The 5 Traits of Successful Cross-Selling Firms

By January 28, 2018Strategy, Uncategorized

The 5 Traits of Successful Cross-Selling Firms

I discussed “The top 5 reasons your law firm can’t cross-sell” in a previous blog post HERE.  This post will detail the attributes of those firms that are effectively diversifying the services that they provide to their clients.

The point is, if you are confident that your firm possesses all 5 of the characteristics listed below, then you might have a shot at selling additional services to your existing single-practice clients.  If you don’t, then it’s unlikely that you’ll be successful over time, and I would suggest that you either (1) work to gradually change your culture to become more equitable and team-oriented, or (2) reduce your cross-selling efforts in favor of the many other marketing activities that can prove effective at all types of firms.

Firms that excel in cross-selling tend to have the following attributes:

(1) Strong leadership that supports and rewards sharing.

(2) A firm-wide culture of trust and friendship among the partners.

(3) A fair compensation system that

(a) acknowledges the risk to the partner controlling the relationship, and

(b) rewards the efforts of the support partners for helping bring in the new work.

(4) Effective internal communications that informs everyone regarding the nature of the firm’s practices and clients.

(5) Marketing training that teaches the lawyers how to cross-sell.

BTW, many untrained lawyers try to sell additional practice areas via sneak attack: 

Lawyer: Hi [Corporate Client], I haven’t seen you in a while; let me buy you lunch!

Client: Sure, that’d be great, thanks.

Lawyer: I’m going to bring along Tiffany, a litigator I’d like to introduce you to.

Client [realizes he’s just been tricked into agreeing to sit through a 90-minute sales pitch]: Ugh. OK, fine.

That doesn’t work.  It’s not enough to simply share a logo with Tiffany.

(1) The client hadn’t expressed a need for another litigator, and

(2) The lawyer hadn’t established why Tiffany is a much better option than the skilled litigators the client already uses.

Yes, many global companies have been streamlining their administration by seeking one-stop shopping at fewer law firms, making successful cross-selling more likely. But those firms must still compete for this work against the other international law firms where the internal barriers might be lower.

Obviously, there’s much more to this complex topic. But this is a start.

Does this make sense? Let me know what you think.



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Start by reading the definitive book on the subject, We’re Smart. We’re Old. And We’re the Best at Everything – The World’s First No-BS Guide to Legal Marketing and Branding.” It’s available at Amazon here. 

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