From now until the end of the year, I will be sharing the 12 best legal marketing lessons from this blog, choosing what I think is the most beneficial post from each month in 2014.  Each one of them can help you improve your legal marketing in 2015.

From April 2014:

12 Tips to Improve Your Intake Process

The 12 Best Legal Marketing Lessons from 2014: #4. 12 Tips to Improve Your Intake ProcessOver the past year or so, we’ve been doing a lot of “secret shopping” of law firms, making calls posing as potential clients to see just how they are performing when it comes to client intake.  What we’ve found is that this chance to make a great first impression is lost by a majority of the firms we’ve contacted.

In fact, so few firms are making a positive impression on the initial call that there is huge opportunity to set your law firm apart by improving and focusing on your intake process. Here are just a few of the best practices we teach our clients on how to improve the intake process, the true beginning of a solid lead conversion system:

1. Have a dedicated person answer the phone. We’ve been astounded by how many firms answer the phone in a way that left the distinct impression we were annoying them when we called, as if we were taking them away from another priority.

2. Show compassion and empathy. Of the law firms we’ve shopped, only 21%  expressed any compassion or sympathy when our staff told them about their situation: “I was in a car accident and I’m having a lot of pain in my neck and lower back!” A simple, “I’m so sorry to hear about that. Are you OK?” can go a long way toward connecting with a potential client.

3. Get the caller’s name and phone number at the beginning of the call in case you get cut off. If you do get cut off unexpectedly, then call them back immediately. Somewhere during the call you should also get their email address or at least permission to text them information after the call.

4. If you send someone to your website, SPELL it out clearly. Many law firm website domain names are hard to spell or understand over a bad cell phone connection. One intake person gave us the wrong website altogether that sent us to a different law firm!

5. Do what you say you are going to do when you say you will do it. Many firms said they would send us information via email or mail – we only received one response.

6. Do not answer the phone with a generic “law firm.” Clearly say the name of your law firm.

7. If you are going to place someone on hold, always ask for his or her permission first.

8. Write out three to five reasons that make your law firm different. Make certain anyone talking with prospects can recite these from memory and knows how to weave them into a call. Everyone, whether they verbalize it or not, wants to know the answer to, “Why should I hire you?”

9. Remember that people buy emotionally and justify logically, so the person on the phone must build an emotional relationship with the caller.

10. Have a dedicated person to return all voice mails the same day.

11. Never make an attorney responsible for following up with leads. Even though they may have the best of intentions other things will take priority. Task a staff person with following up with leads and setting appointments with the attorney.

12. Never quote fees over the phone. The sole purpose of the call is to get qualified leads into your office. You will always have a higher closing ratio if you meet prospects face to face rather than trying to sell them over the phone.


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