This Is Your Secret Weapon for
Cross-Selling Your Law Firm’s Services
Cross-selling won’t be nearly as hard as you think it is when you deploy this secret weapon.
If you’re a lawyer at a law firm that has more than one practice group, and you have a book of business or you’re building one, there’s a good chance you’ve been encouraged by your colleagues to cross-sell the firm’s services.
They will want you to talk up to your clients your firm’s legal practices outside of your own so your clients will know your firm can help them with legal issues outside of those you are already helping them with.
While that seems like a cinch to pull off, for several reasons, it is easier said than done. Sometimes, cross-selling conversations feel forced. Sometimes, your client will give you the “I’m not interested” vibe before you’ve finished your first sentence. And sometimes, your colleagues haven’t provided you with the right information about their practices that would allow you to talk knowledgeably about them—even superficially.
If you’re in that boat, or you are unsure about how to get your cross-selling efforts going, marketing and business development content, in all of its forms, is your secret weapon for cross-selling your firm’s services.
That’s because the content creation process can help you identify which of your firm’s practices you could easily cross-sell. Then, the content itself can show off the knowledge and wisdom you and your colleagues in complementary legal practices have about your clients’ legal and business issues.
But most importantly, that content will also provide an opportunity for you to introduce your colleagues to your clients because those colleagues will have collaborated with you on the content.
First, Identify Cross-Selling Opportunities
Here’s a ridiculously easy way to identify cross-selling opportunities that will be the basis for your cross-selling content.
Draw a Venn diagram with two circles.
First, fill in the circle on the left with the legal and business issues you currently help a particular client with.
Next, fill in the overlap in the middle with a legal or business issue outside of your practice that your client needs help with. You know this information because your client has volunteered it previously, or because you have asked them.
This overlap is where there is an opportunity to cross-sell to your client. You will do so by creating content focused on that legal or business issue.
Finally, fill in the circle on the right with the practice group at your firm best positioned to help your client with the legal or business issue in the overlap area. (If your firm does not have one, focus on a legal or business issue your colleagues can actually assist with.)
There you have it. You now have the practice you can cross-sell to your client, and, for our purposes, the practice whose partner or associate will collaborate with you on a piece of marketing or business development content.
Not only is this exercise ridiculously easy, it is ridiculously repeatable. You can repeat it until you’ve run through all the legal and business issues your clients have told you they are facing.
For example, let’s say you are a litigator with a focus on litigating intellectual property disputes.
You know your clients often face intellectual property (IP) issues during transactions, but you have not yet been able to get a piece of that work. Looking at your Venn diagram, your practice is in the left circle and your clients’ IP issues during transactions are in the overlapping section. You can then see that a colleague with a mergers and acquisitions practice would be a perfect cross-selling partner and content-creating collaborator.
Here’s another example. Let’s say you are a lawyer specializing in administrative law who helps your clients manage their relationships with the administrative agencies that regulate them.
You know some issues you help your clients with will find their way, down the road, into private litigation brought against your clients by aggressive plaintiffs’ lawyers. Looking at your Venn diagram, you see your litigation colleagues could provide guidance to your clients about litigating private lawsuits that arise out of regulatory issues. Again, you’ve found a practice to cross-sell by collaborating on marketing or business development content.
Now, Craft Your Cross-Selling Marketing and Business Development Content
After thinking about your clients’ legal or business issues and the combination of services your law firm can provide to help with those issues, it’s time to create marketing and business development content around that combination of services. This content can come in many forms, such as a blog post, article, client alert, webinar, podcast episode, video or white paper.
Whatever form your content takes, in order to be effective, it must show your clients that you and your colleagues have the knowledge and wisdom to tackle their various legal or business issues efficiently and effectively. It must be compelling and relevant. After all, it is designed to do the bulk of your cross-selling for you. It should implicitly or explicitly make it clear that you and your colleagues understand your clients’ industries, business objectives, and the legal or business issues they are facing, and that you and your firm are the no-brainer choice to assist them with those issues.
You can display this knowledge and wisdom through content addressing current developments that may impact your clients’ legal or business issues, such as recent court decisions or administrative agency actions. Or, you can create “evergreen” content not dependent on recent developments that suggests best practices for tackling thorny issues. An example of a topic for clients on aggressive acquisition sprees could be “Considerations for acquiring a company facing a product recall.”
(Of course, the content should not identify any clients by name, reference their specific legal or business issues, or mention any confidential or privileged information. That’s because no single client will be the sole recipient of the content.)
Once the content is published, you can easily introduce your colleague(s) to your clients when you contact them about the piece of content you’ve created to let them know they might want to check it out. By doing so, you’re bringing a colleague or two into a cross-selling conversation without it feeling like a cross-selling conversation.
A Better Way for You to Cross-Sell
By mapping out the legal and business issues your clients are dealing with that you and your colleagues can assist with, and then producing content that addresses those issues, you can cross-sell your firm’s services in a palatable, less-salesy manner than other common cross-selling techniques.
A strategic program focused on identifying cross-selling opportunities for the purposes of drafting marketing and business development content that cross-sells to clients does not require much time or effort to build or maintain. Yet once it gets going, it will make cross-selling easier for you, which will hopefully make it something you do more often, which will hopefully result in you building your book of business faster.
Cross-selling your firm’s practices doesn’t have to be difficult. If you follow the steps above and use compelling, relevant marketing or business development content as your cross-selling secret weapon, you might wonder why you didn’t start cross-selling like this sooner.
Wayne Pollock, a former Am Law 50 senior litigation associate, is the founder of Copo Strategies, a legal services and communications firm, and the Law Firm Editorial Service, a content strategy and ghostwriting service for lawyers and their law firms. The Law Firm Editorial Service helps Big Law and boutique law firm partners, and their firms, grow their practices by collaborating with them to strategize and ethically ghostwrite book-of-business-building marketing and business development content. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reprinted with permission from the March 8, 2022, edition of The Legal Intelligencer © 2022 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All rights reserved. Further duplication without permission is prohibited, contact 877–257–3382 or email@example.com.