As professional services executives, cross-selling services is a goal we, of course, all have – making the most out of our existing accounts, adding more value to the relationship by selling appropriate services and equally appropriate complimentary services. Cross-selling services is, you might believe, the holy grail of increasing revenue per client (or one of them, anyway). Yet as professional services executives, we’re confounded by the difficulty in cross-selling successfully.
It’s actually not a mystery as to why cross-selling services has become so difficult. The ugly truth is that your clients really don’t know what you do. You have the right collateral, designed the right way and it says the right things, your website communicates your services effectively and you KNOW that you are comprehensive when you’re with your clients face-to-face and talking about your breadth of services. But still – they don’t know what you do. And the worse part? If you were to ask them what additional services they would like for you to offer, you are very likely to already offer those.
In our book co-authored with RAIN Group, Professional Services Marketing, we found that between 50% and 75% of buyers of professional services say they are not aware of all the services that providers have to offer. And to the point above, when we asked the service provider about the additional services buyers said they would be interested in, incredibly 8 out of 10 times, they already offered the services buyers said they were looking for.
Clearly, the potential for cross-selling services exists – but how do you do it? Here are four key things to keep in mind:
- Just because you offer a service, it doesn’t mean you should. Are each of the services you offer core to who your brand says you are? While you may feel that you’re covering all bases, offering a wider and wider range of services has its disadvantages – they may require additional staff or development of a new skill set. All fine and well but again, if it isn’t core to who you are, diminishing returns begin to set in with the maintenance and upkeep of those services.
- Just because you can offer your services to any industry, doesn’t mean you should. Our research finds that higher growth, higher revenue firms are those that have had the guts to specialize. When you’re everything to everyone, or even lots of things if not everything, your message is bound to get muddled and it’s no wonder that even your most loyal audience isn’t aware of everything you do. Worse, it expands your pool of competitors.
- Keeping the above two points in mind, make sure you’re on top of emerging needs of your clients. Our research has found that, well, research is the key to getting the mix of industries and services just right. “The more you know, the more you grow” has become our own corporate mantra at Hinge. Indeed, firms who regularly conduct research on their target audience to understand what’s truly on their minds and what they truly need from the professional services industry dramatically outperform firms who don’t. Researching your target audience sheds light on how to better communicate the benefits of your services, thus improving your chances of cross-selling services to your existing clients.
- Brand Matters. Strong brands facilitate cross-selling services in that they help clients better anticipate what they not only can get from you, but what they should get from you. Moreover, a strong brand helps you, the seller, craft a clear, consistent, and thus compelling message to your audience on what exactly it is you offer.
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