Page 1

BULLETIN THE

of the National Concrete Burial Vault Association

2009 Convention Wrap-up

Hatfield to Lead NCBVA

February/March 2009


2

NCBVA BULLETIN

February/March 2009

Matthews CreMation

IVISION

TION D CREMA

stiMulus PaCkage

And BAycAp, Inc FInAnce Is reAdy to Lend.

Human equipment

For over 50 years, Matthews Cremation (IEE and ALL Crematory) brand equipment has symbolized the

power pak ii

finest technology, highest safety standards and 24/7 service and technical support within the industry. With over 3,000 installations in over 50 countries, our leadership, expertise and endless commitment to our client’s success are the reasons why funeral professionals across the country proudly identify Matthews Cremation as the only choice for their Human or Animal cremation equipment, supplies and service needs.

• 2-Hours or Less Cremation time • up to 4 Cremations in 8 Hours • Smoke-Buster™ 140 • ranked #1 “Best Seller” in north america for the past 15 years.

1,330

$

A Month*

*Based on $90,000 budget, 84 month term, 20% PRO Lease, first & last payments in advance plus processing fee, requires financial statements, on approved credit.

Offer Good For The Next 6 Months!

pet equipment

To take advantage of this great offer or to learn more about Matthews, we invite you to speak to one of our equipment consultants at (800)-327-2831 or visit us at www.matthewscremation.com.

power pak Jr.

• 75 lbs. per /hr. Cremation rate • 300 lbs. Safe Load Capacity • Smoke-Buster™ 85 • Fastest Selling pet Cremator in the industry.

815

$

A Month**

**Based on $55,000 budget, 84 month term, 20% PRO Lease, first & last payments in advance plus processing fee, requires financial statements, on approved credit.

E

m

b

r

a

c

E

t

h

E

CREMATION DIVISION

o

p

p

o

r

t

u

n

i

t

y

CREMATION CASKETS

20824-BUL 7.5x9.75 EcStim.indd 1

1/12/09 10:03:39 AM


February/March 2009 National Concrete Burial Vault Association, Inc. P.O. Box 917525 Longwood, Florida 32791 http://www.ncbva.org (800) 538-1423 Fax: (407) 774-6751 President Stephen Hatfield Hicks Industries, Inc. Mulberry, FL President-Elect Hubert McQuestion Lakeshore Burial Vault Co. Brookfield, WI Secretary/Treasurer Wendy Bott Brown Mark H. Bott Co. Ogden, UT Immediate Past President Todd Swihart Saginaw Wilbert Vault Corp. Saginaw, MI Directors Michael Crummitt Crummitt & Son Vault Co. Martins Ferry, OH Linda Darby-Sempsrott Trigard Vaults / Greenwood Plastics Danville, IL Doug Evans Carolina Doric, Inc. Florence, SC

NCBVA BULLETIN

3

TABLE OF CONTENTS 2009 Convention.......................... 5 New Officers; Outstanding Speakers in Tropical Key West

A Message from the New President........................ 7 Stephen Hatfield issues a challenge

Estate Taxes & Amendment To the Disabilities Act................... 8 By J. Scott Calkins NCBVA Legal Counsel

Steve’s New Beat! ....................... 9 Steve Hatfield elected 2009 NCBVA President

Convention Photos..................... 12 Pricele$$ Advice......................... 14 Ways to Improve Your Company’s Bottom Line

Steve Handley Handley Precast Systems, Inc. Glendale, AZ

Membership Application............. 18

Dave Long Northeastern Eagle, Inc. Joliet, IL

NCBVA Certified Plants.............. 19

Tony Colson Wilbert Funeral Services, Inc. Forest Park, IL

Industry News ’N Notes.............. 21 Our Advertisers

Jerry Russell Southern Ohio Vault Co. Portsmouth, OH Dennis Schultz Doric Vault of Western N.Y., Inc. Buffalo, NY Steve Vincent Vincent & Son, Inc. Galena, IL Executive Director Thomas A. Monahan, CAE Certified Association Management Co. Longwood, FL Legal Counsel J. Scott Calkins, Esq.

Cover Photo by bigdphotos.com

American Cemetery Supplies, Inc...... 6 Axis Corporation............................... 22 CemenTech...................................... 23 Crescent Bronze Powder Co............... 7 D & C Supply Co., Inc......................... 7 Doric, Inc........................................... 15 Edgmont Metallic Pigment Co.......... 17 Holland Supply Inc............................ 11 Long Machine Co.............................. 16 Matthews Int’l., Cremation Div............ 2 Romix Chemical & Brush................... 8 Rostine Manufacturing & Supply...... 15 Trigard Vaults...................................... 4


4

NCBVA BULLETIN

February/March 2009

Strength in numbers. Strength. Everyone wants it, and the security and protection it affords. But strength is in the numbers, so you have to do a little math to stand out from the crowd. And once you’ve seen the numbers behind the Aegean and Elite vaults from Trigard, we’re sure you’ll agree--nothing else really adds up.

1 tongue & groove cover with strong tape seal

14,000 pounds-worth of protection– the weight of a backhoe

40 years of experience since Trigard entered the industry in 1969

13 years of performance since unveiling the Aegean in 1996

4

3

layers of protection–metal, polymer liner, concrete, and polymer exterior

handcrafted metal linings and caps–steel, copper and bronze

6 decorative finishes of simulated stone and wood

1/3 total mass located in the cover– the strongest in the industry

800.637.1992 www.trigard.com


February/March 2009

NCBVA BULLETIN

See Convention photos page 12-13!

New Officers; Outstanding Speakers In Tropical Key West The Casa Marina Resort Beach Club in Key West proved to be the perfect tropical retreat for burial vault manufacturers, who gladly left cooler climates behind and headed south for the annual NCBVA convention, February 14 - 16. The historic hotel situated at the southernmost tip of the U.S. offered attendees the ideal waterfront setting, luxurious amenities, and fine cuisine. The warm temperatures (80º !) and sunshine provided the proverbial frosting on the cake. Everyone enjoyed the opening reception and dinner––a seafood feast on the sandy beach––and lingered to visit and network. At Sunday’s annual meeting, the exhibits and programs were once again housed together under one roof, in NCBVA’s “partnership plaza” concept. Ample time was built in so that attendees could meet the exhibitors and learn about new products and services. NCBVA’s new officers for 2009 were elected (photos page 24). They are: President - Stephen Hatfield, Hicks Industries, Inc., Mulberry, FL; President-Elect - Hubert McQuestion, Lakeshore Burial Vault Co., Brookfield, WI; and Secretary/Treasurer - Wendy Bott Brown, Mark H. Bott Co., Ogden, UT. There were two openings for Director: Jerry Russell, Southern Ohio Vault Co., Portsmouth, OH, was re-elected for a second term; and Steve Handley, Handley Precast Systems, Inc., Glendale, AZ, was elected to a first term. Affiliate Representatives appointed were: Doric - Steve Vincent, J.P. Vincent & Son, Galena, IL; Eagle - Dave Long, Northeastern Eagle, Inc., Joliet, IL; Trigard - Linda DarbySempsrott, Trigard Vaults/Greenwood Plastics, Danville, IL; and Wilbert -Tony Colson, Wilbert Funeral Services, Broadview, IL. A hot topic at the business meeting was green burials. It was generally believed by members of the burial vault industry in attendance that green burials are receiving a tremendous amount of media attention, and the public is being misinformed about claims

Convention Exhibitors: Thanks for New Ideas! American Cemetery Supplies Inc. Axis Corporation Frigid Fluid Co. Hiab, Inc. Holland Supply, Inc. Mixer Systems, Inc. Trigard Voeller Mixers Inc.

5

Thank You, Convention Sponsors! PLATINUM SPONSOR Edgmont Metallic Pigment Company, Inc. GOLD SPONSORS Doric Products, Inc. Trigard Vaults/Greenwood Plastics, Inc. BRONZE SPONSORS Forta Corporation Wilbert Funeral Services, Inc. that green burials are the “environmental” smart choice. Plans were made to make literature available from NCBVA soon that will explain why a concrete lined burial vault is the most environmentally responsible choice. ASTM & Concrete In the absence of Phil Norder, chairman of NCBVA’s committee that’s watchdogging ASTM’s work on concrete standards, David Brugger, NCBVA’s Plant Certification Representative, and Blake Swinford of Trigard briefly discussed progress on ASTM WK828, New Proposed Standard for Precast Concrete Burial Vaults. (Note: “WK” means a “work item.” A WK prefix may indicate a new standard or a revision to an existing standard that is under development by a committee.) David Brugger emphasized, “Every comment that is received on a proposed standard must be addressed, accepted or dismissed by ASTM. When a proposed standard finally emerges as a standard, it will be a good standard––one that will hold up to the toughest of scrutiny.” Blake Swinford added, “Through ASTM’s process, no one entity is allowed to ramrod an unacceptable standard through.” There is a link to ASTM in “Links of Interest” on the NCBVA website, or you may go directly to www.astm.org. Watch for news in The Bulletin or the website. Outstanding Speakers The two convention speakers, Kevin Stirtz and Ron Rosenberg, were right on the money when it came to giving the skivvy on how to provide “amazing customer service” and enlist “outrageous marketing” tips (with an obscene amount of return on investment). (See important highlights of what burial vault manufacturers learned in the article beginning on page 14.) Board the Conch Train & Party On the Party Cat The final social event on Monday night began with attendees boarding the Conch Train to get to the marina and the “Party Cat.” As the catamaran cruised out of the harbor, another gorgeous sunset magically held everyone’s attention. Attendees then were treated to Key West cuisine. The night was a fitting farewell to “Margaritaville.” Watch for news to be published soon about the great adventure planned for NCBVA’s 2010 annual meeting.■


6

NCBVA BULLETIN

February/March 2009

American Cemetery Supplies, Inc. 1-800-515-0400 Fax (757) 488-1589

Your Total Vault Supplier High Quality • Low Prices

Manufacturer of: Tents • Grass • Chair Covers • Tarps Drapes • Lowering Devices Casket Roller Bars Casket Stands and Cremation Stands and many other items Distributor of: Flags • Chairs Frigid Lowering Devices

Providing Solutions for the Burial Vault Industry.... TraxPlus™ will protect the cemetery lawn from damage by eliminating ruts and reseeding. TraxPlus™ is made from a composite fiberglass material that is strong enough to “bridge” over soft ground areas.

Call for more information. Mention this ad and receive additional discounting off your order of TraxPlus™.

Protect Your Cemetery Lawns with Portable Roadway Systems Composite Mats Starting at $118 each.


February/March 2009

NCBVA BULLETIN

A Message From the New President

H

ello, and a warm welcome from the “Sunshine State!” I am very honored to have been elected president of your association at our recent annual meeting held in my home state, at the elegant Casa Marina Resort Beach Club in exotic Key West. If you weren’t there, you missed out on an education and fun-filled networking experience, as the photos included in this issue show. To those of you who took the time out of your busy schedule to attend–– thank you! I want to extend a very special thanks to our generous sponsors, and, of course, to each of the suppliers who exhibited their products and gave of their time to be with us.

7

While it is a business decision to take advantage of the opportunity to meet one-on-one with a number of burial vault manufacturing company owners and managers at one time, it is also the commitment of these folks that help make the convention possible. I also want to thank Executive Director Tom Monahan, Publisher Jan Monahan, Sylvia Heidemann and the management staff for putting together another enjoyable and memorable experience. As we move forward, I believe the officers and directors are committed to the improvement of your association. We can’t do it alone, however. The success of any association depends on the involvement of all the members. This year, I implore each of you to promote the association, and I challenge you to personally find and sign up one new member. Keep in mind that this association isn’t about the brand of vault you sell or your brand affiliations. It’s about what we, as individual manufacturers, can collectively do for the good of the entire concrete burial vault industry.■ Stephen Hatfield is Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer of Hicks Industries, Inc.

VaultMaster paints. The quality you demand, the speed you need. ™

VaultMaster paints provide consistently beautiful finishes, job after job. And our new, improved water-based quick dry formula covers in one coat, saving you time and labor costs. Four New Colors Metallics Rose Pink, Veteran Blue, White and Black Dark Bronze & Light Bronze Also available: Glitter Metallic Powders and Pastes Bronzing Liquids, Spray Cans See for yourself. Call or write for our updated Color Card or samples. 1-800-445-6810

3321 County Road A Oshkosh, WI 54901 Fax: 920-231-8085 www.crescentbronze.us


8

NCBVA BULLETIN

HIGH PERFORMANCE #

RO-396

CONCRETE RELEASE AGENT

PROVEN RESULTS • Non-Hazardous • Non-Toxic • Environmentally Safe • Eliminates Bug Holes • Prevents Build-up on Forms • Re-Active Agent • Biodegradable • Use on Aluminum, Steel, Plywood, and Fiberglass • Use as Anti-Stick Agent on Related Equipment

Toll Free: 800-331-2243 Fax: 817-685-0877 E-Mail: RoMix@sprynet.com

www.romixchem.com

CHEMICAL and BRUSH INC. CUSTOM FORMULATORS MANUFACTURING CHEMIST

February/March 2009

Estate Taxes & Amendment To the Disability Act By J. Scott Calkins, Esq. NCBVA Counsel

W

hile estate taxes remain a top-concern for vault manufacturing companies, particularly small-volume firms with an aging owner, there are some ways that these firms can help protect themselves in the event of the death of the primary individual owner. In view of the threat of reducing the current exemption of $3.5 million back to $1 million for federal taxation of estates, owners of vault companies should consult with their attorneys and financial advisors on the best strategies to utilize the current exemption. This is an important step to take in order to be prepared for substantial changes in the tax code and also to insure the survival of the business after death of the owner. Make sure wills are up to date. Vault company owners also need to make sure they can meet the requirements for the qualified family-owned business interest deduction on an estate tax return. (Note: Not all members can utilize this deduction but it is well worth investigating.) To qualify, a business must either be a sole proprietorship or be at least 50 percent owned by the decedent and his family. Other qualifications that must be met: • The business must not have been publicly traded for at least three years prior to the death. • The business must not have more than 35 percent of gross income coming from a personal holding company. • The business must be located in the U.S. and owned by a U.S. citizen. • The business must have been owned by the decedent for at least five years prior to his/her death. • After the owner’s death, the business must pass interest to a qualified heir. Disability Law Changes For vault firms that employ 15 or more people, the laws have changed that govern an employer’s responsibilities for accommodating individuals with disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendment Act (ADAAA) was signed by President Bush on September 25, 2008, and went into effect on January 1, 2009. Under this amendment, more employees of your company may be considered to be classified as “disabled.” For example, individuals who have recurrent but controllable illnesses (such as those with diabetes or epilepsy) or who are in remission from cancer, will be covered under the law. Also, those who have a loss of bodily functions may also be covered under the ADAAA. What does this mean for your vault company? It means that owners and managers should be updated on the changes in the law and how it may apply to employees. Failure to comply with the law could result in a discrimination lawsuit. As an owner or operator (manager) of a vault company, you should understand the changes in the law such as “major life activities,” inability to consider mitigating measures, etc. For more information on the changes to the ADAAA, visit the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission website at www.eeoc.gov.■


February/March 2009

NCBVA BULLETIN

9

Stephen Hatfield was elected as NCBVA’s president at the association’s February 14 16 convention in Key West. While Steve has served in the funeral industry for 38 years, there’s another career in his background that may seem unlikely, but highly interesting. It was through his secondary career that an event happened that ultimately brought him where he is today––as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Hicks Industries, Inc. Read on to see how he was in the right place at the right time.

Steve’s New Beat! 2009 NCBVA President

By Sylvia Heidemann NCBVA Staff Writer

M

any boys dream of being firefighters or policemen when they grow up. Steve Hatfield, NCBVA’s new president, was no exception. Steve was born in Mississippi but moved at the age of 10 to Lakeland, FL. During his senior year in high school he enrolled in the police academy and was planning to earn a degree and make a career in criminology. One of his buddies, however, was studying funeral science and talked Steve into taking that route. Steve completed his degree in funeral science and worked at a funeral home for about 10 years. Police work still intrigued him, though. He stayed licensed so he could

continue to work in the funeral home parttime, but his day job was in the police department. He worked his way up to be captain of the Mulberry Police Department. “I kind of flip-flopped for a number of years,” laughs Steve. “When I worked for the police department, I worked at a funeral home part-time. When I worked for the funeral home, I served in the police department part-time.” The small town of Mulberry, which is located south of Lakeland, is an interesting community. It has a rich history, a hometown atmosphere, and a population today of nearly 3,400. It’s nestled in the heart of Central Florida, close to Tampa, Walt Dis-

Steve and wife Melissa were high school sweethearts, now married 36 years.

Steve Hatfield, Captain Mulberry Police Department, circa 1992

ney World®, and Orlando. It’s a desirable community in which to retire, with lots of business potential. Entrepreneurs like Kenneth J. Hicks, former co-owner of Carlton Wilbert Vaults (which, through acquisitions, ultimately grew and became what is known today as Hicks Industries, Inc.) was a benefactor of police and fire departments wherever he lived. He had been operating a burial vault plant in Mulberry, but had retired. One day he walked into Captain Hatfield’s office with the intention of donating money to the police department. In the course of their interaction, Mr. Hicks asked Steve if he knew anyone who might be looking for a job in the funeral industry. He needed help with the Mulberry plant. The rest, as they say, is history. Steve soon became general manager at the Mulberry plant (formerly known as Carlton Vaults) and began his association with Dan Hicks, former NCBVA president (2003 - 2004). Because of his management skills, Steve was promoted to vice president in charge of both the plants in Miami and Mulberry. Another acquisition––Southern Vault in Gainesville, FL––and Steve found himself managing three operations. Needless to say, he does a lot of traveling. Regarding the Hatfield, continued on page 10


10

NCBVA BULLETIN

February/March 2009

“Government regulations are not going to go away. It’s highly possible that regulations will be coming from the Federal Trade Commission and OSHA that we aren’t even aware of yet. We as an industry must stay on top of all the issues affecting us, and we must voice our opinions.”––Steve Hatfield differences in the demographic areas, the company doesn’t do any openings or closures in Miami, but in the northern Florida counties the company provides a number of services, including openings and closures. Hicks Industries manufactures Wilbert and Doric vaults. Steve attends the corporate meetings of each franchiser, which gives him in-depth knowledge of the industry––a plus for an association president. The history of company acquisitions under Ken Hicks and Dan Hicks is fascinating. (For details, visit www.hicksindustriesinc. com.) Dan Hicks bought out the holdings of his father and later in 1999 unified the company with one familiar brand name: Hicks Industries, Inc. Today, Hicks Industries is committed to becoming known as a top-quality supplier of burial products in Florida, but also wants to be known as a top-quality supplier of ready-mix concrete, serving the needs of small- to medium-sized contractors as well as homeowners. The interview on which this profile is based took place on February 15 following the presentation by NCBVA convention seminar speaker Kevin Stirtz, The Amazing Service Guy. “I think our company does strive to provide ‘amazing service’ to our customers,” says Steve, and stresses that Hicks Industries lives up to its description on the company website. “We are committed to customer service, quality products, business ethics, our people, innovation and honesty.” Goals for the NCBVA For a number of years Steve has been NCBVA’s liaison to the Veterans Administration. As a result, he has many thoughts about NCBVA membership, especially when he hears manufacturers question its value. “I wish more burial vault manufacturers would seriously assess the value of becoming a member of the NCBVA,” says Steve, “and that more current members would realize how far-reaching our association can be. The more members we have the stronger and better our voice is with government entities and other groups that impact our industry. We’ve started a dialog with the VA, but to be truly effective we need to have more of a national presence. The VA is having a definite impact on our livelihoods. Eighty percent of all new VA cemeteries will have double crypts. There are currently four VA cemeteries in Florida alone. If you do the math, you can’t help but be concerned.” Steve continues, “Government regulations are not going to go away. It’s highly possible that regulations will be coming from the Federal Trade Commission and OSHA that we aren’t even aware of yet. We as an industry must stay on top of all the issues affecting us, and we must voice our opinions. The more we do that, the better opportunities we will have.” He also likes the idea of all the major franchises––Wilbert, Doric, Trigard and Eagle––having representation on NCBVA’s Board of Directors. “They get to see manufacturers, their licensees, face to face this way and get a better understanding of our concerns as an industry. It’s an opportunity to put aside competitiveness and think

as a group about what we want and need to ensure our survival. Only then we can work together to design an inclusive plan that will help us meet our goals.” Similarly, Steve appreciates the fact that there is a Funeral and Memorialization Information Council (FAMIC), and that NCBVA has a seat on that Council. “It’s informative and enlightening to participate in the FAMIC meetings. This allows us insight into all areas of the deathcare industry (and I hate that term!). We get great feedback from sitting in on this organization.” And there’s one more important item that’s on Steve’s to-do list for the NCBVA: “I definitely want to re-visit the association’s strategic plan,” says Steve. “This plan was adopted by the Board during Dan’s tenure and lays out the association’s mission, vision and long-term goals. This really came to light when during David Brugger’s report at the last Board meeting folks were telling him the association had no mission. Past President Darren Baxter said he remembered sitting during a two-day meeting and creating a mission statement as part of that plan. So, we obviously dropped the ball somewhere and need to recover the fumble.” The Personal Side Steve married his high school sweetheart, Melissa, and they’ve been a couple for 36 years. They have two children. Megan, who is married, is planning to be a teacher and will graduate from college in May. Son Nicholas is a senior in high school and will also graduate

in May. Family time is important to Steve, as well as getting in a few rounds of golf when he can. With his grass-roots background, Steve is firmly grounded in what’s important in life. He speaks his mind and tells it like it is, and his special mission over the term of his presidency is to see NCBVA grow to be rock-solid and more valuable to vault manufacturers everywhere.■ Photo above: The Hatfields’ daughter, Megan Milcich, and son Nicholas.


February/March 2009

NCBVA BULLETIN

11

Guaranteed to outperform the competition!

HOLLAND SUPPLY, INC. 1-800-527-8818 Holland, manufacturing a complete line of graveside set-up equipment since 1962. Our commitment is to offer you “The Best Value on the Market.” Holland 15’ x 15’ & 15’ x 20’ Tents

Holland Oval Tents

Now you have a choice.

20% Disct. * * * * *

Tent frame fittings guaranteed for life. Strongest aluminum frames in the industry. Tent peak and corners with 4 layers of reinforcement. Straps & hooks with 3 layers of reinforcement. Tops made to fit your frame.

Device straps in all sizes.

Best prices on Frigid devices.

Our products are designed to look and perform better, last longer, and require less maintenance costs than our competitors.

sales@hollandsupplyinc.com

* Holland Supply manufactures a complete line of oval tops, frames and parts. * Interchangeable with Steril tops, frames and parts.

No-fray binding on our grass.

Proud members of the NCBVA. Call for your discounted pricing. 1-800-527-8818

www.hollandsupplyinc.com


12

NCBVA BULLETIN

February/March 2009

2009 Conventio Key Wes


February/March 2009

on & Exposition st, Florida

NCBVA BULLETIN

13


14

NCBVA BULLETIN

NEW MEMBERS NCBVA welcomes the following new members. For information on how to become a member of the National Concrete Burial Vault Association, please see the application form on page 18 or visit the website: www.ncbva.org. MANUFACTURERS Robert Knauer Knauer Industries 19505 NE Frontage Rd. Joliet, IL 60404 815-725-0246 Harrell W. (Buddy) Minchew, Jr. Minchew Sand & Concrete Products, Inc. 4095 Minchew Blvd. Waycross, GA 31503 912-387-5299 Nicholas Pirro, III Quality Vault & Casket, Inc. 727 Lancaster St. Leominster, MA 01453 978-537-5970 ASSOCIATES Jack Domingo Accurate Wire & Strip Forming, Inc. 175 Tubeway Dr. Carol Stream, IL 60188 630-260-1000 www.accuratewsr.com Ida Pardo Riverdale Mills Corp 130 Riverdale St., P.O. Box 200 Northbridge, MA 01534 508-234-7815 www.riverdale.com Thomas Cannon Wire Products of Florida, Inc. 1155 Charles St., Suite 175 Longwood, FL 32750 407-830-9920 www.wireproducts.us

February/March 2009

NCBVA members usually find that when they leave the familiarity of their own office, company, and community to attend the annual convention, they are free from normal business constraints and can embrace new ideas more wholeheartedly. The convention atmosphere is designed to help them open up to new concepts and think outside the box, and the speakers selected every year for the program are experts at leading people to the edge of important discoveries about themselves and their businesses. What an attendee learns in convention seminars and then later applies when back at the home office has a positive effect on his/her company’s bottom line. As some people learned during the sessions, delivering “amazing” customer service is worth several hundred thousand or even millions of dollars over a 20-year business span. That’s priceless.

Pricele$$ Advice Ways to Improve Your Company’s Bottom Line

Enter Kevin Stirtz, who lead the Sunday morning seminar on customer service. Kevin bills himself as “the amazing service guy” and asked attendees to remember the last time they had “amazing” (definition: positive, memorable, over the top) customer service. The show of hands indicated that most had to go back a number of months to recall a really good experience. When he asked them to go to the “dark side,” however, and think of negative customer service that they had received, most could recall such treatment within the last month. Kevin firmly believes that if members of our society would start putting everyone else first, our economy would be better. Interesting thought. After quizzing attendees on what they thought comprised excellent customer service, Kevin shared the 10 basic tenets of outstanding service, based on his personal survey of customers worldwide (see sidebar page 15). Kevin then stressed some important findings from other surveys: (1) The American Society for Quality Control (ASQC) found that 68 percent of customers leave because of bad service. Improved service increases revenue by a whopping 57 percent. (2) A study by Bain & Company showed that a 5 percent increase in customer loyalty leads to a 25 - 95 percent increase in profits. (3) Brookside Group Research discovered that an increase as small as one percent in customer loyalty equaled a 10 percent reduction in operating costs. An important point to keep in mind, Kevin emphasized, is that if funeral directors are your customers, THEIR BUSINESS is on the line EVERY TIME they do business with you. He followed this up with the statement that brain science shows that helping people produces the same response in our brains (a “feel good” response) as much as other activities in our lives that also bring us pleasure. In the hustle and bustle of daily activities, just how can you remind yourself (and your employees) to keep quality customer service foremost in their minds? Kevin outlined four basic steps: Create a daily reminder; find ways to keep your company service standards at the top of everyone’s mind––Perhaps set up a daily e-mail message to your employees.


February/March 2009

NCBVA BULLETIN

For ideas, he suggested a page on his own website, http://Amazing Service Guy.com/daily dose. Affirm company values--Company values drive employee actions. Don’t send mixed-messages to employees. Make sure that your words and actions match. Reward good behavior, and don’t criticize an employee for going the extra mile in customer service because it may have cost a few dollars more. True, it may have cost more at the time, but the rewards in customer loyalty and long-term revenue benefits are great. Make it personal--Pretend your customer is someone you really care about--like your grandmother. How far would you go to give her special service if she were your customer? Communicate--Talk to customers, co-workers and managers about what is working and what can be improved. Kevin believes everyone always has a choice to deliver amazing service or not. “Handholding” of customers takes time, but it’s worth it to your business. He stressed that burial vault manufacturers are in the “people” business, and people are more important than money. “If we can get everyone treating everyone else well, in the end it will help all those people we really care about (wife, son, daughter, brother, sister, etc.). That’s what’s important,” he said. Kevin closed his session with a little advice from a well-known athlete who played with a lot of heart and hustle. “Touch ’em all Kirby” Puckett played for the Minnesota Twins when they won two World Series. When asked the secret of his success, Kirby said, “I swing the bat every chance I get. I try to treat everyone well, and I love what I do. I’m living my dream.”

15

Important Components Of Amazing Service (from a customer’s viewpoint) 1. Listen to me 2. Know more than I do 3. Be easy to work with 4. Give me what I came for 5. Smile 6. Tell me your name 7. Acknowledge my presence 8. Don’t treat me like an interruption 9. Show me you care 10. Don’t waste my time So, vault manufacturers, practice making an excellent product, treat everyone well, and love what you do.

“Outrageous” Marketing Marketing guru Ron Rosenberg certainly grabbed everyone’s attention at the Monday morning session when he began discussing the four “M”s of marketing––message, market, media and moment––by stating, “There are no magic wands, but you can do anything you want to get your customer’s attention, as long as it’s not illegal, immoral or unethical.” That said, Ron stressed that marketing is not an expense. “If done right, it’s an investment that gives an obscenely high rate of return,” Continued on page 23

is not only in our vaults, but in the people who build and service them. Doric has been providing funeral homes with quality lined concrete burial vaults for over 50 years. Experience, unparalled service and a dedicated nationwide dealer network make Doric the preferred choice of funeral directors around the country.

www.doric-vaults.com doric 1/4 page bw

1

1-888-55-DORIC 1/30/07, 10:40 AM


16

NCBVA BULLETIN

February/March 2009

Long Machine Company THE VAULT INDUSTRY’S PREMIER VAULT TRAILER

BUILT TO ACCOMMODATE YOUR NEEDS Our standard VAULT-MASTER can perform your entire vault handling jobs. OFF LOADING VAULTS FROM TRUCKS SETTING VAULTS STRAIGHT OR CROSSWAYS DISINTERMENTS OPERATING ON STEEP

TERRAIN. (Three point hydraulic leveling).

You can do it all with a ONE-MAN OPERATION WE ALSO OFFER A FIXED BOOM UNIT WITH ALL THE FEATURES OF OUR STANDARD UNIT. A LARGE SELECTION OF OPTIONS ARE AVAILABE ON ALL OUR UNITS. ALL OUR UNITS CAN BE BUILT TO ACCOMMODATE OVERSIZED VAULTS.

We set the standards for vault handling equipment. We DO NOT copy anyone. We are always looking to the future.

LET US CUSTOM BUILD YOUR NEXT VAULT TRAILER


February/March 2009

NCBVA BULLETIN

Last Wish: Bury Me With My Blackberry! We take them with us to the dinner table, the bedroom, even the bathroom stall. But in recent years, some of us have started taking our beloved cell phones someplace really startling: the grave. “It seems that everyone under 40 who dies takes his cell phone with him,” said a family service counselor for a funeral home and cemetery in Hollywood, CA. “It’s a trend with BlackBerrys, too. We even had one guy who was buried with his Game Boy.” Evidence suggests being buried with a favorite tech device is on the upswing. In an NBC news report, Ed Defort, publisher and editorial director for American Funeral Director magazine, says it’s a definite trend. “I’ve even heard of cases where people are being buried with their iPod. One guy was prepared for his viewing with his Bluetooth (headset) in his ear.” But it’s the cell phone, in particular, that seems to be the burial gadget of choice, coming in second only to people who want to be buried with their pet’s cremains. While statistics on cell phone burials don’t exist, funeral professionals agree it’s a fairly common occurrence — at least among the tech-savvy and the young — and some believe we’re only seeing the tip of the wired-to-the-end trend. Why, exactly, are people going to the grave with their gadgets? Experts say there are a number of reasons. Some do it for the same reason people have always tucked mementos into a casket (or tomb, as in the case of King Tut). People want to surround themselves (or their loved ones) with the things they hold dear, whether that’s their cell phone and headset or some family photos, a fishing rod, a piece of treasured jewelry. It’s like the phone represents the person; it’s part of their legacy––like their class ring. Others do it as a way to provide comfort — both to themselves and the departed. “I’ve seen family members place iPod earphones on the decedent and play songs as the casket closed,” said a Los Angeles funeral planner who helps create more personalized services for families.  Source: NBC News

17

Metallic Pigment Company, Inc.

Copper, Gold, & Silver Pigments Water Base Coatings Bronzing Liquids Quality Glitters Matching Spray Cans

1•800•610•1490 Fax: 610•429•4457 203 GARFIELD AVENUE WEST CHESTER, PA 19380


18

NCBVA BULLETIN

February/March 2009

National Concrete Burial Vault Association “Serving the death care industry with the very best”

Dues Schedule

APPLICATION FOR MEMBERSHIP

❐ Manufacturer Member Dues are based on total units sold at this location.

Key Contact____________________________________Nickname_____________

❐ ❐ ❐ ❐ ❐

Please check appropriate level: 1-999 Units..........$225 1000 - 1999..........$350 2000 - 3499..........$430 3500 - 4999..........$580 5000 and more......$700

Title ______________________________________________________________ Company Name _____________________________________________________ Street Address _______________________________________________________ City _____________________ State _______________ Zip __________________ Phone ___________________________ Fax ______________________________ E-mail ____________________________________________________________ Company Web Site ___________________________________________________

❐ Associate Member......$300 ❐ Franchise Group.........$1000

Payment Information

❐ Check here if you prefer to have your mail sent to your home. Home street Address _________________________________________ City _____________________ State ______________ Zip ___________ Home Phone _________________ Home Fax ______________________

Include payment with this completed form. We accept Visa, MasterCard and American Express

COMPANY INFORMATION

❐ Check is enclosed

❐ Burial Vault Manufacturer ❐ Crematory

❐ Funeral Director ❐ Cemetery

❐ Doric ❐ Con-O-lite

❐ Wilbert ❐ Other

❐ Eagle ❐ Trigard ❐ Provide Graveside Services

❐ Metal Vaults Offer sizes for

❐ Plastic Vaults ❐ Fiberglass Vaults ❐ Children ❐ Adults ❐ Oversize

Please charge my ❐ Visa ❐ MasterCard

❐ Amex

Account #_____________________ Expiration date _________________

Mailing Information

NCBVA P.O. Box 917525 Longwood, FL 32791 (800) 538-1423 Fax: (407) 774-6751 www.ncbva.org

❐ Associate Member: Tell us in 25 words or less about your product/services

❐ Please enroll me in NCBVA today! Signature indicates that you have read and agree to abide by NCBVA’s Code of Ethics and the rules that govern the National Concrete Burial Vault Association. Signature is required before this application can be processed. _________________________________________ (Signature)

___________ (Date)

CODE OF ETHICS We believe that concrete is an ideal material for the construction of burial vaults for the interment of human remains and that a properly constructed concrete burial vault is worthy of acceptance by the public. Our sales and advertising policies will be governed by standards acceptable by the public and the funeral profession and by principles advocated by the National Concrete Burial Vault Association, Inc. We pledge fair trade practices to our competitor, whose product we will not disparage. We shall conduct our business on sound business principles, striving to build a relationship of respect and confidence for the burial vault industry with the public, with the funeral director and with the cemetery’s management. We will abide by the rules and regulations of the National Concrete Burial Vault Association, Inc., thereby contributing to a stronger and greater national industry.


February/March 2009

U A D & Sons Vault Co. Suffolk, VA Abel Vault & Monument Co. Canton, IL American Concrete Industries Veazie, ME American Vault Co. Cleveland, OH American Wilbert Vault Corp. Forest Park, IL Arnold-Wilbert Corp. Goldsboro, NC Arrow Vault Co., Inc. Lafayette, IN Atlas Concrete Products, Inc. Orlando, FL Austin Concrete Products Dover, NH Babylon Vault Co. New Windsor, MD Badger Burial Vault Co. Eau Claire, WI Bailey Monument & Vault Co. Waycross, GA Baumgardner Products Co. Akron, OH Baxter Burial Vault Cincinnati, OH Baxter Vault Co. Baxter Springs, KS Beck Vault Co. Rome, NY Bell Vault & Monument Miamisburg, OH Brewster Vaults & Monuments Millville, NJ Brown-Wilbert, Inc. Morris, MN Brown-Wilbert, Inc. St. Paul, MN Bruns Norwalk Vault Co. St. Louis, MO Brutsche Concrete Products Battle Creek, MI Brutsche Concrete Products Benton Harbor, MI Buckeye Vault Service Mansfield, OH C & M Precast Kerrville, TX Calumet Wilbert Vault Co. Inc. Gary, IN Capital Precast, Ltd. St. Johns, NL, Canada Carolina-Doric, Inc. Florence, SC Central Burial Vaults, Inc. Marlow, OK Central Burial Vaults, Inc. Oklahoma City, OK Central Burial Vaults, Inc. Tulsa, OK

NCBVA BULLETIN

19

NCBVA Certified Vault Manufacturing Plants NCBVA proudly recognizes the following companies that have a current standing in the Plant Certification Program Central New York Vault Co. Cortland, NY Century Vault Co., Inc. West Barnstable, MA Charleston Wilbert Summerville, SC Cheboygan Cement Products Co. Cheboygan, MI Chesapeake Burial Vault Co. Ingleside, MD Christy Vault Co., Inc. Colma, CA Columbus-Beier Vaults Columbus, WI Cooper Wilbert Vault Co. Middletown, DE Cordeiro Vault Co., Inc. Vallejo, CA Costello & Company Vaults Smith Falls, Ontario, Canada Creter Vault Corp. Flemington, NJ Crummitt & Son Vault Corp. Martins Ferry, OH D.G. Robertson, Inc. Williston, VT Dardanelle Vault & Monument Dardanelle, AR Deihl Vault & Precast Co. Orangeville, PA Delaware Valley Vault Co. Blackwood, NJ DePue Wilbert Vault Savannah, GA Detroit Wilbert Vault Corp. Detroit, MI Doody Burial Vaults, Inc. Winchendon, MA Doric Concrete Vaults Inc. Garden City, KS Doric Concrete Vaults, Inc. Great Bend, KS Doric Concrete Vaults Inc. Osage City, KS Doric Huntingburg Vault Co. Huntingburg, IN Doric of Kansas Vault Iola, KS Doric of Nashville, Inc. Nashville, TN Doric of Northeast Arkansas Jonesboro, AR Doric of Tennessee Cowan, TN Doric Concrete Vaults Limon, CO Doric Concrete Vaults, Inc. Newton, KS Doric Manufacturing Co. Boaz, AL Doric Mississippi, Inc. Jackson, MS

Doric-South, Inc. Demopolis, AL Doric Vault of Connecticut North Haven, CT Doric Vault of Eastern NY, Inc. Hudson, NY Doric Vault of Western NY, Inc. Depew, NY Doric Vault Co. Griffin, GA Dura Vault North Bend, OH Eagle Burial Vault Co. of LA Ruston, LA Eagle Burial Vaults Perry, GA Esterly Burial Vault Co. West Reading, PA Evans Eagle Vaults, Inc. Leola, PA Everlasting Vault Co. Randallstown, MD Flagg-Palmer Precast, Inc. Oxford, MA Florida Wilbert, Inc. Jacksonville, FL Fond du Lac Wilbert Vault Fond du Lac, WI Forsyth Bros. Concrete Prod. Terre Haute, IN Forsyth Bros. Burial Vaults Fithian, IL Fort Myers Wilbert Vault Service Fort Myers, FL Gettysburg Burial Vault Co. Gettysburg, PA Golden Eagle Vault Co. Rocky Mount, VA Grable Vault Co. Logansport, IN Graffius Burial Vault Co. Sinking Springs, PA Granite State Doric Newport, NH Gray Bros., Inc. Kansas City, KS Gross Vault Co. Thomasville, GA Hairfield Vault Co. Hickory, NC Hardy Doric, Inc. Chelmsford, MA Harn Vault Service Massillon, OH Harris Precast Laporte, IN Hicks Industries, Inc. Davie, FL Hicks Industries, Inc. Mulberry, FL Horton Precast Gerard, PA

For information on NCBVA’s exclusive Plant Inspection and Certification Program, please contact NCBVA Headquarters at 1-800-538-1423 or use application form on the next page.

U

Huntingburg Vault Co. Huntingburg, IN Jacson, Inc. Henderson, TX Jefferson Concrete Corp. Watertown, NY Josten Wilbert Vault Co. Sioux Falls, SD Kansas City Wilbert Grandview, MO Lakeshore Burial Vault Co. Brookfield, WI Lavaca Vault Co. Lavaca, AK Lindquist Concrete Products Ogden, UT Louisell-Davis Vault Service Chattanooga, TN Lycoming Burial Vault Co. Inc. Montoursville, PA Marion Vault Works Marion, IN Mark H. Bott Co. Ogden, UT Master Grave Service Athens, GA McDowell Doric Vault Co. Fletcher, NC Memphis Burial Vault Co. Memphis, TN Mercer Vault Company Fredericksburg, VA Milan Burial Vault, Inc. Milan, MI Minchew Concrete Products Co. Waycross, GA Minnick Services Corp. Fort Wayne, IN Montgomery Vault Co. Woodsboro, MD Montgomery Vault Co. Rockville, MD Moore Wilbert Vault Co. Evans, GA Neher Burial Vault Co. Springfield, OH Nor-Don Vault Co. Inc. Strafford, MO North Central Mich. Vault Srvc. Cadillac, MI Northwest PA Burial Service Cochranton, PA Norwalk Vault Co. Johnstown, PA Odon Vault Company, Inc. Odon, IN Omaha Wilbert Vault, Inc. Omaha, NE Ostwalt Vault Co. Concord, NC Palm Vault Co. Ada, OK Patriot Vault Co. Park Hills, MO Panhandle Vaults Amarillo, TX

continued . . .


20

NCBVA BULLETIN

U

February/March 2009

NCBVA Certified Vault Manufacturing Plants (Continued)

Pennsylvania Concrete Vault Co. Greensburg, PA Perfection Vault Woodson, IL Phenix Vault Phenix City, AL Pioneer Vault, Inc. Doylestown, PA Poplar Bluff Doric Vaults, Inc. Poplar Bluff, MO Precast Concrete Products, Inc. Blissfield, MI Precision Precast Inc. Pittsfield, MA Quality Burial Vault Co. Houston, TX Rex Vault Service Newton, IL Rocky Mountain Monument/Vault Sandy, UT Roland-Wilbert Vault Co. Marion, IA Saginaw Wilbert Vault Corp. Saginaw, MI Sam Green Vault Corp. Lynchburg, VA St. Louis Wilbert Vault Co. St. Louis, MO Saline Vault Co. Sweet Springs, MO

Santeiu Vaults Inc. Livonia, MI Sheldon Vault Co. Sheldon, IA Shore Vault & Precast Co. Exmore, VA Simerly Concrete Products, Inc. Bristol, TN Simerly Vaults, Inc. Knoxville, TN Southern Ohio Vault Co. Portsmouth, OH Southern Vault Service Blakely, GA Spoerr Precast Concrete Sandusky, OH SI Funeral Services Cedar Hill, TX SI Funeral Services Gerard, PA SI Funeral Services Parsons, KS SI Funeral Services San Antonio, TX Sunnycrest, Inc. Auburn, NY Superior Burial Vaults, Inc. Salt Lake City, UT Superior Vault Co. Bryantown, MD

Superior Vault Co. Charlestown, IN Superior Vault Co., Ltd. Mississauga, Ont., Canada Swan’s Concrete Products Westbrook, ME Tennessee Vault & Grave, Inc. Dechard, TN Turner Vault Company Toledo, OH Vanden Boomen Burial Vaults Inc. Appleton, WI Vanden Boomen Burial Vaults Inc. Wausau, WI Vault Service Griffin, GA Vincent & Son, Inc. Galena, IL Washington Wilbert Vault Works Inc. Laurel, MD Warga Concrete Products Inc. Fort Wayne, IN Watts Vault & Monument Co. Des Moines, IA Wayne Burial Vault Co., Inc. Indianapolis, IN Welte Vault Co. Danbury, IA West Plains Vault & Mfg. Co. Pomona, MO

U

Whitman Vault Co. Whitman, MA Wicomico Vault Co., Inc. Salisbury, MD Wieser Precast Stewartville, MN Wieser Doric Vault Co. LaCrescent, MN Wilbert Burial Vault Co. Atlanta, GA Wilbert Burial Vault Co. Waycross, GA Wilbert Burial Vault Co. Muskegon, MI Wilbert Burial Vault Co. Traverse City, MI Wilbert Services Lancaster, NY Wilbert Vaults of Houston, Inc. Houston, TX Willbee Concrete Products Jackson, MI Williams Wilbert Des Moines, IA Williams Vault Company Emporia, VA Willmar Precast Co. Willmar, MN Zeiser Wilbert Vault Co. Elmira, NY

National Concrete Burial Vault Association, Inc. Member Application for Plant Inspection Name of Plant ___________________________________________________________________________ Plant Mailing Address______________________________________________________________________ Plant Street Address_______________________________________________________________________ Plant Telephone_________________

Fax Number_______________________________________

Owner’s Name_____________________________ Evening Phone______________________________ Plant Manager/Contact Person__________________ Evening Phone_______________________________ Types of Outer Burial Receptacles Produced ❐ Top Seals ❐ Air Domes ❐ Sectionals Other________________________________________________ Please return this application with full payment to: The National Concrete Burial Vault Association, Inc. P.O. Box 917525 Longwood, FL 32791 (800) 538-1423 Fax (407) 774-6751

For a NCBVA member in good standing, the Plant Certification Inspection fee is $1295.


February/March 2009

NCBVA BULLETIN

21

INDUSTRY NEWS ’N NOTES Wilbert Foundation, Wilbert Licensees Present Grants To Children’s Hospitals The Wilbert Foundation and several Wilbert licensees recently presented a total of $53,475 in grants to seven U.S. children’s hospitals. The funds will be used to benefit various programs supporting bereaved children and their families. In addition to the grants, the Wilbert Foundation sent 25 teddy bears to each of 17 different children’s hospitals that applied for but did not receive a grant. “The Wilbert Foundation is diligently continuing its efforts to provide pediatric chaplains with the tools and resources needed to support children coping with the trauma of grief and death,” said Wilbert Executive Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer Terry Whitlock. The foundation’s seven recent grant distributions included: $10,000 to the Children’s Hospital Foundation in Aurora, Colorado (presented January 2 by Lance Ray, regional vice president of Suhor Industries Funeral Services of Denver); $4,500 to Children’s Hospital & Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska (presented January 5 by Jason Elmore, president of Omaha Wilbert Vaults, Inc. of Omaha); $8,000 to Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago (presented January 8 by David Reichle, vice president of American Wilbert Vault Corp. of Forest Park, Illinois); $8,475 to Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Detroit (presented January 13 by Detroit Wilbert Vault Corp. President Graham MacLeod and Sales Representative Shannon Gordon); $7,500 to SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, New York (presented January 15 by Robert Atkinson, president of Sunnycrest Wilbert of Auburn, New York); $10,000 to Arnold Palmer Hospital in

2009

April 11-15 OGR Annual Conference Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center Nashville, TN April 20-23 ICCFA Annual Convention & Exposition Mandalay Resort & Casino Las Vegas, NV August 19-22 CANA Annual Convention Marriott City Center Hotel Denver, CO October 25-28 NFDA International Convention & Expo Boston Convention & Expo Center Boston, MA November 16-17 CFSA Fall Conference Crowne Plaza Indianapolis IN Orlando, Florida (presented January 27 by Florida Wilbert Inc. [Jacksonville] Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Keith Lodge & Territory Sales Representative Christine N. Clementz Elrod and Quality Vaults, Inc. [Ocoee] President Jim Tramonte); and $5,000 to Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston (presented January 29 by Brett Henery, director of business development, Wilbert Vaults of Houston, L.L.P.).

Trigard Adds Marketing Team Member Trigard Vault Company welcomes its newest team member, Angel C. Jett of Danville, IL, to the newly-added position of Marketing & Graphic Design Specialist. Trigard will use her technical design background to strengthen its foundation and creative methodology to give a strong push forward. Angel has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Graphic Design from Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois and previously was a head graphic designer at a funeral home.

Mixer Systems, Inc. Celebrates 30 Years of Service To the Concrete Industry When a company celebrates an anniversary, it is always a special occasion. This year is very special for Mixer Systems, Inc. as it marks the 30th year of business, providing mixers and batch plants for the concrete industry. Many employees of Mixer Systems have been with the company since its inception in 1979. Julie Burns Joins ICCFA The International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association has hired Julie A. Bjurn, CCrE, CSE, as director of cremation services to lead the association’s cremation-related development. Burn was formerly cremation services manager for Wilbert Funeral Services, Inc. A frequent speaker at many industry-related meetings and conventions, she is a professor at the ICCFA University College of Cremation Services and is Chairman of the ICCFA Personalization Committee.

We Want to Hear From You!! We at the National Concrete Burial Vault Association Bulletin would love to hear from you. Please take a few minutes and send us a press release about your happenings. We’re interested in details about special events, individuals who deserve recognition, awards, and new services you are providing. Suppliers: let us know about your new products and services. Color or black and white photos are also welcome. Send to jan@camco.biz.


22 NCBVA BULLETIN February/March 2009 1&%9$%8//(7,1'HFHPEHU



PROVIDING SERVICE AND RELIABILITY FOR OVER 40 YEARS!

SEE OUR NEW WEB SITE WHERE YOU CAN: • • • • • •

LONGEVITY (since 1958) QUALITY NO REFUBURBISHED PARTS REPLACEMENT PART INVENTORY MORE OPTIONS OFFERED CHOICE OF COLOR

• Watch an online demo of the Logan Handler in action, or an operating video • Review a list of all available options with pictures, descriptions and benefits • See a list of safety and labor savings options • Complete an online Request for Quote and custom-build your own handler • View multiple pictures of handlers of various colors and options

P. O. Box 668, 314 Water Ave., Bellefontaine, Ohio 43311, Toll Free: 800-422-2947 Phone: 937-592-1958, Fax: 937-592-5230, www.loganhandlers.com, sales@loganhandlers.com


February/March 2009

NCBVA BULLETIN

23

Continued from page 15

he emphasized. To prove his point about the definition of obscenely high, he asked attendees to think about their most lucrative customer, do the math, and figure out exactly what that customer’s business is worth over a 20-year period. Once they realized what the long-term gain can be, the audience was more willing to spend a few extra dollars in creative marketing to get new customers. To illustrate niche marketing, Ron showed examples of mail he received earmarked by what he called the “Schnauzer Effect.” The promotional mail was selling decorative, collectible plates and other “doggy” items with a definite Schnauzer owner appeal. “How did this company know I was a Schnauzer owner?” Ron asked the audience. Then he counted off a number of ways a creative marketer could find him and other Schnauzer owners (AKC registry, veterinarians’ customer lists, county pet vaccination records, etc.). The same tailoring technique is true for funeral home directors. Make it personal. Too often ads placed in magazines and newspapers list features of a product, rather than presenting a proposition that forces the reader to take a closer look. A clincher headline might be something like, “What are the five mistakes funeral home owners make when selecting a burial vault manufacturer?” Again, make it personal. If a potential funeral home customer is woman-owned, tailor the messages to appeal to a woman. Don’t use a cookie-cutter approach for everyone. Doing so just wastes money. Ron suggested thinking of unique mail containers so that

your mail will be opened first––and remembered. Holding up a desktop-sized metal garbage can, he removed the lid and pulled out a crumpled up piece of letter and began to read the “killer” first line, “If you’re thinking about throwing my letter away, I’ve already done it for you. . . .” He pointed out that the garbage can was “cute,” and likely would remain on the desks of anyone who received such a mailer. Naturally, there would be a strong association with the sender and the sender’s product, and the receiver would be likely to contact the sender when the need for his product arose. (For pointers on writing winning messages, please see the sidebar below.) Visit Ron’s website at www.qualitytalk.com. 12 Components of an Effective Message 1. Your message must have a specific purpose 2. Have a “killer” headline 3. Spell out clear statement of value 4. Include a compelling statement 5. Make an irresistible offer 6. Overcome objections 7. Include testimonials 8. Better than risk-free guarantee 9. Definite & urgent call to action 10. Provide multiple ways to respond 11. Include bonuses 12. Use a P.S. & re-state the offer

your possibilities COLORED CONCRETE CUSTOM MIXES SMALL QUANTITIES SELf-LEvELING CONCRETE

CEMENTECH “POSSIBILILTIES” NVBA jUNE AND DECEMBER 2008

Today’s new concrete mixes and applications mean you have to adapt to stay competitive. CemenTech Volumetric Concrete Mixers keep you on top by delivering consistent, quality concrete. Meet your customers’ requirements every time with CemenTech.


National Concrete Burial Vault Association, Inc. P.O. Box 917525 • Longwood, FL 32791

FIRST CLASS Address Correction Service Requested

SPONSORS Platinum

Gold

Bronz e • FORTA CORPORATION • WILBERT FUNERAL SERVICES

The Gavel Changes Hands A small piece of NCBVA history changed hands once again during the 2009 Annual Convention in Key West, FL. The rich mahogany gavel banded in sterling silver (top left) was a gift to NCBVA many years ago from Past President Frank L. Mathies (1941). It has been used in many installation ceremonies since that time and also to conduct NCBVA Board Meetings. Todd Swihart passed the symbol of the NCBVA leadership to Steve Hatfield. In return, Steve Hatfield presented Todd Swihart with a plaque acknowledging his dedication and service to NCBVA during the past year (top right). New officers include Hubert McQuestion (lower left) President-Elect and Wendy Bott Brown (upper left) Secretary/ Treasurer (see full report on page 5).

Bulletin 2009 February  

Bulletin of the National Cobcrete Burial Vault Association

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you