While undeniably rewarding, the funeral profession is not without its stressors. Those of us who work in the death care profession have a passion for helping families grieve with the loss of loved ones; however, this same work that we love often drains us. Servicing families in mourning is no easy feat, and even the most experienced morticians and funeral directors are vulnerable to fatigue.
Moreover, many funeral professionals find it difficult to air these frustrations. Most people have little understanding of this industry, and within death care, it can be difficult to find mentors, let alone a mentor with time to spare.
This is where books can come into play. For anyone struggling in the death care industry, a book can provide some much-needed help you refine your business practices and reignite a waning passion.
1. Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact
Written by brothers Chip and Dan Heath, The Power of Moments explores the ways in which certain events––often brief––hold the power to change us for the better. With their extensive backgrounds in the business world, the authors delve deeper into what makes a moment extraordinary, and they provide the tools to create these types of experiences.
The pair argues that the most memorable and positive moments in our lives––the ones that leave an indelible imprint on our being––contain four elements: elevation, insight, pride, and connection.
Through close examination of each of these elements, including real-world anecdotes that embody these traits, the Heath brothers explore how to create moments loaded with meaning.
Why You Should Read It
When it comes to pivotal moments in a person’s life, the passing of a loved one ranks up there with birth and marriage. And while many people are likely unaware of it, they seek meaning from a memorial service.
The Heath brothers may not be death care professionals; however, they are masters of creating memorable and powerful experiences. By taking in their words of wisdom, you’ll be able to ensure that the families who seek your help will forever be changed by your services.
2. Getting Naked: A Business Fable About Shedding The Three Fears That Sabotage Client Loyalty
In Getting Naked, business writer Patrick Lencioni explores the concept of cultivating loyalty from clients. This book’s somewhat sexy title belies its exploration of what Lencioni deems naked service, that is, an approach to clients rooted in vulnerability. By embracing humility, selflessness, and transparency with your clients, the author explores the ways in which getting naked allows clients to place their trust in your team.
Lencioni outlines the three fears that plague any type of business owner: losing business, being embarrassed, and feeling inferior. Rather than allow these fears to hinder your business, he provides strategies to combat them. Similar to the way in which vulnerability gives us greater understanding and appreciation of people, it does the same for businesses.
Why You Should Read It
It’s hard to imagine a clientele more emotionally vulnerable than those seeking funeral arrangements. In addition to the grief of their loved one’s passing, they’re likely exhausted with issues of finances, estate planning, and––now––arrangement planning. By meeting your clients with compassionate vulnerability, you can better meet their needs.
In particular, Lencioni’s suggestion to fearlessly address elephants in the room will ring true to funeral professionals. For most Americans, death is a taboo subject. By openly discussing it, funeral directors can set an example for families and help them work through their grief. And while this service won’t come with an extra cost, it will definitely point people towards trusting you in the future.
3. Staying Alive In The Funeral & Cemetery Profession
The only book on this list focused specifically on the death care profession, Staying Alive, touches on all aspects of running a funeral or cemetery business. In the early pages, author Jake Johnson recalls the adage: In this world, nothing is certain but death and taxes. He uses this to bolster the persistence and importance of death care services; however, he’s quick to note that despite its importance, death care is constantly changing.
Throughout the 184 pages of Staying Alive, Johnson outlines everything a funeral director needs to know about running a business, from startup concerns to fostering client loyalty and––yes––even navigating tax concerns.
Why You Should Read It
Staying Alive provides you with hands-on death care knowledge that is indispensable to funeral and cemetery professionals at any stage of their careers. If you’re looking to start a funeral business, sell your business, or learn some key strategies to boost your bottom line, then Johnson’s text is an essential read.
Beyond reading books, it can be helpful to reach out to authors and seek their expert help. The Heath brothers and Lencioni regularly speak at conferences and conventions, helping guide business owners in their practices. Among running businesses, part of their passion is helping others do the same.
Johnson, for example, operates the largest funeral consulting firm in North America–Johnson Consulting Group. While his books are a great place to start for advice, he also leads of team of death care professionals who offer consulting services, in addition to accounting, brokerage, and customer service management.
As many of the books on this list will suggest, getting the information is only the first step. The real effort comes from implementing newfound knowledge into your day-to-day practice as a funeral professional.CONTINUE LEARNING