About John Callaghan

John Callaghan - Your Funeral Business Builder

How I Became a Funeral Home Marketing Consultant

Many people believe that growing a business is extremely hard and that it takes some sort of superpower to achieve business success. But actually, there are three ways to grow a business, and none of them are rocket science.
1. Acquire more customers.
2. Get your customers to buy more from you.
3. Get your customers to buy more often.

That’s really all it comes down to. But as the saying goes, “the devil’s in the details”.

In 2001, I went through extensive training with a nationwide consulting firm that dove into the details of those three growth strategies. In each area, we studied dozens of specific strategies that could be used to achieve growth.

Returning to my office in Michigan, I began my consulting practice and started applying the strategies to my clients’ businesses. The initial results were mediocre, but as I honed my skills and started looking beyond what my client said and more at what was really going on in the business, results improved significantly.

I helped a janitorial services firm go from $3 million a year to over $6 million and a commercial pool company go from $500,000 to over $2 million. My own business was growing like crazy, and most new clients came to me as referrals from one of my existing clients.

My first funeral home client

In 2003, a client called and asked if I would meet with his buddy, who owned four funeral homes. At the time, I had absolutely no interest in working with a funeral home, but I agreed to the meeting out of obligation to my client.

The meeting went better than I expected, and I agreed to take them on as a client. We began meeting on a regular basis, analyzing the business to determine which strategies would work for a funeral home.

My goal was simple…to help them grow their business. But as I learned more about the funeral industry, I encountered the problems that all funeral home owners deal with. The rising cremation rate, the decline in full-service funerals, the eroding of customer loyalty, and more.

To be honest, I didn’t know if I could help them. It seemed like an impossible task, and the strategies in my toolbox were not necessarily applicable to the industry’s problems. We implemented new education-based marketing (one of the strategies in the toolbox) and it helped somewhat. We worked on the pre-need side of the business, and that helped, but it takes a while for pre-need to turn into a current call.

During one of our meetings, we uncovered what I believed to be the root problem, the one issue that was preventing them from winning more calls and serving more families. That one issue was the lack of an ability to explain the value of a funeral service.

In the past, families had funerals because of tradition. But by 2003, the tides had turned. Families were less inclined to automatically follow tradition and questioned everything. They were questioning the value of a funeral, because they were questioning the value of everything.

One of my core strengths lies in helping a business owner put into words the things that they struggle to articulate. It was time to use that strength.

After some intensive collaboration and many hours spent writing and rewriting content to explain the value of a service, we hit upon it—a script that actually worked. The exact, word-for-word script that they could use when working with a family to turn them from questioning the value to understanding the value.

That script, or narrative, became the core of all their marketing, and the business began to grow significantly.

But we still encountered some problems, like the families who would say, “Dad didn’t want a funeral.” We were trying to explain the value of something that the family was specifically told to not do.

Fortunately, I had a strategy for that problem as well. We implemented it, and business growth accelerated again.

Growing a Funeral Home is Possible!

The net result…in three years, we increased overall revenues at their funeral homes by 65%, their average revenues related to cremation services were up 110%, and their customer satisfaction rating was at 99.5%.

With that initial success under my belt, I decided to begin helping other funeral homes win more calls. Over the years, I have had the pleasure of working with firms all over the United States, Canada, and Australia. My toolbox of strategies has continued to grow as we tackle the problems associated with today’s funeral homes.

Has every project been a success? No.

The process I take people through requires change. Sometimes it’s just superficial changes, but many times it requires significant adjustments in how they deliver funeral services. But for clients who are willing to change, the process I take them through leads to them winning more calls, serving more families, and improving the bottom-line profits of their funeral home business.

How I help funeral home owners today

These days I operate under two different brands in the funeral industry. Funeral Business Builder offers training and coaching services, while Funeral Success Marketing offers marketing implementation services.

If you are not sure how to take your funeral home business to the next level, call me at 888 504 2980 for a free 30 minute consultation.

I Iook forward to helping your win more calls, serve more families, and grow your funeral home business.

Funeral Home Marketing & Business Building Advice