For lawyers and accountants internal marketing is marketing too

So many myths have grown up around marketing and business development across the professional services.  We’ve tackled a few in recent blogs but this week I want to look at the difference between what’s outside and inside your building because internal marketing is marketing too!

One of the aforementioned myths is that marketing and BD is all about new client acquisition.  And why not?  It’s the sexy part of business development isn’t it?  Identifying, converting and signing up a new prospect is what we all want to announce in our departmental meetings! 

However, it’s also by far the hardest thing to do. 

The easiest route to new work is the people you already know.  Partly this means adopting a more structured and active approach to client development.  But it also means getting closer to the people you know and see every day, your colleagues.

How can lawyers and accountants implement an effective cross-selling culture?

You will have doubtless heard the term ‘cross-selling’; it’s something every firm aspires to, but few get right so here are a few practical tips that will help you start to implement an informal cross-selling strategy because as we’ve said internal marketing is marketing too.

1. Let your colleagues know what you do

Although you might think everyone in every other department/team/office knows you exist, they probably don’t know exactly what you do.  They will know generally what you do, but not exactly.

See if you can find opportunities to present to them.  This doesn’t mean a full on seminar.  5 minutes at the end of the relevant departmental meetings under AOB will do.

All you need to do is outline the types of work you do, the types of clients you do it for then tell a few anecdotes to bring what you’ve said into sharper focus. 

If presenting isn’t possible, simply make time to talk to people in your firm’s other departments. Walk around the building, take an interest in your colleagues’ work, explain what you’ve been working on and move the conversation on to exploring possible ways to work and market together if there looks like some synergies.

2. Identify who you want to work with directly

There are two selection criteria here:

– Where’s the fit? 

You need to have a credible reason to introduce a colleague.  For example, if you are doing the commercial work for a business, they’ll have employees so will need employment law advice.  This means you can introduce a colleague from your employment department. 

Or, if you are auditing or advising a good sized business, their directors will need to structure their tax affairs as efficiently as possible.  This means you can introduce a tax specialist from your private client team.

– Who do you like?

It’s always easier (and more productive) to do BD with people you like.  You’ll bounce off each other and you’ll come over better.  However, there’s an even more commercial reason for marketing with people you like.  If you like each other, it’s far more likely the clients you’re introducing each other to will be get on with you too as they already get on with the person they work with.

3. Work out what you are going to do

Once you’ve created a little awareness and identified who you’d work best with, sit down with them regularly (this needs to be no more formal than lunch on the last Friday of the month – if you’ve chosen your partner wisely this will be, dare I say, enjoyable!) to discuss what you’re going to do.

If you work on swapping two potential introductions per quarter, this should be easy.

Once you have the names on the table, all you need to do is work out what  reason you’re going to use to bring your colleague in and how/where/when you’re going to meet.

At your next catch up you can discuss/assign follow up steps.  At the one after that you can choose the next two targets.

4. Maintain your internal profile 

While the informal targeting outlines above will always be the most direct route to the best new cross-selling opportunities, don’t put all your eggs in this basket.

Make sure you are contributing to your firm’s blogs, liking and sharing posts on social media and attending your firm’s events. 

All these activities will help you maintain your profile internally and give you exposure to new potential partners who could very well come looking for you when the need arises.

If you would like to discuss how we can help you design and implement a more effective approach to cross-selling (or talk about any other aspect of marketing or business development), please contact us today.

Published by sizetenandahalfboots

Douglas is a director of Size 10½ Boots, a specialist business development agency that works solely with the professional services, helping firms grow by winning more new clients and more work from the clients they already have. Although every project is different our work generally falls into one of three camps - strategic marketing support, BD training and 1on1 coaching and independent client research.

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