In our firm, one of the challenges we hear most often is that our professionals can’t keep track of everything we can do. They are continually being reminded to look for opportunities to cross-sell, but how do you sell services when you don’t know what those services are? Or, even if you know we can provide a specific service, how do you know the right colleague to talk to?
This challenge can be further complicated by factors such as:
- A wide variety of non-traditional service offerings
- Multiple office locations
- Merging with another firm
At P&N, one of the things we are most proud of is our ability to offer such a wide range of services that solve problems and add value for our clients. As the firm has continued to grow and evolve, our service offerings have also expanded, BUT our team members’ awareness of new services did not automatically expand.
Over the last few years, our firm has made a significant investment in non-technical training for our team members through the introduction and continued development of our internal Lifelong Learning Program. This is a soft skills training program with an emphasis on business development, communication, human resource management and technology.
As part of last year’s curriculum, we launched in interactive course titled “A to Z of P&N” (course description below):
Most people are surprised to learn the wide range of diverse services that P&N offers clients. From Affordable Care Act to Year End Tax Planning and the 1040 EZ, we can help clients with a range of issues from A to Z. This session provides a dictionary’s worth of P&N services along with the resources you need to further your knowledge on everything P&N does to help clients.
The course was structured as an interactive Jeopardy game, and participants walked away with a better understanding of P&N’s services and the tools that can help them cross-sell.
The purpose of this course was not for our team members to memorize the long list of services we offer, but to emphasize that we can help organizations solve most types of challenges and encourage team members to listen and look for ways we can help our clients. We also provided a dictionary of services (with everything we do from A to Z) that our team members could reference going forward.
This is just one way our firm has worked to address our team’s knowledge gap. A few other ideas include:
- Service fairs (similar to a career fair, with representatives from each service area setting up their own “booth”)
- Incorporating brief overviews and client case studies from various service lines into regular departmental meetings (for example, inviting your forensic accounting team to a regularly scheduled tax department meeting to share an overview of what they do)
- Internal networking events and “speed-dating” among different departments
Employees can’t be expected to have intelligent, meaningful discussions with clients and identify cross-selling opportunities without the right tools and knowledge of the firm’s services.
If you have taken other approaches to educate your team members on your firm’s service offerings and resources, we would love to hear them!