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Cross Selling: how to achieve growth by cross selling in professional services

Cross Selling: how to achieve growth by cross selling in professional services

Cross Selling: how to achieve growth by cross selling in professional services

‘Cross-Selling’ is the key to smart business growth but why is it so difficult? Questas CEO & Founder, Gary Williams reveals how to overcome the barriers and generate significant opportunities from existing clients.

What is cross selling?

Cross-selling is best described as ‘collaborating with other specialists within your company, working in partnership on behalf of the client’s best interest.’ It is a proactive, ongoing process designed to provide your existing customers with a range of your company’s services that will help them achieve their objectives.

Having worked with many professional services firms operating in the built and natural environment, we see many companies who are not optimising their cross-selling opportunities, missing obvious areas of growth in their organisation. Many of them have key client management programmes, with one of the measures of success being the number of services their clients buy from them. On average, supplier firms provide only 20% of their services to clients. There’s nothing worse than a client who tells you, “I didn’t know you provided that service, if I had I wouldn’t have given the project to your biggest competitor…”

On average supplier firms provide just 20% of their services to clients.

A client who buys multiple services is harder to lose to a competitor.

Cross selling from the supplier’s perspective

Existing customers are easier to sell to, by a long shot. You’re 60-70% likely to sell to an existing customer, compared to the 5-20% likelihood of selling to a new prospect (according to book of Marketing Metrics). So concentrating efforts on cross-selling makes sense. A client who buys multiple services is harder to lose to a competitor than a single service client.

A professional services company can also forge better relationships, moving up the ‘Trusted Advisor’ curve and ultimately being seen as a partner organisation who helps the client achieve their long-term objectives as opposed to a provider of commodity services who can be substituted at very short notice.

Cross selling from the client’s perspective

Managing the supply chain can be an onerous task. Keeping on top of providers, ensuring deliverables are met, not to mention procurement and tendering, this can be extremely time consuming and costly.

Our clients are human beings (in the main!) and one thing I know to be universal is that we live in ever more complicated, busy and often challenging worlds. We all strive for an easy life and if a client can trust a supplier to deliver more than one service, confident that “they know how we work and what our expectations are…” that is one less thing to worry about.

There are potential economic benefits as well. Clients can achieve their objectives in the most economic way. They can potentially reduce the cost of managing multiple suppliers and, hopefully, they can speed up projects by having fewer ‘players’ in the supply chain.

Clients can achieve their objectives in the most economic way.

Introducing our contacts to our colleagues creates strong, collaborative networks.

Cross selling from the individual’s perspective

Today’s consultant has to be the ‘rounded professional’, seen to be creating opportunities for other areas of the firm beyond their own. Our personal brand and value grows when we are able to refer a client to a colleague who’s expertise would benefit them. So being generous with our time and sharing our contacts should be something we feel compelled and motivated to do.

So if Cross-Selling is seen as one of the Keys to Growth, why is it so hard for professional services firms to be successful at it?

These are the most common reasons

  • A lack of understanding of everything the firm can offer
  • Inability to explore the client’s world broadly enough to uncover opportunities outside of technical disciplines
  • Poor internal communication
  • An unwillingness to introduce colleagues to our clients or share valuable relationships
  • Poor leadership
  • Measuring things that disincentivize cross-selling and drive the wrong behaviours

Even the most ‘non-sales’ people are able to learn how to explore clients’ worlds.

Five ways to encourage a cross selling culture

The good news is that there is plenty that can be done to counter these barriers. Here are some steps that we have found to be valuable to businesses.

 

1
Encourage internal marketing programmes and things like:

 

  • Lunch and learn sessions delivered by different departments
  • Attend different service line client and BD meetings
  • Use your Key Client Management programme to bring representatives of all relevant parties to the table (including those who are not currently working with the client).

 

2
Even the most ‘non-sales’ minded people are able to learn how to explore clients worlds.
They can:

 

Train all client-facing people in the art of exploring cross selling opportunities.

  • Increase the number of ‘non-project’ client meetings.
  • Encourage people to understand how to look for opportunities for ‘adjacent’ services.

 

3
Many firms suffer poor internal communication

 

  • The first thing to understand is that the mindset of people is the key to better internal comms – one that is open and sharing for the benefit of the client.
  • Systems and software – too many firms are still relying on spreadsheets. Investing in CRM (client relationship management) systems is a critical success factor. There is a health warning here… if the first step above is not in place, CRM systems become nothing more than an expensive address book!
  • Internal education, on a continuous basis, that shows not just what services a firm has to offer but how to spot opportunities for them, including what questions to ask to uncover those opportunities.

 

4
Building internal relationships is equally as important as it is with external clients and co-professionals

 

  • Encourage internal networking and social events.
  • Mix internal BD meetings with different disciplines coming together. This often works well in a sector strategy.
  • Use the concept of ‘roadshows’ to take the message out to the business.

 

5
Many firms expect people to focus on clients and cross-selling without offering any incentive

 

  • This is a leadership issue. Work on motivation, a sense of ‘doing it for the team’, rewarding through recognition and praise.
  • Hold an annual awards event – reward the behaviours and activities as much as the outputs.
  • Lead from the front. Set an example to your team.

Start our online cross selling course free today

For a short time only we are offering our online Professional Services Cross Selling Training free, so now you can being honing your cross selling capabilities in just 30 minutes.

Questas Cross Selling

Our interactive e-learning is CPD certified and is designed to help you uncover new opportunities with existing clients.

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Summary

  • So it’s obvious that not developing a cross-selling program in your organisation really is wasting a serious opportunity for growth.
  • Remember, it’s critically important that everyone in the organisation buys into the philosophy in order to collaboratively support the efforts of all. That includes leaders and senior managers too!
  • Companies that fail to implement an effective cross-selling programme do a disservice to their customers and leave the backdoor open to their competitors. Not being proactive about encouraging a culture of cross-selling is a missed opportunity for smart business growth. Check out our Cross-Selling Skills Training here, or individuals can:

 

Start here with our online training

Difficult Client Conversations

Difficult Client Conversations

Difficult Client Conversations

Productive communication is built upon rapport, not necessarily upon agreement.  By looking at the psychology behind difficult client conversations, we take a practical approach to helping you manage ‘disagreement without being disagreeable’.

Course overview

It’s inevitable that conversations with clients aren’t always to deliver good news: explaining that a project is not going to be on time or on budget; pushing back on a client who is stretching the boundaries of the contract; or dealing with internal stakeholders who are not meeting expectations. This course will give you valuable tools to manage these difficult situations with skill and conviction.

Who’s it for?

Client-facing individuals, project managers and those who find themselves in awkward situations with clients.

Course format

The course is normally run as a half-day workshop with around 12 people. We create real scenarios (common to our client’s world) to give delegates the opportunity to put theory to the test in simulated difficult conversations.

Outcomes

This professional development will bring improved confidence and skills. Delegates will have a framework and structure for these types of conversation and the ability to protect the client relationship whilst dealing assertively with clients’ sometimes unreasonable demands.

Questas Client Account Planning Download cover

Download our Free Guide

Account Management Training Designed for the Professional and Engineering Services

Get it now

 

Content Outline

  • 3E model for structuring difficult conversations: Explanation, Expectations, Engagement
  • Taking the tension out of a heated conversation
  • Recognising different styles and countering them

Need this course?

Email hello@questas.co.uk or click the button below to get in touch.

Questas is based in London, and travels internationally to deliver training.

If desired we can help you design and/or organise your own training courses tailored to your team.

 

Register Your Interest

From our blog

Six ways to use EQ – or emotional intelligence – to win more work

In this RICS article, Gary Williams of Questas, discusses EQ, or Emotional Intelligence, and how it can help you get the edge over your competitors.

Read more

Everything is negotiable

Whether or not the negotiation is easy is another matter, but the first step is always communication. Our Negotiation Skills course provides the tools and tips to help you find a position of mutual acceptance with your clients (and colleagues!)

New business comes from people

Delivering projects well is a first step in developing further opportunities, but it’s not enough! We need to be proactive in building relationships, understanding our clients and their objectives, and positioning ourselves as trusted advisers. Our Client Relationship Skills course provides tools and skills that will strenthen and broaden client relationships.

Free consultation

Have questions for us? Get your team started today and gain a new competitive advantage.

CONTACT US

Cross-selling skills

Cross-selling skills

Cross Selling Skills

There has to be added value for the client to buy additional services from you. If they already buy that second service from an alternative provider, you must clearly ’sell’ the benefit of them buying both services from you.

Course overview

By recognising your own company’s wider business capabilities this course allows you to explore more opportunity to offer these services into your clients.

There are many reasons why cross selling is harder than we think it should be. Our research has shown the same barriers exist in many organisations. We shine the light on each of these and offer solutions as to how to overcome them.

Who’s it for?

Anyone responsible for retaining and building upon existing client relationships, whether to uncover new opportunities or deliver existing projects. This course aligns well with ‘Client Relationship Skills’.

Course format

A one day workshop for up to 12 people.

Outcomes

Participants will be able to adopt a more strategic approach to addressing clients’ requirements. Delegates will be equipped to look for ways to help their clients grow while offering opportunities to win work for their own business.

Need this course?

Email hello@questas.co.uk or click the button below to get in touch.

Questas is based in London, and travels internationally to deliver training.

If desired we can help you design and/or organise your own training courses tailored to your team.

 

Register Your Interest

CPD Certified by the CPD Certification Service Cross-Selling e-Learning

Our free e-Learning module is an interactive introduction to best practice.
Questas Cross Selling

Start now

 

Content Outline

  • Identifying the opportunity
  • Understanding the barriers to Cross Selling and overcoming them
  • Understanding your wider business capabilities
  • Building trust
  • Managing internal communication
  • Developing your selling skills

From our blog

Discover five ways to create a cross-selling culture to achieve growth

Gary Williams explains why professional services firms need to embed a cross-selling culture to achieve smart growth at low cost.

Read more

Be your clients’ trusted advisor

Doing an excellent job is a first step to winning more work, but it’s not enough. We need to be proactive in building relationships, understanding our clients and their objectives, and positioning ourselves as trusted advisers. Our Client Relationship Skills course provides tools and skills that will strenthen and broaden client relationships.

Do you dread negotiations?

Negotations are often seen in terms of winners and losers, but this approach is likely put us on the back foot. Actually the first step to successful negoation is always communication to help both parties feel like winners. Our Negotiation Skills course provides the tools and tips to help you find a position of mutual acceptance with your clients (and colleagues).

Free consultation

Have questions for us? Get your team started today and gain a new competitive advantage.

CONTACT US

Client Relationship Skills

Client Relationship Skills

Client Relationship Skills

Delivering projects well is the first step in developing further opportunities, but it’s not enough. We need to be proactive in building relationships, understanding our clients and their objectives, and positioning ourselves as trusted advisers.

Course overview

Adapted from our popular ‘Selling Skills’ training, this course is focused on client retention and introduces the tools and skills required to strengthen and broaden client relationships. Participants will practice different tasks in role-play scenarios.

Who’s it for?

Anyone who has a responsibility for retaining and building upon existing client relationships, whether to uncover new opportunities or deliver existing projects.

Course format

This is a practical full day workshop ideally aimed at groups of between 9 – 15 participants.

Outcomes

Participants will find they are in a better position to assess and build on client relationships. They will learn:

  • to recognise what works with different personality types
  • to develop loyalty
  • and to become a trusted advisor.

They will become more confident to progress face-to-face conversations that will lead to a greater number of business development opportunities.

Questas Client Account Planning Download cover

Download our Free Guide

Account Management Training Designed for the Professional and Engineering Services

Get it now

 

Content Outline

  • Planning client relationship activity
  • Relationship mapping
  • Really understanding your client
  • Client personality types
  • Becoming and staying the ‘Trusted Adviser’
  • Client conversations skills (Listening, Questioning)

Need this course?

Email hello@questas.co.uk or click the button below to get in touch.

Questas is based in London, and travels internationally to deliver training.

If desired we can help you design and/or organise your own training courses tailored to your team.

 

Register Your Interest

From our blog

Six ways to use EQ – or emotional intelligence – to win more work

In this RICS article, Gary Williams of Questas, discusses EQ, or Emotional Intelligence, and how it can help you get the edge over your competitors.

Read more

Two experts engineers in protective helmets and fluorescent vests showing the construction site and building activities after the successful project phase.

Cross-Selling e-learning

Our free e-Learning module for Cross-Selling (no selling required) is an interactive introduction to best practice.

This informative and well-presented 30-minute course is certified for Continuous Professional Development (CPD).

Start now

Free consultation

Have questions for us? Get your team started today and gain a new competitive advantage.

CONTACT US

Negotiation Skills

Negotiation Skills

Negotiation Skills

Everything is negotiable. Whether or not the negotiation is easy is another matter, but the first step is always communication.

Course overview

This course is designed to take you through the theory and practice of ‘Principled Negotiation’. It provides the tools and tips to allow you to separate people from the problem, evaluate options and find a position of mutual acceptance to achieve the win/win with your clients (and colleagues!)

Who’s it for?

Anyone who is involved in internal or external negotiations, particularly in final stages of securing bids and contracts. It is also very useful for those situations where clients are trying to push the boundaries of the contract – commonly known as ‘scope creep’.

Course format

A one day workshop for up to 12 people. This course includes hands-on techniques, working through theory and practical exercises.

Outcomes

This course will leave the participant equipped with:

  • a variety of negotiation styles and the know-how of when to use them
  • the methodology to frame your negotiation
  • the skill to identify your acceptance zone
  • the ability to manage conflict through to resolution.

Couple with this the ability to think creatively to provide options that focus on the interests of all parties. Finally, delegates will be able to find a mutually satisfactory outcome that helps the client relationship remain strong.

Content Outline

  • Defining negotiation – what is ‘Principled Negotiation’
  • Negotiation styles – qualities of a great negotiator
  • Know your BATNA (best alternative to a negotiated agreement) and understand your ‘walk-away’ before you start
  • Preparing and structuring a negotiation
  • Creative thinking for optimum solutions
  • The LADDER of Assertiveness

Interested in this course?

Email hello@questas.co.uk or click the button below to get in touch.

Questas is based in London, and travels internationally to deliver training.

If desired we can help you design and/or organise your own training courses tailored to your team.

 

Register Your Interest

Two experts engineers in protective helmets and fluorescent vests showing the construction site and building activities after the successful project phase.

Cross-Selling e-learning

Our free e-Learning module for Cross-Selling (no selling required) is an interactive introduction to best practice.

This informative and well-presented 30-minute course is certified for Continuous Professional Development (CPD).

Start now

Disagree without being disgreeable

How do you handle the ‘bad news’ conversations with your clients? Could you do better? We all have to deal with tricky topics such as ‘scope creep’, project delays or unexpected costs. The course ‘Difficult Client Conversations‘ is designed to equip project managers, directors and other staff who need to handle awkard situations with valued clients.

Take what you’ve learnt and use it!

Research suggests that 80% of sales training is lost within 180 days. We also know that it takes at least six weeks to start embedding new behaviours as habits. So how do you maximise your training investment? One great way is one-to-one coaching.

“One-to-one coaching helped me overcome some of the barriers I faced as a technically minded person. I am now much more confident with clients.” Technical Director, RPS.

Free consultation

Have questions for us? Get your team started today and gain a new competitive advantage.

CONTACT US

Presentation and Pitching Skills

Presentation and Pitching Skills

Presentation and Pitching Skills

Presenting, especially a pitch, can be a very pressured situation and it is normal to feel anxious. Learning visualisation skills to cope with ‘what if’ scenarios leaves headspace to generate a successful outcome.

Course overview

The focus of this professional development is learning practical skills to deliver excellent presentations and pitches.We look at preparation, both in terms of structure and approach to a pitch, and the practice and visualisation activities to mentally prepare for it.

In this course we challenge our participants at times to operate outside of their comfort zones. This allows us to provide the strategies and tools to alleviate the symptoms of anxiety that so many of us come up against when we are asked to speak publicly.

Who’s it for?

This course is for anyone with a remit to present internally and/or externally. Clients are encouraged to bring along real life scenarios to work through.

Course format

This is a highly practical one-day workshop. Participants will present to a group at least twice in the day and be filmed.

Outcomes

  • Present with greater confidence and professionalism.
  • Learn to plan and structure presentations.
  • Be clear when pitching, ensuring emphasis on key messages.
  • Keep an audience engaged.

Content Outline

  • Who is your audience, what are their expectations?
  • How to engage your audience
  • Making it memorable – key messages, unique elements, clear calls to action
  • Presentation format and structure
  • Speaking with confidence, controlling your nerves
  • Body language, gestures, vocal tone and pitch
Questas Quote Marks Circle

“It was great to see everyone engaged all the way through and I noted the calibration to our needs during the day.”

Director, RPS

Questas Quote Marks Circle

“Great day! Really fun and innovative way to beat the fear of presenting to an audience.”

Tim Howlings, Brasier Freeth

Need this course?

Email hello@questas.co.uk or click the button below to get in touch.

Questas is based in London, and travels internationally to deliver training.

If desired we can help you design and/or organise your own training courses tailored to your team.

 

Register Your Interest

From our blog

Four easy ways to manage nerves before a presentation

Trainer, Annabel Miller, looks into why we get nervous and how we can manage nerves so that it doesn’t hinder our performance.

Read more

Excel at sales meetings

Questas Effective Business Development Meetings booklet cover

Download our guide

Make every sales meeting a long-term success with new and existing clients

Get it now

Free consultation

Have questions for us? Get your team started today and gain a new competitive advantage.

CONTACT US

Get in touch