Have you ever noticed that some people seem to have all the luck when it comes to success in their chosen profession? Maybe you’re one of those people who cause others to wonder why you seem to be a favorite with clients and constantly get positive reviews. The thing is, when you (or others) start to take a closer look, it becomes clear that a lot of effort has gone into that “luck.” Success is really about investing the time, passion and effort that are required to get the best possible outcomes.
Having spent many years as a preneed professional, I know this certainly applies to working with client families. Developing your expertise and skills takes determination and dedication, but it’s also well worth the effort when you’re able to bring the benefits of planning ahead to more families.
I shared some of the tips I’ve learned throughout my career during my presentation at the 2021 ICCFA DEAD Talks Sales Conference. Here are just a few of the insights I provided during my presentation – tips that will help you “stack the deck” in your favor.
Clients want to do business with people who believe what they’re offering can help improve the lives of others. If you lack sincerity or conviction, it’s going to show not only in your verbal presentation, but in your nonverbal message as well. Talking with others who have experienced the benefits of planning ahead and going through the prearranging process yourself can make your conversations considerably more meaningful. In my case, being able to answer, “yes,” when clients asked if I had prearranged my own funeral gave me more credibility and allowed me to better see the process through their eyes.
Keep it simple.
You can probably think of a time when you were presented with a product or idea and were provided so much information that you simply became confused. It’s wise to narrow a client’s needs down and remember that they want you to make this process easy. Many of your clients lead busy lives, and if you don’t keep your message simple, your words will be lost the moment your meeting ends.
Know your audience.
Questions can often be more powerful than statements. The more you know about your client, the more you will understand what’s important to them, what their needs actually are and how you can help them. You can ask valuable questions even as you’re scheduling an appointment, which will help you and the clients be better prepared. For example, if a client is a Veteran, asking them to bring along relevant paperwork is just one more way you can make the process easier for them.
If someone is willing to meet with you, it’s important to thank them for taking the time. A handwritten thank you note received in the mail is remembered. (I know people who have saved every single thank you note they have ever received!) That simple gesture of gratitude can be a powerful reminder of working with you and the care you’re offering.
Jill Lazar is an account executive with Homesteaders Life Company. She is a licensed funeral director with decades of experience in the profession, including expertise in helping families through the advance funeral planning process.