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8th Annual Funeral Services Business Forum

Day 1 (Nov. 13):Printer Friendly Printer Friendly

7:30 to 8 a.m. — Networking Breakfast

Step 1: High Performance Culture Framework: First Who, Then What
8 to 9:15 a.m.

Melvin C. Payne
Chairman and CEO
Carriage Services

“Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice!”

So says Jim Collins, in his groundbreaking book, “Good to Great,” and it’s a lesson that Payne remembers to promote daily throughout his organization, which comprises 167 funeral homes and 33 cemeteries throughout the United States.

Learn lessons from one of the most respected executives in the profession, including how to:
• Get the right people on the bus to join you in a “good-to-great” journey.
• Overcome challenges and make difficult decisions.
• Harness leadership skills and energize your staff.
• Empower employees to make decisions that achieve organizational goals.

By making a commitment to personal excellence and learning from Payne’s own failures and successes, you’ll be better equipped to improve leadership skills, boost market share and provide value to your community.


9:15 to 9:30 – Break

Step 2: Price Versus Value: Take Price Out of the Equation by Providing Superior Value
9:30 to 10:45 a.m.

Dean Lambert
Vice President of Marketing
Homesteaders Life Co.

Do you feel like you’re continually defending your prices?

How do you respond when someone asks why it “costs so much” for a funeral? Or how about when someone wants a cremation because “it’s cheaper than a funeral?”

During his presentation, “Price Versus Value,” Lambert helps you build the confidence you need to effectively take price out of the equation when doing business. Using real-life examples of businesses that have been successful without lowering prices, you’ll learn how to:

• Recognize price “pain thresholds.”
• Trump concerns about price by focusing on value.
• Become the value leader in your area.

Focusing on price often leads to unsatisfied and underserved families – and it can also hurt your firm’s profit margins. Find a better way to do business by focusing on value.


Step 3: Managing and Selling With Style
10:45 to Noon

Debra J. Schmidt
Loyalty Leader Inc.

Every interaction you have with an employee or customer is an opportunity to either enhance or hinder the relationship. Learning how to adapt your communication style will help you build greater rapport and positive workplace relationships.

Tweaking the way you communicate can also give you a competitive edge resulting in more referrals, more sales and more success. In this session, Schmidt teaches you how to:

• Identify the characteristics of your own behavioral style.
• Evaluate how employees and customers perceive you.
• Improve your personal and professional credibility.
• Harness the power of first impressions.
• Recognize clues to identify the priorities of prospects and customers.
• Sell the benefits of products and services based on behavioral styles.

By understanding the customers and employees, you can adapt the way you communicate to increase productivity and boost business.

Noon to 1:15 p.m. - Lunch

Step 4: Celebrants and Hospice Providers Can Impact Your Business
1:15 to 2:45 p.m.

Ernie Heffner
Heffner Funeral Homes & Crematory, York, Pa.

Heffner explains how focusing on offering celebrant ceremonies and forging educational relationships with hospice care providers can improve experiences for families – and why that’s great for business.
In this session, you’ll learn how to:
• Invest in meaningful training and advertise celebrant options.
• Buck professional irrelevance and the trend of fewer services by giving families what they want.
• Establish educational relationships with hospice care providers that differentiate you from others.
• Communicate your end-of-life services vision to your team and community.
Don’t miss this chance to learn from someone whose team has put into practice what many others are only pondering, if considering at all. Be the first firm in your area to demonstrate contemporary, enhanced customer service by raising the bar for yourself and your associates.


2:45 to 3 p.m. - Break

Step 5: How to Value and Transfer/Purchase a Funeral Home
3 to 4:15 p.m.

Dan Isard
Founder of The Foresight Companies

Isard shakes his head every time he sees a funeral home transaction go up in smoke, and he's seen plenty of fires over the past 30 years.

In this session, he reveals a model that predicts funeral home value and helps you:

• Pick the buyer that will give you the best price.

• Minimize the stress so often associated with transactions.

• Approach transactions from a buyer's perspective.

Q&A Panel
4:15 to 4:45 p.m.
Ask the speakers anything you like as you build your own plan to boost market share, beat competitors and improve customer service.

Cocktail Hour Sponsored by Homesteaders
6:15 to 7:15 p.m.