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7 reasons why teams cringe at the notion of cross selling.

To succeed in Cross selling, one has to overcome the objections that are raised by cross selling activities.
We have tried to nurture Cross Selling within our Group at BSI, with some success, and a lot of false starts.
What I do know, is that our business would grow exponentially if Cross Selling becomes an integral part of our culture!!

Benefits of Cross Selling

  • To keep current clients by establishing as many points of contact with the Group as possible. CBA Gurus says that if you have 3 services with a client, you have them for life!!
  • To expand client relationships by assuring that the client is completely satisfied with the company’s service and inquiring into the additional concerns a client has.

One needs to ensure that there is a client service manager that know the client’s situation and understand the client’s needs. (The DC)

Seven common objections to Cross Selling

1. Unwillingness or lack of knowledge of how to sell. 
The Team Member does not want to be seen as a pushy salesperson. 

The flaw in this assumption is that selling involves pushing services on a client. The trick is to get your client to tell you what difficulties they face and for the team member to listen for an opportunity to help and understand what the group can offer.

Questions to  ask their clients:

  • What is going on in your current situation that we should be thinking about?
  • What keeps you up at night?
  • What are your constraints… what is holding you back? 
  • How effective is your team? 
  • Do you have good leaders?
  • Hows the cash flow?
  • How can we help you get more leads/clients?

The Chances are is that the Business has a service that can offer a solution.

A Fear is that the Client is not satisfied with the company’s services to begin with. A client must be very satisfied with your current services and must trust you to give you more business.

Questions to  ask their clients:

  • What are we doing well?
  • What could we be doing better?
  • How can we help you more?

2. Lack of knowledge regarding other Business’s practices
A team member can’t sell other business services if there not familiar with what the business does.

An essential element of a cross-selling program is an internal method to distribute client wins as a result of referrals.

For cross-selling to succeed, the business must collect the case histories. And it goes without saying that members must be made aware of read the success stories of the accomplishments of their fellow team mates.

3. The company does not compensate for cross-selling activities

“what gets rewarded, gets done.” 

If there is no incentive to market the Group’s services, then the team will spend all their time bringing in their own business. On the other hand, if a team member knows that his cross-selling activities will come up in his compensation review, the member will participate.

Consider providing a specific financial reward for introducing clients to other colleagues. Otherwise it just won’t happen.

For cross-selling to work, the notion of sharing credit must also be built into a cross-selling program. The “eat what you kill” system,  is fatal to cross-selling. Cross-selling happens in pairs or teams, and the company must give credit for a team effort.

4. Fear of Losing Clients
Some  team members are reluctant to refer their clients to someone else in the business, because they fear that the person responsible will mishandle the situation or do a poor job. As a result, the logic goes; the referrer could lose the client entirely.

This is an objection that is often unspoken or mentioned only in private. I believe this is rubbish, because what the referrer actually fears is losing control of the client, which may happen if another person is introduced into the relationship.

This view treats the client as a team member’s personal property or private book of business.
Clients must be viewed as corporate assets, which belong to the firm as a whole, and accordingly must be shared.

This objection also demonstrates that the referrer doesn’t know enough about the team member’s background and what exactly he does in his chosen profession. 

If personnel were to take the time to learn what their colleagues do and understand their achievements, the member would be more inclined to refer his colleague.

Regardless, the objection means that the clients business is going to another company, which is far worse than having the client being serviced by another member  in your own company.

5. The Company does not recognize cross-selling appropriately
Some Groups will throw a congratulatory party when someone brings in a new client. but a cross sell is only mentioned only briefly in the weekly meeting. This misplacement of emphasis is a mistake.

Recognition is a powerful motivator and it should be used accordingly.

 A cross-selling success should be a hot news item. The X Sell process shoul be described in detail, beginning with how the team member came to meet the client in the first place, how the the member learned of the new potential business opportunity, the steps he/she took to introduce another business area of the company, and what the colleague has done to impress the client with the company’s capabilities.

The point is to recognize the teamwork, and to honor it with accolades.

6. The client has established service from other companies as well as your own

This shouldn’t stop a cross-selling effort; in fact, it should be the reason to undertake one.

These potential clients are looking for Organisations that better meet their needs and anything that indicates they are looking elsewhere suggests underlying weakness in client relationships.

The idea of a cross-selling effort is to put the client’s current situation into play. It may be that a client has worked with another company for many years. However the client will be open to a proposal to have their affairs handled more efficiently, to consolidate their position or just to get the job done with less hassle. Of course it takes research and teamwork to develop these proposals.

7. Fear of imposing on other colleagues. 
Of course it is difficult for a team member to go, hat in hand, and ask a colleague to introduce him to an existing client. They are reluctant to butt into the relationships of colleagues. This approach yields few cross-selling results, because it starts out the wrong way.

Instead, team members should develop lists of their own clients who can be cross-sold to their colleagues.

For example, some company’s require their team to develop marketing plans, beginning with the names of three clients who are cross-selling targets. The names of these clients are bought to cross-selling meetings, where the staff member describes the client and the opportunities to grow the relationship. Other attendees are asked to bring the names of all contacts they have at the client.

The team effort begins with staff volunteering clients to the company as a whole.

Strategy for cross-selling
For Cross Selling to succeed, the team needs to buy into the success of the group vs the success of their division.

Overcoming these initial objections will go a long way toward getting a cross-selling program started.

It means that the Group will have to change the way it thinks about compensation, ownership of clients and approach to selling.

It will mean that the Business will have to cease relying on individual rainmakers and learn to work in teams focused on clients. But these are all positive changes, and will lay the groundwork for a successful strategy for cross-selling.

Posted on July 8, 2012

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