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Cross-Selling: Do People Know What You Do?


As lawyers, many of us do a poor job telling people what we do. I’ve known many lawyers for years and yet have no idea of the kind of work that they do. We don’t talk about it. While keeping client information confidential is a valuable hallmark of our profession, not sharing the type of work that we do with people who might be interested in such services or who might refer others is not very effective marketing. Even if they may know one thing that we do, they likely have no idea what else we can do, would love to do, or what the other lawyers in our firm do.


The first step is to figure out what we need to share.

Without revealing confidential information, pick the top five things you’d like to do and find an easy way of explaining them to someone. Let them ask questions to get more information - it shouldn’t be a soliloquy. This is the ubiquitous “elevator pitch” only it doesn’t need to sound like a pitch. Just something that you can work into communications.


“Oh, I’m doing mostly mediations now, focusing on bankruptcy, environmental, surety and construction, and other complex cases.” That says a lot, addresses specifics, and is one sentence. While that person may know that I am doing mediations, they might not have known what types.


“We’ve been working on a lot of mass tort cases, such as …” The former client may have been represented in a car wreck and have no idea that his lawyer is handling these types of cases.


The next step is to determine what the others in the firm do.

I never cease to be amazed at how little some lawyers know about the practices of others within their firm. Even if you think you know, take a few minutes to update your knowledge. Again, focus on what they are doing and what they would like to be doing. If you can help a client out by expanding what your firm does for them, you have a happy client. And if you can provide additional work for others in your firm, you have a happy partner and a more successful firm. As it has been said, a rising tide lifts all boats.


In addition to more readily sharing the types of cases that we are working on, working into our conversations the other types of work that we do or would like to do needs to be part of our routine.

We must consciously think about doing this and we must be strategic about how we do it. Sure, it is important in our face-to-face meetings, but it is also important to incorporate in our other marketing efforts. While our marketing strategy may include a focus on a particular type of case, we shouldn’t blow the engagement with a potential client or referral source by not including some element of cross-selling, even if it is as simple as directing them to a website that includes cross-selling on each page and is easily navigable.


Make cross-selling yourself and your firm a habit and you’ll see results.

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