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Cross-selling: A Management Perspective
By Linda Richardson, CEO, Richardson

Cross-selling helps customers feel more partnership with your organization and helps you gain a bigger share of your customers' business.

Many call centers have recognized the enormous untapped potential of cross-selling as a way to increase not only revenue, but the level of service they provide. Customer service representatives can provide unexpected value to their customers as they develop deeper relationships. The reasons to cross-sell are compelling: from increasing revenue to strengthening the bond between the customer and the organization.

The goal of Cross-selling is to get more of or all of a customer's business
- to keep it "all in the family."

Cross-selling is one of the most important and rewarding services a salesperson or a customer service representative can provide. It is so powerful because the return on investment is very high and the impact on the relationship is very positive. Generally, it's much easier to sell to current customers than to a prospect. In addition, the more you can link your customer into your company, the more loyalty you gain. Cross-selling a range of products can also give you more flexibility in solving problems, offering value, protecting your margins, and keeping competitors at bay.

Although most organizations would like to have more Cross-selling, many struggle to make it happen. In some organizations, it is the customer service representatives who are hesitant because they think they didn't sign up for a sales role. Some salespeople and customer service representatives are concerned about "being too pushy," "facing rejection," feel they "don't want to risk my current relationship," and "don't have enough time". In some organizations, management is committed to a "service culture" that blocks the sales offer because representatives don't understand that the cross-selling can add to, not detract from quality service.

In fact, service and sales are one continuum. Great service means proactively helping the customer, and that often requires Cross-selling. Great sales mean providing a quality product and supporting that with quality service.

There are several parts to the Cross-selling Success Formula:
  1. A Management Team that communicates and role models a customer-focused call line
  2. Clear objectives and training in what to Cross-sell or refer to a salesperson
  3. Metrics to provide data on results
  4. Training to ensure service professionals have the know-how to Cross-sell, i.e., after they complete the service transaction to ask a Need Benefit Question to understand needs and position the cross-sell and close or set up the next step
  5. Coaching to provide ongoing development
Of course service representatives need knowledge of products to Cross-sell. While product knowledge is an issue, there is another issue. Many salespeople shy away from Cross-selling because they feel they "don't want to risk my current relationship." Cross-selling enriches the relationship. Cross-selling does not make you vulnerable to competitors. Cross-selling helps customers feel more partnership with your organization and helps you gain a bigger share of your customers' business.

Linda Richardson, founder and CEO, of Richardson a global sales training company, author of nine best selling sales books, and faculty member at the Wharton School, is the driving force behind the Richardson sales curriculum. visit www.richardson.com or call 215.940.9255.

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