preneed sales professional

5 Tips from Top-Performing Sales Professionals

By Paul Lovelace, Executive Vice President & Chief Corporate Development Officer

As a busy preneed sales professional, do you think there are enough hours in the day?

Between meeting with families, following up on leads, organizing preplanning events, communicating with your funeral home, and the other 100 things you have to do, you don’t have time to add more to your plate – like growing as a funeral sales professional.

To best serve families and your funeral home, you need to know how to be an effective and successful funeral sales professional. That means finding time to learn new ideas that have proven to work for others in your field.

I’ve talked to several funeral sales professionals about what they believe are the most essential strategies for successfully serving families and funeral homes.

Here are 5 tips they shared that every funeral sales professional should know.

1. Put in the work

No matter how long you’ve been a preneed sales professional, you must stay on top of trends and understand what happens in a funeral home to serve families well.

Adam Kraut

Put in the work. There’s no hack, tip, or shortcut that can allow you to do your job well. Take time to learn the ins and outs of the funeral industry. Know the pricing and merchandise at each location. The funeral laws, rules, and regulations of your state. The tiny procedural details that begin when the phone rings because death has occurred and end when the final date is engraved on a monument. 

The purpose of all that work is to be prepared to perform when it’s time for an appointment. The more you know your industry, the better you can be present when a family arrives for an appointment. You’ll speak more naturally with families and allow them to connect when you’re sharing ideas with them. When it’s time to do the work that matters, you don’t have to think about whether or not you can do it. You just do it. Once the fundamentals of your job become second nature, you’ll be prepared when the unexpected happens (and it often does) during an appointment.

Work works. That’s the bottom line.

– Adam Kraut, Pennsylvania

To be a successful funeral sales professional, just remember – work works. Make sure you are always up to date on the pricing and merchandise of your funeral home and your state’s funeral laws, rules, and regulations. That way, you can speak naturally and confidently when you meet with a family, regardless of their questions.

2. Prioritize your funeral home’s relationship

Whether you work for one funeral home and interact with its staff daily or represent several funeral homes and see their staff occasionally, building meaningful relationships with your fellow funeral professionals can benefit your service to families.


“Building relationships with your funeral home’s staff is important. I lean heavily on other funeral professionals, so I focus on earning their trust and treating them as coworkers. I’ll talk to each staff about their families and celebrate special moments in their personal lives with them. I try to build meaningful relationships with every funeral professional I work with.”

– Christopher Crosby, Ohio

The goal of a funeral home is to serve families with care and compassion. Achieving that is much easier when you work as a team with the staff. Focus on building team relationships so they’ll be there for you if you ever need help.

3. Measure success in actions, not experience

Like most jobs, being a sales professional has a learning curve. There is a certain level of insight that only comes from on-the-job training and time spent in the field.

Still, having years of experience is not a prerequisite to being a top preneed salesperson. You just have to focus on doing the right things.

“No matter how long you’ve been a funeral sales professional, you can absolutely find success in this field. It’s all about how you interact and build relationships with families. Have a great attitude when you meet with a family, talk to them on their level, and be adaptable. Remember, being a funeral sales professional isn’t about selling the latest model of caskets. It’s about offering families peace of mind. Do that, and you’ll be successful.”

– Macy Lewis, Indiana

While experience can help you discover what works or doesn’t work in your area, there is no substitute for showing a family you are there to help and care about their well-being.

4. Be prepared for the highs and lows

Have you ever been on a sales hot streak you hoped would never end? Or did your last slow season make you question all your strategies? Almost every preneed sales professional has experienced both extremes.

The question is – did those extremes affect your stress and service to families?


“If you’re new to this profession, you’ll learn quickly that it can be a roller coaster – and that’s OK. You’ll be very busy one month and have nothing but tumbleweeds the next. You just have to remember that it all evens itself out. You have to stay positive and push forward because it won’t stay slow forever. Stay confident in what you’re doing, follow up with families, and things will turn around.”

– Jake Kramar, Wisconsin

No matter your sales strategy, you will eventually have a slow season. You’ll also have times when you feel like more families want to meet with you than you can keep track of. Busy and slow seasons can be stressful in their own way, which is why it is important to remember that no matter what your schedule looks like, every family you meet with deserves you at your best. They deserve you focused, stress-free, and ready to serve them.

5. Start by educating families, not selling

Educating families was by far the most important lesson I heard from all the funeral sales professionals I met with, and for good reason. Many families have a very limited understanding of funerals. That’s why when families meet with you, they don’t want to hear from a salesperson. They want to hear from an expert who can answer their questions.


“I don’t look at what I do from a selling standpoint. I look at it from an educational standpoint. I listen to families, identify their needs, and see what makes the most sense for them. It’s so important for families to see you as an educator and not a salesman because they’ll feel like you’re really trying to help them, and it will build that trust. Explain all options to families and let them make the decisions.”

– Susan Hendrickson, Texas

The last thing a family wants is a fast-talking salesperson directing them into a decision they are uncomfortable with. Let families know you are there to educate them on their funeral options and answer their questions. That way, when a family is ready to make a decision, they’ll feel confident and have peace of mind in their choice.

And they’ll remember that you and your funeral home served them as a professional and knowledgeable guide.

Improve your service by prioritizing your professional growth and development

Being a successful preneed sales professional starts with caring for families as best you can. Use these insightful tips to grow professionally, provide better service for the families you meet, and drive more business to your funeral home.

While these strategies are a great place to start, there are plenty of other ways to further your development as a funeral sales professional. Reach out to other sales professionals for advice, take advantage of educational opportunities, stay updated on funeral trends by attending your state association’s convention, and more.

However, before all your training and experience, remember that the top responsibility of funeral sales professionals is to create new value for families. Remember, selling is not what you do to families but what you do with them, and for them, that matters most. As long as you are a compassionate and knowledgeable guide for families, success will always find you.

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