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By Kim Tasso
While lawyers sometimes shy away from selling, they seem comfortable accepting that cross-selling is a fundamental part of developing their practice. Perhaps this is because selling focuses on winning new clients whereas cross-selling is an inevitable part of developing existing relationships. Yet cross-selling, while accepted as important, remains tantalisingly – perhaps frustratingly - out of reach for many law firms.
From cross-selling to cross-buying
The term “cross-selling” implies an inherently internal perspective. The firm wants to sell more of its products and services to a client. Yet, like all sales initiatives, we need to start with the client and what they perceive and need.
Empathy skills come to the fore here – as well as research and a long term investment in lawyer time to build a relationship where the client trusts you and is prepared to reveal more about themselves and their family or business. When we shift to how the client buys then we can appreciate better how to cross-sell.
Clients – whether they are private clients, OMB/SMEs or large corporates – will have different decision making and buying processes. Smaller clients – where the main contact is with the owner – may see value in the time saved and convenience of a single point of contact for a variety of services. Larger clients – where there are qualified professionals and procurement experts – will focus on “horses for courses” and want to use specialist firms in different areas. In some larger clients, your main point of contact may have no knowledge of or links with those involved in the buying processes of other parts of the organisation. In fact, it may not be in their interests to try to introduce you to other parts of their organisation.
Some lawyers may resist cross-selling initiatives if they fear that handing over their clients to others (who may have different standards and perhaps give their own clients priority) may risk the relationship. So a first step is building internal trust – to check that the service from different teams is up to scratch and consistent. Anal
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