4 BIG Intake Mistakes Lawyers Make and How To Avoid Them

1. Reaction-based Intake vs Response-based Intake. A reaction is sporadic, emotional and unsystematic. You’re reactive if: 1.) the quality of leads you get is contingent on the quality of your mood that day 2.) you’re inconsistent in your availability to engage with prospective intakes 3.) you don’t have a formal intake process in place for yourself or staff to engage with prospects consistently convert browsers to buyers.

A response is active, logical and engaging. You’re responding to intake calls if 1.) you’re available to respond to every quality intake call on your terms 2.) you and your staff maximize every inbound lead to further your practice growth goals whether the calls are qualified cases or not. 3.) you will control the tone, pace and direction of every inquiry call.

Reaction-based intake is an inflexible, inefficient, me too/commoditized approach to professional legal intake that allows good leads to fall through the cracks and sends viable cases to your competitors on your marketing dime.

Response-based intake allows you to maximize every lead opportunity, uncover needs and wants to provide the best possible recommendation and cement those case opportunities that qualify.

2. Attorney answering unscheduled intake phone calls: If you’re doing your own telephone intake on the first inquiry call – stop, as soon as possible. If you have to do this out of necessity, fine, but ultimately this is not a scalable approach to develop your practice. If you’re the only person in the firm qualified and able to take an intake call you need to train someone else to do it. If you take every intake call as they come in, you are stopping work on a known priority in favor of an unknown priority. This turns control of your time over to the unknown. By personally taking intake calls in an effort to make sure every lead and inquiry call taken care of you’re setting yourself for lost opportunities. You’re much better off training staff to qualify callers and schedule an appointment with you before you ever take another unscheduled phone call. Ironically having a barrier of entry actually helps rather hinders securing new clients. Prospects and clients will respect your time, advice and assistance more when you create a structure like this, and you will be able to serve far more clients.

3. Jumping to a conclusion about the quality of a lead. For most small to mid-sized law firms lead generation is the second most expensive activity second only to payroll. The cost of marketing and advertising to generate leads forces you to careful consider how lead calls are being handled. Most lawyers believe they do a “pretty good job” of intake, but our research clearly shows most lawyers lose good leads because of untrained staff, lackadaisical phone protocol or inability to consistently qualify callers over the phone. In order to accurately qualify an intake phone call you must control the direction of the call and allow the caller to tell you their complete story before every making any recommendation or jumping to a conclusion about the quality of the lead. Most lawyers simply don’t have a system in place to

4. Becoming jaded or insensitive to callers because of routine. At some point or another you may find yourself spacing out as a caller is rehashing their story. For most of your prospects this is the first time they’ve ever had to deal with this particular legal matter, but for you it’s the 337th time. Understandably it is very easy for you or staff members taking intake calls to become jaded and insensitive to the needs and wants of callers. This has a direct impact on your ability to engage with prospect to convert them to clients. Put this on your wall F T F T or beside your phone (First Time For Them). This will help you make a conscious effort to avoid being jaded to engage at a deeper level with every prospect.

Chris Mullins is Founder of the Intake Academy, a legal intake training and accountability firm focused on helping law firms improve lead conversion. The Intake Academy delivers unique training and coaching programs to law firms to screen, select, training, develop and coach legal intake teams. www.site5p.thebigtest.info