On the show today we talk about law firm intake and the phone mistakes lawyers make with an article by Jeena Cho, and we speak to advertising legend Harlan Schillinger of LeadDocket, about correcting the leaks in law firms intake processes.
Mistakes To Avoid At Client Intake
Today’s Hot Take comes from an article on AboveTheLaw.com titled “5 Mistakes To Avoid At Client Intake” by our favorite writer Jeena Cho. She says that “Just like first dates, the initial client consultation or the first meeting holds a great deal of importance.” While this article is directed a little more towards the first client meeting / initial consultation, these 5 points illustrate everything that can be difficult about law firm intake:
- Emotional Insensitivity
- Interrogating Clients
- Interruption and Distraction
- Not Knowing How To Handle Questions You Don’t Know The Answers To
- Not Trusting Your Gut/Rejecting Bad Clients
She elaborates on each touchpoint here, and gives examples as well as provides some insight in to how they can be avoided. Overall a great article with great advice, check it out here: https://abovethelaw.com/2015/08/5-mistakes-to-avoid-at-client-intake/
Better Intake For Law Firms
Our guest on the show is Harlan Schillinger. Halrlan has four decades of experience in legal advertising with a passion for legal marketing, intake and conversion. He has worked with more than 120 law firms in over 98 markets throughout North America. Along with his work with Glen Lerner Injury Attorneys, Harlan’s latest project is an intake management software company he started to help lawyers improve the process, and turn more leads into cases – LeadDocket – https://www.leaddocket.com/
Law Firm Intake – Identifying Common Mistakes & Misconceptions
In this segment of the podcast interview, Jake and Paul talk about how answering the phone – and who answers the phone – can make a big difference, and Harlan lays down some real talk about what law firms need to do to turn more phone calls in to cases:
Interviewer: So, when you’re talking about accountability, I think two LeadDocket features jumped out at us was the automation and the analytics. Because those are difficult to integrate and understand from a systems point of view for lawyers or people who are helping run law firms. So, what can you do to kind of break apart automation and analytics like as LeadDocket handles it, and how do they bring accountability to that intake process?
Harlan: To answer your first question, it’s a systematic approach with a defined process. There’s a system in place, there’s a defined process. So, the military has a defined process, you have a defined process on how to do homework if you ever really struggled with having to do homework. It’s a workflow. And that’s answering your very first question. The second part of the question and we can come back to the first is keeping track and keeping being accountable. You know, the old joke about having a checkbook, there must be money in it to have checks. And you keep writing checks. The system of accountability is really very easy. Again, I go back to and I always use the expression or the analogy of eating a big steak in a great steak house. You can’t eat a 16-ounce steak, but you sure will enjoy ordering it and you don’t care what leftover because just you’re so full from eating the first half and you can’t wait to come back and pay your bill. You can’t wait to get out there so you can come back. You know, that’s the analogy and intake and running a law firm is somewhat similar. You pay so much and you put so much energy to make the phone ring. And you take a portion of that business.
The majority of the calls that come in are unresolved. They are unresolved for many reasons. Putting aside the crazy people that call a law firm, putting aside the fact that it just simply is not a case and there’s no insurance and, you know, all the particulars. But let’s not put aside, you know, the victim that has to talk to their spouse. Let’s not put aside the victim that’s shopping or that says, “I’m not ready to make a decision.” There’s a myriad of reasons people don’t buy on the first phone call. How do you track all that? Do you track it by paper? Do you track it by an Excel spreadsheet? There’s many ways to track it. I think having a very systematic and defined process of tracking is the most useful way of doing it. It’s not a sophisticated way of doing it, it’s just an accurate way of doing it.
You know, coming from an agency background, it’s really, really important to understand analytics. It’s very important to understand where calls are coming from, where cases are coming from. What’s the value of the case that you’re making the phone ring for? And from an advertising point of view, and I don’t know any advertising agencies that embrace metrics because they too are busy trying to make the phone ring. But I recognized early on that if I can take a good look at where the calls are coming from, where I can point the advertising to getting more calls. So, understanding the analytics, understanding those two factors are the heartbeat of intake and conversion, systematic approach through a defined process. And keeping track, accountability.
Interviewer: We get that a lot too. I’ve heard that, and I think part of it is maybe avoidance like people want to think they’re doing better than they really are. You know, sometimes people “secret shop” a law firm, there’s companies that will do that and call them up and pretend to have a case or whatever. And I think a lot of times what the firm’s opinion of their intake is and what an unflinching look at it is are kind of two different things. So…
Harlan: One is reality and one is a fantasy and I’ve been right into this, and I’ll be perfectly frank with you, gentlemen, and the audience, there is only one real way to know exactly what’s going on on your phone. It’s to record your telephone calls. I don’t believe in making or I’ve outgrown making ghost calls, making phony calls, the effect is kind of hit-miss. You know, you may, you know, hit somebody on a good day or a bad day. There’s no consistency in that. But what the reality of it is – and almost every phone system can do this, certainly LeadDocket can do this and it’s a built-in feature is – if you record telephone calls you know exactly what’s going on. If you want to get the attention of an arrogant lawyer that says, “I get 94% of everything that I want,” record their phone calls and play it back to them. They will go, “Oh, my God. I didn’t realize that. Oh, really, I didn’t know that.” That is a very polite “I am in such denial that you had to really beat me over the head, didn’t you?” And at that point, keep in mind, only a few people really do something about it, they think they’re doing something about it, but understand the process. I mean, look, you have a problem with a credit card, you have a problem with anything in this day and age. You get somebody on the telephone and they say this phone call is being recorded. It’s being recorded so that you can retrain, know what you have, know what’s going on and eliminate all the bull. That is the only pure profit that that exists.
Interviewer: Man, this is so wonderful and this last question, I think you’ve answered it 50 different ways, but I just wanted you to kind of envision that you’re on your motorcycle and you’re pulling up and you see that there’s a lawyer next to you and it’s obvious that they’re struggling with their intake department. And you can just tell, but you only have the red light to give them a piece of advice. What, like quick pit stop advice, would you give this lawyer about their intake department?
Harlan: I’d say, “Lawyer, record every telephone call. Have metrics in place, stop being in denial. Sit down with me and I’ll show you what you’re missing, not what you’re getting.”
Get More Information About Law Firm Intake Optimizing
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