Whilst many lawyers may shy away from ‘selling’ to potential new clients, there seems to be a much greater level of acceptance that cross selling is part of providing a good service to the client and in developing the relationship.
The level of success in cross selling though is variable to say the least. A 2007 survey by BTI Consulting Group found that only 4% described their firm as ‘highly effective’ at cross selling, whilst a massive 77% of heads of marketing in 120 top US law firms reported that their firms were ‘ineffective’.
Large consumer brands such as Saga and Co-Op seem much more adept at cross selling having both moved successfully into the legal arena. What can traditional law firms learn from their approach?
A consistent approach is essential and should be led by a cohesive strategy that incorporates cross selling along with new business and has clear kpi’s. A plan should utilise multiple communication channels, across a range of platforms.
Having client data that is easily accessible, shared across the firm and can be easily manipulated for marketing campaigns makes cross selling so much easier. Being able to run a report showing clients who haven’t updated their will for 12 months or more means that you can ensure you make contact at the appropriate time with something that will genuinely be of interest to your client.
Fee earners can feel nervous about passing a client they have built a good relationship with over to another department. Procedures should be agreed across all departments regarding when it is appropriate to pass a client to another department, for the referring solicitor to be kept up to date on other work being carried out and to ensure the same client is not receiving simultaneous, or worse, conflicting communications from different departments.
Many of the potential hazards mentioned above can be mitigated by a good case management system. All fee earners should be able to look at a client record and see what other work is in progress for that client, view communications and file notes and also report on the value of that clients business across the whole firm. A good case management system also actively assists in cross selling – for example many of our clients have a step on their conveyancing workflow where they set an appointment to update the clients Will.
Cross selling doesn’t have to be complicated or difficult, don’t be afraid to tell your clients about the other services you offer, set a clear strategy and go for it, what’s the worst that can happen?