Who knew thinking about sympathy flowers and funerals could be enjoyable? Not being on the retail end of things, I’ve not really given much thought to this subject, but Chris Collum AIFD and Randy Wooten AIFD made their 2012 AIFD Symposium session on this topic quite …. fun. Yes, fun is a good word as the program started with Chris popping out of the casket pictured below as Randy was talking. We were so surprised that we didn’t think to snap a picture quick enough!
Here are some highlights from Chris and Randy’s program:
- Know your market and embrace industry changes. For example, with the increasing number of cremations, many florists feel that the end of their sympathy sales are near, but Chris and Randy think just the opposite – they see opportunties.
- Open your mind to the possibilities of memorials. Below are some great ideas for a woman who loved to knit and quilt.
- Sometimes you need to swallow your pride and design what your client wants.
- Work on creating strong relationships with your local funeral home.
- Another beautiful idea that Randy and Chris presented was the concept of creating an art gallery tribute for an artist that had passed and always wanted to see his work in a gallery but may have passed at a young age.
- Pet memorials are an upcoming sympathy market that you need to be aware of. With over 750 pet cemeteries, pet funeral services are happening more often.
- Use social media to let your clients know what is available to them.
- Throw the notion out of stepping outside the box because there should be no box. “Don’t box me in.”
- Have a private consultation area to make the process a little easier on on your clients.
The beginning of the program started with a surprise and the end of Chris and Randy’s session was amazing. A gospel choir came out and then Chris and Randy presented what their own tribute and funeral designs would look like. A little strange, but, again, it was a whole lot of fun!
We may not be able to control changes that affect our industry, but we can control how we adapt to the new situations in which we find ourselves in. What sympathy changes do you see in your local area and how are you adapting?