Cross-Selling Tactics: The Two Major Objectives

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by Phyllis Weiss Haserot

Cross-selling has been hailed as the most logical and natural way to expand business with your current client base. In most firms, large or small, the results have been underwhelming because of lack of information on capabilities, cooperation, and commitment to follow through. Here is how it should work.

Cross-selling is a process with two major objectives:

  1. Selling to your colleagues in the firm
  2. Selling to their clients
  3. and many steps.

A presentation of capabilities and experience to a large group of partners and associates or department by department is useful.

Partners in one practice area can meet one-on-one with billing partners in other practice areas in the firm and ask them about their clients' needs in the practice area in question. Focus on needs first, not capabilities or client service problems.

Part of the partner-to-partner interview should be a subtle selling process. If client service problems or doubts about capabilities surface, these should be addressed and resolved quickly and followed up.

The interview should end with commitment to jointly formulate an action plan for cross-selling to the client: introductions, proposals, etc.

Specific strategies should be generated from the "needs" information gathered; additional market research may be necessary.

Marketing communications materials (formal or informal) may be required or advisable to sell both colleagues and client prospects.

A client database is essential for effective cross-selling.
Cross-selling teams can be very effective. These may be composed of lawyers from several practice areas or a combination of "finders" and "minders."

In-house seminars are good opportunities for cross-selling. Clients of one practice area can be informed of the expertise of other practice areas. Introductions can be made directly. Materials can be handed out for future reference. Clients can be introduced to other clients for mutual benefit.

Phyllis Weiss Haserot is the president and founder of Practice Development Counsel, a business development and organizational effectiveness consulting and coaching firm working with professional firms, and its AuthenticWorkstm division. Practice Development Counsel works with firms on strategic marketing planning, client relationship building, work/life excellence, collaborative culture, implementing flexibility, workplace conflict resolution and consensus-building. Phyllis is the author of The Rainmaking Machine (West Group) and The Marketers Handbook of Tips & Checklists (Andrews Professional Books). You may contact her at 212-593-1549 and [email protected]. Visit her web site at

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