Cross Selling Not New But Ripe For Use
Cross selling is not a new idea but it is a practice that is ready to be more fully used, Charles R. Wright, executive vice president and chief agency and marketing officer of State Farm Insurance Companies said during a session on cross selling at LIMRA’s 2001 International Annual meeting.
Wright said that many companies attempted and failed to cross sell in the 1980s, mainly for two reasons: Companies did not focus on matching services and products to clients’ needs, and perhaps the time was not yet ripe, Wright said.
The present is a more auspicious moment for cross selling, Wright said, because of advanced technology and consumers being busier and more affluent than in the recent past.
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The fact that they’re busy suggests that one-stop shopping might be just what they’re looking for in terms of satisfying their financial needs, Wright said.
“Other companies are very interested in your customers,” he said. “If you’re not (cross selling), other companies will.”
A company interested in cross selling needs to be able to offer the right products to consumers, and have the right training and compensation and reward system in place for its agents, Wright said.
Agents should focus on selling the products that their clients need, rather than the products that will generate the most commission dollars, Wright said. “That’s a philosophical thing you’ve got to engender with your agents,” he said. “The return is on the total package of products, not just an individual sale.”
He emphasized that the relationship the agent builds with the client will decide whether the client buys more products from him and how long the client will keep her money in the agent’s organization.