Aids in Developing Good Habits For Assured Success

Date Published: 
Original Author: 
W.L. Seiler
Sales Director, Sunset Memorial Park
Original Publication: 
NAC Sales Management Binder - Speeches

The key words in the title of this session are SUCCESS and ASSURED. SUCCESS cannot be defined in a dictionary or encyclopedia or any other book. The reason is simple.... you have your own definition of SUCCESS you have your own goals. SUCCESS is the "degree or measure of attaining one's desired end", yet this is not enough.... because even before a goal is attained, others are set and life becomes a continual flow rather than starting and stopping at one successive goal after another.

The other key word is ASSURED.... No one can "ASSURE" you of SUCCESS – the reason being no one can do it for you. If you are willing to pay the price to learn all there is about the job and work toward that goal, you are your own assurance of SUCCESS.

I am going to give you my opinion of what I think are some good habits that are successful in the cemetery business as a Memorial Counselor. Let's just start with the beginning of our day:

1. A salesman has to get in the habit of rising early in the morning, getting himself organized to report to the office and turn in his sales and do anything he has to do so he will be ready to go prospecting.... not stay in bed until the mood moves him to get up and not have time to get organized and say it's too late to go now, will go tomorrow.

2. Planning your day's work when you get to the office, just what you are going to do that day will help you get more out of the hours you work... you will make every minute count as you have set up all things you want to accomplish that day, even personal things that are to be done for the family which in my book have to be done before 5PM, not afterwards unless it is after 10 o' clock that night.

3. The habit of prospecting is of utmost importance in being a successful counselor. By this I mean out in the field, going door to door at least for 2 hours each morning depending on the time of year....during the summer 9 to 11 AM ... during the winter months 10 AM to 12 noon. Without enough prospects, the best presentation is of little value. You have to continue prospecting every day to assure yourself of successful selling. Somehow I suppose it is the anticipation of returning to present our program to a family that gets a salesman out in the field in the evening.

4. To make daytime presentations to make that extra sale or bonus sales it will have to begin when you are prospecting. It is necessary to know if they are retired people or a man who works shift work and what his day off is. Anytime you wait to see these families during the Golden Hours from 5 to 9 PM instead of some other part of the day, your time is not being used wisely.

5. Working 5 nights a week and making Saturday calls is a habit that will lead to only one thing.... more presentations being given and naturally resulting in more sales being made. If you just work 5 days a week and 4 hours a night, this would be only 20 selling hours a week, which totals up to a very few hours for a week's work. Yet, I hear a lot of salesmen say Friday is becoming more a part of the weekend - people are shopping - going out of town - and hundreds of other reasons they are not at home.  You know and I know that everybody doesn't leave home at the same time any day of the week. Just because a salesman made a few calls one Friday evening and did not find his particular prospects home, it was a poor night to make calls. All this man is doing is looking for an excuse not to work Fridays. My recommendation is that Friday is as good as any night of the week.

6. Calling into the office during the day when you are out working is a good idea, as someone that you previously presented may want to meet you at the park, or an owner would like to come to see his lot or has a lead for you.

7. Starting out early in making your evening calls can oftentimes get you that extra sale by making 2 presentations instead of one. I feel a man should start making his calls as soon after 5 PM as possible and make his last call 8:45 to 9:00 PM to get in at least 2 presentations an evening. When a man makes excuses this is too early or it is too late to make calls, pretty soon he reaches a point where there is no time that is right time for making calls. It all depends on you, how successful you want to be.

8. Write down prospects names you are going to call on in the evening in the rotation that you plan to see them. This can be a big time saver ... knowing whom you are going to call on first, second, etc. These prospects should be as close to one another as possible. A man should have at least 20 prospects to see to assure himself of finding at least 2 families to present, or no less than one presentation before giving up making calls that night.

9. Delivering your contracts promptly lets the family know we have a most efficient operation.... the new owner may have a question to ask as there might be something they did not quite understand which will make your sale more secure.... also, they have had time to think of someone else they would like to refer. These are excellent leads to call on.

10. Make presentation so simple and clear that even a 14 year old child can understand what you are saying. When people do not understand what you are trying to explain to them or because you take certain things for granted, skip over something you think is unimportant or do not talk loud enough, they are not going to buy from you.

11. Be enthusiastic about your job, your park, while you are making your presentation, because this will excite your prospects into becoming enthused. Your presentation has to move along accordingly. A slow talking individual who is dragging his presentation will cause loss of interest of the prospect and also the loss of the sale in most cases.

12. Let each presentation teach you a lesson so you will not make the same mistake twice. You can sometime analyze your presentation, what you said or didn't say or forgot to do and many other things... and most of all why you did not close the sale. This kind of education comes high. I do not believe too many of us in this room today would reach down in our pocket and payout cash money for this education, but that's exactly what you are doing when you miss a high percentage of your presentations. It's pretty expensive, so at least get something out of it so it won't be a total loss.

13. Asking for referrals after each sale is a most profitable habit for Success.  It takes such a short time to ask the family for the names of relatives, their friends, neighbors and fellow workers. It will take a little encouraging and suggesting to them to start the ball rolling. Some families will give you from 3 to 10 leads which will keep you busy getting out to see them, but don't take off in all directions of the city wait until you have several prospects in a general area.

14. Always follow through on whatever promise you may have made to the family you sold, whatever it may be... information on someone's burial lot who is related to them, the gift you promised if you sold one of their referrals, or any other important matter. This builds confidence with your families and will get more sales for you in the future.

15. Show each family your appreciation of their becoming a new property owner in your park. Congratulate them for making this wise decision together. This will leave an impression with them of your sincere interest in your job and being of service to them. Be sincere when you say this ... not just go through the motions. This word will be passed along to others and will result in future sales.

16. When driving through your park and you see a family wandering around trying to locate someone's burial place or lot, stop your car, go over and introduce yourself, ask if you may assist them in anyway or help them. It is amazing how many times this little gesture will result in a sale. They may be out of town visitors or some member of the family who lives here locally that does not own. This can always be learned by asking a few questions or becoming a little better acquainted with them. This can become a habit as easily as driving out the front gate.

17. Work historical records on the burials held in your park to supplement your prospect list... the nearest of kin of the deceased, his pallbearers and friends who attended the services. The need for burial property has been brought very close to these people and, if they are non-owners, they make very good families to call on. This should be done in three or four weeks after the burial.

18. Study and learn everything you can about your park, that you might become more proficient in your job as a memorial counselor. The more knowledge you have about your park and services and what is available for sale, the better position you will be in to answer questions and also make sales, because you keep up to date with what is going on.

19. Be sure you make all sales meetings. Something might be brought up of great importance in closing a sale by one of your fellow workers that could close that extra sale for you.... also, by not being there you might miss a lead that is handed out that could result in 5 or 6 sales, besides getting more educated on how to do a better job.

20. Try to attend funeral services of your deceased property owners if possible. Many a family comes direct to the cemetery, and not to the funeral home and by being at the graveside you can visit with these families and ask them in what part of our park they own to get the ball rolling, and by visiting with them until the service arrives, you have all the information you want if they are good prospects or not.  It does not hurt anything to allow your property owners to see you attending the services that you are a permanent man with the cemetery and still around. Later on when everything settles down to normal, they may have the need for additional space or want you to see some friend of theirs that has just seen your cemetery for the first time.

21. Always dress neatly and, weather permitting, in a suit. You will never know whom you will meet. Sport clothes and sport shirts are not suited to this business - you are looked upon as someone in the ministry or other profession. You would feel rather out of place if you came to the office and found out one of your owners was being buried and you were wearing sport clothes. Being a good dresser is a good habit and leaves an impression of success.

22. Having a goal to work toward, which was covered earlier today, is a MUST to attain SUCCESS. A goal should be written down where you can see it every day as a reminder, whether for a short duration, a year or even years, to see if you are on schedule or behind schedule, or what you have to do to meet it. Make goals a part of your every day life, for the joy of attaining them will all be yours. This will give you the drive to carry you over the top in whatever you undertake.

23. Willingness to work long hours or pay the price for success can only come from you the salesman - a man who is a late starter and works only 6 or 7 hours a day will never become a great success. The successful man is one who does not worry about the hours he works or how long he works. If you will check into the lives of most successful business men you will find they put in more hours than anyone else.

24. Duplication of one's self to his profession as a memorial counselor that he truly wants to go out and render a service to the family he calls on, as so few families really don't know how to begin or what to do or even given very much thought to arranging for burial property before need .... Many do not know it can be arranged for before need. I would not say this is a habit, but it will certainly help you toward that goal of assured SUCCESS.

I suppose there are some aids and habits to help a salesman to be successful other than the ones I have covered here, but I will guarantee you one thing.... if you will just take these 24 steps you will be on the stairway leading to the top in your organization. The responsibility is yours only. Someone else can point the way in the right direction, but you must do the walking. You are either your best friend or your own worst enemy. No one can make this decision for you.... it is yours to decide.

From the publication:
“Collected Sales Management Speeches”
Compiled throughout the 1960s and early 1970s