Why read this article? This short article looks at cross-selling ideas your law firm can implement to ensure greater client retention and growth during COVID-19.

Law firms around the world have seen their client relationships challenged by COVID-19, you might find yourself in a position where even some of your strongest clients might now be hiding under a rock or that GC that you helped deliver a major dispute or transaction several years ago, all of a sudden cannot remember you when you email them, or they are now asking you to join a queue with five other firms for an opportunity you were sure to win if you had better cross-selled into the relationship prior to a global pandemic occuring.

The importance of cross-selling for your firm may have been highlighted recently since the outbreak of COVID-19, when certain ,work types might now be experiencing low utilisation e.g. corporate and M&A. Those firms that have developed focused tactics and stratgies to ensure cross-selling into other areas may find they have been able to hedge the off-set in M&A, by supporting clients in areas of demand such as restructuring, finance, employment, etc. Those client partners that have previously spent long hours with clients doing M&A, and after completing the deal then introduced the client to other parts of the business, are now getting their returns on investment when deal activities have dried up.

But if your firm has not previously put much emphasis on cross-selling and is now playing catch-up, not to worry, now more then ever could be the best time to introduce colleagues into your existing relationships, as clients are requiring a broad range of advice across different jurisdictions and practice areas you might not have previously had engagement on. You no longer need to drag a colleague on a plane to meet your client, and you can meet a clients entire in-house team in one Zoom call, rather then visit seperate regional hubs. Key to client rention and growth going forward is to ensure that you cross-sell more effectively.

1. Think…who else can you get to know at your client?

Often where relationships are built on single contacts and man-marking has not been achieved, it can be hard to support clients when your contacts are busy and might not control certain areas of work that are heavily impacted by COVID-19. But now is the time for you to research your clients business and key stakeholders, and identify how you can better leverage your contacts to be introduced to their colleagues, a good way of doing this is to approach your contact asking “,would it be useful if I introduced your colleague who handles X, to our expert team who can share what trends they are seeing and support your colleague on any challenges they are having, let me know?”. This is something we are doing at my firm, and it has proven a good way to support and develop new contacts across the client relationship.

2. Think …what’s the new legislation coming up that will affect your contact/client … who can help them?

COVID has taught us that “more then ever clients need help looking around corners”. There has been a huge demand for information from external counsel, which creates an opportunity for

3. Catch the pass and act

Most importantly and often a key area for improvement in law firms, is when your colleague has created an opportunity for you, ensure you proactively follow up quickly and effectively (

Take action

Get each client partner at your firm to draw up a list of their top five clients, and get them to consider where they could introduce colleagues and try to identify other contacts at the client that colleagues could be introduced to, in order to broaden the relationship. Also ensure utilised areas like restructuring, HR etc are providing client guidance that client partners can use to engage with clients, that could lead to introductions in these areas.