Four tips on how to cross-sell more effectively

BridgeTower Media Newswires//December 16, 2014

Four tips on how to cross-sell more effectively

BridgeTower Media Newswires//December 16, 2014

ABusiness flows into law firms through any number of channels, and there is a myriad of ways to market legal services.

Unfortunately, one of the most accessible methods of business development historically has had trouble gaining traction: cross-selling.

Lawyers often report that cross-selling is daunting and the legal sales process involved is unclear. That perception may be the root of the problem.

In reality, cross-selling isn’t selling at all, but rather an approach to service. With that in mind, consider re-imagining the subject within an industry that is well-suited to the opportunities cross-selling presents. Here’s how.


For a moment, let’s rename cross-selling as “legal services education.” Lawyers have a tremendous opportunity to educate themselves on how to serve client needs more broadly when there’s already an open matter within one practice area.

Existing client relationships also present a chance for attorneys to educate clients about protecting their interests by engaging additional services the firm offers.

Tip No. 1: You cannot be everything to everyone, so use a team of attorneys to complement your skills and further clients’ business goals. Spend time talking to clients off the clock to assess their businesses. Take note of gaps, needs, issues and worries.

Brainstorm solutions and problem-solve with your colleagues, then discuss potential solutions with your clientele in a helpful way. Don’t “sell” them the services; provide options for improving business.


All marketing plans should include networking, both in-person and on social media. Think about cross-selling as an extension to your current networking.

Introduce your colleagues to your clients as you would two people you encounter in a networking setting. Take the time to align clients and their potential needs to your fellow attorneys and their relevant skills.

Tip No. 2: Use the same methods that you would to introduce anyone in your network. Explain to your clients that you want to connect them to someone who they will like and who is capable of helping them with their business. Don’t “sell” them on the person; make an informative introduction.

Holistic well-being

If you think of your clients’ businesses holistically, you are providing well-rounded service.

Set up a time to have a complimentary conversation to explore facets of their business. Are there gaps in their business models? Have they reviewed important documentation recently? Do they have expansion plans? Are there security risks?

Once you look diagnostically at the whole picture, identify useful tools and resources for them. In other words, be the glue that connects it all together to build trust in your recommendations.

Tip No. 3: Take a genuine interest in your clients and their well-being. When trust is established, you can comfortably make introductions that bring specific resources to the table. Don’t “sell” the colleague in your introductions; suggest why he or she is a good person to know.

Show, not tell

Once you identify the clients who most benefit from coordinated resources at the firm, show them how your team provides solutions for their business and legal needs.

Do that by creating relevant content for your website, electronic marketing, social media and presentations. Deliver helpful information that shows them that your team has the skills, understanding and motivation to be on top of the issues they face.

Tip No. 4: Connect with your clients through social media and maintain a presence by posting a variety of material on a routine basis. Content needn’t be long, nor even your own. Write short commentaries on public articles, publish blog posts or create advisories that are relevant. Remember, you aren’t “selling”; rather, you’re building visibility and showing awareness so that when you do ask for the business, the credibility is already in place.

Like any other business development initiative, cross-selling comes with barriers. But the obstacles are hardly insurmountable.

Start by redefining how you think about cross-selling — as a service to clients. Then apply your existing relationship-building skills to deepen your service delivery. The positive change will help you and your colleagues better support clients, build loyalty and ultimately bring in more business.

– By Deborah C. Scaringi. Scaringi is a marketing communications and business development consultant for law firms. She is based in the Boston area.


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