8 Tips To Improving Your Law Firm’s Phone Intakes

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Most of our clients hire us with the goal in mind of making their phone ring more often. Ultimately however, what our clients really care about is getting new clients that they can attribute directly to our marketing. As you might imagine, what’s critical in making that happen is measuring the amount of calls that a firm gets and even monitoring those calls to ensure that when the phone does ring, the lead is being handled as best possible.

While a lot employees want a script to stick to, because every person calling is different and behaves differently, there’s simply not a script for every situation. So what’s more important than having a script is having principles that are constantly being reinforced to your receptionists and staff that can apply to each every single call regardless of the individual.

Here are the ones we think are most important:

 

  1. Assume every call you get is your dream client – Every suggestion here is based on that premise. By following this principle, when that client does call your firm, you will give yourself the highest likelihood for converting them to a client.
  2. Answer the phone no later than the third ring – Our experience has shown most people will not wait past 5 rings when they call so our advice is not to chance it and answer the call within 2-3 rings.
  3. First Impressions Matter – Your phone receptionist is making your firm’s 1st impression with your client which means this person should have a friendly, inviting and professional phone voice.
  4. Don’t Ask For The Same Info Twice – Pre-determine the level of detail you are going to have your receptionist ask before he/she routes the call to another individual. Few things are more frustrating than having to tell a long, painful story twice over the phone to a stranger. Our suggestion is, if you are going to route calls to an attorney, do so quickly so that your valuable lead isn’t having to go through that experience.
  5. Show Your Humanity – The people calling you are often in tremendous emotional, financial and even physical pain and because of that, your receptionist should have the emotional intelligence to convey the appropriate level of compassion and empathy for your clients when they communicate their problems.
  6. Escalate VIP Calls – Your receptionist should be able to quickly distinguish a “VIP Call” – a call that is of high value to the firm, whether it’s because of who is calling or the issue they are having, and then be able to direct the call to the corresponding level within the firm.
  7. ALWAYS Get Contact Info – Before any call is transferred, make sure that your receptionist receives contact information, as this could save a lead in the event that the call is not connected properly or that the individual is sent to a voicemail upon transferring.
  8. No Cold Transfers – The receptionist should do their best to “hand off” the call within the firm rather than just perform a cold transfer. By handing off the call we mean calling the individual you are transferring to and giving them a brief explanation of the caller’s situation, then notifying the caller of the individual you are transferring them to, then perform the transfer. This “hand off” will make a much stronger impression than just simply transferring the call.

Sample Law Firm Phone Intake Script

 

While phone scripts need to be flexible, here’s a sample script for your firm that will helps to illustrate how you can ensure you are making the most of each and every call you receive.

Receptionist: Thank you for calling {FIrm Name}, This is {Receptionist Name}, how can I help you?

Caller: Hi, my name is Suzy and I need to speak with an attorney.

Receptionist: Ok Suzy, just so I can make sure that I am sending you to the right person within the firm, can you tell me a little bit about what it is you’re needing help with?

Caller: Well I was in a car accident in Downtown Houston and my daughter has been seriously injured … I really need help from a lawyer because I don’t know how I’m going to pay my hospital bills …

Receptionist: [sympathetic, genuine] Suzy, I’m terribly sorry to hear that you are having to deal with that. Our lawyers are phenomenal at helping people who have experienced serious accidents. Do you mind if I put you in touch with one of our attorneys so they can get all the important information surrounding your case?

Caller: That would be fine.

Receptionist: Thank you. And just in case we get disconnected after I transfer you, what’s the best number for me to reach you at?

Caller: It’s 555-55555

Receptionist: Ok excellent, thank you for that. Now if you don’t mind holding, I’m going to try to put you in touch with Attorney Mark, he is one of the best attorneys in town when it comes to car accidents

[puts caller on brief hold, makes contact with attorney, gives brief description to attorney]

Receptionist: Ok Suzy, I am transferring you to Attorney Mark right now, I have shared with him what you told me and he would like to speak with you to learn a little more about your situation.

Caller: Thank you

[transfers call]

7 Tips When Starting Your Own Legal Practice: There’s Never Been A Better Time To Do It

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Career paths in the legal industry, like every many other industries are in a state of change. For ages, the the typical career path for lawyers went something like this;

  1. Finish law school
  2. Pay your dues for years at larger firm with the hopes of becoming a partner
  3. Eventually see your name on the sign outside the building

In the last 2 decades a variety of factors are disrupting an industry that has been notoriously averse to change and creating an opportunity for entrepreneurial attorneys.

What are the catalysts for these changes? Here’s some big ones;

And while some lament the good ol’ days of grad school internships, yellow page ads, billboards and mahogany lined meeting rooms with leather bound books, many young (and some not so young) attorneys recognize what this opportunity before them is: the best time in history to start your own law firm.

Getting Started

You may be asking yourself, what credibility does this non-lawyer have that I should listen to him regarding career decisions I am making?

The answer is that I’ve ridden shotgun with a number of attorneys (and spoken with dozens more) who have successfully transitioned to running their own practice and seen first hand how they did it. There’s some common denominators to the ones who did it successfully and it’s a science to it that I am happy to share. Here’s the commonalities I have found;

  1. Be highly competent  
    Everything begins and ends here. Good marketing, strategy etc, cannot overcome an uninspired or incompetent attorney. Unless your number one professional priority is to absolutely crush it for people who are spending their hard earned money and putting their livelihood, their family and even their health in your hands, then you’re not the sort of lawyer most people want to hire. I need my lawyer to care about my problems the way I care about my problems. In my experience, the good ones always do.
  2. Start in a niche, then expand
    While your long term goal may be to be the pre-imminent personal injury firm in Florida or the top criminal lawyer in Los Angeles, don’t set your sights on ultra competitive markets like that right off the bat unless you have a massive marketing budget from the jump. The firms who dominate the top of the country’s markets often have six figure (sometimes 7 figure if we are talking statewide) marketing budgets which means you will be fighting for table scraps if you immediately try to slay the biggest fish. Identify some underserved markets in the towns or communities surrounding larger metropolitan areas and win there first. You can always expand once you have victories under your belt and it’s always easier to make big commitments financially and strategically, when you have an idea of what to expect.
  3. Find a marketing partner, not a vendor
    Ok, remember everything we talked about in #1? Let’s apply that same scrutiny to whoever you hire to handle your marketing. Yes you want expertise, yes you want proof of past results, those are givens. But it’s critical that you hire an agency that will take your success (or lack thereof) personally. An unfortunately common story we hear from lawyers about marketing agencies are things like the agency ‘being on autopilot’, not taking accountability for results, phone calls regularly taking days to get a response and an inability to really explain what’s being done to make the firm successful. You need to hire a firm that will have a very close 1-to-1 relationship with your firm, that you can ask pointed questions to at any time and get an honest answer. Once you’ve identified the right marketing partner here’s a few things they should be able to help with:

    1. Build a website that wows your audience
      We say it all the time; your website is the foundation for your online marketing efforts. Too many times I have seen a site built by a friend or relative who dabbles in web design that isn’t up to snuff and comes with a lot of guilt if you want to make a change. Don’t make this mistake. If you asked me where I would spend my bottom dollar to market a law firm, it would be on the website. It’s the foundation for everything you do online. If done right, it will increase the return on every marketing dollar you spent and if done wrong it will undermine your marketing efforts
    2. Understand Your Strengths And Market Them In An Authentic Manner
      Again, I’m no expert, but speaking from experience, this one is important. Perhaps even some conversations with past clients about what they liked most about working with you (and what they did not like – ouch!). Having an understanding of these qualities about yourself professionally speaking will help you to take those strengths and market around them. Have you ever walked past a bakery and looked in their window? They don’t put their ugly cakes there. They put their most beautiful, most aromatic creations to lure carboholics like me into their store at which point it’s highly likely I am going to make a purchase. In that same manner, we want to take your strengths and put them front and center for your audience.  For example, let’s say you’re the empathetic type of lawyer; play that up in your marketing. Make sure your all your marketing speaks to the personal connections you make with your clients and the empathy you have for their situations. Or if you have accolades no one can rival, play that up. Or if you’re the pit bull, aggressive personality type, play that up. The point is there’s a market for all types of attorneys in every practice area. Don’t get caught up in acting like what you think a personal injury lawyer should act like. Playing to those stereotypes is so #2000AndLate and it’s just plain corny. There’s two firms here in Austin that are constantly running the most unintentionally funny ads on TV you have ever seen. My wife (who’s not in the industry) laughs out loud every time they come on. If you live here you probably know exactly who I’m talking about. I’m digressing but the point is, the worst thing you can do with your marketing is set the wrong expectations by simply playing a caricature of the lawyer you think people want to hire. Play the best version of YOU and there will be a market who appreciates it.
    3. Do your own social media
      We get asked all the time if we can help with social media and while we are happy to help get everything setup properly and make sure your content is posting to your platforms, the truth is this; the more real and authentic your social media posts are, the more engaging it will be for your audience. Your social media should reflect your firm’s personality and who else is qualified to project that on social media than you? So unless we are spending copious amounts of time with you or in our office, the most qualified person to put your message on social in an authentic manner is you.
  4. Demand reviews from clients
    That may sound aggressive in contrast to ask for your reviews but it’s necessary to be as emphatic as possible when requesting a happy client leave a review. This is rooted the the law of reciprocity; if I do a great service for you, I have the right to make a small ask. A review takes very little effort and is exhibit A in the “Small Asks Of Clients” manual.  A lot of lawyers get squeamish about asking for reviews but If you are following the first recommendation on this list and giving your clients your best, you should have no trepidation in making this request. In my experience, the easier you make this on your clients, the better. There’s a whole of bevy of apps that exist that allow you request reviews from clients using SMS text messaging and requiring only 1 click from the client. These reviews are going to be critical to ensure that people with similar problems to your happy clients can read about you and your services and connect with you.

It’s Not For Everybody

I don’t mean to make a complex decision seem so simplistic in this article and I understand that it may come off that way. There’s obviously countless opportunities to get invaluable experience and tutelage/mentorship at an established firm. If that’s your career path, more power to you. What intention is for this article, for those attorneys thinking to take the entrepreneurial jump, is to demystify the barriers to entry to starting your own firm.


Interested In Getting Started?

If you are one of those people looking to start your practice, we’d love to chat with you and answer whatever questions you may have. We work with firms big and small alike and we strive to be a true partner to all of clients. We even have some special pricing for solos starting out. So if you’re ready to chat, hit us up and we’ll schedule a call and share everything we know to help make your decision a bit easier.

Why Legal Content Marketing is Unique

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Content marketing is a must for any business. Having an online presence is crucial to survive in a crowded marketplace and content marketing is one way to stand out in the crowd. When it comes to marketing for law firms, there is a big difference in strategy. Legal content marketing is unique in many ways. Here are a few examples.

Law Firms Are Expected to Be Experts

Legal content marketing is different, in that all content is expected to have some type of expertise. You can read similar articles all day long on other niches but when it comes to legal articles, people are there wanting to hear what an expert has to say. You cannot simply go to Elance and pay a freelancer a few dollars to create quality content for you.

If you are writing legal content for your blog, make sure that you are able to cite legal sources to support your contentions. This is not something that is done with most other niches. You want to make sure to cite sources as it shows you know what you are talking about and also brings quality and credibility to the content.

Another big part of legal content marketing involves becoming an authority in your market. When you write content as a guest blogger, you are establishing your legal brand. After you are able to post articles on high authority websites, people will begin to see you as an expert or the go-to person in the field.

Localization Should be the Focus of Legal Content Marketing

SEO is an important part of legal content marketing. Regardless if you are posting content on your blog or authoring on another site as an expert, you must make sure you focus on SEO for lawyers. This means that concentrating on your local market is the key to success.

If you are an attorney in the Los Angeles area, you do not want to optimize your content for a national audience or even for another city. Many people get this wrong. As a local business, you want to focus on the local market. People cannot purchase your products or services online. They must come to your office in person, which is why you need to optimize your content for people looking for you.

Other key differences are knowing when to use the correct terms, such as lawyer or law firm, in your content.

Search Engines Already Hate You

If you are a law firm, search engines are not your friend. There is so much spam content out there related to law firms that you must fight your way to the top. Legal content marketing is some of the most difficult to get ranked because of this.

Just check online to see the many law firms out there with spam content and clickbait. Their only purpose is to get visitors to their site, where hopefully they can convert them into paying clients. This is the opposite of what Google and other search engines want. They want you to provide quality content that not only attracts visitors but keeps their attention and provides valued information.

In order to help your content rank, it must be of great quality. While this is the same for all niches, law firms must stand out. The way to do that is to provide information that people want, or need, to read. We suggest creating how-to advice or writing articles that answer common legal questions. This is a great way to keep the readers’ attention and show the search engines you are there to provide valuable content, not serving up spam.

Final Thoughts

Yes, legal content marketing is unique. If you are looking to rank your law firm’s website, you must invest in quality. Provide expert advice, with information people want to read. Stay away from using clickbait or other black-hat methods to attract visitors and Google will likely grow to love you and rank you higher.

Looking for a quote for legal content marketing? Contact us for a free consultation.

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