Many solicitors will know of the term 'cross selling', but how many proactively integrate it into their everyday activities? Too often it is viewed as a 'sales' function and not the job of a solicitor.
But when you consider the impact it could have to the bottom line of your practice then maybe it is time to revisit this important aspect of marketing within your firm.
In simple terms, cross-selling is about encouraging your clients to spend more.
Don't panic, I don't mean that you need to become a hard nosed pushy sales person.
Nobody likes to be sold to, so it is more about you being aware of the needs of your client and suggesting the relevant solution.
Seems obvious doesn't it, but client development is still under valued and perhaps even feared.
However, research has shown that most clients place high value to when someone has taken the time to understand their requirements.
Providing solutions, Not selling! The main thing is that you only recommend services that are relevant and meet the client's needs.
It may mean that you have to change the way you think about cross-selling.
Instead of thinking about it as generating new business, perhaps from now on you should think about it as supporting the client by providing solutions.
In a practice where there are several partners, it can be hard to get everyone involved.
In these cases, you may want to start by building a strategic relationship with one or two people.
For instance, the head of Commercial Property could get together with someone in the Employment Law department or perhaps Conveyancing could team up with Wills & Probate.
It is up to you.
Are you scared that your relationship with your client might be damaged? I can understand fully that there is a risk involved if you recommend someone who may not give the same high standard of service as you.
In this case, pick your strategic partner carefully.
Whoever you choose to team up with, it is vital that you agree a plan as to how you intend to implement your cross selling strategy.
It is also important that you lead the way by making client introductions.
By showing leadership, you will encourage people to step outside of their 'silos' and share client information.
To soften the way ahead, you could meet up to consider ways of bundling your services together at an attractive rate.
A word of warning is required here as there is always a danger of good initiatives falling down the list of priorities.
We've both seen this happen on more than one occasion! So, to avoid this happening, you must diarise regular meetings to talk about any new client matters that you are handling or upcoming client meetings in which you can introduce your colleague.
Ten to fifteen minutes a week should do the trick, but always allocate time to monitor progress of any previous action points.
Eventually, you'll want to involve your wider team in the cross selling process.
This will require education! So, at this stage it would be a good idea to ask your strategic partner to deliver a short seminar to your department so that they will understand more about the services available.
This is crucial! You'd be surprised at the level of ignorance when it comes to understanding what other departments actually do.
If they do not understand what's on offer then it becomes difficult for them to spot the opportunity.
You never know, but perhaps you might learn something yourself! Will Cross Selling produce great result overnight? No...
after all legal sector marketing is predominantly about developing client relationships and understanding their needs.
It is also about understanding how your strategic partner helps their clients.
This takes time, so it is important to be patient, but eventually the rewards will come.
You can also expect that any sceptical partners in the practice will want a piece of the action when they see your improved results.