The legal intake process is an integral part of the overall client lifecycle at a law firm—it’s the series of steps required to convert potential clients into paying ones. In other words, it’s the law firm sales process. But for some reason, lawyers fear the word sales.
Fears aside, keeping sales tactics in mind can help law firms increase conversion rates, strengthen relationships with clients and improve reputation. Let’s take a closer look at why the time has come to capitalize on the power of sales in the law firm environment.
Why Do Lawyers Fear the Word “Sales”?
Many lawyers don’t like to associate themselves with sales since the concept seems to be far away from the services they offer, but it actually plays a huge part in effectively running a law firm. “Sales” might seem like a dirty word associated with pushy marketing, sleazy promotional tactics and a dishonest approach. But in reality, the sales process is an integral part of any company—be it a flower shop, a SaaS company or even a law firm.
When working with people who need legal help, it’s hard to call any part of the process “sales.” However, to make sure potential clients receive proper and timely assistance, law firms must streamline their intake—or sales—process. Without an organized process, it’s nearly impossible for law firms to achieve their goals, increase marketing ROI and improve client satisfaction.
By understanding that there isn’t anything greedy, pushy or dishonest about the word “sales” in a law firm environment, you can better serve potential clients while also improving law firm profitability.
Why Intake is Sales
While intake is a different word, attracting clients and then securing contracts is the same as moving leads down a sales funnel. Intake is done in several stages:
Stage #1: Acquiring Leads
This stage involves encouraging leads to contact your firm—via phone call, website form, email, text, etc.—through referrals, offline advertising, digital marketing or other channels.
The intake process involves capturing a “lead,” or potential client (anyone who is interested in your services). It starts when you pick up the phone or respond to their web form, or whatever method they chose to contact you.
Stage #2: Nurturing Leads
Potential clients aren’t always ready to convert immediately. It oftentimes takes a series of outbound calls in order to convert the potential client.
Making outbound calls takes a special skillset, like that of a salesperson. The goal of this interaction is to get the potential client to schedule a consultation. In other words, nurture the prospect to move them down the sales funnel.
Stage #3: Scheduling a Consultation
A consultation is a part of the “discovery” stage of the sales funnel.
It’s a sales meeting during which a potential client gets an opportunity to interact with a legal professional and understand whether they are a good fit for their legal needs.
Stage #4: Converting the Potential Client Into a Paying Client
It’s not enough to show your expertise to land a conversion. Converting a potential client into a paying customer requires sales skills and an organized process. It involves addressing the lead’s pain points, timing the offer and demonstrating the benefits of working with your firm. All the above is done during the intake—or sales—process.
A key part of this stage is making conversion easy for the client as well as your law firm. To simplify the process, you can use tools like automation, electronic signatures, interactive web forms and more.
Benefits of Thinking Like a Salesperson
While intake is effectively a sales process, many legal professionals refuse to treat it as such. As a result, their intake system isn’t as productive as it should be.
The benefits of treating intake like sales include:
- Higher Efficiency — Incorporating top-notch sales tactics into your intake process helps you bring in more clients, saves you and your team time, improves client satisfaction and improves your firm’s reputation. A poorly organized intake process costs your firm time and money by allowing valuable leads to slip through the cracks.
- Higher Marketing ROI — When you incorporate sales tactics into your intake process, you maximize marketing costs by achieving higher conversion rates and eliminating the cost of losing legal leads.
- Improved Client Satisfaction — Potential legal clients are seeking an empathetic response in their time of need and potential distress. When they contact your law firm, they are looking for a solution to their legal problem as well as support. By implementing proper sales tactics into your intake process, you’ll not only meet, but exceed, potential clients’ expectations at the initial stages of your relationship. As a result, you can enjoy higher retention rates and more referrals.
Overall, thinking like a salesperson will better your intake process, bringing more clients to your firm, helping you cut costs and increasing retention rates and referrals.
How a Legal Call Center Can Help
By partnering with a legal call center, you can improve your legal intake process by delegating it to empathetic and highly-trained intake specialists. These experts know how to maintain the delicate balance between sales-like behavior and an empathetic, supportive approach to secure paying clients for your firm.
Sometimes, experienced intake specialists can take potential clients from initial contact to signed contract in just one phone call.
If you’d like to learn more about capitalizing on the sales elements of your intake process, contact Alert Communications today.