How to overcome the challenge of cross selling
Most law firms and CPA firms complain that they have many clients who could use other services their firm provides, but they just can’t seem to cross-sell these services. It doesn’t matter if you’re a small law firm or a large law firm, it happens to nearly every professional service provider I know. There are three reasons for this cross selling challenge:
Your service professionals are mistakenly thinking that their clients understands the wide range of services provided by your firm. In most cases, this simply isn’t true. When clients think of the services your CPA or law firm provides, they think of the services THEY receive and nothing else. This can be especially true if you’re a small business. Clients have their own problems, they don’t sit around all day thinking about you. You need to remind them of everything you know how to do and uncover their problems before they engage someone else to solve them.
As lawyers or CPAs, you get wrapped up in solving the problems your clients have presented to you, then moving on. Unfortunately for service providers, your clients won’t face every problem at the same time. So cross selling isn’t a same-time sale. It’s not like the fast food worker asking you if you want fries with your meal. It’s more like the waiter at a fancy restaurant checking on you after dessert to see if you’d like an after dinner drink. You need to keep in touch with your clients long after your services have been rendered in order to sell them something else.
The originating service provider can’t explain the other services offered by your firm, or doesn’t understand how to recognize the cross selling opportunity. Just like clients think about your firm as doing for everyone what you do for THEM, service providers think about clients needing what they know how to provide. Without a good understanding of what your own firm can do, you can’t see these opportunities.
The solution to the cross selling problem is content marketing. By sharing information about other services your firm provides, your clients will be exposed to these services. Your clients will recognize themselves in your case studies, blog posts, and newsletter articles. If you read your own firm’s case studies, blog posts, and newsletter articles, you will learn more about how to describe these services in plain English. That way, when your clients ask you about what they have read, you will be able to answer the question, or at least direct them to the author of the article.
The trick with cross selling and content marketing is to be deliberate and consistent. Without a communications plan tied to your business goals, you’re just talking to make noise. Think about how your firm wants to grow and build your content marketing plan to match these goals. Conduct keyword research to understand the difference between the terms you use as a lawyer or a CPA and the words your prospective clients use to describe what they want. Strategic planning and keyword research will tell you what to write about and where to publish the information. Then, force yourself to be consistent. People need to hear messages more than once before they sink in. But with time, a well-planned content marketing strategy can help your firm cross sell without turning your professional service providers into “salespeople.”