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Wednesday, January 12
6 to 8 p.m.
Get your conference experience started off with a bang! Come meet other attendees and instructors in a casual and fun setting. Open bar and hors d'oeuvres.
Thursday, January 13
Program Chairs Ken Coffey and Rick Miller, CCFE
REfining Nuggets into Gold
You're here because you want to make more sales in 2011. Sure, you want to have a good time. You want to get motivated. You want to network. But mostly, you want to make more sales! This conference will help you do that, if you make the most of it.
Tommy Routsong has a system for refining the nuggets he mines at conferences into valuable gold. To kick off the 2011 Wide World of Sales, he'll share his system and show you to pan for pay dirt and make it work for you. Throughout the conference, Tommy will take the mic and check in to make sure everyone is staying on track and putting his system to use.
T.R. Routsong, CFSP, is owner of Routsong Funeral Home and Cremation Services in Kettering, Ohio. He is a member of ICCFA's Board of Directors and Sales & Marketing Committee and is a past president of the National Association of Accepted Morticians.
REthinking Your Sales Strategy
After speaking to cemetery and funeral service sales managers all across the United States, Mark Russell has found the profession is running low on new ideas to improve sales. He often hears, "I wish I had the time to research other business segments' sales ideas and strategies to see if I could apply them to family service." Well, he has done that, researching companies such as Pitney-Bowes, Sara Lee, New York Life Insurance Company and others.
In this presentation, Mark will share his analysis of some of the top B2C sales companies in the world and how you can immediately put their sales strategies to work to improve your existing family service/sales team. Discover how you can apply the sales, marketing, merchandising and relationship-selling strategies the top companies use to your sales program to both increase sales volume and solidify client relationships.
Mark Russell is managing director of funeral and cemetery sales and operations at Resthaven Gardens of Memory & Funeral Home in Baton Rouge, Louisiana (Legacy Funeral Group). He is the former director of strategic marketing for Stewart Enterprises' Corporate Division and previously held several regional sales and marketing management positions with SCI, the Alderwoods Group and Funeral Directors Life Insurance Company.
RElationships: The Building Blocks of Sales
Having seen firsthand the success of Jeffrey Gitomer’s training principles in his own companies, Noah Rickun has partnered with Jeffrey to become one of only eight people in the world to be Gitomer-certified.
Noah has started, operated and sold three successful small businesses. He built a $20 million division within a major automotive remanufacturer while earning his law degree from Marquette University, and he is currently the CEO of Jeffrey Gitomer’s TrainOne—the world leader in online, interactive sales training and personal development.
Noah is prepared to talk to your business on your level. He presents seminars to sales teams, customer service departments, managers and business owners of companies big and small. He will provide real-world information and ideas that you can will immediately use for greater success. Noah will let you connect the dots between knowledge and action... between knowing everything and actually doing it.
Find out more about Noah at www.rickun.com.
Networking Luncheon with Gary O'Sullivan:
"The Two Most Important Questions To Ask Yourself Every Day"
Included with your registration, this networking luncheon includes an address by Gary O'Sullivan, CCE, recognized throughout the cemetery and funeral sales profession as one of the top speakers in our industry. Gary's mix of humor, personal experience and straight talk will inspire you.
Counselors and top producers at the conference will receive special recognition during the luncheon.
1:30 - 3 p.m.
Counselors: Speed Sales REdux (90 minutes)
Back by popular demand, this fast-paced session will leave you with 10 eight-minute ideas you can take back to your location and put to use immediately. Join today's top sales and marketing experts to learn a wide array of selling tools and techniques relating to topics such as:
- Relationship building
- Listening skills
- Answering objections
- Group presentations
Sales & Marketing Committee members will facilitate this rapid-fire idea exchange.
Managers: REdefining 'Brand': The Tao of Brand Marketing (30 minutes)
The word "branding" is one of the most misused and misunderstood concepts in marketing and in particular, funeral marketing. Having a logo is not a brand. Having a slogan is not a brand. So then, what is a brand? What is "being" the brand? How does one create and build a brand? And why worry about a brand in the first place?
Tao is a Buddhist term meaning pathway or principle. Dan Katz will discuss the Tao of branding, with illustrations from many industries, including the cemetery and funeral service industry. He'll define branding in a practical sense and show how a well-defined branding program has long-term value that exceeds the price spent to create and present it.
Dan Katz is the president of LA ads—a marketing agency. He was one of the founders of PKPF (formerly Potter/Katz) and the originator of that agency's "Dare to be Different" approach to advertising. An award-winning copywriter and creative director for more than 30 years, he has worked with such prominent companies as Mount Sinai Memorial Parks and Mortuaries, Green Hills Memorial Park, Huber-Moore Funeral Homes, The Neptune Society and Stewart Enterprises, among others. His is author of the blog, "Funeral Advertising for the Perplexed."
Managers: Time to REassess: Is the Strategy Missing from Your Strategic Marketing Plan? (30 minutes)
Is your strategic marketing plan focused on your unique selling proposition? Do you even have a strategic marketing plan? In this session, Traci Tucker will show you how to make sure your advertising, Web site and print materials communicate your unique selling proposition.
Strategic marketing plans identify your unique position through the discovery and analysis of your geographic market areas, key target customer or member segments, your primary competitors and your own strengths and weaknesses. The planning process generally consists of an external analysis, including a SWOT assessment, to help ensure your unique brand proposition is at the forefront of all advertising and communications.
By breaking down the process into a few simple steps, Traci will show you how to conduct your own analyses and assessments and home in on what matters most – those things that make a difference to your business, to the families you serve and to your prospective clients.
You'll receive numerous handouts, including an environmental scan, a SWOT Assessment Worksheet and outlines and checklists for market analyses, competitive analyses and internal analyses.
Traci Tucker is a marketing strategist with more than 20 years of experience in retail, call center, sales, financial services and small business marketing. She is president and founder of Fuchsia Focus LLC, offering strategy-infused marketing services, and since March 2009 has served as brand manager for Adfinity, a full-service marketing and advertising agency specializing in funeral service.
Managers: Is It Time to REvamp Your Compensation Plans? (30 minutes)
Nevin W. Mann, CCFE
Extraordinary change has affected cemetery and funeral revenue in the last five years. Consumers know more and expect more for less, but many sales compensation plans have not kept pace in recognizing this new reality. Out-of-touch pay plans that drive behavior in opposition to these consumer demands will result in failure. Learn how to avoid five not-so-obvious pay plan pitfalls:
- Having too many choices—how to focus on what's important
- Confusing high sales with high success—how to measure and pay for "success"
- Not properly rewarding relationship selling—overcoming short-term thinking
- Relying on the pay plan to manage—how and when managers must take action
- Failing to promote teamwork—how to gain cooperation and reward results
Handouts will include "Paying More to Achieve Sales Objectives—Eight Reasons to Violate Traditional Pay Plan Tradition" and "Seven Often Overlooked Devices to Fine-Tune Your Pay Plan."
Nevin Mann is founder and chairman of Johnson-Woodford Company, a management consulting firm based in Glenside, Pennsylvania. He has more than 35 years of front line and staff business management experience. He was president and chief executive officer of West Laurel Hill Cemetery Companies in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania, where he managed a turnaround and developed extraordinary growth and expansion for eight years. Previously, he had Fortune 100 company experience as director of sales and marketing services for S.B. Thomas Inc. (Thomas' English Muffins), and at Best Foods Company, where he served as division sales manager, division director of personnel and corporate director of manpower resources.
REinventing Your Sales Organization
In 2008, Memorial Cemeteries and Mortuaries, which operates six cemeteries and 11 mortuaries in Utah, California and Arizona, had a total sales volume of $14 million and a 25 percent market share. In the first half of 2009, with sales dropping and profitability falling off as the national economy slumped, the company charted a new sales strategy. After months of study, Memorial split its successful family service sales force of 25+ agents into two groups, one group charged with servicing the at-need and "soon to need" segment of the business and the other charged with expanding sales into their existing heritage through aftercare visits as well as generating new heritage by expanding market share.
Over the past year, the company's at-need sales volume has grown on a per-case basis by 27 percent on average, with some locations seeing a 41 percent increase. This has been done with the same case count and no price increases. In addition, the preneed sales group has increased preneed insurance and trust sales by 75 percent and total property sales volume by 20 percent.
In this session, Robert Quist will share the successful strategies being used to increase the number and quality of sales on both the at-need and preneed sides of the business.
Through both his presentation and an extensive set of handouts, he'll share what they've done right and what they should have done differently, covering topics such as:
Robert Quist is president of Memorial Cemeteries and Mortuaries, based in Salt Lake City, Utah. He joined the company in 1980 and has held a range of positions, including grounds laborer, sales counselor and sales manager.
Friday, January 14
Welcome and Announcements
Program Chairs Ken Coffey and Rick Miller, CCFE
REhabilitate Your Sales Program
Wes Schaeffer (The Sales Whisperer)
As fans of the Dog Whisperer know, in most problem cases, the dog isn't the one that needs to be trained; it's the owner. Similarly, in sales, counselor problems often can be traced back to faulty management.
In this session, "Sales Whisperer" Wes Schaeffer will help you rehabilitate your sales program with his insights on how to ensure proper training, establish expectations, set boundaries, reward positive behaviors and more. He'll share some of the most common sales "sins" and how to conquer them.
According to Wes, "Life is good; it's gooder when you're selling." Find out how to make your life and the lives of everyone on your sales team gooder!
Wes Schaeffer launched The Sales Whisperer® in September 2006, a sales training and consulting company based in southern California. He is a seasoned copy writer, and his 16+ years of selling experience spans the worlds of financial services, retail and high tech. He served in the U.S. Air Force after graduating from the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where he was recruited to play inside linebacker. (Hecklers, be warned!) For more information and to subscribe to his free weekly e-mail newsletter, "The Weekly Whisper," visit www.thesaleswhisperer.com.
BREAKOUTS (30 minutes)
Expanding Your REach Through Social Media
In a 2009 American Marketing Association study, companies that became active in social media reported experiencing an 18 percent increase in revenue.
But there are right ways and wrong ways to do that. Effective use of social media in sales means more than tweeting about what you ate for breakfast. It means crafting an identity, finding and participating in industry discussions, sharing your message, obtaining fans and followers, monitoring references, engaging customers and critics and more.
Then, once you reach a visitor through social media, you need a way to sell your product or service to seal the deal.
In this session, Zack Garbow will provide an interactive, practical tutorial on how cemetery and funeral service professionals can use social media to both promote their online brand and to generate Web-based sales. Topics will include:
- Setting up Twitter and Facebook pages and a company blog
- Improving Web site search rankings through inexpensive search engine optimization (SEO) tricks
- Using social media to distribute news and obituaries to a targeted demographic
- Driving high-value traffic to your site via targeted Web advertising
- Creating new sales channels and revenue streams online
- Turning your online obituaries into high-traffic, revenue generating properties
- Using third-party tools to gain and manage followers/friends, participate in industry discussions and position oneself as a thought leader
You'll receive several handouts, including a Twitter "cheat sheet" for our industry; a guide to search engine optimization (SEO) and a tutorial on how to start blogging.
Zachary Garbow is the co-founder of Funeral Innovations, a technology firm specializing in Web-based solutions for the funeral service industry. He formerly was a software engineer within IBM Research, where he gained over 100 patents pending and earned the title of Master Inventor, becoming the youngest Master Inventor in the history of IBM. He was accepted into the prestigious Y Combinator startup program, where he developed social media products in Silicon Valley while networking with the giants of the startup world, including the founders of Twitter, Ning and Gmail.
Getting REsults with Online Leads
How do you attract leads through the Web, and how do you handle those leads? Join Minda Brusse for a look at online lead generation and fulfillment including topics such as:
- dos and don'ts for your online planning forms
- how online leads differ from referrals and direct mail responses
- developing a tailored approach for responding to online leads, including best practices from other industries
- measuring your ROI
- pros and cons of in-house vs. third-party lead sources
Minda Brusse is a partner at iMortuary.com in Seattle, Washington. She has more than 15 years of experience in CRM consulting and management with Accenture, an Internet software company, and independent project-based consulting. She has experience in marketing, software development, change management and Internet solutions.
BREAKOUTS (30 minutes)
Thou Shalt REap REwards: The Ten Commandments of Goal Setting
Using the principles of goals guru Gary Ryan Blair, Tom Holland will share with you the 10 Commandments of goal setting and how to apply those goals to your sales:
- Thou shalt be decisive
- Thou shalt stay focused
- Thou shalt write down thy goals
- Thou shalt plan thoroughly
- Thou shalt involve others
- Thou shalt welcome failure
- Thou shalt take purposeful action
- Thou shalt inspect what thou expect
- Thou shalt reward thyself
- Thou shalt maintain personal integrity
Tom Holland is vice president of sales for Assurant Life of Canada/FamilySide, responsible for sales development and implementation of marketing and training programs throughout Canada for Assurant Life of Canada. He is in his 29th year in the insurance industry and has been with Assurant for 20 years. During his career he has held positions of director of training and national accounts development, agent, account executive, sales manager and many others.
Setting REalistic Goals with REalistic Outcomes
Too often, goals are assigned to sales counselors without any rhyme or reason. The truth is, many counselors don't see goals as realistic or achievable. Further, they don't buy into the goal because they don't understand how it came to be. In this session, Michael Bohner of Serenity Meadows Memorial Park, Funeral Home and Crematory will explore his approach to goal setting and how to use the goal as a training tool.
Michael will discuss:
- how to arrive at a number (that doesn't penalize your high performers or coddle your weak ones)
- how to manage the process
- how to coach your counselors to success
After instituting this program, with strong accountability and targeted training and coaching, Serenity Meadows experienced an increase in preneed sales of 34 percent compared to the same period the previous year.
Michael Bohner is general manager for Serenity Meadows Memorial Park, Funeral Home and Crematory in Hillsborough County, Florida. Prior to becoming involved in the cemetery and funeral service profession, Bohner served as vice president/general manager for one of the largest independent jewelers in the eastern United States. He helped develop training programs and was a sought-after speaker for the Luxury Jewelers Resource Group, the Jewelers Association of America and many local retailers and associations.
Cremation Phone Shoppers: How Does Your Staff REspond?
Julie A. Burn, CCrE, CSE
For the past year, ICCFA Director of Cremation Services Julie Burn has been conducting "First Impressions," a mystery phone shopper program to help members evaluate and train their staffs in answering initial calls requesting cremation information.
In this session, Julie will use examples from this program, sharing the good and the bad, and will offer her expertise on how you and your staff can tweak your initial conversations to make a positive impression, to capture those cremation prospects and to encourage them to consider cremation with tributes and memorialization.
The program will demonstrate how you can:
Lunch on Your Own
BREAKOUTS (30 minutes)
Promoting REmembrance: A Better Way to Sell Memorials
Ken March, CCE
Many counselors do not use proper sales techniques and tools when presenting memorials. In this session, Ken March will show how to build the importance of proper memorialization using a powerful and proven program that is easy to learn and can increase the quality and retention of your sales. Attendees will receive a written script along with supporting materials and photos.
Ken March is senior vice president of Matthews International. He formerly ran all sales for Service Corporation International and has personally worked in virtually all sales capacities and ultimately managed thousands of sales managers and counselors to sell cemetery and funeral products and services.
REeling Them In: Low-Cost Tools for Community Outreach
A key to success for cemeteries and funeral homes is simply getting members of the community through the doors. You'll walk away from this session with 20 ideas for effective community outreach, including:
- free events on site (art festivals, walking groups, tours, service projects and more)
- partnering opportunities (chamber of commerce, schools, gardening groups, museums, hospice and more)
You'll receive news release templates to help you promote your events in the local press as well as sample presentation pitches for partner event proposals.
Joe Finkleman is community outreach director for Davis Cemetery District, Davis, California. He has worked with Davis for five years, during which time he has introduced the programs in his presentation with excellent results. He has more than 30 years of prior experience in marketing, sales and community outreach.
BREAKOUTS (30 minutes)
REsearch REport: What Moves Consumers to Prearrange?
What drives someone to prearrange, and what can you do to encourage them?
In this session, Pam Kleese will share original consumer research from Homesteaders Life Company offering insights based on individuals who have actually prearranged. Find out what motivates people to prearrange and how your marketing and sales activities can reduce the "action gap"—the time between your prospects' consideration and their action.
Pam Kleese is director-marketing information for Homesteaders Life Company. She joined Homesteaders in 2005 with a focus on marketing research activities that generate strategic consumer insights. Her current position incorporates the marketing research function with an added emphasis on marketing information and analysis. She also leads the company's business intelligence function and provides custom research services to Homesteaders customers. Previously Kleese worked in research capacities for Gateway and Maytag Corporation. She holds a bachelor's degree in economics.
REvamp Your Group Presentations
The two key elements that can make or break your group presentations are (1) choosing your audience and (2) matching your presentation to that audience's needs. Kathi Wells will show you how to target and find specific prospects and how to make sure the message you present is the right one for the audience you choose. No more panel discussions to generic groups that may or may not leave them thinking of you and your firm!
Kathi Wells is a sales trainer for Forethought Life Insurance Company and has been working with preneed departments in funeral homes and cemeteries for 14 years. With Forethought, she conducts sales training for managers and agents, assists in developing marketing plans and lead-generation programs and provides extensive support to recruiting and hiring efforts in the firms she visits.
Using Social Cues to REv Up Your Sales
People respond to basic social interaction cues such as reciprocity, mutuality of interest, a desire to be consistent and the perception of authority. In this session, you'll discover how these cues can play an essential role in how you interact with your client families and how important each word of your presentation can be in activating these cues.
Find out why each aspect of your sales program needs to be carefully scripted for maximum success. How does the Personal Planning Portfolio or Living Will fit into your sales program, and why is it so important to present these tools properly? Teaching counselors what to say is one thing but having them understand why they need to stay on script is quite another. You'll learn how to communicate the importance of this to your sales team in a very compelling way.
David Shipper is president and CEO of companies that own and operate 42 cemetery and funeral home locations serving more than 12,000 families per year. He is also co-author of The System, a complete preneed sales program for cemeteries and funeral homes (www.sellwiththesystem.com). Previously he served as a vice president and director of corporate development with Loewen Group International. He is an ICCFA past president.