The Benefits of Cross-Selling
A law firm should be more than a collection of solo practitioners. While sharing office space can help reduce the costs of running a legal office, a true partnership provides much more. It is the epitome of the whole being more than the sum of its collective parts. A firm compensation plan which rewards an attorney’s production should include more than just the work they do. It should also include the work that the attorney produces for the firm which is done by others within it. And for that type of arrangement to be successful, such true law firms require effort beyond simply having a robust compensation plan.
A successful law firm strategically markets itself, its practice areas, and its individual members.
This marketing effort is supported by each of its members who contribute in their own way, capitalizing on their strengths. This means making individual contributions to the marketing of the firm as a whole, the practice areas in which one is involved and also in marketing one’s self. While that sounds easy enough, most lawyers, especially busy lawyers, are unwilling to devote the time, energy, and resources necessary for these efforts to be effective. However, in those firms which are successful, such efforts are a must. But, for the firm to truly reach its potential, these efforts must be further amplified.
While marketing one’s self and one’s practice area and engaging in firm-wide marketing are all taxing, a firm is not reaching its marketing potential if its members are not also cross-selling.
It is not enough to market simply those areas within each member’s individual purviews. Instead, a firm’s members should also be marketing the firm’s other practice areas and individuals. Everyone who does so is leveraging their relationships, reputation, and resources to create even greater value for the firm as a whole (and thus for themselves).
How does one go about cross-selling?
Well, first you must have a good understanding of what everyone else does.
For larger firms, it may help to just know what all the firm is capable of doing even if you don’t know the individuals who do it. And it must be what they are truly good at, not simply what they filled out on some sort of form. One of the reasons that firm members hesitate to cross-sell is because they have had a bad experience in the past. It is damaging for an individual (and the firm as a whole) to recommend someone within the firm to a client or former client or friend or associate and for them to have a bad experience. The firm should be built on trust. Trust that someone won’t tackle something that they are not capable of doing well. Trust that they will provide quality services for a reasonable fee and a reasonable amount of time. Trust that they will take care of your client. Failures in these areas must be dealt with if the firm’s members are to engage in cross-selling.