recently landed an exclusive interview with Liza Altenburg, a sales executive with Park Lawn Corp. and the author of the popular book, “Selling With Sensitivity: Achieving Success in Deathcare Sales Through Empathy, Service and Connection.”

The below, shared with the author’s permission, is an excerpt from Chapter 2 of the book.

Since she enjoyed her interview with, Altenburg made an incredible invitation for our readers: “I am offering an author chat to anyone who buys 10 or more copies of the book. So, if a team leader uses the book as a training tool, I’ll jump on a Zoom with the whole team to discuss any of the concepts, based on what the leaders preferences are,” she said.

If, after reading the excerpt below, you buy 10 or more copies of the book, reach out to her via email, and be sure to share that you read her book excerpt and interview on

Excerpt from Chapter 2 of “Selling with Sensitivity.”

The entrepreneurial pull was strong within me, and I was determined to forge my own path. This drive led me to the world of sales and entrepreneurship, where I would build on the foundation laid by my family’s business. As I began my career, I kept genuine care, responsibility, and empathy, instilled in me by Mom and Grandpa, at the heart of my approach.

At the beginning of my career, I took a leap of faith into the world of entrepreneurship, embarking on a journey in direct selling and network marketing. Working independently for my first seven years, I established a reputation for being a skilled and dedicated sales professional who genuinely cared about helping customers find the right solutions. I attended conferences, listened to books on tape (yes, tape – it was that long ago), and practiced all that I learned.

It was then that a seasoned industry expert with more than 30 years of experience saw something in me and offered me my first corporate role. Over the course of the six years that followed, this mentor took me under his wing, generously shared his wisdom, and encouraged my growth. I am forever grateful for his guidance and the opportunity he provided to the young, inexperienced 25-year-old me.

In the world of direct selling and network marketing, I learned the true value of hustle and problem-solving. Whether I was addressing beauty concerns, providing practical kitchenware, or offering organizational tools, I acted as a consultant and a problem solver. I knew who my ideal clients were, and I sold products that genuinely improved their lives. In doing so, I also built my first sales teams, mentoring and guiding them to achieve success in the same way that I had learned to do it. With Mom’s lessons in leadership and authenticity at the heart of everything I did, I created a lucrative income for myself and helped others to Two life-altering lessons emerged during my time in the corporate world of direct selling.

  1. I came to understand how a negative industry stereotype can weigh heavily on a sales team. Stereotypes often have reality-based roots, much to the dismay of those adversely affected by them. In network marketing, the stereotype emerged from years of unregulated pyramid-style schemes, selfish, “me-focused” inward training that lacked an outward mindset or determination to truly help others, and the expectation that even the newest and most financially strapped sales representatives would purchase and carry stock they might never sell.
  2. I realized that the only way to break free from this stigma was to disprove it day by day and interaction by interaction, by using and teaching tactics rooted in integrity, with a genuine focus on assisting others. This mission became my life’s work.

Within the sphere of direct sales, I nurtured a passion for helping individual members of my sales team to dream big, establish bold goals, and apply prospecting and selling strategies to fulfill their ambitions.

One example that stands out is the story of a young mother, Monica, who came to me for help. Her goal was to take her family on a Disney vacation, but her husband dismissed the idea as too expensive and unrealistic. Monica was undeterred. Together, we devised a plan and scheduled regular accountability touch points. I trained and coached her as she pursued her business, which her husband condescendingly called her “little hobby.” Seven months later, Monica achieved her goal by taking her family on the trip without any financial help from her husband. Her proudest moment was hearing him tell someone at the Disney Park that it was all thanks to her hard work and the income she earned running her business.

Tragically, less than a year later, Monica’s teenage daughter was killed in a car accident. At the funeral, dozens of photos from that unforgettable Disney vacation were displayed.

Stories like Monica’s have deeply fulfilled me and reinforced my belief in the power of sales to create lasting, meaningful impacts on people’s lives. These experiences of personal achievement and triumph have fueled my passion throughout my career, inspiring me to continue helping others realize their dreams and make their own lasting memories.

Transition into Deathcare Sales

My journey into the deathcare industry was fueled by my personal experience with loss and my newfound under- standing of the vital role that compassionate professionals play in supporting families.

With a natural inclination toward and empathy and a knack for connecting with others, stepping into deathcare sales felt like a seamless transition for me. The approach of providing guidance and support, rooted in genuine care, resonated with me. It became clear that open conversations about death and advanced planning were essential, as I had witnessed first- hand the chaos and financial burden that can be avoided by addressing these matters in advance.

My own journey of loss taught me a valuable lesson: the power of open dialogue and proactive planning. If only we had overcome our hesitations and discussed his wishes surrounding his passing, I would have been spared the added heartache and financial stress. This realization ignited a fire within me to ensure that other families wouldn’t have to endure a similar experience. Each interaction, every opportunity to guide families through an end-of-life journey, not only helped them but also facilitated my own healing process.

Stepping into the deathcare industry also meant confronting and dispelling the negative stereotypes that plague our field. Similar to the unwanted stigma associated with network marketing, the deathcare industry has had its share of unethical practices and broken promises. I embraced the opportunity to challenge these misconceptions head-on, the same  way I had done so in network marketing – day by day and interaction by interaction.

As we embark on this journey together, remember that your role as a deathcare professional extends far beyond the trans- actions and numbers. By embodying empathy, compassion, and genuine heart-centered service (just like Mom taught me), I’ve aimed to build a legacy rooted in rewriting the narrative. Together, we can ignite a paradigm shift and create a more compassionate and dignified deathcare  experience  for all.

An Intentional Lack of Differentiation

Navigating the delicate realm of grief and end-of-life planning requires a special touch and a true understanding of the emotional journey people undertake. Throughout this book, we’ll explore various aspects of the deathcare industry,  acknowledging that each client interaction is deeply personal and emotionally intense. You may have noticed that I chose not to split the book into separate sections for at-need client strategies (those who have experienced a loss and are working with you to arrange a funeral) and pre-need client strategies (those who are making end-of-life preparations in advance).


Well, whether someone is mourning the loss of a loved one or actively making end-of-life plans for themselves or another, they’re bravely confronting mortality, and that brings forth a rollercoaster of emotions. By not compartmentalizing, we emphasize the interconnected nature of experiences and emotions that both at-need and pre-need clients undergo. The art of sensitive selling lies at the heart of our work, no matter who is sitting on the other side of the table.

In each client interaction, we must recognize the weight of their emotions and adapt our selling strategies accordingly. Sensitivity becomes the bedrock of our approach, creating a secure and supportive environment where individuals feel genuinely understood, heard, and respected. Throughout this book, we’ll explore practical techniques and strategies that enable you to master the art of sensitive selling. From effective spoken and non-spoken communication to fostering a culture of empathy and service, you’ll receive insights and practical advice to help you connect with clients in ways that honor and validate their unique emotional journeys.

As deathcare professionals, we have the privilege of supporting people as they navigate the complex web of life, loss, and legacy. By embracing the essence of sensitive selling, we respect the human experience and enable our clients to find solace, understanding, and comfort during life’s most delicate moments.

So, as we begin this journey together, let’s discover the power of sensitive selling. We’ll unravel its importance, explore practical strategies, and traverse the intricacies of grief and advanced planning with warmth, empathy, and genuine care —regardless of whom we’re serving at any given moment.

Get ready to make a difference, one heartfelt interaction at a time.

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