Monday, November 7, 2011

Three Keys to Increasing Cross-Selling

Many firms place greater emphasis on pursuing new clients than cross-selling. Yet, capturing new clients is costly and lengthy in comparison with cross-selling, especially in today’s highly competitive market. Why not use a change or consolidation effort to refocus staff on the importance of cross-selling? Here are three tips that can help to increase cross-selling and produce faster business development results:

1. Make it a priority. Sounds simple enough, but if a firm’s recognition and reward systems give greater emphasis to finding new clients, then that’s what employees will think is most important. Talk it up. Give recognition for cross-selling. Make it clear in routine meetings that cross-selling is a priority, and do some of it yourself. Set an example at the executive or principal level, and employees will believe it’s important. Identifying where cross-selling opportunities exist and creating a tally of those opportunities can also help.

2. Train employees. One of the main reasons why many employees don’t cross-sell work is that they’re reluctant to discuss a service that’s outside their area of technical expertise (not to mention employees that have been with a company for years and still don’t know the full range of services the company provides!). Employees don’t need to be experts in every discipline, but they would benefit from some education on the basics, such as the services the firm provides, issues these services address, how the services are provided, buzz words to look for and say, and how to introduce the client to your in-house expert when they find a specific opportunity. This can be done at brown bag lunch forums that create great internal dialog among the practice areas.

3. Provide experience. Create opportunities for employees to work on projects outside their normal practice. This provides two benefits: they’ll be better equipped to cross-sell, and over time it will give the firm greater flexibility to address the ebb and flow of workload across the firm’s practice areas. A consolidated office may be a natural catalyst for this.

Just remember that YOU are the best sales tool your firm has. To learn more about how to cross-sell and bring in business, join PSMJ this fall for our Winning Proposals and Presentations seminar, coming to 5 locations across North America. Get the tools and confidence you need to succeed in bringing in more work for the firm – register today!

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