Many law firms that offer a multiplicity of practice areas often have difficulty cross-selling these disparate services to their roster of clients. Unfortunately, while getting a client whom you’ve provided legal services in one area to now utilize your firm for another may not be as “exciting” as obtaining a new client altogether, it nonetheless represents a viable means for increasing overall revenue. Moreover, it is usually less expensive and easier to do than seeking new clients altogether.
With that in mind, outlined below are six ways in which you can enhance your chances for successfully cross-promoting firm services:
1. Create a “Cross-Selling” Culture
This means putting the “kabash” on attorney egos and instead rewarding/offering incentives for originating business outside of one’s own practice area. It means putting internal programs into place that allow firm attorneys to know what their colleagues are doing. And it means encouraging attorneys to look beyond the obvious in discussions with their clients. Are they thinking as an attorney looking out for his/her own interests or are they thinking as a member of a larger team?
2. Use Your Cyber “Real Estate”
Yes, your client came to your web site because they were looking for some business counsel, or a family attorney, help with a DUI, assistance on a tax matter or any of a host of a zillion other legal concerns. But that doesn’t mean they should not be exposed to the myriad of things you do. Simply having a button on your site that says “Practice Areas” is not enough – no one may ever even bother to hit or hover over that link. Find appropriate space on your home page (and other pages as well) to let site visitors know.
3. Be Smart About How You Use Your Newsletter (or E-Newsletter)
Law firms are big on getting out newsletters and e-newsletters. That’s great. Not so great are the cross-selling opportunities they waste. If your newsletter contains several articles, make sure there’s something you’ve included that alludes to some of the firm’s other practice groups. This is true even if the newsletter focuses on one particular type of law. If you typically send out material that is more akin to a client “brief” (i.e., a single article or post), look to get these out as frequently as is feasible, making sure to rotate the content (and thus each issue) around your different practice areas. Remember, in many cases (perhaps most), the recipient may not even read the content. All they may see are the headlines. If each highlights a different area of family law, why on earth would they ever even think of you when it comes to their business concerns? Note that for e-newsletters, this is particularly true. Most may go unopened. But that’s OK – if you have a compelling subject line that highlights a different area of practice every time the recipient sees your name.
4. Understand that Brochures Still Matter
We once had a client that came to us with concerns that they were leaving money on the table. Among other things, one of the tactics we suggested was to use their firm brochure to highlight its disparate practice groups. Now, there is nothing unusual about this – many firms have sales materials that describe the range of their services. The problem is however, that individuals who only see the brochure lying on the waiting room table or who peruse only one section of a multi-page sales piece may never even see all that the firm has to offer. Our solution was to create a brochure with several pages, step-cut and titled with the different practice areas so that anyone picking up the piece would have no choice but to see all the ways in which the firm might service their legal needs – just by looking at the cover of the material.
5. Use Letterhead Wisely
For all of the reasons noted above, doesn’t it make sense to find room to list your practice areas on your letterhead? It need not be in large type or take up a lot of room, but just as you might note different office locations and/or key executives, why not note your areas of focus.
That’s right. Sometimes the answer is right in front of you. You don’t have to be pushy, but there is nothing wrong with asking your divorce client if he is working with anyone on his business’ legal needs; or the real estate client whether she has started to think about a succession plan; or the plaintiff in your PI case how he intends to protect his assets. All of this of course, takes us back full circle – to the importance of creating a firm culture that facilitates cross-selling.
So there you have it. Six things you can do right now.
I am sure there are others. And I’d love to hear about them. If you or your firm have come up with a brilliant cross-promotional approach idea or have a question as to how you might implement a new concept, bring it on!