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9 Signs Your Client Intake is a Disaster

Do you have a dedicated person in your law office handling initial calls from potential clients and doing intake? Great! But you should make sure that that intake person isn’t showing any of these nine signs that they aren’t doing it properly.

Committing any one of these sins can lead to a significant drop in appointments and/or conversions. That drop gets even bigger if they’re committing more than one. Check them out.

1. Lack of Empathy

No one wants to call a law firm and talk to a robot. People seldom call lawyers when life is good (with the exception perhaps being things like a real estate transaction or estate planning). For this reason they will most likely be upset or stressed when they do so. If your intake person lacks empathy in their discussions with this lead, that could be very off putting.

Your intake person should take on an empathetic tone in talking to the lead. Phrases like, “I’m so sorry to hear that,” or “That must be terrible,”” or “You have my sympathies,”” can go along way.

2. Low Energy, Boredom or Irritation

No one wants to talk to someone who seems bored or irritated with what they have to say. That’s going to turn them off right away. Your intake person needs to convey a sense of interest and energy when it comes to talking to potential clients. Interjecting a few words to show that they’re paying attention can help. They should communicate that they enjoy their jobs and talking to the people that call, so as to put the caller more at ease.

3. Not Listening to the Problem First

Certainly the main point of all of this is to get people to make an appointment with you and, if they are right fit for your practice, retain you. However, too many intake people have a tendency to jump to the sale before hearing out the caller. This is a problem for two reasons.

First, the caller wants to feel heard, and that’s not going to happen if you jump into a sales talk.

Second, you’re not going to know whether you will be able to solve their problem until you have a clear understanding of what that problem is. Hear them out, understand the problem, and then determine if your services can solve it.

4. Not Establishing a Connection or Trust

It takes, on average, 5 to 7 minutes to establish trust with a caller. So your intake person needs to take some time with that person and hear them out. They should not be rushed through the process. There’s not going to be a connection (and certainly not trust) if that person does not feel heard and have a sense that your firm can offer a real solution to them.

5. Not Asking Qualifying Questions

This is a big one. You cannot possibly qualify lead without asking qualifying questions. Not everyone that calls your firm is going to be a good prospect, so your intake person needs to ask the right questions and get the right information before scheduling an appointment for the person to meet with you

If it’s an auto accident case, for example, ask him questions about how the accident happened (to establish liability), the extent of their injuries (to assess damages), and about what insurance coverage, if any, is carried by the other driver (to determine recovery). These are things that you’re going to want to know before deciding whether you want to spend time with them in a consultation. Make sure your intake scriptss have extensive qualifying questions for each practice area.

6. No Pre-Selling of Legal Services

Although your intake person should not be too quick to sell, the ultimate purpose is to get qualifying leads to hire you so that you can sell them services. After hearing out the caller on their problem, and getting detailed information and answers to qualifying questions, your intake person is in a much better position to give a sales pitch on the benefits of the services you provide.

This helps the caller to determine that they have come to the right place by reaching out to you. This also has the added benefit of making them more likely to retain you once they meet with you. They have been pre-sold.

7. Talking About Price Before Benefits

But that pre-selling has to be done in a particular order. You must build value with the caller before giving them a price. This makes it more likely that the caller will, after hearing about all of the tremendous benefits of your services, come up with a much higher figure in their mind than the one you ultimately quote. This can make your fees seem more reasonable and, hopefully, affordable.

8. Communicating the Legal Service Without Understanding It

It is a good idea to have one of your paralegals handle intake. You should also make sure that that paralegal has a full and deep understanding of each of the practice areas of your firm. In this way, they can more effectively communicate the services to the caller, confidently answer any questions they may have about them, and be far less likely to misrepresent those services to the caller, which can result in serious misunderstandings down the road.

9. Not Confirming a Date Certain for Follow-Up

No matter what, your intake person should never end the conversation without clearly establishing a next step. Is the person going to schedule a call with an attorney? If they are not quite ready to do that, are they going to think about it and discuss it with you at a future time? If so, the intaker should schedule a date and time for them to call them and follow up. They must retain control of the communication. Never leave it up to the caller to get back to you; always establish a clear future point of contact to keep the conversation going.

Have a Script

Having a script for your intake her to follow, can make it much easier to avoid these nine deadly sins and make sure each caller is treated in a consistent manner. Take the time to work with your intaker to come up with a script and make sure they use it every time. Consider recording intake calls for review later. You can’t always be standing over their shoulder to make sure that the script is followed, and the call handled properly.

Need assistance in crafting that script to maximize the number of new clients you get from incoming calls? Then click here to schedule an initial call to discuss things further. Put my expertise and experience to work for you!


Steven J. Richardson

Comment (1)

  1. Creating an Intake Script for Potential Clients to Your Law Firm – Richardson Consulting Group
    December 6, 2023

    […] a killer script can really tank your intake efforts. You may even be committing one (or more) of the 9 Deadly Intake Sins! Be sure to block out some time on your calendar to get this done […]

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