3 Reasons Solicitors Won’t Cross Sell
We know that cross-selling is an easier, and far more cost effective way, to generate work than cold selling.
The firm has taken time to review client data and create standard letters that promote our relevant services to clients, at the best time in their matter journey. Perhaps we have put into place other training and procedures too.
Despite this, solicitors are still not being as active in promoting other departments, as we would like.
We might put it down to time, and being busy, but there can be other underlying factors. Indeed it is not uncommon for solicitors to even encourage close friends and family to go elsewhere for legal matters, outside of their own firm.
It is therefore important to notice, and accept, that there are other reasons that might get in the way of cross-selling within the firm. Here are three reasons why fee earners might hold back, from referring work to other solicitors.
Three Reasons Fee Earners Don’t Cross-Sell
- Risk of an unhappy client. It could be they don’t feel comfortable with the other fee-earner’s work, approach, or personality. Perhaps they are not kept up-to-date with their client’s other transaction. Or maybe they feel that the other solicitor regularly invoices for more than they feel comfortable with. Whatever the reason, if they don’t feel comfortable, or it adds to their workload to follow up, they won’t do it. Take time to understand what their personal concerns are. Look at what procedures can be put into place to make this easier. And if you know some solicitors are unpopular with other fee earners, be aware that this will have a significant impact.
- No benefit to them. Fee earners need to prioritise. Their two main priorities are meeting their clients’ needs or deadlines, and achieving financial targets. If time spent cross-selling doesn’t support those deadlines, and there is no reward (financial or otherwise) in doing so, there is less motivation when busy. Despite them knowing that cross selling benefits the firm as a whole. If you are considering financial rewards, or other incentives, make sure it can be fair, as some departments can cross-refer far easier than others.
- They don’t understand. There seems to be a belief that fee earners (and support staff) understand the work of other fee earners. This often isn’t the case, especially with junior solicitors, or if senior fee earners haven’t had any experience in another practice area. To make an active referral, the fee earner must feel confident in explaining the basics to clients (including pricing and the basic sequence of events), and know when a good time might be to refer. Ongoing training will support this.
When looking to increase cross-selling, it is important to look at procedures and any personal blocks, that might get in the way.
As with all training, or reminders, once every few years is not enough to keep cross-selling forefront in fee earners minds. Regular updates are key.
You might consider an anonymous survey to explore what concerns fee earners might have, any suggestions that would help, and even ask if there are departments that they are more hesitant to refer to. Although often, this is already known within a firm, but left unaddressed. It is therefore important to consider what actions you might take to address this, if it arises, rather than inviting feedback and then do nothing with it.
Cross-selling is an important part of growing any profitable law firm, and time needs to be spent reviewing the relevant data. Both the client’s journey and needs, to pinpoint the ideal client to cross sell to, and when. And the fee earners challenges, if any, to make those referrals happen.
Focus on regular reviews, updates, alongside practical support, responding to any concerns. To ensure cross-selling is happening, and therefore add value and increase your firm’s profits.