Four Questions Every Funeral Home Owner Should Ask Themself

questions that funeral home owners should ponder

I often tell people that funeral service professionals are a lot like firefighters. You start your day with a plan for what you’ll accomplish today, but your plan goes out the window as soon as the phone rings.

You move from crisis to crisis all day long. At the end of the day, you’ve worked in your business and served families, but you didn’t have time to work on your business.

That might be okay for a Funeral Director but not for the funeral home owner. As the owner, if you only work in your business and never on your business, your funeral home will never grow.

The key is knowing what to focus on during those rare quiet times of your day. That’s your opportunity to work on your business; wasting it is a bad idea.

Here’s an exercise that I learned years ago at a personal development seminar. It’s called the Morning Focus Exercise, and it has three steps.

Step 1 – center yourself with at least ten minutes of prayer or meditation.

Step 2 – write down one thing for which you are grateful.

Step 3 – write down your question of the day.

Steps 1 and 2 help you get into the right mindset for uncovering the question you write down in step 3.

Then, as you move through your day and have a few extra minutes, you focus your attention on your question of the day. Rather than letting your attention wander to whatever seems to be the top priority at the time, you intentionally focus on answering a question that will help grow your business.

I’ve personally used the Morning Focus Exercise daily for years. Every day I open my journal, write down something I’m grateful for, plus a question to focus on.

Like you, some of my days are packed full of activities, and others have more unscheduled time. But, regardless of how the day goes, I always revisit my journal throughout the day and make some notes on my one question for the day.

But here’s the secret to making the most of your Morning Focus Exercise…keep a list of important questions you want to answer.

In the back of my journal, I keep a list of questions. When I’ve answered a question, I cross it off the list. Then, when I come up with new questions (which happens often), I add them to the list.

This might seem like overkill, but I believe that focusing on the right questions is how you control the trajectory of your business. If you can focus on answering important questions, you’ll make progress. If you waste your focus on minor stuff, you’ll tread water.

Here are four important questions that should be on every funeral home owner’s list.

Question #1 – How can we wow everyone who comes through our funeral home today?

It’s important to ask every family you serve why they choose your funeral home. Their answer tells you what part of your marketing is paying off.

My clients who have transitioned from funeral service provider to funeral experience provider tell me that the most common answer families give them is, “We attended a service here recently”. That’s because, in the experience economy, your best form of marketing is the event you perform or conduct.

It’s essential to treat every funeral as an audition for future families. Yes, it is important to care for the immediate family. Still, you also want to ensure that everyone who attended the funeral experienced something that made them think…” Wow, I’ve never seen a funeral like this.”

Question #2 – How can we continue cultivating relationships with the families we have served?

Families used to be incredibly loyal to one particular funeral home in their community. Unfortunately, that type of loyalty is rare these days.

Asking yourself how you can continue caring for a family long after the funeral can result in a list of actions that you can take to help you cultivate a long-term relationship. For example, many of my clients send follow-up text messages and/or physical cards to families on important anniversaries. That’s a great start, but what else can you do?

Question #3 – How can we do more with non-licensed staff members?

Every funeral home owner I know struggles to find enough licensed Funeral Directors to meet their needs. Despite an annual crop of new graduates from mortuary programs nationwide, there still isn’t enough.

The solution is to focus on how to do more with your non-licensed staff. It varies from state to state, but typically, there is a short list of tasks that a licensed person must do. 

For example, I have multiple clients with a General Manager or Operations Manager who is not a licensed Funeral Director. In their particular states, as long as the person is not making arrangements or embalming bodies, they don’t need a license.

Question #4 – How can we differentiate ourselves from other funeral homes in our area?

One of the “golden rules” of marketing is that when all things are equal, the deciding criteria is always the price. If you have a lot of price shoppers, it means that from the public’s perception, you are the same as the other funeral homes in town. Therefore, the deciding criteria is….price.

The solution is to make sure that you have differentiated your funeral home from the competition. How to do this is a question every funeral home owner needs to answer if they want to grow their business.

This Monday, I invite you to write down a question you want to answer. Then throughout the day, whenever you have quiet time, consider the question and write down your thoughts. 

Desmond Tutu once wisely said that “There is only one way to eat an elephant: one bite at a time.” What he meant by this is that everything in life that seems daunting, overwhelming, and even impossible can be accomplished gradually by taking on just a little at a time.

How do you grow a great funeral home business? By answering one question at a time. Focus on the right questions daily, and you can build the business of your dreams.

Until next time,



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