The Full Package with Funeral Directors Life
Jason Wilson, Managing Funeral Director at Wilson Funeral Home in Bridgeport, OH, knew his funeral home needed to adapt to changing family needs, but he didn’t know where to start. After learning about Funeral Directors Life’s preneed offerings, he decided to see how they could help improve his preneed program. What he didn’t expect were all the other services that were going to help his funeral home. Four years later, Wilson Funeral Home is more successful than ever, all thanks to the “full package” from Funeral Directors Life.
How long have you been with Funeral Directors Life and what are your thoughts so far?
We’ve been with Funeral Directors Life for about 4.5 years now, since the end of 2018. We started with a Select Producer to improve our preneed business, and that has been incredible. With this proactive approach, we’ve grown our preneed volume year over year, with 2022 being a record year for us. From 2021 to 2022, we grew our preneed volume by 27% with an average contract size of about $6,200.
Plus, our Select Producer is also a licensed funeral director, which brings credibility because he shows there’s equal value during the preplanning and at-need planning processes. And he stays busy! He gets leads from all over the place: seminars, our Arrangement Guide tool, social media, funeral files, aftercare, and more.
“We’ve grown our preneed volume year over year.”
Over the years, we’ve added more products and services, especially after we visited the office in Abilene. Once we saw everything they offer to help funeral homes, we knew we would be crazy not to work with Funeral Directors Life. From preneed, to marketing, to aftercare (not to mention the technology offerings), Funeral Directors Life is the full package.
Besides preneed, what other services do you use to help you connect with families?
Funeral Directors Life showed us the importance of connecting with families before, during, and after a service, so we made sure to choose products and services to help us achieve that.
To connect families before a service, we use their Social Media Management program and Arrangement Guide online planning and funding tool. With the Social Media Management program, they manage our Facebook page to increase our brand awareness in our community. Before this program, we tried doing it on our own, but we were inconsistent with it because we’d get busy and forget to post.
Now that Funeral Directors Life manages it, we’ve grown our page followers, engagement, and interactions. Their team is creative and chooses to post content that they know families will like. Families don’t know that someone else is posting for our funeral home, so it improves our professionalism and credibility. Plus, Funeral Directors Life’s audio/visual team has come to our funeral home to shoot professional videos for us that resonate well with families. We couldn’t be happier.
That’s great! You also mentioned Arrangement Guide. How has that helped your funeral home?
Arrangement Guide is amazing. During the pandemic, we wanted an online tool to supplement our preneed program to reach different types of preplanners. A link on our website takes families to our online planning tool. They answer a few questions, and the Arrangement Guide recommendation engine takes care of the rest by showing families a few package recommendations (that we customized for our funeral home). From there, they can purchase a package online or come to the funeral home to finalize their plan. We even get free leads and send them to our Select Producer to meet with the family to finalize the plans in person. It’s an effective strategy for us!
We need to stop assuming that families aren’t tech-savvy. They had to learn to adapt to online tools during the pandemic. This tool practically paid for itself after one contract, and we don’t get charged for leads or a monthly subscription cost. I don’t understand how every funeral home isn’t using this.
How do you better connect with families after a service?
The best way we’ve been able to connect with families after a service has been through the Circle of Friends+ program. There are other aftercare texting services out there, but nothing comes close to the value we get with Circle of Friends+. It’s so much more than texting. They provide helpful resources, ways to get Google reviews, feedback surveys, in-depth reporting, preplanning opportunities, you name it.
In our first 2 months of using it, we increased our Google reviews by 26% – and they were all 5 stars. Plus, they have live text responders and show us the chat logs so we can check in on how our families are doing. Our Select Producer has written many preneed contracts with families through aftercare. More funeral homes need to understand the value of aftercare. Our families love this program.
What other services have you been impressed with?
First, I could go on and on about the benefits of Funeral Directors Life’s Encore livestreaming service. Our families have benefitted from it tremendously, our staff loves it, and it has helped us improve our at-need care. It’s a simple, easy way to make our funeral home stand out from the rest.
Another service we love is Directors Business Solutions (DBS). When we were looking to expand, we needed to get a loan, so we went to our bank that we’ve been with for 40 years. They said they didn’t know if they could do the loan, or if they did, it would take 4-6 months. We were looking at a specific property, and the seller was ready to sell. We couldn’t wait months to maybe get a loan, so we looked at Funeral Directors Life’s lending service, DBS.
Once the DBS team had all the information, it them took 2 days to approve the loan. We closed with the seller a month later. DBS even handled all the inspections: environmental, auditor, etc. They also made sure to structure the loan so it wouldn’t be a financial burden on us and handled all the loan payments on our behalf.
Directors Business Solutions is the best lending partner we’ve ever worked with. They’re funeral service lenders that know the ins and outs of internal revenues. We were able to expand to 8 locations thanks to them and plan on working with them for all our lending needs in the future.
In your opinion, what is something that sets Funeral Directors Life apart from other companies?
Just one thing? Funeral Directors Life is much more than preneed. They really are the full package. Everything works so seamlessly together, even with other companies, like Passare. Plus, they care about serving funeral homes and our profession in the same way funeral directors care so much about serving families in the best way possible. They’re forward-thinking, innovative, and ready to adapt their services to meet the changing needs of families. Plus, the whole team is friendly, no matter who I call. I love how real people answer the phone! That’s rare these days.
Would you recommend Funeral Directors Life to others?
I 100% recommend Funeral Directors Life. They have something for everyone and serve funeral homes of all sizes. If you want to be a more technologically advanced funeral home, look no further than Funeral Directors Life. They’re in tune with the changing consumer and have the tools you need to connect with them. We’re more successful than we’ve ever been thanks to their services!
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