Shifting preferences for cremations and alternative arrangements make it more important than ever for funeral home and cemetery owners to differentiate themselves from competitors. Solid growth strategies must be in place to ensure success. Here are 7 to consider.


1. Analyze Your Performance

Before you make significant changes to your funeral home, you’ll want to perform a thorough analysis of your current performance. One effective way to accomplish this is through a SWOT analysis of your funeral home. This method involves taking a comprehensive look at the strengths and weaknesses of your business, in addition to any threats and opportunities down the pipeline. 

You might also choose to embark on more granular assessments of specific business components such as financial performance, customer service, workflow, and competitive market share. 

While there are numerous ways to evaluate the performance of your business, any of them will provide you with the insight you need to implement measures for improved performance.


2. Review Your Workflow 

Any outcome of your funeral home––preneed sales, regular renovation of facilities, community outreach efforts––are all accomplished through various workflows that often involve multiple team members.

Once you’ve identified areas in which you’d like to improve performance, you’ll want to take a closer look at any relevant workflows that contribute to these areas. Through this, you’ll be able to examine the organizational structure of your business, assess current staffing levels, a make any changes to help improve your outcomes. 

A key component of implementing these changes is to identify benchmarks for success and track your progress accordingly. Otherwise, you might not be able to determine if your efforts have brought about the desired improvements.


3. Create a Plan 

After closely examining the positioning of your business––and the components that have contributed to this––you’ll want to create a plan of growth. Depending on the size of your business and your goals as its owner, your plan could be measured through a number of lenses. 

Perhaps you’re looking to reach a certain valuation for your funeral home, or maybe you want to reach a new yearly goal for preneed sales. Regardless of your specific mission, you’ll want to articulate exactly what you hope to accomplish and develop a set of tactical actions to bring about the fruition of your initiatives.


4. Adjust Your Pricing

Apart from recouping the costs that go into providing funeral services, there is no set requirement for the pricing of your services. Because of this, a solid growth strategy should take into consideration the pricing structure of competitors. 

In recent years, many people have turned to crowdfunding to pay for funeral arrangements, a trend that demonstrates that a plurality of Americans struggles to afford these services. Because of this, you’ll want to make sure your business offers some affordable packages. For example, if a local competitor offers direct cremation packages for $800, then it’s unlikely you’ll garner much business by charging $1,000. In this case, a solid growth strategy might be to undercut competitor pricing. 

In addition to offering consumer-friendly pricing for select services, you might also consider implementing strategies for upselling. While many people might turn to direct cremation as the most budget-friendly option, you can train your team to pair cremation with a type of memorial service.


5. Focus On Your Team

When a family loses a loved one, they’re usually focused on one thing––comfort. Because of this, your team should be able to sell while displaying empathy and compassion. 

While human kindness cannot be taught, you might consider training your team to lead with their nurturing side and focus less on the sale. After all, fewer things can turn a family away from a funeral home than pushy sales teams, and most funeral homes rely on the patronage of return customers. 

To address this, encourage your employees to deliver exceptional customer service. This can be measured not only through sales totals but also through client surveys and online reviews–a task made easy by solutions like J3 Tech’s Performance Tracker

By taking into account the feedback of families––as well as sales totals––you can better encourage the type of compassionate selling you want in your team.


6. Consistently Manage Performance

Yearly or quarterly reviews, while important, won’t help you make the immediate changes needed to adapt to trends in real-time. Rather, these traditional forms of review are retroactive approaches that prevent on-the-fly change.

Instead, manage performance on an ongoing basis. One way to achieve this is through regular performance management meetings in which your team discusses current operations and collectively identifies any opportunities for improvement. By meeting more frequently, you can regularly monitor key metrics like customer satisfaction, market share, call volume, and team member performance. 

If recent years have taught us anything, it’s that the death care industry is not immune to shifting economic and religious trends. As such, it’s important to ensure your team has the flexibility to adapt to these changes.


7. Lean on Death Care Experts

For funeral directors, simply managing your team and relationships with families can occupy the majority of your time, making it difficult to set aside the effort required to develop and implement strategic improvements. This is why your best bet is to call in the assistance of death care professionals. 

At Johnson Consulting Group, our team of consultants has worked in the death care industry for decades, owning and operating a variety of funeral businesses throughout the country. Not only are JCG consultants thoroughly experienced in the day-to-day operations of funeral homes, but they’re also attuned to the greater trends of the industry. 

If implementing growth strategies seems like a difficult task to tackle and you don’t know where to begin, consider reaching out to Johnson Consulting Group. Our team can thoroughly examine the current operations of your business and develop strategies tailored to your needs, ultimately allowing you to improve your customer service, optimize your workflows, and bring about greater financial returns.