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10 Steps To Make Your Intake Team A Lean, Mean Revenue Machine

By Stephen Fairley

All the money and effort your firm puts toward new client lead generation is futile if your intake team can’t, or doesn’t know how to, convert new leads into appointments.

Your carefully planned marketing strategy is not only working, it is a considerable financial investment that is expected to grow your revenues like you’ve been dreaming of since you passed the bar. When potential new clients call, you should have a well-planned intake system in place that converts inquiries into appointments. That’s building revenue.

An intake system based on listening and helpfulness is critical for the survival and growth of any law firm. Here’s a 10-step guide on how to revolutionize your intake system and your revenues:

01 Step

Make client’s first contact with your firm a hassle-free experience, focused on their needs.

Whenever anyone contacts your law firm, you only need three essential pieces of information: their name, phone number and email address. Once that information is quickly obtained, your intake team needs to focus their attention on connecting with the prospect and their needs. Without a connection being made, there is seldom an appointment.

02 Step

Build trust.

Building trust can take time, so don’t incentivize your intake team to get a caller off the phone as soon as possible. Instead, train them to really listen to the caller’s problems and how to empathize along the way.

03 Step

Ask questions that encourage connection.

Asking prospects open-ended questions that gets them to open up more to you is key to making the connection necessary to take that important next step: booking the appointment. Talking about their problems makes people feel good. Take advantage of that.

04 Step

Train your intake team to listen.

Your goal is not to fill out a form; your goal is to book an appointment. That requires that a prospect trust you enough to take that next step. You build trust through listening. Be sure your intake team does more listening than talking.

05 Step

Train and re-train your people.

They’re not receptionists; they are members of your marketing team. Your intake team needs to be trained on every step of the intake process. There is no detail too small to overlook. We have secret-shopped hundreds of law firms and find that many times the intake person doesn’t know the firm’s website address, has to look up the phone number, or fails to correctly answer other common questions prospects ask. In fact, this is so common that we set up our Rainmaker Intake University specifically to train intake personnel on how to connect and book appointments for law firms.

06 Step

Analyze your results on an ongoing basis.

You can’t know whether something is working unless you take the time to measure your results. You should be looking at the number of calls you get every day, the number of appointments that are booked, how many of those appointments actually show up, how many prospects sign on with you after your initial meeting, and so on. Every member of your intake team should be assessed on these variables so you can evaluate their individual performance.

07 Step

Automate the process.

First of all, you need a state-of-the-art phone system that can actually provide you with some critical insight into how your sales process is — or is not — working. Then you need to automate your follow-up, sending emails to confirm appointments, re-book no-shows and get those who didn’t sign after the initial consultation to hire you.

08 Step

Be of help beyond the law.

Getting prospective clients to see you as a single-source solution will earn their trust and their business. Treating clients holistically means you need to have some resources to refer them to that go beyond your law firm. Having names of medical or mental health experts to recommend as well as shelters for victims of domestic violence and other resources makes you the go-to guy or gal for solving a client’s problem. Go the extra mile.

09 Step

Monitor your team for burnout.

We have all been on the other end of the phone from someone suffering job burnout. It’s a real turn-off, so you need to monitor your intake team for the signs of job burnout before it gets to the point of being a problem. Intake is not a job; it’s a career–hire accordingly.

10 Step

Focus on the connection, not closing.

Too often we find that intake personnel are so focused on closing the sale they neglect to form a connection with a prospect – one that eventually becomes a former prospect. Client relationships are built on trust, and there is no trust without a true connection to that prospect’s pain.

By maximizing your lead conversion rate, you can substantially increase your revenues and stop wasting money on simply getting more leads that don’t deliver results. It’s a little ironic that your lean, mean selling machine is already on your payroll. All you have to do now is train them to think like a marketer and sell your firm’s services!

Two-time international bestselling author, Stephen Fairley is CEO of the Rainmaker Institute LLC, the nation’s largest law firm marketing company for small to medium law firms. For more information, call (888) 588-5891 or visit