Written by Kronos Technologies on October 31, 2017
According to a study done by Axis Consulting Group, 99% of advisors feel cross-selling is critical or important, yet less than half of them think they are doing a good job of it. In fact, industry stats point to advisors only selling 1.1 or 1.2 products per client, on average.
That’s surprising when you consider that cross-selling deepens client relationships. It makes advisors less vulnerable to competitors offering full-service approaches. It is the most efficient way to generate revenue and the best way to make relationships profitable.
And, although, it’s about three times easier and six times cheaper to sell to an existing client than to find and close a new prospect, cross-selling doesn’t just benefit the advisor. The real importance of cross-selling is that it enables each advisor to serve more of their clients’ needs. In short, it makes advisors more effective in their role.
Clearly there is an opportunity for advisors to do more to help their clients and themselves by taking a strategic approach to working this untapped market. But the potential is not realized in many cases because many advisors lack a defined, consistently applied strategy for cross-selling.
In this first part of our two-part look at cross-selling we’ll examine the high-level considerations you need to get straight before creating your system. In part two, we look at specific strategies you may implement in your cross-selling system.
Here’s how great practitioners take a strategic approach to cross-selling in their practices.
Define your vision
In order to develop an effective cross-selling system that will work for you, first you need to know what you want it to achieve. The system you ultimately design may look very different from another advisor’s, depending on whether you want to aggressively grow your business over the next few years, are more interested in a comfortable future in which you work fewer hours, or whatever outcome works best for you.
To sync the revenue potential and level of activity of your cross-selling system with your goals, create a Vision Statement for your practice that describes what your practice will look like in five-year’s time.
When considering your Vision think about the following questions:
- How big will your business be?
- How many clients will you have?
- How much time do you devote to them?
- How much time do you spend finding new clients?
- What activities do you want to focus on?
- What products and services do you provide?
- How much time do you spend on the business?
The vision you create after answering these questions will guide you in designing your cross-selling system. You may choose a comprehensive set of strategies that will enable you to grow aggressively. Or, if your vision is to scale back your efforts, you may focus more on a few strategies that give you greater efficiencies—providing similar revenue with less effort.
Segment your client base
The next step in creating your cross-selling system is to segment your client base. You can break out your ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’ clients according to how important they are to your business, with the goal of delivering appropriate levels of value to each. Keep in mind, we’re not saying your other clients aren’t important or should be ignored. You will still serve all of their needs. But segmentation allows you to focus your added-value efforts on doing more with those who bring the biggest benefit.
The next step is to identify the product you will focus your cross-selling system on first. Identify the needs it meets, then create a profile of an ideal client for that product. Then you are ready to use your CRM to search your client base for potential matches. When it comes to your cross-selling efforts you can use your CRM’s filters and tags to find all the clients within your ‘A’ group, for instance, who would benefit the most from the product you wish to focus on.
You may find matches in your ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’ segments, which is great. As you’ll see in part two of this post, when we get into actual cross-selling strategies you can implement, you will likely conduct different activities for each segment.
Then you can target your events, promotion, marketing and communications to that defined group—making your efforts efficient and very likely to meet your clients’ needs.
In part two of this post we’ll look at specific strategies you can choose to implement in your cross-selling system. Prior to evaluating those strategies create a great foundation for your system by first defining your vision for your practice in five years so you can see what type of cross-selling system would benefit you the most. Then use your CRM to segment your client base, match clients with the ideal profile of those who would benefit most from the product you will focus on. Once you’ve completed those two key steps you’re ready to build the system that benefits your practice and your clients the most.