When buying a new car, you only want the best. The safest, the most efficient, the fastest (within reason!) and—let’s not kid ourselves—all the bells and whistles, too. Depending on your needs, you prioritize these qualities to ensure the vehicle you invest in fits your lifestyle and its demands.

Before you ever step onto the lot of a dealership, you know exactly what you want. And here’s the thing: so do your potential clients. But what does a brand new car and a powerful sales program have in common?

Short answer: a lot more than you’d assume.

Think about it: to operate properly, the various parts of both your car and deathcare sales program must function with safety, convenience, speed, reliability, and the newest technology. If you can secure these five qualities, shifting your sales program into gear isn’t as difficult as you may think.

Step 1: Ensure your sales program is safe and secure
You would never buy a car that didn’t have seatbelts, right? Safety is top of mind when purchasing a new car for you or your loved one, and yet, too often it is not the highest priority for your sales programs.

We live in a digital world where, unfortunately, cyberattacks occur daily and thousands watch their personal information get stolen on a regular basis. We constantly see hacks into well-known entities such as Facebook and Equifax, which impact millions of Americans. Just like a car accident can happen to anyone, a data hack can happen to you—but you can protect both you and your clients with the proper precautions.

Fortunately, state-of-the art technology exists that is designed to defend your sensitive financial data, minimize the likelihood of a data breach, monitor irregular activity and issue alerts to you when a potential hack has occurred.

The most important thought to keep in mind is that you are not invincible. Without this thorough security, you are vulnerable to these dangers. Just like you’d carefully investigate a car’s safety report, ask your trust manager about the safeguards for your sales program.

Step 2: Equip your sales program with every convenience
It’s the little things that make all the difference. With a new car, we all love the extras like having the latest GPS navigation system, rear-facing cameras or heated seats. It’s time that you expect the same standard for your sales program.

Since your business is dependent on the success of your sales program, you deserve constant access to its details. The best technology in the industry offers 24/7 access to the details of your sales programs, so you can monitor your performance in real-time and see a complete picture of your sales program online—all the way down to the line items of each contract—whenever it’s convenient for you.

If you’re offering the most powerful sales program possible, you’re also providing your clients with multiple ways to pay off their contracts. Whether it be paying electronically, by check or with coupon books, streamlining your processes and making transactions easier on both you and them should be the utmost priority.

These important “bells and whistles” add some shine to your business, but they also give you the ability to manage your sales program with transparency and efficiency. If you don’t have them now, it may be time to start looking for an upgrade.

Step 3: Speed into the future with the fastest sales program
For many car buyers, a vehicle’s top speed can set it apart from the competition. And, just like how certain models of Porsches or Mercedes can top 200 miles-per-hour, certain sales programs are faster than others. With the latest technology available at your fingertips, you have the opportunity to enjoy lightning-fast response times and receive information in the blink of an eye. While a car with elite speed may not be appropriate in all scenarios, there’s always a need and desire for a sales program that can deliver information to the finish line fast.

With a speedy preneed sales program, you can expect that once your team makes a sale, technology platforms and other resources will take care of the rest. Yes, it is possible: deposits, withdrawals and other business transactions can be processed within one business day, enabling you to move forward with your business operations as quickly as possible. If you wait longer than that, you are falling behind the competition.

Step 4: Choose a sales program you can rely on
In the automotive world, companies must follow Federal Motor Vehicle safety standards and regulations set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. As a car buyer, it is the obligation of car companies to protect you by following all of these requirements.

However, when it comes to your sales program, it is in your hands to comply to hundreds of rules and regulations governing our industry. While you work tirelessly for your business, you may think you are adhering to all of the laws you are required to follow, but it is inevitable that you will overlook a few.

Just like we’ve seen with car companies like Volkswagen in the past, violating certain laws and regulations can result in serious consequences. For funeral directors, penalties include a significant fine, or even a suspension or revocation of your preneed license. Following the law is a requirement to take very seriously. Companies that specialize in the total administration of deathcare sales programs for preneed and perpetual care trusts—should offer a thorough understanding of these complex and ever-changing state laws and regulations so that your sales program maintains compliance with them at all times.

Step 5: Maximize state-of-the-art technology
From Bluetooth connectivity to dash cams and sensors that alert drivers to dangerous situations, we all want the latest technology for our cars. As you have likely gathered by now, technology is of critical importance for your sales program as well.

Technology fuels almost all of the services I mentioned above. From deposits and withdrawals to security and compliance—everything is driven by technology. New advances are made every day to provide the most modern, safe, and streamlined sales programs possible. If you haven’t already, now is the time to learn more about these technologies so you can start using them to accelerate your business to heightened success.

Driving your funeral home into perpetuity
Your sales program is vital to sustaining your business, and ultimately, your future. When you finally get the keys and drive your new car off the lot, you want to feel sure that you made the best choice. Of course, the same goes for your sales program. As long as you prioritize safety, convenience, speed, reliability, and the newest technology, you’ll enjoy nothing but smooth roads ahead. FBA

Bill Williams is president and CEO of Funeral Services Inc. and serves on the FSI Board of Directors as vice chairman. He joined FSI in 2001 as vice president. He was named president in 2003. Under his leadership, FSI has expanded to offer services in more than two dozen states across the country. Williams has experience in every aspect of the funeral service profession, including ownership and management of funeral homes and cemeteries. He began his career in the deathcare industry when he became a licensed funeral director in 1980. He is a graduate of Gupton-Jones College of Mortuary Science in Atlanta, Georgia.