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To Cross Sell Effectively, Treat Your Partners Like Clients

Have you ever received an email from one of your partners asking if you know anyone in town who specializes in a certain area — only to sigh heavily, realizing that at least one person in your own firm provides exactly that service? It’s surprising how often partners exhibit a lack of knowledge about their own firm’s services.

To avoid this, be sure you meet regularly with your partners (one-on-one when possible) to find out more about the specifics of their specialties. It’s amazing what you can learn in 15 or 20 minutes. If you spend the time, you’ll get to know them better and understand how to use their skills and strengths to help your clients.

Another approach is to invite members of each practice area to make brief presentations on their specialty to associates and managers (who often have more contact with clients than partners). It is best to assume these groups don’t know everything your firm does and plan communica¬tions accordingly.

Finally, use your intranet effectively. When one prac¬tice group sends a mailing to clients, for example, post it so everyone can stay in¬formed and keep their clients up to date on other areas in which your firm can help them.

Spending time with your partners outside formal meetings gives you the opportunity to build relationships with them. We know that in professional services clients only do business with people they trust and, usually, with people they like. It’s no different for partners in their cross-selling efforts.

If your partners trust and like you, your chances of gaining an introduction to their clients who may need your expertise increase. Just like clients, partners can only learn who you are and what you do if you take the initiative to develop a rela¬tionship with them. And when you take the time and effort, everybody wins.

© Melinda Guillemette 2009