The Wolfelt Experience

The Wolfelt Experience: Sharing the Value of a Funeral

Mike Kosloski
Owner & Funeral Director
Hamlin-Hansen-Kosloski Funeral Home
Moose Lake, MN

Have you ever been in this situation?

You meet with a family to discuss their loved one’s funeral. During the arrangement conference, the family expresses their wishes for a direct cremation with no viewing, ceremony, or personalization. You carefully and respectfully explain why that may not be the best long-term decision for those grieving the loss.

But try as you might, you fall short of convincing them that a healing and meaningful ceremony can help honor their loved one and guide others toward healthy grieving.

Like many funeral professionals, Mike Kosloski and his staff sometimes struggled to fully explain all the benefits of a funeral. But then, Mike and his staff received what he called “career-changing training” that changed how they communicated the value of funerals to families – The Wolfelt Experience™.

Developed by Funeral Directors Life (FDL) in partnership with renowned author and grief educator Dr. Alan D. Wolfelt, this training workshop gave Mike and his staff the tools, resources, and language to communicate the value of a funeral in a way that families understood.

“I’ve been involved in the funeral industry for nearly 40 years, and this is by far the best training I’ve ever received. The Wolfelt Experience added a new dimension to how I serve families.”

Read more to discover how The Wolfelt Experience helped Hamlin-Hansen-Kosloski Funeral Home better serve families.

What’s been your experience working with FDL?

What has always intrigued me about Funeral Directors Life is the time and energy they put into helping others improve at what they do. FDL invests considerable time and resources in making funeral homes better, which is a major reason why they have me as a customer.

Why did you decide to send your entire staff to The Wolfelt Experience training?

When I went through the training myself, I came back into the office the next day and told my staff, “You are all going to this training.” The training most funeral professionals get doesn’t often address how to improve families’ experiences. I’ve been involved in the funeral industry for nearly 40 years, and this is by far the best training I’ve ever received. The Wolfelt Experience added a new dimension to how I serve families.

What challenges has The Wolfelt Experience training helped you and your staff overcome?

Families sometimes come in and say, “We don’t want to have a service,” or they want to skip parts of the ceremony. As funeral directors, we don’t typically have the tools or language to explain why it is so important to have a meaningful funeral. This training allows you to talk confidently about these things with families.

Everyone on my staff, even the maintenance crew, still talks to families in the grocery store or when they are out and about in town. If people know you work at a funeral home, sometimes they are more likely to approach a part-time assistant or member of the grounds crew with questions. That training through The Wolfelt Experience allows them to communicate why a funeral is important.

What changes have you seen since receiving The Wolfelt Experience training?

One thing we’re seeing is better satisfaction among families served and compliments about our funeral service. Our goal is to provide a healing service and remember the loved one. When you do those things, family satisfaction comes automatically. You strive for that satisfaction, but if you take care of all those other things, it creates value for your funeral home and the services you provide.

When you get to the business side, you have a cost for doing business, and sometimes people are shocked at the cost. But when you create value in your service and give families so many healing things in the ceremony, suddenly, that cost doesn’t become as big of a factor. Now, we have higher consumer satisfaction and lower accounts receivable, so we are taking care of the family’s needs, and the business side is taking care of itself.

Do you have a specific example of The Wolfelt Experience training in action?

After attending a meaningful private family ceremony, the significant other of the deceased told me he didn’t think he needed to go to the public service where friends and more family awaited. Had it not been for the training, I would never have stepped out of my comfort zone and told him how important it was for him to attend the service, not just for himself but for everyone else.

This type of information is never taught in school. As funeral directors, we are not very well trained about some of the things that really matter when you get into the field. I think The Wolfelt Experience training needs to come as early on in careers as possible. That will change how effectively we can help guide people into a healing and positive experience.

Is there anything else you’d like to add about The Wolfelt Experience?

If there is anyone out there who is hesitant about attending this training workshop, my question would be, why? If you have the opportunity to go to one of these trainings, it will be such an incredible experience, and you will see a change in who you were before and after the training. This training is career-changing.

One of my friends in a nearby town told me, “I wanted to go to that, but I wasn’t sure about the cost.” I told him I would have paid double for it! I said, “You don’t realize how good this training is. The reason you don’t want to pay that price is because you’ve paid for training and didn’t get much out of it before, but this is a very, very small cost for the value that you’re going to take away and use in your career.”

You just can’t find this kind of training anywhere else.

Want to start helping families understand the value of a ceremony?

Funeral professionals who have undergone The Wolfelt Experience have witnessed an extraordinary change in the families they serve. They’ve seen more families make informed decisions, embrace a meaningful ceremony, avoid complex grief, and more.

Here’s what workshop attendees are saying:

“Through The Virtual Wolfelt Experience, we can educate ourselves and our sales agents about the elements of a funeral so that we can help restore that knowledge about having a healthy grieving experience to our families and our communities.” – Jeff Hartquist, Hartquist Funeral Home & Cremation Services

“To understand why we’re in the business to help families – which is what The Wolfelt Experience did – is to show them the need to cope. Our people gained so much content and knowledge from this training. It was amazing.” – Rick Noel, Walton’s Funerals and Cremations

“The Virtual Wolfelt Experience in its entirety was a game-changer for us. This training is the roadmap we’ll follow with our families. It’s the secret sauce. – Chad Vice, Service Group of Oklahoma

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