Funeral Industry News

Your lips say “No” but your business card says ?Sales”

August 20, 2009

Ryan Thogmartin is the CEO of DISRUPT Media | Follower of Christ | Husband | Father | Entrepreneur | Host of #DISRUPTu! and #FUNERALnationtv | Lover of Skittles DISRUPT Media is a social media content agency that focuses on storytelling for funeral companies. We use real stories to build creative strategies that achieve actual business goals.


Your lips say “No” but your business card says ?Sales”

What constitutes pressure sales? I am sure that the answer has as many takes as there are individuals in the Connecting Directors network. Whether we like it or not we are all in ?sales? to one degree or another.

I look to my own family. Like his father, my son is a gentle soul who, as an owner, celebrates a great casket sale as much as the next guy, but would never extract that sale by applying direct pressure. My twin daughters on the other hand are as different as chalk and cheese. One is the most talented ?sales oriented? funeral director I have ever met (perhaps that is why she is Manager of a leading Corporate funeral home) while the other successfully treads the median and maintains a solid balance. My wife follows my son?s lead. I rest my case ? but I have an observation.

If you are NOT one of those who can ?sell?, ?sell up? or ?sell a concept? you best beware. The naturals are just that, natural (my daughters are lucky to fall within these ranks), and the customer thanks them profusely at the end of the interview. The director who simply pounds his way through the ?How to Manual?, hoping for the best, gets labeled as the money-grubbing, grossly insensitive salesman. The approach must be within the parameters of each individuals comfort zone.

Case in point – Many years ago our urn ?numbers? were lagging. We decided to approach urn choices differently. Instead of asking ?do you wish to purchase an urn? we rephrased the question to ?in which urn would you like us to place your mom?s/dad?s/loved one?s ashes?. The results were immediate but after two weeks my daughter and I were the only ones still using the strategy ? the others were not comfortable with ?selling?.

What constitutes pressure sales? I repeat – I am sure that the question has as many answers as there are individuals in the Connecting Directors group. The ?natural? shines ? the others struggle. I encourage all to follow their hearts and their consciences.

I only ask that you never be accused of being a bad salesperson.

Always remember this fact : If you are good ? the customer won?t notice.

In the game of life we are all either buying something or selling something. Funeral directors are a part of that cycle. When my son and I spent time in Egypt, hanuti (funeral home) sales were in evidence everywhere we turned. The Cairo Museum overflows with stories of sales – from canoptic jar designs to multitudes of carved sarcophagi choices ? even ?rentals? just for show. We may say we are the second oldest profession but no matter how we cut the cake ? our ?sales? history runs neck-and-neck with the ?undisputed original? oldest profession and both have always been a part of our world.

Pressure? That?s for the individual to judge and they will.

Tread carefully.