Relationally Cross-Selling

My last blog focused on the “WHY” of cross-selling, this blog focuses on the “HOW.”

Always remember cross-selling is good business. It credentials you as an advisor, not a vendor. Someone is going to sell this service to your client, the question is, will it be you?

Even if it ultimately isn’t you, you’ve still shown your commercial empathy and prescience by offering the service you’ve recommended.

Here are some tips for developing business with your existing clients by cross-selling:

How to Cross-Sell

  • Create for your business the definition of a high-value customer
    • This is essential to govern your prospecting activity. By defining what a high-value customer is, you make the job of cross-selling easier by honing in on this customer profile. Then, your cross-selling activity can become repeatable and scalable for your BD Team.
  • Establish a cross-selling profile: What customers have needed these services in the past?
    • You and your company have a stable of clients, each of them using your services/products for different reasons. But are there commonalities? Are there certain types of clients that use the same services/products? Knowing this will help you segment your client base for much more effective cross-selling.
  • Determine who your best customers are that deserve this effort
    • Not all customers warrant cross-selling. If you’ve just started with them and haven’t established strong trust, give it time. Also, some are very narrow in their focus/vision so, they should not make your priority list, either. Those with whom you have developed a trusted adviser role are the ones that will likely be most receptive to your new ideas.
  • Decide on the service that is most accretive to their business
    • Never, ever assume your customer is going to know what they need. That’s your job! Assess each customer’s goals and determine what you can offer that will help them get there.
  • Pinpoint the executives you should offer this idea to
    • We’ve all done it…put a lot of effort into selling to one person only have the response be, “Sounds great but…I have to run this by some people first.” Who are those people? And when can YOU run it by them?
  • Schedule business reviews to reinforce your value, use probing questions to determine future challenges, then cross-sell
    • Before you try to sell them on a new idea…you have to understand how well you’re doing in the first place. Has your product/service met their expectations? Will it for the future? What new challenges are they facing that could be helped by a different part of your company’s offerings? Have this face-to-face (or Zoom to Zoom!) meeting regularly so that you can find opportunities to cross-sell.
  • Recommend a pilot program to initiate the process
    • You are addressing a new challenge with a new offering. Let them see it in action on a small scale. Their risk will be minimal and they’ll see how well your product/service addresses a key issue. It will help you cross-sell and create an internal advocate as your service is sold upstream within their company.

It’s often said that finding new customers is far more challenging than developing new business from existing ones. That’s true…if you have a plan for nurturing these relationships so that your cross-selling recommendations are trusted by your clients as being in their best interest. Follow the tips above to achieve that level of trust!

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