We are all familiar with a common thread; a reoccurring theme that seems to connect all of the dots together. When you recognize one, you’re intrigued and you typically get a feeling that you’re on the right track. Somehow when you pick up on a common thread, it creates a sense of togetherness and belonging. Common threads make everything just make sense.
So, what if you could find the valuable thread that connects serving families and becoming successful? What could that do for you? It might change how you serve families, and it most certainly could change the trajectory of your career. I reference this as the Golden Thread of WHY. Those three little letters have the potential to garner you great success!
If you were able to attend the 2022 ICCFA DEAD Talks in Vegas this year, you likely picked up on the common Golden Thread of WHY throughout nearly every 18 minute presentation. If you weren’t lucky enough to attend, please, keep reading. I promise you’ll discover great things.
Transparency & Vulnerability
Common threads around the industry, passion, sales, and how we prepare for success were all shared in just 18 minutes at a time, but WHY kept reappearing. The dynamic speakers used their personal WHY to connect with the audience, to explain their passion, to share their story. This requires a lot of transparency and vulnerability. But from a sales perspective, it’s just plain smart. For those speakers sharing their WHY, there was greater depth and connection. They made you lean in a little bit more and listen a little harder.
Let’s take a step back. One of the most famous TED Talks of all time revolves around WHY, literally. In 2009, Simon Sinek took the stage at TEDx Puget Sound and mesmerized the audience that day, and subsequently all 58 million of us that have watched the YouTube video. Sinek’s presentation on “How Great Leaders Inspire Action” is a simple model that started with a golden circle and the question “WHY?”. In less than 18 minutes, he passionately shared with us that the question of WHY is the answer we all need. The 2022 DEAD Talks did this presentation after presentation.
In Mark Ballard’s “Dead or Alive” presentation focusing on sales leadership, he talked about TRL. Simply, to lead well and sell well you need to be Trusted, Respected and Liked to build relationships with employees and customers alike. The key way to accomplish this, Ballard said, was asking about and caring for their WHY!
In “Getting in Line”, Sepio Guard’s Chris Johnson talked about connecting with your family and the right way to do that from your initial contact, allowing you to start closing at the very beginning. Chris gave us his #1 tool to accomplish this. What did Chris say accounts for 85% of success in closing from the beginning? Discovering the WHY!
We all know being in sales requires courage. It takes courage to hear ‘No’ repeatedly and still continue looking for the ‘Yes’. But what about “Compelling Courage”? Scott Darby shared his passion and commitment to our industry in an almost tangible way in his Dead Talk. After changing careers from theatre to the death care industry, he discovered his WHY, his purpose and passion, and was courageous enough to share it. Scott led by example what he was driving us all towards – having conversations that touch hearts. We hold the key to shifting mindsets about death and preplanning, and it’s connected to WHY.
“Beware of the Friend Zone” was an incredible DEAD Talk by another Sepio Guard team member, Noble Sines. He pointed out the importance of being a trusted advisor rather than friends with the families we serve. He came out strong with focusing on the why, not the what. Simply, people buy from people they trust. Sharing your WHY along with discovering their WHY is the ultimate trust builder.
Richard Houston of Webcemeteries.com unpacked a wealth of information in “The Yes Between the No’s”. Richard discussed the difference between a “stall” and “objection”. The key is getting to the heart of why families may be hesitant to move forward before offering a solution. Listening, uncovering their WHY, and making sure you clarify it before offering a solution is an incredible way to move past the stall.
What does success mean to you? It was a question Spencer Larkin of Envision Strategic Partners dove into. In Spencer’s DEAD Talk “How to Maintain Balance and Growth in a Competitive and Changing Environment”, he emphasized the importance of defining “success” and what it means to you. Winning means something different to everyone; to win though, you must first understand your purpose. Your WHY is central to your purpose.
In 2021 I delivered my first Dead Talk “The Power of Storytelling” via video. I shared my personal WHY as an example of meaningful storytelling. And let me tell you, it took courage to be transparent. In 2022, I was honored to stand on the stage filled with some of the best in our industry and share “Embracing the Customer Experience”. We looked at the biggest key in exceeding your customer’s expectations is knowing their expectations. This begins with understanding your families’ WHY. We all ask for families to share so much personally with us. That’s not always easy for them. We need to be vulnerable, lead by example, and share our WHY first. Then, be caring and attentive to their WHY. This is how you embrace and enhance your customer’s experience. This starts a cycle of happy customers, great referrals, and more happy customers.
All WHYs are bound by a common thread that helps us grow, serve families, and be successful. So how do you put the “Golden Thread of WHY” into action for your success?
- Find your WHY
- Be brave and share your WHY
- Help uncover your customers’ WHY
- Find the best path to accomplish their WHY
- Share how memorialization is key in telling their loved one’s “WHY” and honoring their legacy
The Magic of Knowing WHY
Take and apply your WHY from an individual, a company, and a customer perspective. When you as an individual understand the core of who you are and why you do what you do, you’ll find it easier to share your WHY with others, building trust with those you meet. As a company, success is built on everyone being invested in sharing their WHY and understanding that the company’s direction is built on that common thread of WHY. When your WHY connects with your customers’ WHY and all three align – well that’s just magic!
There are many partners in our industry who understand the importance of knowing what connects you personally to your work. Finding your WHY and the WHY behind your customer’s decisions doesn’t have to be difficult. Seek out companies that have the passion and expertise to help you find that alignment between the three. Utilize your connections, partner provided trainings and industry events, like DEAD Talks, to discover how to incorporate the WHY into how you service your families.
When you tie together your WHY, the company WHY, and the customer WHY, you’ve found the Golden Thread.
– Honnalora Hubbard, Regional Sales Manager, Coldspring
Article C/O June 2022 issue of Memento Mori