Last week, I was lucky enough to be able to speak at the Cremation Innovations Summit in Charlotte, North Carolina. While I didn't stay long enough to take in the sights of Queen City, I did get to spend the day learning and speaking with the eager and thoughtful attendees.
Throughout the day, every presentation focused on different cremation-related topics, but they all seemed to tie together with a common theme: Adaptation.
Justin Baxley (Homesteaders) stressed the need to adapt the culture of the industry around cremation: Instead of calling a customer a "cremation family," they are just like a traditional family that prefers cremation. Glenda Stansbury spoke of adapting your pastor-lead sermons into celebrant-lead celebrations to accommodate the rising non-religious population. Ron Salvatore (Matthews International) convinced me that now is the time to get a crematory, and I don't even own a funeral home.
Lastly, I revealed how low-cost cremation providers have adapted their business models to optimize every step of their sales "funnel" so that they can profit at sub-$1,000 costs. Adaptation is not always easy, but it's something your funeral home can do.
Funeral service is changing. The ones that adapt are going to win and the ones that don't will fall.
Innovation and adaptation go hand-in-hand, and they won't come knocking at your door. Innovation is a mindset that you as a leader of your company must be willing to seek out and adopt. What may feel impersonal to you and the generations before is different to the Internet Generation. Leveraging technology to gain efficiency does not mean taking shortcuts. Creating a quick and easy experience for a family does not mean it is impersonal.
Here are a few of the major takeaways from my talk:
Google controls the traffic on the internet and they sell those users to the highest bidder. So the question is...
Without understanding how much you can spend to acquire a new customer, you will never be able to effectively advertise your business online. This puts your funeral home at a huge disadvantage because the one metric that will separate the winners from the losers is acquisition cost. You must understand this cost to win.
If we take it a step deeper, you really must understand your business at each step of the customer journey. We call this the customer funnel. Successful businesses are finding ways to increase efficiency at each step, while reducing costs and leaks. Optimizing the funnel allows you to spend more on advertising and get more business than your competitors.
Once again, adding efficiency by leveraging technology in your business does not mean you are making it impersonal. For example, digital forms are a must. Winning funeral homes get forms signed quicker, reducing costs, and providing an easier experience for the family. In most cases, forms don't need fax machines, so stop making people fax things.That's just one example. You need to measure each step and calculate exactly how much time and money each step takes. You must remember...
Funeral home owners no longer have the luxury of inefficiency. Rising cremation rates, shrinking revenues, and higher competition will reveal those that understand their business from those that don't.
If you would like to have a more detailed discussion about things you can do to optimize your business, feel free to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) any time and we can chat.
This was my first Cremation Innovations Summit and I must say, I had an amazing time! I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to hear from some of the most amazing people in the industry. Not sure how I was able to sneak in there this time, but I'm grateful either way. You should definitely check out the next Cremation Innovations Summit in Las Vegas. The lineup is filled with rock stars!
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