When I present continuing education classes and training for funeral providers and preneed professionals, I often ask them, “How can we help the public understand the value of funeral service?” Nearly always, the answer is, “education.” While those of us who work in the profession understand what funerals really mean for families and are familiar with the components of a meaningful service, many people in our communities need opportunities to learn about these topics. We can help by sharing our knowledge with them, and group presentations are a wonderful way to do that.
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve had to shift how we present information to families when in-person group presentations are not possible. Last year, myself and several other speakers gave online seminars to consumers about planning ahead, and those were very successful in helping clients learn about the benefits of prearranging so they could take the next steps to prearrange with funeral providers in their communities.
One of the things I learned through that experience is that many of the same best practices apply whether you’re sharing information in person at a dine-and-learn event or presenting remotely during times when we can’t meet in person. Here are a few tips to remember when preparing for your community presentation – whether in person or virtual.
Refer to a checklist.
If you’ve given many community presentations, you know how helpful it can be to keep a checklist. Over the past several years, Homesteaders has created community presentations that include many tools to help share the benefits of preneed. One of the resources in those toolkits is a checklist that goes through tasks that are important to remember before, during and after the presentation. It’s a great idea to have documentation for your process to make sure nothing is overlooked.
Want to learn more about Homesteaders’ series of comprehensive community presentation kits? Contact your account executive for details.
Incorporate your own story.
When speaking with professionals over the years, I’ve heard so many interesting stories about what brought them to funeral service. For many, the loss of one of their loved ones helped them discover a passion for serving others who are grieving. Your background and experiences can be a compelling topic to share toward the beginning of the presentation to help your audience get to know you and understand they can be confident in your knowledge and expertise.
Customize your presentation.
Each presentation offers an opportunity to share not only the components of a funeral, but also the things that make your funeral home unique. While you and your colleagues know all the things that set your firm apart, the people in your community may be unaware of the special services you provide.
Share the benefits.
Another thing I’ve learned as a preneed professional is that group presentations create an environment in which people feel comfortable asking questions and sharing their experiences. This can naturally lead to some great conversations about the gift of putting plans in place now so that loved ones don’t have to take on those burdens – and the peace of mind that can come with doing so.
Explain personalization options.
I’m a big advocate for personalization because I know how meaningful it can be for families to see or experience things that were unique to their loved one. Some funeral service and memorial ideas that I like to share include making plans to:
- Serve your favorite foods.
- Showcase artwork you created.
- Organize a memorial fund or service project.
- Set up a video station for family members to record memories.
Community presentations are just one of the many topics we’ve included in our 2021 Successful Sales Essentials courses. On the third Tuesday of every month, we host a webinar to share practical ideas that offer an added layer of learning and inspiration for preneed professionals. Visit the program website page to register for webinars or sign up for reminders about upcoming sessions.
Wanda Sizemore is the Director of Field Training and Development at Homesteaders Life Company. She is also a Certified Preplanning Consultant and Certified Celebrant.