11 Tips For Making The Most Of NFDA 2013

Austin NFDA

Our favorite time of the year has arrived… NFDA!

The funeralOne team has been attending NFDA for over a decade now, and we want to help you make the most of it. If you’re planning on attending, there are a few things you should keep in mind to make your trip well worth the effort.

It doesn’t matter if you’re an exhibitor, speaker or attendee – use these tips and you’ll be guaranteed to rock it out at NFDA this year:

#1: Understand what you want to get out of NFDA

To make the most out of NFDA, you should understand what you want to get out of it. What do you want to learn more about? Do you want to educate yourself on emerging technologies? Are you thinking about getting a new website? Once you understand this, it will be easier for you to focus your time.

#2: Don’t miss out on the workshops

This year, there are so many great people coming to share their knowledge with us! Not sure which ones to attend? The funeralOne team will be blogging live from some of our favorite workshops (below), so be sure to check back on the blog next week!

Funeral Home/Cemetery Synergy = Satisfied Families: Success Strategies for Combo Firms and Stand-alones (Kenneth E. Varner, Cypress Lawn Funeral Home & Cemetery)
Turn Phone Shoppers Into Customers (David Nixon, Nixon Consulting Inc)
Strengthening Hospice Relationships for Better Service to Families (Patrick E. Lynch, Lynch & Sons Funeral Directors, Jennifer McBride, MA, FT, Horan & McConaty Funeral Service and Wendy Smith Thames, Carmon Community Funeral Homes)
Pet Loss Services and Your Funeral Home: Co-branding to Create Success (Coleen Ellis, Two Hearts Pet Loss Center)
Mandate for the Future of Funeral Service: A Model for Integrating the Why of Funerals Into the Arrangement (Dr. Alan Wolfelt, Center for Life and Loss Transition)
How the Connecticut Funeral Directors Association and Its Members Faced the Challenges of Newtown (John F. Cascio, CFDA Executive Director, Pasquale S. Folino, CFSP, 2012-13 CFDA President, Laura R. Soll, CFDA Media and Public Relations)
Inspiring Consumers to Have the Talk of a Lifetime: A New Grassroots Public Education Campaign (Rob Rosenberg, Springboard Brand & Creative Strategy and James Forr, Olson Zaltman Associates)
The Art of Cremation Phone Inquiries: 3 Steps to Better Client Decisions (Lacy Robinson, CFSP, Aurora Casket Company)
Transforming Loss: An Intimate Look Into the Process of Grief and Healing (Judith R. Burdick, MA, LLP)

#3: Take advantage of all the value at NFDA

When you go to a conference, especially the largest one in our profession, it’s important that you squeeze every last drop of value that you can out of it. So, when you attend a workshop, make sure you download the workshop presentation ahead of time and take notes on it. And if you visit a booth that interests you, grab all the literature they have to offer. That way, if you want to look back on anything, you’ll have everything you need. Besides, what’s all that knowledge worth if you’re not going to use it?

#4: Do your homework

Are there key people you’re looking to meet or talk with at NFDA? Use resources like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to find them online, and set up a time to connect with them at the show. Meeting with a potential partner or client in the middle of the craziness at the NFDA expo might not be the best idea. So, make sure you schedule your meetings in a quiet place that has an appropriate amount of privacy.

#5: Think outside-the-box

When you go to any conference or trade show, it’s important to take advantage of the plethora of resources at your fingertips. Don’t just go to the workshops you’d normally go to, think outside-the-box! Go to a workshop that covers something you’re not familiar with. Chances are you’ll probably learn some pretty valuable lessons to take back to your business!

#6: Meet businesses similar to yours

The funeral profession is pretty intense when it comes to competition, but does it have to be? Meet people at NFDA who have a similar position as yours, and figure out what they’re doing to succeed. If they aren’t your biggest competitor, have a conversation with them about their challenges and triumphs, and learn as much as you can from them. Even if it’s taking a walk by your top competitor’s booth – see what they’re doing to attract customers and rock out at NFDA, and take notes.

#7: Be there for announcements

There’s always going to be a massive announcement at NFDA, and probably from many businesses. Make sure you’re to hear them! You never know how the latest innovations can potentially add value to your business. If you’re an early adopter, you’ll position your funeral business as a thought leader in this profession.

#8: Make use of social media

This year, NFDA is using hashtag #NFDA2013 on Twitter to create a continuous “conversation” about the event. Make use of this hashtag by connecting with people you’d like to meet or even sharing interesting lessons you learned in a workshop.

#9: Don’t be shy

It happens at almost every conference, workshop, book signing or event I go to… I meet someone and think “I wish I remembered to get their card…” To avoid experiencing the same pain I have, make sure you ask everyone you meet for their business card. It sounds simple, but it’s overlooked far too many times. You never know when that contact will come in handy on your journey to success, especially if they could be a potential partner!

#10: Enjoy the unique culture of Austin

Austin has truly unique culture, so while you’re here, make sure you see what it’s all about. Here are some of the Austin attractions the funeralOne team plans to check out:

* Visit Austin’s largest (and most beautiful) park, Zilker Park. They’ve got a 7.8 mile bike and hike trail, as well as a beautiful Botanical Garden that you can visit.

* Take advantage of the warm weather by going for a swim at the natural Barton Springs Pool.

* Do like the Austinites do and rent a paddle board or canoe at Lady Bird Lake while enjoying the beautiful views of the skyline. They have a Groupon for boat rentals and paddleboarding right now, you can purchase it here!

Enjoy the views (and craziness) of the busy 6th street in downtown Austin. At night, it turns into a pedestrian-only strip of bars, restaurants and music venues that are definitely worth checking out!

If you’re not a fan of touristy areas, take in the culture of the “true” Austin in South Austin. South Congress is a good place to start. You can go vintage shopping at infamous shops like Lucy In Disguise With Diamonds, then fill up on ice cream from the well-known Lick Ice Cream. After that, be sure to grab a chair and head to the South Congress Bridge at sunset to experience one of the largest bat colonies in the country take off from under the bridge (watch this video below to understand why it’s so amazing).

Eat your way through Austin at some of my favorite restaurants including Uchi/Uchiko (best sushi in Austin), Fogo de Chao (Brazilian steak), Franklin BBQ (most famous BBQ in Austin), Torchy’s Tacos (be sure to order from their secret menu), or Gourdough’s Public House (best damn donuts you’ll ever have).

* Since you’ll be in the live music capital of the world, catch a show at our famous venue, Stubb’s, or checkout more live shows here.

#11: Most importantly… join the movement this year at NFDA

This year, funeralOne is on a mission to create better funerals at NFDA. It’s my personal passion and mission, and something we’ve been working very hard to make happen for over a decade. That’s why we’re giving away some of the most powerful tools in funeral service at NFDA this year. Plus, we’ll be revealing one of the biggest releases to our Life Tributes Software that we’ve ever revealed. The only way to find out more about our big Life Tributes reveal find out is by stopping by the funeralOne Booth #622. Trust me, you’ll regret not seeing what all the buzz is about!

What are YOU most excited about for NFDA!? Share it with us in the comments below!


Joe Joachim


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  1. Thiago

    Our funeral home in Wood Dale IL is a part of the movement, which is what has garnered the most respect from us.