How You Can Pitch Creative Ideas In Your Funeral Home—Shark Tank Style

Posted September 22, 2021

5 min read

This is a guest post from Lacy Robinson, a trainer, educator, and nation-wide speaker. She offers Funeral Home clients more than 15 years of success in developing and facilitating customer service training programs. As an experienced coach and speaker, she has established organizations including Aurora Casket Company and the National Funeral Directors Association as leading providers of training and development for funeral professionals.

Lacy is also a licensed Funeral Director/Embalmer, a certified Funeral Celebrant, and certified member of the Academy of Professional Funeral Service Practice and previously served on the APFSP Board of Trustees. In addition to other training sessions, she also teaches Fundamentals of Customer Service at Worsham College of Mortuary Science and she is a Business Development Consultant for Johnson Consulting Group.

Have you come across a product that just blows your mind and feel confident it would appeal to families?

Have you woken up with an idea for personalization that you know will set the funeral home apart from the competition?

Or perhaps you feel there is a missed opportunity in providing a unique service to the community?

Over the years of traveling to Funeral Homes and training Funeral Directors of all experience levels, I have had many private conversations with employees who are incredibly enthusiastic by memorial ideas they come across in trade magazines, on funeral blogs, or as human-interest stories on popular news site or television shows. They are most interested in contributing through creative memorialization and using technology to further enhance the funeral experience for families. Their level of interest is equal to their feelings of hesitation in bringing up their new ideas to a manager.

Sitting on these ideas and wondering when the perfect time to bring it up to a manager can be nerve-wracking. It is all about presentation and timing to get the full attention and buy-in of the Funeral Home owner or manager. One of the best television shows to learn from when it comes to pitching ideas is Shark Tank on ABC. On Shark Tank, you will see the good, the bad, and the embarrassing.

Here are six tips—inspired by Shark Tank—to help you pitch your ideas to management:

1. Establish the problem or missed opportunity the employer needs to be aware of.

Perhaps they have mentioned the problem you are solving or your idea in the past without any elaboration. Refer back to what they have mentioned as a way to show you listened and care about the issue.

(Pro Tip: Review NFDA’s Consumer Preferences and Awareness Survey Results for additional guidance and validation on areas of opportunity.)

2. Demonstrate the value.

Just like we see with entrepreneurs pitching to the Sharks, address these issues head-on, with a real plan or a specific solution. You want to be able to show how this will help your firm to gain market share and increase long term satisfaction with client families. Many times, stories can even help to show the underlying problem you’re helping to solve.

3. Don’t forget the details.

Identify the solution, new idea, or recommendation in detail. Providing specific details will show you have done the research. Also remember how details help bring an idea to life, so in this way, they can help you to be as persuasive as possible.

4. Share success stories.

Share the experiences of Funeral Homes that have successfully implemented your proposed solution. Include those experienced results that were achieved, client family testimonials, and your projected growth.

(Pro Tip: If you come up empty-handed on finding other Funeral Homes that have implemented the idea or product emphasize being the first in your region or all of funeral service to offer it. Being “first” carries weight in marketing.)

5. Give the “what’s next?”

Be as prepared as possible for what next steps can look like. Present a plan for moving forward that includes the investment of time and cost. Explain what your role could be as well as how to engage other team members.

6. Provide ample opportunity to examine the pros and cons.

To prepare for this discussion, jot down anticipated questions and develop your responses. Just like entrepreneurs on Shark Tank, you can prepare by looking at all angles of an issue and demonstrate you have given careful consideration to potential results.

Delivering a Successful Idea Pitch

All in all, these are 6 things you can learn from the Shark Tank product pitches. Keep in mind that doing your best to prepare ahead of time, being confident, and practicing your pitch will go a long way in helping you to present your idea successfully. Once the pitch is made, don’t forget about appropriate follow-up, which can be helpful to answer any remaining questions and to show how serious you are about the idea.

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Interested in learning more? Request a personalized demo from a Funeral Director today.

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