Funeral Industry News

We Don’t Need Your Help. We’re Good Enough to Develop Our Own Problems

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.

We Don’t Need Your Help. We’re Good Enough to Develop Our Own Problems

There we go again ? repeating the same tired old routines we have for the past forty years.

?Yup, sonny, we?ve been in this same location for going on fifty years ? and let me tell you ? why fix somethin? if it ain?t broke? Yup, sonny, we?re doin? OK in comparison to old Mike down the road ? he ain?t turned a decent profit in over two years ? and we?re not that bad off ? yet ??

Have you ever had a frustrating conversation like this with one of the ?old guard?? It never ceases to amaze me that some funeral directors are afraid to try something a little different or explore new ways of looking at old issues. Often the reaction to an alternative approach is one of historical negativity

…?that didn?t work when we tried it in the seventies??

Of course it didn?t work in the seventies. The burial rate was over 95% back then. Today?s cremation rates will soon approach 95% and even if they only reach 75% in your area, the numbers are a far cry from your 1970?s stats.

Are you studiously working at preplanning a percentage of your annual ?at need? calls or are you relying on an inexpensive classified in the ?Rotarian? to spread the word to your club members? Why should we change ? that?s all it took us in the seventies! People die and that?s the long and short of it ? as long as that keeps happening there is a good living to be made.

Well, I am sorry to say that old way of thinking is intrinsically flawed and requires close scrutiny. Times have changed. Our customers have changed. Their needs have changed. The family unit has changed. Belonging to a faith family is quickly becoming a thing of the past – unless you count Sunday morning football. Indeed, people will continue to die and true, we will continue to be called upon to ?take care? of the details, but the playing field has been altered.

Today, rather than the defined ground-rules of the past that allowed us to pass through the death experience in an orderly fashion, our next customer may have consulted a neighbor that had his mother turned into a diamond. Perhaps a trusted friend mentions to him an alternative funeral site his grandson found on the web. Perhaps he suggests that website to all his friends because the ?old guard? funeral home down the road wouldn?t consider his wife?s use her favourite teapot as an urn.

Perhaps you are part of that ?old guard? thinking.

Yes, friends, there are those out there whose proud answer to all suggestions is, ?We don?t need your help.? To them I say, ?I pray for competition like you?. Do me a favour and move into my trading area?.

Keep an open mind when a sales representative knocks on you door with a novel idea. Don?t dismiss him.

I recall a cartoon showing General Custer looking out his office window, counting the numbers of his growing problems while his secretary tries to announce a machine gun salesman. ?Tell him to come back later. I?m too busy right now!?

We don?t need your help. We?re good enough to develop our own problems.