For 3,013 days I worked in the field of financial advisory services for one of the Big 4. For eight years and three months I heard one word on an almost daily basis: cross-selling.
The idea of cross-selling in professional service firms is simple:
Financial advisors, bankers, IT consultants, lawyers and others have established client relationships based on their professional expertise. It could be international law, transfer pricing, financial restructuring, corporate finance – you name it.
Now – what the leadership of most of those companies expect their people to do is go to their clients and sell other services as well. The idea of cross-selling is tempting because a company can save high costs of acquisition.
But – don’t they forget three important facts?
- Selling of professional services is a trust game, not a grocery store.
- As a trusted and credible advisor you can only sell one solution.
- On top – most people are driven by personal interests rather than corporate balance sheets.
In my former company cross-selling never really worked. Today, during my lunch with a good friend, an M&A advisor, I heard about their unsuccessful attempts to launch cross-selling initiatives. Numerous other similar initiatives which I’ve heard about in the course of time ended in a dead end street.
I strongly believe that cross-selling is a myth.
Skip the cross and start selling!
Ask Jack Vincent. He will make you snap, crackle ‘n pop!