Tips for Operating a Successful Preneed Team

I think you’d be hard-pressed to find many professions that require such a strong willingness to go above and beyond expectations as the funeral profession. On any day, any member of your firm’s staff may need to jump into many different roles to ensure families receive exceptional service when memorializing their loved ones.

That same initiative can greatly benefit your funeral home’s preneed program. Even staff members who are not solely focused on advance funeral planning can play an important part in the success of your preneed business – sometimes in unexpected ways. Keep reading to discover a few tips to help you develop a preneed team that can help your firm achieve its goals – or jump to the section you wish to read first:


Seek team members with the right characteristics for the role and your funeral home

Success in funeral service requires top-quality professionals who go above and beyond to meet the needs of client families and grow the business. In addition to the typical job requirements and responsibilities, consider team members who exhibit the ability to:

  • Develop expertise: Families need to be able to rely on preneed professionals to explain their options and help them understand the preplanning process. Professionals should be willing to learn everything they can (and stay up-to-date on trends) so they can share information that will help their client families make satisfying decisions.

  • Think creatively: Creativity allows preneed professionals to help families plan highly personalized and meaningful funeral services. This trait can also help a preneed professional find new ways to reach out to members of the community, whether it is through new marketing campaigns, aftercare programs or public relations events. 

  • Ask the right questions: Preneed professionals must be perceptive when it comes to discovering the potential needs of their client families. Often, this includes asking questions that will help guide the conversation through a great experience for the clients that can ultimately lead to valuable referrals for your firm.

There are many other potential traits that help preneed professionals achieve success. And, of course, the qualities will vary based on the needs of your firm and the characteristics of your community.

Set clear goals and expectations – for your entire staff

Work with your team and with preneed partners to develop goals and map out an achievable plan to reach them. Then, hold your staff members personally accountable for their part in reaching the goals.

Consistently Communicate Your Firm's Values

Your staff members are some of the most influential ambassadors for your funeral home. Is each of those people able to explain the value that your firm’s preneed program provides? If not, then it may be time to discuss your firm’s preneed program as a team so everyone can effectively share the program’s benefits.

It can be helpful to start by talking about the general benefits of advance funeral planning and about the reasons why people make advance funeral plans. Continue with a discussion about your firm’s unique value proposition and what that means for the client families you serve. Invite your staff members to share their experiences with how advance funeral planning has made a difference for families, or how it allowed staff members to do their jobs more efficiently when a prearrangement became an at-need funeral.

Provide a Seamless Customer Experience

In addition to understanding why preneed is important, ensure everyone on your team understands how the preneed process works at your funeral home. If you haven’t already, consider documenting how preneed client families should be assisted, starting with the first time a person calls in with questions about advance funeral planning.

Ensuring everyone at your firm is confident about the steps that need to be completed when prearranging and which staff members are responsible for completing them will help build your client families’ confidence and contribute to their overall satisfaction. An exceptional customer service experience can make all the difference in earning business. (And don’t forget – the experience you provide for a single person has the potential to influence the opinions of many others!)

A successful preneed program really is a team effort, and anyone on your staff can play a role in ensuring clients are satisfied after prearranging with your firm. Make certain everyone at your firm is trained on the process to help families receive prompt, seamless service, no matter how they contact your firm or who they interact with.

Provide ongoing training and education

It’s important for preneed professionals to be willing to learn in order to provide the best possible service to client families. Encouraging and facilitating high-quality training will help them develop their skills to the best of their abilities. Training for preneed professionals is an ongoing process as the industry continues to change and consumer attitudes and preferences shift. It can also take many forms, from periodic job shadowing with others in the funeral home to formal preneed continuing education credit courses.

Homesteaders offers opportunities for preneed training and continuing education throughout the year – visit our education page to learn more. Plus, find out about other industry events, including opportunities for training at state, regional and national conventions, on our events page.


Encouraging discussions and brainstorming improvements to your preneed program will do more than just build a positive workplace. Any member of the team can provide perspectives on previously undiscovered opportunities to increase your preneed business and ultimately contribute to the bottom line. If everyone is encouraged to be part of the process, your team will be more open to sharing new ideas for even greater success.

Demonstrate appreciation for hard work

Take time to consider opportunities to show your appreciation for your team’s hard work. Sometimes, a simple gesture of gratitude can make all the difference. An occasional “thank you” note, recognition at a staff meeting or a team-building lunch can help ensure team members know they’re appreciated for what they do to help your firm grow.

These are just a few of the many ways you can help develop an exceptional preneed team for your firm. What are your top tips for success? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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