Creating an Intake Script for Potential Clients to Your Law Firm
Having a dedicated intake person to handle calls from potential clients is critical to the success and growth of your firm. That person needs to be properly trained in how to do it, and having a definitive script for them to follow is essential.
But what should that script say? What are the essential things the intake person has to do to ensure the best outcome? I’m glad you asked! Here’s what you need to have.
The Parts of the Script
The script should flow naturally from one step to the next, guiding the caller either to the scheduling of a consultation or a declination of representation if they are not a good fit for your practice. You need to create a script that will do that in the following order.
A friendly and welcoming Hello goes a long way. You should say something like “Thank you for calling Richardson Law Offices. My name is XXX. How can I best help you today?”
This places into the caller’s mind the impression that you are geared to helping them, want to, but need to find out how.
The greeting will then launch the person into the reason for the call. The intake person should be a good listener and not interrupt. Let them get out their story (and there are limits, they can’t go on forever, but that’s a judgment call). This is your opportunity to 1) let them feel heard, which is very important; and 2) get some initial information to see if you can help and qualify the lead.
But after they finish, it is important to show empathy. People usually don’t call law firms unless they have a problem in their lives that is causing them stress. You need to acknowledge this before moving on to the next step. Something like “I’m so sorry to hear that! That must be causing you a great deal of stress! Let’s see what we can do about that.”
It is also important to make a Confidence Statement. This is along the lines of “You’ve called the right place. We know how to help people in you situation.” This validates the caller’s decision to call you, as opposed to someone else.
After they tell you their problem, you need to ask some qualifying questions. But you just don’t jump into that. It’s best to get buy-in from the caller on the process. Ask them:
“Do you mind if I ask you a few questions?”
This is polite, and asking them permission to proceed can make them feel more comfortable talking to you.
Getting Contact Information
First off, you want to be sure you get detailed contact information, so that you are prepared to follow up and nurture the lead. Those questions should include:
- What is your first and last name with spelling?
- What is your phone number in case we get disconnected?
- What is your e-mail in case we can’t reach you by phone?
Qualifying Questions/Saying Thank You
After obtaining the basics, you need to get sufficient information to qualify the lead. These questions will vary depending on the practice area, but you should ask “Where do you live?” in instances where you have a practice area that is limited by proximity to your office.
For example, in a PI practice, you will want to ask directed questions about how the accident happened, what the extent of the injuries are, and what kind of insurance coverage the other driver has.
In my debt workout practice where the person is being sued for a debt, I ask for
- the balance amount (to see if it is large enough to justify my fee)
- the law firm representing the creditor (so I know who I’ll be dealing with), and
- whether there is a wage garnishment (to see if it’s too late to negotiate monthly payments)
You get the idea. Have a list of qualifying questions for each practice area. Then be sure to say thank you for providing the information and that it was most helpful in your determining whether you can help and how.
Lay Out What Happens Next
Play tour guide to the caller and tell them what comes next. There should always be a next step in the process. Bear in mind that the more time the caller spends on the phone with you, the more buy-in they have. They may not want to spend time calling many other attorneys.
Now that next step may be a declination of representation (followed up by a letter) and, where you can. perhaps a referral to another attorney that can help them. That will bolster the referral relationship that you have with that lawyer.
But if you are interested in the case, then you need to . . .
Salespeople know their ABCs (Always Be Closing)! Lay out the process for your helping and pitch your services. Speak with confidence and authority about it. Then, and this is crucial, schedule an appointment for a consultation right then and there. If they aren’t ready to take that step yet, then schedule a follow-up call. You need to remain in control of the process and what comes next.
Not having a trained intake person with 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 soon!
Have you already tried to do one but need some help? No problem! Just click here to schedule an initial call (so I can do my intake) to see if I can help you create the best possible script for your intake.
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