Cross-selling to increase your revenue

March 11, 2014

Agencies voraciously compete for a finite pool of clients. The pressure is on to not only source new business, but to increase business from existing clients. One way this can be achieved is through "cross-selling".

Cross-selling means "to sell a different product or service (than what the client is already purchasing) to an existing client". (Google)

Even if your agency is small, you will likely offer a range of services (unless you have found a magical, enviable niche!). For example, even if you are a one-man-band offering one service (graphic design), within "graphic design" you may be offering design for annual reports, brochures, stationery, event material, etc. Larger agencies will offer a range of services, such as graphic or digital design, photography, strategy, copywriting, etc.

It is possible that your client only knows your agency for providing one or two key services. Your agency may be known as a client's 'digital agency', even though you offer both digital and graphic design services. They may have been working with you for so long, they have put you into a comfortable 'box' within their stable of suppliers. It's time to shake up that box and generate some more revenue!

To cross-sell effectively, you have to regularly remind your clients of the other services that you offer. You could do this in many ways - none of which should be a hard-sell:

  • Create an agency eDM. Periodically (e.g. once a month) send out a newsletter with a couple of case studies of recent projects your agency has worked on. The case studies should be chosen to highlight your range of services.
  • Spread the news. If you begin to offer a new product or service, make a special trip to visit all your clients to let them know in person.
  • Face-time. Take the time to get in front of your clients. In a busy work week it can be difficult to get out of the office, but face-time definitely encourages sales.
  • Don't assume. Next time you visit your client, ask them if they were aware that you offered 'xyz'. You may be surprised! Never assume that your client knows about all that you have to offer.
  • Invite your client to your workplace. An on-site visit is a great way for your client to visualise - and be reminded of - what you do. If your premises is large, invite them on a 'tour', and you could bring in department heads to give a short presentation on their specialty areas.
  • Become familiar with your client's yearly marketing plan. If you know of projects in advance, you can be proactive to suggest ways your agency can help.
  • Ask to be introduced to other decision-makers within your client's company. Maybe your usual contact only ever buys digital services, but their colleague buys the design services. Perhaps you work with one Brand Manager, but there are three other Brand Managers all responsible for their own purchasing decisions.
  • Forge relationships with different departments within your client's company, or with companies connected to your client (such as other locations, departments, divisions, or subsidiaries).
  • Become a good listener. Ultimately you want to be the solution to whatever your client's need is. By listening well, you can tailor your pitch or service as the conversation and relationship evolves.
  • Make it easy for your client to change from their current supplier to you. If you are trying to win a portion of their business (that they are currently giving to another agency) there will be a certain 'pain level' that they will have to overcome (e.g. the cost of changing suppliers). You could offer the first project as a trial (normal or discounted rate, or gratis), and say if your client doesn't like your work more than their current supplier, there will be no hard feelings if they don't change.
  • Have your client's best interests at heart - appearing 'pushy' or 'self-interested' is never a good look. Make sure your services offer a compelling advantage to your client over and above their current supplier before you attempt a sales pitch.
  • Become your client's trusted advisor. Once your client knows that you are genuinely interested in helping them, they will become open and receptive to your suggestions.

 

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