Referrals and cross selling in your business development strategy - New Results

Referrals and cross selling in your business development strategy

Why does cross sell need to be on your business development agenda?


We have been working with professional services firms helping them to make referrals and to cross sell. It’s an area that is often, overlooked in business development. In some cases, firms assume that cross selling is just happening, or worse than that, firms assume cross selling and getting referrals is a passive way of generating business.


Now the “cross-selling” phrase might strike anything between mild fear and absolute dread with you. This very often happens because the phrase has the word “sell” in it, and not every professional thinks of themselves as a salesperson. Professionals are very often brilliant salespeople as they are focused on creating great outcomes for their clients.


Reframing the way you look at benefits for cross-selling and referrals.

Another challenge for you might be that you are only looking at this from your firm’s perspective. Yes, your firm might benefit if you get this right, and let’s explore the three parties that might benefit if this approach is taken. How would you feel if we broke this down to three specific areas, Why does cross-selling benefit:

  1. Your clients
  2. You
  3. Your firm


I have asked several groups of professionals these questions recently and here’s what they told me:


Cross-referring can benefit your client by:

Giving them just one firm to deal with

Helping them by sharing understanding across teams in one firm

Stopping them from getting less effective support, advice or input elsewhere

Save them from having to seek out and build other relationships

Save them time and effort looking for a range of firms to support them


Cross-selling can benefit you by:

Giving you more job satisfaction in a job well done

Having an opportunity to support a client beyond the specific transaction you are dealing with

Having better and wider client discussions with confidence, knowing you can offer more to them

Getting peace of mind that your colleagues can help and support your clients

Building long term trusted two-way relationships


I am not going to list the benefits for your firm, they are clear for you to see. Everything above also benefits your firm.


Too many times people look at cross-selling and asking for referrals from the other way around, thinking firm first, then you and lastly your client. Taking that approach means you very often miss the true benefit to your clients when this is done well.


Cross-selling, might be better named, cross helping, cross serving and cross-supporting, or simply helping, serving and supporting your clients. This is something that virtually every professional aspires to do. This is why cross-selling should be right at the top of your business development and firms growth agenda.

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