So you’ve mastered your legal marketing… What comes next? You need to speak to every potential client who comes in and retain them. Your marketing has done the hardest job, they’re hopeful that you can help them with their legal matter. Now, all you need to do is reassure them that they have found the right attorney.
This isn’t as easy as it sounds, and your potential clients might need a lot of reassurance. After all, they’re entrusting their potentially life-changing case to you. They need to trust you, they want to trust you, all they need from you is a little proof.
We’ve collected our best intake strategies to turn marketing leads into signed clients.
1. Make it easy for PNCs to contact you
People have short attention spans, and if they can’t find the right contact information for you quickly, they’re unlikely to search for long. This means adding obvious contact information wherever you are marketing yourself.
Do you direct everyone to your website? We know most people still prefer to contact firms by phone, so put your phone number in your top navigation bar (source). If you use social media to promote your practice, add your phone number to your profile, and even consider a ‘call now’ button for your ads.
2. Answer them promptly
The best time to speak to a PNC is the first time they contact you. No one likes reaching voicemail, they want to speak to a real person. This is especially true for people calling a lawyer, they’re likely to be stressed or upset. After all, they’re calling you because they have a problem that they can’t deal with alone.
All they want to know is that you care about their matter. And the first way to show this is by answering them, and listening. “Responsiveness” is the most common quality affecting a PNC’s final decision when hiring an attorney, so make sure there’s always someone available to answer your phones (source).
42% of people will hire the first lawyer they speak with if they like them (Clio 2019 legal trends report).
3. Cover every channel
While most people are still using phones to contact a lawyer, that’s not the only channel your clients can come from. Ask yourself how they can contact you if they don’t choose to phone.
For example, many websites include a contact form connected to an email address. If you have one, do you check it regularly, or do you know who does? You should ideally be responding within a day, but if you can respond faster, you’re likely to impress. Do you have live chat on your website, and does a real person answer this every time? Do you advertise on social media? Make sure that someone can cover your direct messages and respond just as fast as they would pick up your phone.
Clio did an investigative study, which involved email and phone outreach to 1,000 randomly selected law firms, in which 60% didn’t respond to email, and 27% were unreachable by phone.
4. Get your intake process ready
Proper intake takes time and your callers don’t always have that. Time is precious, and you want to be as respectful of this as possible. One way to be respectful is to create an intake flow that gets the most useful information without taking too much time.
After all, your intake process has to do two things. Firstly, and most importantly, you need to get their contact information. In case of disconnection, you don’t want to lose a valuable client. Secondly, you need a question to assert whether their case matches your practice areas, so you don’t spend too long talking to an irrelevant caller. Your questions can be as brief or detailed as you prefer, but we recommend keeping the number of questions below six.
Finally, your intake process should always be evolving. Discover what’s working and what isn’t from the people handling your intake – be that your receptionist, answering service, or paralegals. Over time, this’ll help you create a streamlined list of questions that everyone uses to qualify the right clients for your practice.
5. Avoid manual data entry
When you or your team performs intake, how do you take down the information? Do you use an intake form? Many practice management systems help you make your intake consistent with customizable forms.
This is important for your billable hours, but it also helps your clients. If they call your firm after the initial intake, whoever picks up will have all their information immediately accessible. This makes every interaction feel more personal.
The ultimate time-saving solution? If you use an answering service, find out if they integrate with your practice management system. Sync your accounts and you’ll get full contact and message details passed to your CMS as soon as the call is over. That way, you’ll have detailed information at your fingertips, without needing to check multiple apps.