During a recent intake call training session, the COO of a large PI firm in New England bragged, “We convert 90 percent of the cases we want.” An hour later, after we played four actual intake call recordings from their office … nobody was bragging.
While listening in, we heard three viable prospects hang up with no signs of further interest in the firm. In two out of three calls, qualified prospects who had been screened by the intake team were put on hold for more than two minutes while a lawyer was prodded onto the phone to “close the deal.” Once the lawyer finally picked up the call, both she and the caller were aggravated, and she was just plain unengaged.
To make it worse, the intake team had bobbled the hand-off with a “lukewarm transfer,” so by the time the lawyer picked up the call, crucial parts of the story were missing. A “warm transfer” is when your receptionist or intake team member accurately gathers and shares name information and key elements of the story before transferring calls.
Stranded Opportunities: Don’t Get It Wrong
During these calls, the tone and attitude heard from the intake team member was, “I’m not really confident what’s going to happen with you, Ms. Prospect. You are an annoying pest, but I’m going to do my job and ask you these screening questions and pass you down the line. Then I can get back to the other, more important things I’m supposed to be doing.”
Similarly, the tone and attitude heard from the attorney was, “I can’t be bothered with you, Ms. Prospect. I’m busy doing important lawyer stuff.”
Needless to say, opportunities to convert callers to paying clients were squandered.
The debrief on the call recordings was bone crushing, the COO turned gray, and fingers were pointing in every direction. After the initial shock and scapegoating, though, we drilled into the core issues and began fixing the problems that led to all those stranded opportunities.
Whether you want to know the truth or not, you likely have more than a few “sales prevention department” moments like this happening at your firm, too. So, before you say, “We convert 90 percent of the cases we want,” consider listening in on how prospective clients are actually being handled.
- Record prospect calls.
- Review and critique prospect calls together with staff.
- Identify what worked well on the call.
- Identify the opportunities and challenges presented.
- Identify the exact steps to take in the future to fix any problems.
- Implement the new changes.
- Regularly repeat the monitoring and coaching process to course correct.
It may be painful, but you’ll be glad you listened in.
Ryan Pitz is the founder of the Intake Academy, a legal intake training and accountability firm focused on helping law firms improve lead conversion. The Intake Academy delivers unique training and coaching programs to law firms to screen, select, train, develop and coach legal intake teams. Follow Ryan on Twitter @rpitz42.
More on Client Intake from Ryan Pitz
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