Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Is your pet your child?

Ross Darby,
Director of Business Development at Trigard Memorials

I recently went to the PLPA College (Pet Loss Professionals Alliance) and I gained a new appreciation for how we memorialize pets. Memorializing pets is not new to me. My wife (pictured right) is in charge of the pet division at Sunset Memorial Park. She shares stories of families who will spend the extra dollar when it comes to memorializing their pet.

First, I needed to get a better understanding of what a “pet” is. A “pet” to me it is either a dog or a cat. Boy was I wrong! My wife helped a family who established a very high budget to celebrate a beloved rabbit. There was a full service and was no expense spared on the memorial. This caused me to re-think how I view pets and the grieving needs of the humans who love them. People all over the world have different types of furry, scaled, and feathered friends, and we in the death care profession must be able to meet all of their wants when it comes to memorialization.

Until recently, my experience in the pet market has been working with bronze memorials. I learned that pet memorials tend to be the most unique. Families love that we, at Trigard Memorials, can give them a 3D-relief bronze memorial AND add color to it. To these families, that kind of marker is a no brainer.

If you have a pet section in your cemetery, we offer beautiful pet markers that are attached to granite. We also create photo medallions in bronze that can be easily attached to existing granite or bronze memorials. (This is ideal for families who want to enhance what they already have.) If you have a niche unit for cremated animals, we provide fully customizable niche plates. We also offer personalized urns for the families that wish to take their beloved pet home with them.

If you do not have a pet section in your cemetery, it is usually easy to find unused space that you can turn into revenue for your business. If pet cremation is the only means of disposition that you offer, then Trigard’s urns or medallions are a nice personalized product to offer a family. Even if price is leading your families to choose cremation, we still find great value in the memorialization piece of the sale.

The pet market is relatively new to most of us, but I truly believe it is being under served and underutilized. There are opportunities everywhere! Families are beginning to realized that last visit to the vet office is not the last memory they want to have of their pet. That is where our industry needs to step in and use our expertise to provide healthy healing and closure our customers are seeking.

This article originally appeared in Modern Memorialization, Trigard Memorials' weekly electronic newsletter featuring information for the funeral industry. Sign up for your free subscription at http://www.trigard.com/thursdays.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

5 ways to improve your sales display

Whether you’re a monument company, a cemetery or a funeral home, you can benefit from a display that highlights your best products and services. In fact, research shows that displays influence customers more than price promotions. According to OgilvyAction, 24% of buying customers say they are influenced most by displays, while only 17% are persuaded by discounts.

Why do displays work so well? Three reasons. First, displays can give greater ROI than traditional advertising. Second, displays start the sales process right away, even when your sales staff is busy somewhere else. Third, consumer shopping patterns and expectations have changed. The families you serve want more, easy-to-grasp information,

No matter if you have a permanent display of bronze or a seasonal display of grave blankets, there are five things you can do to make your sales area more effective.
  1. Make it appealing. The purpose of a display is to make people look. Don’t be afraid to use colors and engaging graphics. Once you have the customer’s attention, “bring them in” with something to touch.
  2. Avoid jargon. Limit using industry names that customers might not recognize. Use words that show how your products and services benefit your customers.
  3. Train your team. Make a good display a great display by teaching your staff how to use it. Make sure your team knows how your display can help identify customer needs, show value in your products and/or overcome objections.
  4. Eliminate clutter. Don’t overwhelm people. Your displays should not be cluttered or stuffed with too many items.
  5. Keep it clean. Nothing takes away from the value of what you offer like dust and grime. Make sure your team routinely dusts and cleans it.
Make a commitment this month to really look at your displays. Make at least one improvement to make it more beneficial for the people you serve.

This article originally appeared in Modern Memorialization, Trigard Memorials' weekly electronic newsletter featuring information for the funeral industry. Sign up for your free subscription at http://www.trigard.com/thursdays.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Attitude of gratitude

By Scott Darby, Media Manager and Certified Funeral Celebrant,
Camino del Sol Funeral Chapel & Cremation Center

A little over a year ago, I started the “practice of gratitude” in my life and it has made a world of difference in my perspective.

I used to think that the world was against me and that I had to fight for everything. I was coming from a place of self-will instead of a place of thankfulness. Not anymore! The byproducts of this new attitude are amazing. I feel a greater sense of happiness and contentment. I have stronger personal relationships. I don’t feel the need to struggle, because things come more naturally to me. I could go on and on.

To give you an example, I always get the same feeling around Labor Day. You know the feeling I’m talking about… the summer-is-officially-over blues. It feels like an internal shift from low gear to high gear.

When I was a kid, Labor Day meant the long lazy days of summer were behind me. I was back to school and all I had to look forward to was a regular schedule of homework. As an adult, BBQs turn into board meetings. In the past, this shift made me a little depressed. However, this year I’m excited for Fall and what it will bring. I feel this way because I am grateful - grateful that I came home and found my place in our profession. After all, we what we do is so important.

Wikipedia defines a memorial as “an object which serves as a focus for memory of something.”
I mention this because I want you to understand we at Trigard Memorials see our memorials as more than just handcrafted pieces of bronze or aluminum. We know our products represent lives that need to be celebrated. We are in the business of preserving memories, and we are grateful for that!

Join me in this attitude of gratitude. Never forget that what you do is amazing. Sure, it is a great responsibility, but look how you are rewarded. Every day, you get to help people memorialize those who are loved and precious to them. You get the opportunity to touch lives deeply. You get to contribute to the greater good!

This article originally appeared in Modern Memorialization, Trigard Memorials' weekly electronic newsletter featuring information for the funeral industry. Sign up for your free subscription at www.trigard.com/thursdays.