Business Strategy & Development, People Management

Man in suit on phone
By Postali

So, your website is ranking on Google, and clients are calling. Business is good, right? It depends. Are those callers turning into cash for your firm? If not, it could be an issue with your client intake process.

Let us show you how to keep clients on the line while the phones are ringing off the hook.

You Need a Tried & True Intake Process

Client intake is just one step in their journey. However, it’s often neglected. This means lost sales and wasted marketing efforts. It takes a lot to get people to pick up the phone and call your firm, which may be your only chance to convert them into clients.

This is not a good time to ‘wing it.’ A well-documented system for handling client calls streamlines conversions, allowing for more of them. It also improves the overall client experience. That means satisfied clients and more revenue.

Watch this video about the topic and then keep reading.

Share Your Intake Process with Your Staff

When you share the process and, more importantly, the reason behind the process with your team, they will understand how they can contribute to the firm’s success. To go further, a detailed process can easily be passed on to ensure quality and consistency when answering the phones. You want to make sure that your staff can provide as much value to callers as you can. That way, you can spend more time on active cases instead of client intake.

If you’re the only one picking up the phone, that’s all the more reason to nail down this process and automate steps when necessary to save time.

5 Steps to Turn Prospects into Clients

Now that you know the importance of client intake, it’s time to break down the steps you and your staff can take to convert calls.

Step One – Capture Client Information

This may seem like a given, but law firms fail to collect an email address 86% of the time and fail to collect a phone number 45% of the time on an initial call, according to Clio.com. Incomplete or inaccurate client information makes it hard to follow up with a prospective client. They go elsewhere and perceive your firm as unable to establish communication.

What Information Do I Need?

We recommend creating an intake form that documents the required details from each prospective client. This information may include:

  • Full Name
  • Email
  • Phone number
  • Important deadlines, like court dates
  • Details of a client’s case

Remember to Document Client Data

Ideally, the information you capture on the first call would go directly into a customer relationship management (CRM) system, like Lawmatics. Once the potential client’s data is in a CRM, you can easily keep track of all of your interactions with them leading up to (and after) signing them up. This level of record-keeping has the added benefit of helping you avoid communication errors and malpractice vulnerabilities.

Step Two – Understand Your Intake Flow

The flow of your intake process may differ depending on your practice area. Suppose a client was in a terrible car accident and suffered injuries. They may not want to wait around for a week to set up an appointment. In that case, your intake flow may look different than a business law client that can afford to schedule an in-person appointment to discuss their case further.

The point is to avoid wasting time with things like scheduling an appointment with a client ready to move forward over the phone. Understanding your client’s journey prevents you from trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. This limits speed bumps in the intake process and efficiently gets clients what they need.

Step Three – Find Out What the Client Needs

To be an effective salesperson, you need to step into the caller’s shoes. Rather than raddling off a cookie-cutter sales pitch, listen to them. What is the nature of their situation? Do they want to get started immediately? Do they simply want to know more about your process? What do they hope to achieve?

With that said, it’s also essential to make sure you’re not talking to each caller for an hour when you know they don’t have a case in the first 5 minutes. An effective intake process also allows your reception to politely get off the phone with callers you cannot help.

Step Four – Provide Value to the Client

To keep callers engaged and eager to hire, you need to establish how you bring value to them over the phone. Providing value to clients can seem crystal clear to someone working within the legal system. But the long-term implications of accepting a plea or settlement can escape someone who’s actively involved in a difficult situation.

You can even be a natural at demonstrating the value of your services to clients, but you also need to get your staff to truly buy into the intake process. When callers object to pricing or your legal process, make sure your team is ready with a quick rebuttal or directs them to someone who can add more value to the call.

Try these tips to add more value to your callers:

  • Emotionally connect
  • State the firm’s value proposition (2-3 features that provide exceptional value/benefit).
  • Stay organized and automate steps when necessary
  • Be clear in your communication
  • Be ready to explain payment, process, and other typical information
  • Establish a system for putting clients on hold and directing calls

Step Five – Follow Up

If a client is ready to move forward, you need to be prepared. Make sure that you formally close the call by explaining the next steps like payment, formal meetings, important deadlines, or anything else the client needs to know.

Offering e-signatures on documents like fee agreements can make for a faster turnaround time so you can keep things moving. Before you officially hang up, comfort the client by letting them know exactly what you’re going to do after the phone call. This can ease their worries and reassure them that they called the right place for urgent situations.

Automate the Scheduling Process

Scheduling meetings can create another hiccup. A constant back and forth trying to find a suitable date and long email chains diminish the client experience. Failing to schedule meetings properly and meet deadlines can also leave you open to malpractice claims. This process can also be automated to ensure no time is wasted. Here are some options to streamline your client scheduling.

What if I Don’t Close the Sale?

You should also be ready when you don’t close. Plan a follow-up call in the next couple of days. In the meantime, nurture the lead by offering educational content that teaches them more about your firm. This could be informative newsletters, links to relevant blogs you’ve published, or videos on the topic. Also, consider using automated drip emails through services like MailChimp or Constant Contact if a lead goes cold.

Ready to Close the Deal with Us?

Postali can provide services that support the intake process, like call tracking. That way, you know where your calls are coming from and better adjust your marketing strategy.

We also offer full-scale photo & video production, press & media relations, content marketing, SEO, and paid search marketing.

If you’re interested in learning more about our services, reach out at hello@postali.com to start the conversation or follow us at @Postali.