Stop Underestimating The Value of Intake w/ Gary Falkowitz 402
Categories: Podcast

Today we’re excited to share a presentation by Gary Falkowitz from MaxLawCon 2021! Tune in to learn all about how you can capitalize on leads, maximize revenue, and improve your intake process.

Gary P. Falkowitz is the Managing Partner and Founding Attorney of the Falkowitz Law Firm PLLC‚ one of the premier personal injury law firms in New York. Gary received his J.D., in 2005 from St. John’s University School of Law, where he was a member of the Senior Board of the Moot Court Honor Society. After law school, Gary served as an Assistant District Attorney with the Kings County District Attorney’s Office, where he sought justice on behalf of the Kings County community. 

2:02 intake whisperer

5:26 the competition is more intense than it has ever been

8:42 escalation procedure

12:29 fear

15:36 digitally impress them

18:47 the one call close

22:34 follow up with web leads

Watch the podcast here.

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Transcript: Stop Underestimating The Value of Intake w/ Gary Falkowitz

Speaker 1
In today’s episode, we’re sharing a presentation from maxilla con 2021. Keep listening to hear Gary Falco woods as we share his talk stop under estimating the value of intake. You can also head to the maximum lawyer YouTube channel to watch the full video. Have you grabbed your ticket to this year’s conference? If not, head to max law con 2020 to get yours today. Now to the episode,

Speaker 2
run your law firm the right way. This is the maximum lawyer podcast, podcast your hosts, Jim hacking and Tyson nutrix. Let’s partner up and maximize your firm.

Jim Hacking
Welcome to the show. The reason I’m going to introduce Gary and one of the reasons we asked him to speak is Gary very kindly spent seven hours with me recording my struggles in giving up intake. So if you are of the misguided, mistaken, and misplaced understanding that only you can sign up cases, you’re wrong. And you need to listen to Gary to find out why. Right? I literally the first three and we’ve released it as the podcast how many people have heard that podcast series? Yeah, if you haven’t heard it already. Or if you need to go back and listen to it, because you’re dabbling too much in intake, you need to go listen to it again. The first three episodes are me writhing in pain, refusing to give up control of the leads process. But I’m happy to report that since I started working with Gary on that, that basically our our K signups per month have doubled just about doubled. And that’s a testament to letting go and letting other people do the work that you don’t need to be doing might take a little bit of time, it might take a little giving up, but you guys can do it. So let me introduce Gary. Gary went from being an assistant district attorney to the intake whisperer. He has consulted with hundreds of law firms nationwide. He’s the president of intake conversion experts, a champion of the client experience and the author of The Complete Guide to law firm intake. If you haven’t read that you really should. It’s a short little book, but it’s really really good. The only thing louder than his New York accent is his love for the pitiful New York Mets. I’d like to introduce you all to Gary Falco wits.

Gary Falkowitz
Thank you very much, Jim. What they don’t know is that I probably don’t need this microphone. But hey, you live in your learn. First, allow me to say thank you, Jim for that warm welcome to see all those hands go up. It warmed my heart. You know, I this is my passion. If I go back in time, coming out of law school becoming an ADA did met him out medical malpractice defense. And then I went over to the good side, the personal injury side. And that’s where I realized that, hey, maybe I have an interest in the business side of things. Because it didn’t seem like anybody else did. Right. I I jumped into this law firm, I started to litigate cases, I remember going to my the owner of my law firm and say, hey, if there’s an opportunity to get involved more bringing in cases and working on on the front end side of the firm, I’d be interested, he gave me one of those looks. Yeah, thanks so much. Please go back to your office and do what I paid you to do. Turns out about a year later, I became the managing attorney. I was the face on TV that was a few pounds ago, less gray hair but still effective. And it was there where I realized that it wasn’t just me or our law firm is most law firms throughout the country to very large practice Parker Wakeman in New York, but most law firms throughout the country, were missing out on maximizing revenue. Were spending money, marketing their services and trying to make the phone ring and trying to get the leads digitally, but they weren’t capitalizing and all those leads that came in and they need to get that fixed. So I bet on me, I bet on me, which is for all you entrepreneurs out there, you had that moment, I’m sure you think about it quite often. It’s an amazing moment to take that leap and not know what’s going to happen next. And now here you are sitting down. And by the way, I gotta tell you, this group is second to none. This is the most selfless giving, interested group of lawyers, amongst any group I’ve been a part of. So I’m really, really honored to be up here talking to you. But now to jump back in. I took the leap. I bet on myself. I began consulting law firms throughout the country opened up my own call center started my own practice most of your referral practice jumped into the client experience world. And here I am talking to you and yes, I am a pitiful Mets fan. I still consider myself an athlete. Although video may may contradict that, and I do consider myself an eternal optimist. I believe that if you believe you see something and you really want it, good things can happen. Now let’s jump right in. When you guys took that leap to start your own law firm you would have sacrificed anything. When that phone call came in, when that lead came in, if you had Sunday plans gone, I gotta go sign somebody, I gotta travel two hours, honey, I gotta break the plans Friday night, I gotta get this call, son throw a strike, I gotta get this new lead, right pick up the phone call while you’re standing on the mound, I was that guy. From my own law firm. You were that person when you started your own business that cannot change. In this day and age, the competition is more intense than it’s ever been. And with private equity coming field, right, we know what’s going to happen there, it’s going to put more pressure on you to be better at what you do. When a claim it reaches out to you, you must assume that that claimant is reaching out to multiple law firms. I should apologize, I come across pretty aggressively. If you saw the video, then you’re used to it. If you haven’t, it comes from my passion. Okay, that claimant is reaching out to multiple law firms. The difference is what can you do that’s better that these other law firms aren’t doing? Think about how easy it is for claiming to put a summary in a web inquiry, copy it, go to four other pages, paste, submit, paste, submit, paste submit less than 60 seconds, I could submit my inquiry to four law firms. And yes, the law firm that responds first is in the best position to sign that claim. You need to move away from entitlement, right just because you’re successful. And you have that taste of profit of real profit. And you bought that second house maybe and you go on these lavish vacations flying first class, please, please understand that you cannot have an entitlement feeling. Claimants don’t know how good you are. That’s the thing. Your ad can say resolved $90 million in cases in the last two years, where the biggest law firm in the country, it can say whatever you want it to say. But the moment they call you, is the moment you have to sell them. Because when they’re calling you, or when they submit that lead to you, that just means they’re interested in speaking with you. That doesn’t mean they chosen you as their lawyer. And if you don’t have the resources, and the sales antics to convince that claimant to move forward with you, then it doesn’t matter what your history is. Now, it all starts with your ability to respond appropriately. You have to act fast. You have to we’re no longer nine to five guys. Right? We are no more if I went back 10 years ago, and I got a lead on a Friday night 8pm. And I had a nice conversation with the claimant. And I said Mrs. Johnson, thanks so much for calling. You did the right thing by calling we can help you but right now I’m out to dinner with my wife. I’m gonna give you a call back Monday morning. Is that okay? Of course it is. 10 years ago, I had a shot at signing that case on Monday morning. That is no longer the case. You must have the resources internally to be able to handle that lead on a Friday night on a Sunday morning the way you would on a Monday at 10am. Because I promise you there’s a hungry attorney out there that is, and it doesn’t matter that they’re not as good as you. Remember, you’re getting judged by the experience you give to the claimant, you’re not getting judged by the result, shucks, they don’t even see I said shucks write that because just in case G rated, but they don’t know what the result is going to be. They don’t know whether you’re going to be successful. They don’t know whether the money you get for them is actually a result of great lawyering or not. What they do know is how you respond. What you say who it is that’s representing your law firm, what your timing is like, what you’re doing digitally. Do you have an escalation procedure internally? Gary, what’s an escalation procedure? Okay, you got a good case on the phone? They’re on the fence. Do you tell them you know what, what do you think about it? We’ll call you tomorrow, let us know what you’re thinking then the answer is no. So no one nod yes. If you’re thinking about it, it says no, you don’t do that. The answer is we’ve got to figure out how to escalate that claim it to becoming a client. What happens when you go into a car dealership, you go into a car dealership, you sit down with the salesperson, they feel really good about themselves, you feel good about yourself, because you know, you got to you got to move the numbers a little bit, move the meter a little bit. Now it’s a little bit more in your favor. And then you tell the salesperson, you know what, I appreciate everything you did for me. I’m gonna go back, talk to my spouse about it. I’ll come back tomorrow, but Oh, Mr. Falco, it’s Mr. Falco. It’s before you before you leave. Allow me to introduce you to the manager. Oh, that’s their escalation procedure. They bring it in the manager because they don’t want me leaving without keys in my hand and a check in theirs. Do you have an escalation procedure? Do you have an attorney or a manager or some of that title available to convince that claimant on that call to move forward with your law firm? And oh, by the way, this team, this intake team, whatever you want to call them, they gotta be dedicated to this time. Ask. You go to that car dealership, even go to a car dealership and see salespeople sitting in their office with the cubicle just sitting and waiting. They’re not being asked to wash cars. They’re not being asked to make photocopies. Their job is to sell and they will wait to sell if they have to. The same thing goes with our intake team. Their job is to sell is to respond is to speak is to convince Do not mess up your firm because you think they’re wasting their time. Let’s go have them do some paralegal work, or better yet, let’s have our paralegals answer if you intake calls, because the paralegals also the lawyers, their jobs are to move cases forward to ask them to prioritize leads and claimants and intakes. They’re not set up for that. That’s not their mentality. So please be very careful about trying to have a dedicated team.

Speaker 5
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Gary Falkowitz
This is something else that bothers me. Jim and I had such a productive seven hour meeting broken up. And I’m so glad that you guys are able to participate or witness it. There’s this fear that we’re going to sign cases that will ultimately have to reject. Gotta get over it, guys. You may only get one bite at that apple. Let’s not prolong it. Let’s not mess with it. That’s not an investigate, then sign. Let’s sign then investigate. But yeah, you want me to sign everything? No, no, no, I didn’t say that. But come up with your basic criteria, come up with something that could be a case that could resolve for money. sign that case, don’t sign the I’m only signing cases that are certain to get me money, don’t do that. Don’t do that you’re going to lose out, I gotta tell you by show of hands, how many maybe cases turned out to be seven digit cases for you. I see 123. At least four hands went up. Maybe cases, they sign them because I’m not really sure. But maybe I can make something out of it seven digits, be that person, I promise you in the long run, you’re going to win so much more. Hold your team accountable to the standards and support your intake team. They are so important to your firm. And if they’re treated like they’re the worst, lowest paid employees of your firm, then the response is the same. You got to support them, make them feel valuable. Give them the authority to make decisions. I know that’s tough, guys. It’s really tough. I’ve consulted with so many law firms, they’re scared, you’re gonna make the wrong decision. That’s okay, let’s educate them. Let’s train them. But give them that authority. There’s nothing better than signing a qualified case on the first call. Now, at intake, you need persistent and diverse communication. That’s what makes the difference. I’ve spoken to a bunch of you today. Raise your hand if you send your V card to a new web lead. See one hand raise your hand if you send your V card to a newly retained case. The same way I see one hand. I want you guys to see Jeremy Horns up here. Raise your hand Jeremy. Make sure you see him at some point. I’ve been working with him on this. And it’s really important you guys understand this? Our job is to create promoters from our leads, promoters. How the heck can we create promoters if we don’t give them the tools to promote? I recently shared the contact of a painter to a friend of mine. I don’t remember who he is. I don’t remember him doing any work for me. Yet here I am sharing his contact to somebody else. How are we as lawyers not sharing our contact to our clients or to our leads? We got to do that. It’s not easy. Is it Toltec play involved in their habits social media. Why are we waiting due until the case resolves to share our social media, they’re judging us. The moment they reach out to us, don’t we want them to follow us on social media? The big the moment they reached out to us? And oh, by the way, why is the V card and social media so important? Well, because before the pandemic, maybe 30%, and a random number, for some of you, it’s 50. For some of you, it’s five, maybe 30% of the people came into your office, and they are impressed by your mahogany desk, and the beautiful glass windows and the gorgeous chairs and the marble on the floor. not happening anymore. There’s no value, no one’s coming in. So how do you impress them? digitally, you got to impress them with what you have digitally, the game is on the competition begins the moment they reach out to you, if you’re not texting, if you’re not getting the VT card in, if you’re not calling them multiple times per day, if you’re not calling for an extended period of time, then you’re losing. If you’re not listening to recorded calls. That’s an interesting one someone earlier I’m sorry, I don’t remember who was I think it was Jay. Jay was talking about how they have the playbook and in football, you know, as they do in between games. They watch video, constantly. Why constantly watch video of what the players were doing? What’s the equivalent for us? Listening to calls, we have to constantly listen to calls, what are we saying I can’t tell you how many times I’ve listened to a call, one call always stands out. intake specialist picks up the phone claiming says I was in an accident, you find out the claimant got into an accident while it was raining. And the intake specialist said sorry, we don’t handle those cases, rear ended brain hospital surgery hung up can’t help. That’s the case. By the way. There are many like it. We’ve got to listen to calls, not to blame not to point our finger and say what did you do know to improve, to educate to get better? Right? We got to get better. Now what metrics? Should we be inspecting? A lot of them? Right? We should know what’s our valid lead rate? In other words, the leads that we get in if we’re using a third party company, what percent of them are actually valid leads to have to go back to the lead generator and say, Hey, you’re giving us crappy leads on the money back? I want you to do a better job. What’s our contact rate? What’s our qualification rate? I say last rate. Last that’s my favorite, favorite metric. It tells you what qualified and you were unable to sign it. I want to know why were our notes to our notes and whatever CRM you’re using, do they sufficiently explain to us why we lost that case? Because if they didn’t, we got to talk to our team up and making better notes. Can we pull that recorded call? Did we say something wrong? Right? I love the Lost rate. You get to investigate, you get to improve conversion rate. If you’ve ever heard me speak, I bring up conversion rate, Gary, what’s conversion rate? Thanks for asking. Conversion Rate is of all those cases that qualified how many site? Now here’s the problem. A lot of you don’t know what qualified from a numbers perspective, you can give me a sense, Gary, I sign all the cases I want. Okay, I understand you, I understand that. Now let’s get down to the truth, I need you to really investigate this. There are many law firms I’ll consult with or I’ll speak with, and we do it in my call center all the time looking at all these numbers. many law firms where they don’t really have that number, it’s not clear that number should be the clearest number in your firm at intake. That’s what tells you how good you are, or how much you need to improve. If I get 1000 leads, and 100 of them qualify, and 70 of them sign, I have a conversion rate of 70% Doesn’t matter how many leads I get out of those 100 that qualify how many son and then you get to look at a 30. That’s your last rate. Let’s look at those though. Let’s open up those 30 cases, find out what went wrong, and make sure it doesn’t happen again, what your team must convey in order to achieve the one call close, Gary, what’s the one call close? It’s what it sounds like claiming calls up or they submit a web inquiry, you call them up first call, you get a signed signature on that call electronically, obviously. Now, the cool thing about this group right here with all these entrepreneurs that you guys are probably using modern technology and software, and you’re probably you’re using something like DocuSign right to get cases signed, you have to make sure that you’re signing and your team is given the authority to qualify and sign cases on that first call. Don’t worry about the cases you signed and reject as a matter of fact, look at that percentage. If you told me Hey, Gary, last month, I signed 100 cases, but five of them I ultimately had to reject. I’m cool with that. That’s great. If you told me Gary sent 100 cases but 50 of them add reject. All right, the issue isn’t that you just signed it rejected the issue is our qualification was wrong. Right. We were signing way too many cases that didn’t meet our criteria. So let’s tighten that up a little bit. Got to look into that. You need reassurance, interest. Kindness. You can read this your decision confidence roadmap. I love the roadmap one If you speak to a claimant manage expectations, I think one of the greatest travesties of humankind, I’m exaggerating, is our inability to manage expectations with each other when we have a relationship, these claimants call us up. We don’t tell them what’s next. We don’t tell them how long this could take. We don’t tell them who’s gonna be the attorney and handling their case, who the legal team is, what the next step associated with the litigation or the investigation is, let’s tell them that we have to constantly be thinking, what can we do that our competitors are not doing? If we act like an operator on the phone, that’s not good enough, because there’s someone else there to actually acts like a kind person. I tell every intake team I work with be the most polite person they’ve spoken with in the last 30 days. That’s it, I understand. If you get a couple of things wrong, be the most polite person that you’ve spoken with, that they’ve spoke with in the past 30 days, the competence that you showed to your claimant makes all the difference in the world. I remember calling an eye doctor once from my wife, she had an eye allergy and moved to the new neighborhood. And I had to call multiple doctors. Someone picked up and it was an elderly woman who said Dr. Levine’s office and said, Hi, do you have any hours in the next couple of days from my wife, she has an allergy, I’m just new to the neighborhood. And as he handled things like this, she says, Dr. Levine is the best. All right, I don’t care what it is. I’ll take it, right. Like that’s what it was, she was so good at selling and being believable about who this doctor was that I didn’t, my wife would have to suffer another day or two. But that’s where we’re going. That’s where we’re going. Okay, some statistics to consider. Only 10% of salespeople make more than three contacts, just worked with a law firm, they made five contacts within three days, and they thought that was too much. So let’s get that closer to 14 days, closer to 15. Contacts, let’s make sure we’re texting, let’s make sure we’re calling. Let’s make sure we’re doing them multiple times per day, different times per day. 80% of sales are made on the fifth to 12 contact. At my call center. We’ve signed cases a lot of mass tort stuff we do for law firms, PII, we’ve seen cases that were three, four or five months old, not because we were harassing anybody, but because it was never a good time for the claimant. So they didn’t tell us to stop calling we kept calling. Only 13% of customers believe a salesperson can understand their need. That’s a big one guy’s our intake team needs to come across as understanding the claimants mentality 30 to 50% of sales, go to the vendor that responds first, you know that if you follow up with web leads, within five minutes, you’re nine times more likely to convert them. Nice little quote here. It’s very easy to be different. But very difficult to be better. I’ll end with this. You guys spend so much money, marketing your services, you spent so many resources trying to maximize the value of claims. Don’t let your inadequacy. Don’t let your weakness be your inability to respond appropriately. reassure the claimant that they did the right thing by calling you make sure you empower your team to handle those leads be loose with your qualification criteria, and you’re going to begin to crush it. Thank you very much, guys.

Speaker 2
Thanks for listening to the maximum lawyer podcast. Stay in contact with your hosts and to access more content content, go to maximum Have a great week and catch you next time.


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