Robin Richter


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As always, I love attending the conventions with Tim.  Supporting him, selling his products and being part of the excitement that is generated by the folks buying his cot covers really lights me up!  Meeting the attendees and other vendors is great, too, as then I can put a face to a name when I’m reading the blog or Tim is talking about them.

Tim had the floor installed and the booth assembled on Saturday, with several good friends and fellow salespeople.  I arrived on Monday, while Tim and the others were there on Sunday to start selling.

This year we had an incredible location, good lighting, a dance floor that really made us look different, and more people than ever to help with the booth.  We were always busy and hopping!

Tim made many changes to the display since last October and surprisingly enough, they were much more effective than before (who’d a thought it could get better?).  Along with having the open booth style that he advocates to everyone he coaches, consults with or generally gives tips to on the blog, the design encouraged even more folks to stop and look – and usually buy.

As last year, our goal seemed almost unobtainable.  I felt certain we could pull it off.  Tim’s posts have told you just how great we did.  He is still getting orders as a result of the convention!

My role in photo-taking this year didn’t get very far.  It was so busy that I only took a few and a majority of those didn’t come out well, and I found that frustrating.  Tim had a new way to video folks for the podcasts – a Flip Camera – and he interviewed several vendors when he could get away.

One of the “other” cot cover companies did not attend this years’ convention.  Last year, Tim provided good, sound business advice in his Final Embrace Contributors Forum.  I attended that event and listened as he gave thoughtful assistance to several first-time businesses.  There were several who seemed intent on NOT listening to his advice and, not surprisingly, they didn’t attend this year’s convention.

Tim has been working with consulting clients for quite a while now and those companies had made very positive changes to not only their booths, but to some of their sales strategies.

Always the innovator, Tim set up and hosted a Mort Dinner at a very nice restaurant on Monday evening for anyone that wished to attend.  We had about 12 attendees and the talk was non-stop.  It was a lot of fun, provided lots of insight to many, and declared very successful by all!

Tuesday was just as busy as Monday. We had a new “body” to replace one that early in would think everyone on our team had been selling cot covers for years!  Tim has a pretty specific and easy to do sales presentation, but everyone was so genuine and passionate about the product, they did a truly awesome job!  I went to another booth for three hours to help with some specific coaching.  When I came back to our booth to check on things and go to lunch, it was so busy, I couldn’t go back to the other booth for the rest of the afternoon!

I did not get to stay for the final day, Wednesday, but from everything I’ve heard, it was just as busy and exciting as it was on Monday and Tuesday.

Am I going to Boston next year?  I sure hope so and I’m putting in my convention team request right now!  Being part of the Final Embrace Team is a delight and I’m glad to be there to help, in any way, every step of the way! 

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Robin Richter is a Human Resources Expert,
an avid motorcycle enthusiast and,
as the owner of several Boston Terriers, 
is a “rabid” fan of the breed.

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 I was very fortunate to attend the convention with Tim.

Besides being a contributor to the blog, my role at the convention was to assist Tim by helping with sales, taking photos, keeping up with paperwork and brainstorming with him.  I’m also the feisty mother you may have read about in a previous comment by Gary of Temporary Memorials.

 I’ve attended many other types of conventions over the years and participated in several as well.  Nothing prepared me for this one.  With a background in estate planning and firm administration for a law firm plus dealing with several deaths in my own family, I am well acquainted with the consumer side of the funeral industry. 

I understand the need for the goods and services that were represented at the convention. Although I know a bit about the industry, I had no idea how much money was put into selling to funeral professionals.  Some of the displays cost many thousands of dollars. Our booth was modest yet very effective.

That was completely due to the effort Tim put into his desired outcome well before the convention utilizing his blog and how he has structured, marketed and grown his business.  He has a natural ability to interact with folks that generates interest in what he has to say and people really do want to listen.  He knows what he’s talking about and has a great product.

When we arrived in Las Vegas, we shopped for supplies to prepare our booth.  We only shipped and packed actual product and brought few things in our luggage to build the booth.  Frugal and handy, Tim was able to put together what we needed on a shoestring budget, plus get extra supplies “just in case” for the neighboring booths, which came in quite handy for those exhibitors.

Once we were set up on Sunday, Tim had time to visit with the other exhibitors and get to know about their businesses.  He explained his quilted cot covers and encouraged them to read the blog.  He told them about the Final Embrace Forum scheduled for Monday night at the Hilton.  There were already 25 RSVP’s and he expected to speak about 30 minutes.

Monday we arrived early to put the finishing touches on our booth and Tim visited with more exhibitors.  Once the attendees started coming through, we were ready and raring to go.  The day was a very good one and we headed over to the Hilton to begin the Final Embrace Forum, scheduled to begin at 6 pm.

Almost 30 guests attended the Forum to hear Tim’s ideas on co-operative marketing, referral marketing and shared tools marketing.  We discussed press releases, newsletters, helping one another by offering skills each are strong in and getting help with the things each are weak in, and doing cooperative advertising (among others).  It was a hit with all attendees and some were quite surprised at what a great speaker and just how knowledgeable Tim truly is, not only in the industry but business as well. 

Tuesday and Wednesday brought more sales and more visiting with and by exhibitors. Tim did video interviews with several exhibitors, which you’ll see on the blog in the days to come.  He also gave advice to many exhibitors. 

Those that took his words to heart typically saw positive results almost immediately.  At least one chose to stick with what they were doing and from what I could see during the conference, the only thing being achieved was a whole lot of brochures being handed out.  With over 400 vendors on the floor, something has to make your product stand out. 

A simple brochure does not do it, nor does a key location.  If you don’t get the attendee’s attention, you’ve wasted your money on the booth, the travel, the brochures, your time, etc.  Why bother if you’re not willing to do what it takes to make it successful?

I really enjoyed meeting the funeral directors and their families, as well as the exhibitors.  I found that I could sell Tim’s cot covers pretty well and that when a funeral director said he or she would be back later or at a certain time, they were. 

I saw some very interesting products and many duplicated services.  The booth directly across from us had paper caskets and they were pushing the environmental benefits as well as the lower cost.  The booth beside them gave out ice cream to everyone that stopped for information and they were wildly popular until they had to give up the ice cream cart to another booth as part of a shared agreement.  Many vendors gave out the traditional candy and trinkets and some even had models handing out their materials.

Tim went around early on Wednesday, the last day of the exhibit, to get a few of the goodies for the Convention Amnesia Contest.  He was also able to meet other exhibitors and funeral directors during this trek as well. 

Many of the smaller booths were getting packed up well in advance of the 1:00 p.m. closing.  I was amazed that one of our neighbors packed up completely yet stayed in their booth and ignored everyone that passed their way.  They read, chatted or did anything else except pay attention to the funeral directors that were obviously interested in their product.  And their product started at a wholesale price of $1,800.00!

We stayed fully assembled until well after the close.  Tim was still talking to other exhibitors and we still had a sale to make after close.  I began packing up only the “behind the scenes” stuff.  When Tim was ready, we broke everything down and packed for shipping, toting, tossing and giving away.  We made two quick trips to the car and away we went, talking about what a great success the convention was, what great connections Tim made (not only did he get lots of new customers, he set up several new distributor relationships) and how everything he set out in his business plan continues to progress.

 Would I go again?  Absolutely!  Tim is already planning his booth for the 2008 convention and I hope he invites me to participate once more as part of his team!

image002.jpgRobin Richter is a Human Resources Expert, an avid motorcycle enthusiast and, as the owner of several Boston Terriers, is a “rabid” fan of the breed.

As a Creative Memories Consultant, she helps preserve memories through scrapbooking.  Visit her Creative Memories website to see how this “Queen of the Scrappers” can help you. 

We’ve added a few readers since the NFDA Convention in Las Vegas, so I’ve prepared this “tour” to familiarize them with the surroundings.  (Regular readers, please excuse the refresher course)

Final Embrace is a blog, which means all new articles (also called “posts”) will appear at the top of the page, with older articles moving down.  Picture a long scroll, where the newest writing is at the top and the older writing is rolled onto the scroll as time progresses.

Posts are also grouped by category.  On the right side of the blog, there is a list of “categories.” 

With titles like Advertising, Big Ideas, Cremation Issues, Meet Your Maker and more, these categories will help you find other articles about topics that interest you. 

And don’t forget, each article has at least one of the categories listed just below the title, so you can click from an individual post to find related articles.

Worried about getting bored with my writing?  The BE OUR GUEST columns are written by a group of other, more interesting writers.

From Kim Stacey (funeral home copywriting) to Deidre Blair (event planning) and from Don Shell (life story writing) to Robin Richter (human resource issues), we’ve got articles on every facet of the funeral industry.

Here’s just a few of our categories and recommended articles contained in each:

ADVERTISING
Kim Stacey on Advertising Language
“Doing Your Best” vs. “Being the Best”

BIG IDEAS
How to Fix the Modern Funeral
Michael Manley on a Possible FBA Buying Collective
Creating a “Must-Have” Funeral Experience

COOL PRODUCTS
My Take on Plush Teddy Bears Keepsake Urns
One Size Fits All. Really?

CREMATION ISSUES
Eulogies are for the Living
Surprised, She Asked “You can have a viewing with a cremation?”
Candace Craw-Goldman Shares “The Tin Can”
No One Wears Shoes Here

EMPLOYEE RELATIONS
How Do You Act When No One Is Watching?
How to NOT Mess Up a Job Interview

FUNERAL MARKETING
Don Shell: “It’s not about the casket™. No, really.”
DAILY NAG: Make Eye Contact

LEGAL ISSUES
Nigerian Scam Letter Turns to Funeral Homes
Why We Don’t Sell American Flag Cot Covers
Someone is Educating Your Community. Is it You?

MEET YOUR MAKER (Interview Series)
2007 NFDA Convention: Remembrace Reproductions
EXHIBITOR SPOTLIGHT: Pictures in Motion
Interview with Urn Maker, Spirit Remains
EXHIBITOR SPOTLIGHT: Info On Hold

PODCASTS
PODCAST: The NFDA Interview
Our Podcast Vault is Growing!
PODCAST: Meeting the Needs of the 21st Century Consumer

RECOMMENDED READING
Now Everyone Can Visit Fallingwater
Candace Craw-Goldman on “Baba’s Story”
Deidre Blair on Reception Layout
Funeral for a Lakota Warrior

WHO ARE WE?
Quilted Mortuary Cot Covers
Where’s Toto When You Need Him?
A Death in the Family: Part 2
Our Cot Cover on NBC
Revamped Treasured Memory Bear Site
Next Stop: Las Vegas!!!

We appreciate your time on our site.  Don’t forget:  there are over 600 articles and podcasts available. 

ENJOY!

We leave tomorrow for the NFDA Convention in Vegas!

 I’m leaving my office assistant, my two sewing workers and my business partner in Central Florida to keep making product and prepare for the coming onslaught of orders!

I put out feelers to my blog contributors to see who’d like to accompany me to Vegas. 

The requirement?  He/she had to pay for own lodging and meals.  I promised to provide at least one meal and a plane ticket.

Master storyteller and awesome writer, Don Shell of Lifestory Network funeral homes, couldn’t attend. 

Kim Stacey, our resident copywriter and regular contributor to Funeral Business Advisor, Mortuary Management and others, couldn’t attend because of family obligations. 

Event planning expert, Deidre Blair, is in Paris!  Guess Vegas can’t compete! 

Our good friend (not yet a contributor, but soon, I hope!), Shirley Rowe of Rowe Photography Studio is so swamped with business that she can’t get even a day away!

I was finally able to convince Robin Richter, our H.R. expert, to give up a few days and trek across the country with me.

So we’re leaving tomorrow on what will most likely be the biggest week of our small company’s life.

We’ll update the blog while we’re there.  So look to this space for info about the convention, our daily sales totals and more!

Wish us luck!

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The recent death of our beloved little Boston Terrier, Gromit, gave us the opportunity to experience pet cremation.  At first we wanted to bring her home and bury her in our back yard.  But as soon as our vet, Dr. Michael Marks, told us about the cremation service they offer, we were sold.  This was before we got her back and found out just how special she was treated.

Everyone dreads “picking up the ashes”.  As I already knew from previous human cremations, they aren’t really ashes at all – they are “cremains”, bits of bone and whatnot.  They sent Gromit out the day after her death (we put her to sleep in the late evening) and she was back the following day.

I called the vets office early afternoon to see if Gromie was back.  They assured me they would call as soon as she arrived.  Forty-five minutes later they called to let me know she was there.  I told my husband and son that I was going to pick up our girl.

When I arrived, I was already crying pretty well.  When I saw the presentation, I totally lost it.  She was in a pretty little cedar box with lock and keys, her name was on top, a paw print ribbon was tied to the hasp, the box was in a “doggie bag”, a small plastic shopping bag with paw prints all over.  There was a certificate of cremation from the crematorium, Lasting Paws, and a bookmark with a little silver heart that read “love”.

 I cried the whole way home, comforted that she was sitting beside me in the seat.  Once home, I opened her little box and there was a gold bag, tied, that smelled wonderful, and the box was lined with paw print paper.

I placed our Boston Terrier statue, Gromie’s cremains box and the scrapcard I created with favorite photos to remind me of her on the counter between our kitchen and living room.  She will get a permanent place of honor soon on top of an antique cabinet.

Our experience of the death of our much loved pet was awful, but the people involved from our vet, the emergency vet and the crematory made an incredible difference.  You could tell they each loved animals as much as we did and they honored her life in death.

Would your funeral home cause folks to rave about how great you are?  I can’t bring Gromit back but I’ve already told a dozen people about our experience.  Even those that also had a pet cremated have been shocked at how different their pet was presented to them.

And on that certificate that shows when Gromit Richter was cremated is something very special – her actual paw print.

The crematory that handled these arrangements has a website at www.lastingpaws.com.

We were served by Dr. Michael Marks and Dr. Steven Lewis, May Animal Hospital, Plant City, Florida and the Animal Emergency Clinic of Brandon in Brandon, Florida.

image002.jpgRobin Richter is a Human Resources Expert and an avid motorcycle enthusiast. 
The owner of several Boston Terriers, Robin is also a “rabid” fan of the breed.  
As a Creative Memories Consultant, she helps preserve memories through scrapbooking.  Visit her
Creative Memories website to see how this “Queen of the Scrappers” can help you.

gromit.jpg

The dog pictured above is Gromit.  She belongs to our resident HR expert and “Queen of the Scrappers,” Robin Richter.

Robin sent this email yesterday:

Most of you know what a sweetie Gromie is and how much she loves everyone.  Most of you also know she has seizures she takes medication for.  The past 3 days we’ve been in the ER vet’s office and our own vets office twice.  We just returned and the news is not good.  Since her seizures have changed and even worse, her personality is changing, our vet suspects she may have a brain tumor.  We cannot continue to watch her suffer and certainly won’t go through the expense to Gromie and us to have scans and surgery.  It may be time to let her go.  This is a very difficult decision to make and we are giving it a little longer to see how she does for the next few days.  Her fever was so high when we took her in earlier that it shot clear off the thermometer.  That means her little brain is getting cooked each time she has a bad seizure. 

Things did not improve for Gromit and the result was an email from Robin today:

We called the vet and told him what was going on and he met us at his office.  We told him we had decided it was time to let her go and be out of misery.  He did as we asked and it went very quickly.  She is now seizure free and calm.  Our hearts are broken.

She is being cremated and we should have her back in a couple of days.

For a blogger dedicated to talking about death and how we help others deal with death, I’m at a loss to know what to say or how to share my sincere, heartfelt sympathy.

I’m sure all my readers offer their condolences for your loss.

I’ve lured so many great writers to the blog (Kim Stacey, Don Shell, etc.) that I’ve added separate links for each of their growing collections.

If you look at the categories to the right (choosing a category helps you find other articles that have been assigned or “tagged” with a theme) you’ll see links for the following writers:

Kim Stacey, funeral home copywriter and owner of Marketing Funeral Services
Don Shell, Lifestory Network writer
Robin Richter, HR Expert and “Queen of the Scrappers
Bryan Chandler, owner of Chandler Funeral Home and Cremation Service
Candace Craw-Goldman
, photographer and owner of In Repose
Deidre Blair, event planner and owner of Final Reflections

 Of course, we’re still looking for a “few good writers” who want to share their insights.

So drop us a line or comment hear if you’ve got something to contribute, a product to share with our readers or an interesting story to relate.

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