Many lawyers attempt to save money by responding to and converting incoming leads themselves. Lawyers have many skills that overlap with those needed to convert legal leads, including a superior understanding of legal situations and terminology.
However, this does not mean lawyers automatically possess all of the abilities required to successfully convert leads. Even lawyers who have taken advantage of available training may find that outsourcing to a legal call center, staffed by intake specialists, offers a number of advantages for their law firm. Here’s why.
Lawyer Training vs. Legal Intake Specialist Training
Lawyers, as they move through their education and into a position with a firm, often receive training in how to deal with their clients, with the courts, and with other entities that are part of the legal ecosystem.
A legal lead, however, should be treated differently than a legal client.
Asking lawyers to be experts at converting leads is like asking marketing professionals to also be salespeople for their products. While there are considerable areas of overlap, specialized training is required in order to optimize each set of skills.
Lawyers know the language and what their clients need, but they may lack the specific experience needed to make those initial conversions. Lawyers may also be unfamiliar with the steps needed to qualify leads without losing their interest.
Legal intake specialists, on the other hand, receive specialized training, dedicated exclusively to qualifying and converting legal leads. With continuous training, they master:
- Empathy and psychology
- Legal terminology
- How to use the right tone for each client or type of client
- How to control calls to obtain vital information, even when a lead gets off track
- How to successfully convert leads into clients
In-House Staff vs. A Legal Call Center
Some lawyers prefer to keep their intake in-house for various reasons. However, this can lead to two major disadvantages, even if your staff masters all of the skills required to become qualified legal intake specialists:
- When only in-house staff respond to potential clients, there’s no way to cover leads that come in during off-hours. A lead might call or fill out a web form at any given time, requesting legal help following an accident or similar situation — including after-hours, weekends and holidays. After law firm staff goes home, potential clients are left waiting. On the contrary, potential clients are always taken care of with the support of a 24/7/365 legal call center.
- In-house staff can’t always answer the phone within three rings to maximize conversion rates and minimize lead loss. In-house law firm staff most likely wear multiple hats. For example, many law firm receptionists juggle duties like copying, filing and faxing various documents, greeting guests, sorting mail and packages, as well as answering calls and scheduling appointments. Lawyers are busy advising current clients, preparing and drafting legal documents, negotiating settlements, attending court and much more. This means less time to field inquiries from potential new clients, whether they come in via phone, web, email or text. Therefore, picking up the phone within three rings is a promise firms can’t always deliver when they rely solely on in-house staff.
Lawyers exit law school with a great deal of training, but they don’t necessarily come out trained to convert legal leads. Not to mention, it wastes time, decreasing the number of clients they can take on at once — and, consequentially, revenue. Even lawyers or law firm staff members with proper training will have major opportunity costs, especially when leads come in after-hours or during a call with another lead.
The most effective solution is to hire a legal call center with intake specialists who can respond to leads, convert them and execute retainers, so lawyers can focus on what lawyers do best.