Cross Selling and Up Selling – Reality or a Pipe Dream?
Many organisations are sitting on a very valuable asset…..
They know they have it.
They know they should be using it better.
They even have some ideas about how they should go about getting more benefit from it…… but that’s often about as far as it gets.
The asset is the existing client base, current customers, lapsed customers, suppliers and associates.
Yes, put simply, the people the organisation already has relationships with.
There is immense untapped value in those relationships.
So Why Doesn’t Every Firm Maximise Cross Selling and Up Selling?
Working some years ago with a professional services firm, they had identified that their asset could give them tremendous competitive advantage in their organic growth…if only they could work out how to effectively monetise it.
Their issues, as I suspect are the same in many organisations, were centred upon the following:
- How to start the process of working with existing relationships to create stronger and more profitable relationships.
- How to built in greater levels of loyalty and trust with co-workers across different teams and departments, and begin the process of forming new relationships via referral, introduction via sensitive and appropriate sharing.
- How to reconfigure the internal business culture so that it becomes the normal and regular thing to do, as opposed to an activity that is performed by exception.
- What language and words to use within existing relationships to begin the process without it seem like it’s just a fishing exercise.
- If, and how to, measure the effectiveness of such an initiative.
- How to prevent inter departmental competitiveness that restricted the sharing of information.
- How to manage and mitigate the fear that exists when one partner or associate, director or divisional head wants to keep ‘their’ contacts close for fear of someone else damaging that relationship
These are very common challenges, for small and large organisations.
Small Change…Big Results
Left unattended, the asset can’t be monetised, the competitors can easily nibble away, but even worse this ‘holding on tight’ mentality can be a major hurdle to growth
It’s also a major hurdle to increased profits via lower business acquisition costs. After all, it’s typically going to cost a business 7x as much to recruit a new customer as to sell to an existing one…so you do the maths.
However, there are some very simple task to help organisations down this route.
But, keep in mind that:
Culture doesn’t change overnight.
Business practices don’t change because someone says they should, presents a strategy for it or sends an edict from one high.
Cross Selling and Up Selling: What Next?
You could consider taking great care about how to label this activity, I see that as a huge hurdle to people sharing clients and information. Cross selling and up selling are very crude terms and immediately raise hackles…so get rid of those labels.
Get the sharing habit…there will be people in your business who are prepared to collaborate, who do trust each other, who have used this type of initiate to positive benefit, who can speak positively for this type of activity. Celebrate their success.
Target specific client or client groups…this helps channels people’s thinking i.e. your not asking them to open their whole address book, just a very small part of it.
Give staff a reason to participate…and I’m not talking about monetary incentives. A professional business person will know that a great client relationship is worth far more than any crummy bonus they’ll get because they shared what they see as an asset beyond value…instead make any bonus client centric, i.e. as a loyal customer to firm ABC division X, if you start working with division Y, you’ll get preferential arrangements…it’s very crudely worded, but you get my drift…it’s not about benefiting the company or the firm any more and it’s everything to do with benefiting the client.
Keep everyone updated…using regular communications and events to start to de-formalise some of the actions, and provide feedback.
Pilot it…don’t go in all guns blazing with a firm wide initiative, maybe departmental wide to start off with, make it accountable, transparent and visible.
Full backing…the board might say they’re on board, but now’s the time to prove it…have some high profile swaps and introductions and get the feedback out there.
Remember why you’re doing this and reinforce that message… this is not just about boosting revenues, profits and loyalty, it’s also about becoming the client’s go to trusted advisor
Prepare the staff…that means ensuring the staff are fully primed in the what to say, as much as the when to say it…can all help the process become part of the normal day to day activities…all you might need is just one question
Keep it simple…it’s a conversation not a major offensive campaign
Cross Selling and Up Selling: Summary
Cross Selling and Up Selling have a bad reputation.
It’s the gas provider calling up to sell you electricity.
It’s the land line provider flogging broadband.
None of this is good.
Reframe. Repackage. Reposition.
It’s worth it.
For more information on how to spearhead some of these cross selling and up selling initiatives within your business, contact me on 0779 002 1885 or firstname.lastname@example.org for an informal chat.
For more information you can hit the link here – Leads ++
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