Cross-selling might not be at the forefront of every agency Recruiter’s mind as they pick up the phone at 8am. Barely awake and still jittery from a belly absent of breakfast and full of caffeine.
Cross-selling’s an excellent business development technique. And very rarely does it do anything but good things to your personal billings and the revenue of the wider business.
How much you’re able to cross-sell’s determined by a number of factors. Perhaps most obviously, the size of your company.
Cross-selling’s always encouraged. But does it factor into your business plan? And if not, should it?
I think I speak with confidence when I say cross-selling’s something only a few people are ever doing at any given moment. Mitch Sullivan’s advice for convincing more of your colleagues to commit to cross-selling:
“Tie them to a chair and beat them. Or maybe threaten their families?”
Before joking: “Hire a sales trainer”.
And he’s probably right. Cross-selling’s a delicate beast. Particularly with your older clients. And so the actual selling part’s a thing unto itself.
It also depends on what kind of Recruiter you are. And your market. And the truth is, there’s a plethora of ways to sell something.
If you’re selling the soft skills you or your colleagues bring to the table, go here.
If you prefer to sell without actually selling anything, have a look here.
But in light of the fact that sales is less prescriptive that most people would have you believe, here are 5 things to be mindful of, that will influence how lucrative cross-selling is for you.
First of all you’ve got to be in the right environment. If you’re keeping your options open at the moment – and spending a bit of time here – try to get the low down on how much cross-selling goes on where you’re interviewing.
Does the team tag along at meetings, co-ordinate efforts to open up particular clients and split a tonne of fees? Sounds idyllic but it’s not always Bollinger and Bentleys. Tom Wish writes:
“Competitiveness is great to have when it inspires success. But it there’s an underlying edge that could cause future conflict, that’s a time bomb”.
Cross-selling works best when played as a long game. So it’s vital you’re happy where you are.
And the very nature of cross-selling retains clients for longer, as long as you’re successful delivering for them.
The best times to cross-sell are during a hiring need and immediately after you’ve made a placement. Obviously both’s ideal.
And taking on the additional, concerted effort to cross-sell on behalf of your colleagues is going to tack a bit of time on at the end of the day too.
To reclaim that, and for the equal benefit of anyone who’s busy enough running their own desk without having to think of someone else’s, allow me to introduce you to the Pareto Principle.
Or the 80/20 rule. The thinking’s that 80% of your output comes from 20% of sources. Good and bad. For example, 80% of your happiness could come from only 20% of your social circle.
I’m not advocating spending an entire day a week on nothing but cross-selling. But using a system to cut out the malproductive parts of the day could free up additional time to have more of those exploratory conversations.
And it’s less worth it if you don’t track your results. You need to know if the time you’re investing’s paying off.
Recruiters are naturally quite protective of their business. I’ve known people who used to flare their nostrils if you asked for an introduction with their best client.
And single points of contact have their benefits. But if that person leaves or gets fired, your entire business relationship with that client could be at risk.
So expanding the points of contact doesn’t just help you and your colleagues out with extra work, it aligns your business with your clients in a much closer way with every placement.
It doesn’t stop there. You’ll have to borrow knowledge from your colleagues as well. An up to date, top-line understanding of their market. And referrals.
The more open you are, the more likely success is, the more money you stand to make.
Cross-selling often comes with a financial incentive in the form of a split fee.
Hunted partners that cross-sell typically require that certain criteria’s met – chiefly, that the notes on the CRM are up to date – before you get your hands on a slice of the deal.
Your company might have a policy that’s been tried and tested thoroughly over the years. Alternatively, it might be a unique situation – and arrangement – every time.
Whatever the case, learn what your company’s policy is. Especially with as many touchpoints as there are in recruitment, issues regarding ownership can either stall or scupper deals going in.
I spoke to several businesses on Hunted about producing million pound billers. And one thing kept coming up: the Consultants posting big numbers spent less time at their desks.
It’s indicative of the kind of autonomy big billers need to get their jobs done. But practically, if you’re tagging along to meetings with your colleagues, you’ll pick up jobs by accident.
And when they’re inevitably filled, you won’t see the revenue from split fees eclipse your billings as an individual Recruiter. Not by a long shot. But they will supplement it superbly.
Think of it as your new side hustle in Recruitment.
Hunted partners who foster million pound billers aren’t usually KPI obsessed. And neither are these guys. Check them out if a more collaborative atmosphere’s up your street.
Software Development Technical Recruiter/ Delivery at Freshtechit
Senior Technology Recruitment Consultant at K2 Partnering Solutions
Technology Recruitment Consultant at Arrows Group
Consultant/ Senior Consultant at Signify Technology