Boost your income by ‘bigging up’ your colleagues

Last year forced many firms to look at their existing client base as the main
source of revenue. With few new clients forecast for 2010, winning more business
from existing portfolios will remain high on the agenda. But accountants often
struggle cross-selling colleagues’ expertise.

For many they do not know enough about other’s work to spot opportunities and
introduce additional expertise to clients.

And yet, cross-selling offers major financial benefits. For one, the client
can become more dependent on you and loyal, as you bring additional value when
it’s needed. Cross-selling a colleague invariably leads to reciprocity and an
easier and cheaper way to win additional fee income.

One accountant told me: “My best cross-selling results come from a detailed
knowledge of both my clients and colleagues. You have to familiarise yourself
with the benefits colleagues bring to clients and issues you should be spotting
in your portfolio.” Here are some tips from other accountants who’ve
successfully introduced a colleague’s expertise:

* Think about your client relationships – are there opportunities to
cross-sell? Who can help them? Ask clients about other areas of their business,
not just your own specialism.

* What new legislation could affect clients? Is there an opportunity to
introduce a colleague?

* Ask colleagues to give a demonstration of how they work. Offer to do the
same, so you both know what each other does.

* Look for synergy between your expertise and others in the firm. Can you
work or go to meetings together, create joint communications or events?

* Explain the value for your client in meeting a colleague. This has to be
from their perspective and not yours, ie. what’s in it for them.

So why not invest time getting to know your colleagues? It will be time well
spent. And if you are finding it difficult to phrase an introduction, then
practice – “I’d like to bring along a colleague who specialises in… I think
you’ll find their input valuable because…”. This invariably gets a positive
response from clients… as long as they are not paying for it at that point. Make
the investment.

John Timperley is managing director of The Results Consultancy.

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