over and over again the past three days from funeral and sales experts alike – consistency.

If you want to be successful in this business (no matter what your version of success may look like) you need to be consistent in your actions. You can’t race ahead and bypass important steps, but you can’t go too slow either, preferring to test the water completely before you jump right in. Success in the funeral profession comes from consistent, steady actions that result in expected, proven success time and time again.

Mapping Out Your Directions For Success

One of this year’s keynote speakers at ICCFA’s Wide World of Sales Conference, Weldon Long, has helped some of the top companies in the world develop a consistent plan for success. How? By helping them map out clear directions that will get them where they want to go.

Long put in best when he was telling the story of a time he built a motorcycle from the ground up. He had all of the parts that were required for the finished motorcycle, and he had all of the directions in front of him that told him how to create the end product. So, you can bet he wasn’t too surprised when, at the end of his assembly, he ended up with a completed motorcycle rather than a birthday cake or a swing set.

“You can’t do the right thing in life and accidentally produce the incorrect results,” he said. “If you have a map and directions to get home, you’re not going to accidentally end up at the wrong house.”

So, if your funeral home wants to find success, you need to map out that end vision of what success looks like to you (your end destination), and then you need to write out your directions on how you’re going to get there. Once you have your vision mapped out, then comes the challenge of following the directions consistently…

The No-Fail Process for Being Consistent

“It’s easy to do something… but it’s a little bit easier not to.” How true is this quote? We tell ourselves that we are going to set a certain amount of appointments each week, or that we are going to collect a certain number of referrals each month. But, when it comes time to actually putting in the hard work and following through on these internal tasks, it’s always easier not to do them. Of course, that leads to that nagging feeling of cognitive dissonance. (The anxiety that we feel when we don’t do something that we said we were going to do.)

How do you combat this urge and actually follow through with your commitments? “You have to be one of those rare people that is willing to deny human nature,” Long said. You have to make small (but calculated) decisions each and every day, and one day you will find that these seemingly inconsequential, consistent actions lead to big success.

Luckily, he shared a three step process that will help change your mindset for good and make you more consistent in following through with your goals.

1. Emotional Commitment – Take the vision that you have created (or the destination that you have set your directions towards) and create a “prosperity plan.” To do this, simply write out your goals in the present tense (“I get one referral from every pre-planning meeting”) and write out 3-4 realistic actions that will help you get there (“I ask family members if they know of anyone who would benefit from the services I provide before the end of the pre-planning meeting”).

2. Action – Print out your vision and directions, and tape them to your desk, your bathroom mirror, or anywhere where you will see them consistently. Next, spend 10 minutes at the start of every day reviewing them and describing them to yourself in excruciating detail. By focusing 100% on these goals alone and not letting your mind wander, you will close out any mistakes or regrets you have made in the past, and you will not think of any anxiety you have about the future. You will live completely in the moment and in your plan. (Plus, you may even find that you are less willing to pick up those anxieties after the 10 minutes have passed, because you felt so free setting them down.) Be consistent in repeating this process every single morning.

3. Responsibility – Lastly, take responsibility for your actions and whether or not you follow through on your directions for success. If you make a mistake and you are not consistent with following through on your goals, get up the next day, review you directions again, and make a plan that will help you avoid similar roadblocks in the future. Your life and your businesses’ success are not defined by the problems or hurdles that you face, but by your responses to them.

Once you have created your vision for success, and you have consistently followed through on your directions for getting there, there is no reason you should not meet any goal you set out for yourself or your funeral home.

What do you think about the power of consistency? Do you believe that following simple, thought-out directions consistently is enough to bring your funeral home success in 2016? Let us know in the comments below.

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  1. Graham Burton

    Believing in yourself that you have done and provided a service that the family requested goes along way to help yourself esteem and showing compassion ,yes consistency comes into the daily duties but being just the person you are with all beavered loved ones goes along way for familys to request for that same member of staff over many years .There is no other job like it and yet sometimes we are really recognised for and of whom we are and yet we are called upon at people’s worst time of their lives dedication and being good at you job will bring rewards and you know what just a “thank you ” and letters of appreation goes along way to lift ones believe that we carried out a good job .

  2. Kim Cleaver

    It is a profession containing the finest sales professionals, capable of not only selling, but also the building lasting relationships to sustain the success of any funeral establishment.
    It was my experience, asking for referrals was a continuing process from the moment you woke up and began your day interacting with people. I was proud of the profession, the company I worked for and the opportunity help people through the worst day of their lives.
    While assisting the family, at the time of death or long before, they need the feeling that they are making loving choices befitting the love they feel for their family.
    Ambition, goals, earnings per share come from the consistency of people developing relationships and helping others daily. Anonymous acts of kindness, being proud of representing your company and giving a business card to everyone you meet will not only grow business but gain the relationship needed for consistent growth.
    Nothing feels better than helping someone. They deserve honesty, the buck stops here assistance and the feeling they are important.
    Consistent quality service and building relationships will ensure referrals, only when you ASK. It is the responsibility of your job to make sure you always ask, follow up and sell a minimum of six referrals per family.
    Don’t get bogged down in paperwork, act busy or even begin to start texting lunch orders. Work on the ONLY job you can do to grow business and help others.
    Build those relationships… NO ONE can get that job done but the finest sales professionals and exceptional funeral directors working as a team.
    Standing at gravesides, getting bogged down in paperwork, kissing up to managers or being too lazy to drive to a family is the kiss of consistent death for growth. Go see your family and give them the kindness to talk about their loved one. That is where referrals are made, demonstrating trust that you care enough to check on them and they often ask you to see their family and friends to serve.
    Busy, pass the buck employees are not making relationships. Your relationships are made by the people capable of doing so and they deserve the financial incentive to make it happen. Consistent work ethic is created by a reward of feeling good for what you do and getting the financial reward you deserve. The funeral employees deserve a huge recognition for their dedication. They are an overlooked group of incredible people who feel a kindness for others not readily understood by many. They feel that reward helping others.