Tom Kane

Is the Lack of Cross-Selling Your Fault?

Is the Lack of Cross-Selling Your Fault?

By Tom Kane

(Reprinted from Tom’s dated February 25, 2016)

Are you to blame for your partners’ failure to cross-sell you to their client contacts?  Not necessarily, but you could be part of the problem. Clients select lawyers they know, like, and trust. Referral sources, including your partners, send you clients for the same reason. Since they know, like, and trust you, they transfer those qualities by recommending you.

Maybe your partner doesn’t know enough about you or your practice, especially in a large firm. And there may be selfish reasons he or she is protecting the client relationship.  In my 30 years in this business, I can assure you that a “bit” of that goes on.  So you must work to enhance the relationships with your partners and to make certain that he or she knows enough about your practice to be comfortable that you won’t displace or hurt the client relationship.

According to Mike O’Horo, in a recent article on Attorney at Work, “cross-selling problems are self-created.” He argues, among other things, that lawyers focus on the product they’re trying to sell, instead of whether the client has a need for such services. The important point is that any attempt to cross-sell should be client-centric (i.e., benefit the client), rather than product-centric (i.e., what service can benefit the lawyer and firm). The client must understand that it has a need for such services and agree that your firm, rather than another, is the best choice for those services.

Cross-selling often fails based upon a client’s unfavorable reaction to the idea.  They may prefer to spread work around, or they are not convinced that the lawyer being recommended is right for the job.  For cross-selling to work, the client must recognize the need for the services, and have faith that the lawyer making the recommendation of another lawyer within the firm  has confidence in the lawyer being recommended.

While it may not be entirely your fault that your partners don’t cross-sell your services, it is critical that you foster relationships with other lawyers within the firm so that you come to mind when cross-selling opportunities arise.

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