Do You Know How to Catch a Unicorn?

Creating a Plan to Take Them from Mythical to Monumental

As a cemetery sales professional, you have likely heard the term “unicorn” thrown around in reference to those elusive, custom Private Estates® families. These are the unicorns of the sales world – rare, and highly coveted. The idea of catching a unicorn might seem like a mythical feat, but with the right mindset and plan in place, it is possible to turn these sales from mythical to monumental.

Mindset Matters: Beliefs + Behaviors = Results

Before you even begin to tackle the challenge of catching a unicorn, you’ll need to understand that your mindset matters. Your beliefs and behaviors are critical to your success in any sales endeavor. If you believe that unicorns are impossible to catch, you’ll never catch one. But, if you believe that it’s possible and that you have what it takes to find them, then you’re already on the right track.

To help you understand where your mindset is at today, ask yourself this: Do you believe unicorns exist? By now you realize we’re not talking about the beautiful white horse with a rainbow mane, sparkles, and a horn. We’re talking about people that have the vision, desire and finances to choose Private Estates mausoleums for their family.

I recently received a call from a memorial park in Virginia, with a family interested in a private mausoleum. A lovely lady was in their office, in an all too familiar situation. Her husband had passed and she was arranging his burial. As she was signing the required documents, she kept staring at the Private Estates poster on the office wall. The family counselor was very attentive and noticed her interest. By asking the lady what intrigued her about the poster, the counselor realized she was upset about having to lay her husband at rest in the ground or the community mausoleum. The woman shared that during their travels in Europe, they often visited cemeteries. They had always talked and dreamed of having a European inspired private mausoleum, but they had never planned it out. Because the family counselor knew the behaviors to watch for and believed in their ability to meet the woman’s needs, the woman will have exactly what her and her husband always dreamed off.

This sounds like quite the magical experience, right? The even better news is that you have the ability to make that magic happen too.   

Your behaviors are just as important. Being disciplined, focused, and persistent in your pursuit, and not giving up after a few rejections or setbacks, will bring results. Keep pushing forward and trying new strategies until you find what works.

Gather The Tools

When you meet a unicorn, will you be prepared? Education plus preparation equals confidence. To start, you’ll need the right tools. One of the biggest things that can determine your success is having the right vendor partner and resources they can provide you with. The first tool you’ll want to have is a foundational knowledge of memorial manufacturing and sales. If your park tour is set up with predetermined lots, that will make all the difference. Resources like a design or inspiration book that is shareable via print and digital will be helpful for families to gather ideas. The right vendor can also help you understand granite options, what is possible in private mausoleums, as well as provide you with a list of questions to help guide the design process. When you’re confident in what you are selling, families will take notice of that.


Once you have your tools in place, you can start prospecting. You’ll need to identify the unicorns in your community. Where do they live, what do they do, and what’s important to them? The key here is to be strategic and focused. As an example, business owners might be a great group to reach. They potentially have a desire to leave a legacy acknowledging the impact they’ve made in the community. They may also have the financial ability to fulfill that desire. 

Once you’ve identified your target, you’ll want to find a way to engage and invite them to learn more about what is possible for their memorialization. Let’s use business owners as an example. You’re going to ask yourself: where are these business owners, what’s important to them? The obvious is that they are probably at the business they own. They are also quite often involved in the Chamber of Commerce, since they have a passion for business and community growth. Your customers aren’t always going to come to you; you need to meet them where they are.

We also know that not all families want to be chased, and they probably aren’t going to respond to mailer invites or standard marketing if they are not thinking about permanent memorialization. Think about this: have you ever seen a commercial for Lamborghini? No, because they know their audience isn’t sitting at home watching TV. That audience also doesn’t want to be “sold” on something. Make the decision right now to stop selling and start serving, and that mindset will change everything. 

Make it Inviting

Let’s consider Lamborghini again, and how they might differ in serving their customers. Now, I’ve never been in the market for one, but I have some ideas on how their customer experience might differ from the used car lot near my house. I can’t imagine that a high-end car dealership is going to offer families coffee in a paper cup. They’re likely going to serve drinks in glassware and give customers their undivided attention. They are going to create an experience. This difference I’m referring to is known as the white glove treatment. They are still selling a car, but the experience is much different. 

Your tools come into play for this. You need to be able to clearly and concisely communicate the value of what you’re offering and how it can meet their specific needs. You also need to be prepared to answer any questions they may have and address any objections they may raise.

Catch and Release – Turning Unicorns into Brand Ambassadors

Creating brand ambassadors starts at the beginning of the relationship you build. Yes, meeting them where they are, being inviting and your white glove level of service will impact their experience. My best piece of advice in catching unicorns, the magical pixie dust, is to learn to tell their stories and they will learn to tell yours. If you can master listening to their story and turning it into a private mausoleum that truly honors their legacy, they will go out to their acquaintances to share the story of what you did for them. 

The sale isn’t closed when they sign your contract. The sale is closed when the Private Estates building is completed and the landscaping is done. Be attentive to the family and their needs through the building process. Set and manage expectations and keep them informed along the way. Consider planning a dedication to honor their final resting place with their family and friends. They’ve spent months waiting for this; provide them the opportunity to share the pride they feel for what they’ve created and the legacy it represents.

Catching a unicorn – a large ticket cemetery or private mausoleum sale – is no easy feat. But, with the right mindset and plan in place, it’s possible to turn these mythical creatures into monumental successes. By gathering your tools, prospecting strategically, engaging and inviting unicorns effectively, and turning them into brand ambassadors, you can achieve sales success that is truly legendary.

Article featured in ICCFA Momento Mori
Authored by Coldspring Regional Sales Manager, Honnalora Hubbard

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