Today we’re sharing part five of a six part series on Intake. This isn’t your regular podcast. In this series you’ll get to listen in on actual strategy sessions between Gary Falkowitz and Jim Hacking as they dive into Jim’s intake processes.
Gary Falkowitz advises law firms, attorneys and legal organizations on the importance of creating, utilizing, managing and maximizing the intake process. He has worked with managing partners, associates, paralegals and all other support staff to assist law firms in improving their intake process and, importantly, increasing their conversion percentages.
Through his years of experience, Gary has realized that accountability, implementing strong internal procedures and responsiveness are three of the most important factors to ensure a successful and efficient intake process. It doesn’t hurt that his passion for the subject matter is unrivaled. In short, Gary believes that the key to maximizing a law firm’s revenue is strongly dependent upon the ability to appropriately prioritize and adequately scrutinize the intake process.
Gary is also the author of the book, “The Complete Guide to Law Firm Intake: Powerful Strategies To Maximize Retention and Increase Revenue”.
2:55 six stages of the sales pipeline
7:33 the goal
7:40 send the contract anyway
9:00 the reason to make the decision
10:47 number of follow ups
15:00 lawyer follow up
18:13 the push to sign
24:19 free consultation
28:48 the most easy action to take
Want to hear more from Gary?
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All right. Well, let’s get started. So, we’ve been– we’ve been hard at work, man. We’ve been doing a lot of stuff to implement all the great guidance that you have shared with us. We’ve made the transition out of Lead Docket and into Pipedrive
Laura has been working real hard with Kelsey, who’s our programmer, to sort of build it out the way that we want. She has some questions. She’s going to tell you about what she’s been doing since you and I last spoke and sort of how we’ve been implementing it. And then, I know she has a bunch of questions for you mostly about like timing and frequency of follow up after at the different stages that people are going to be in.
Does that sound good?
Gary: Okay. That’s great.
Jim: All right. Go ahead, Laura.
Laura: Okay. Hi again. So, what we tried to do in this time is kind of systematize the different sales stages and make the CRM software functional to that end.
So, we came up with a system where we have two different pipelines, the main sales pipeline. The basic qualifier to be in that is to have a confirmed actual immigration case. And then, the Leads Team will follow up and see if you qualify for actual representation. So, in the sales pipeline, we have six stages, right? So, they come in. Establish contact. They’re qualified by the Leads Team. Then, they’re further qualified by the attorney. Then, we send them the contract. And contract signed. So, those are the six stages that we’ve identified.
And, I guess, my general question was, does follow up vary according to what stage they’re in? I know that you had told Jim that follow up should be three days in a row. And then, three times every other day, but I was just wondering if it’s applicable to one stage or to all of them? Since we have a few people, in order to, I guess, focus on what will get us the most results.
Gary: So, I apologize that we’re both– I feel like I’m freezing and you’re freezing a little bit and you’re coming in and out. Can you tell me those six categories, those stages again, please? And then, we’ll try to, hopefully, catch up to each other on this video.
Laura: Okay, sure. So, the first one is lead in which is somebody has said they have an immigration case but nobody on our Leads Team has contacted them yet.
Laura: The second one is contact made. So, somebody reached out, depending on what means of communication we have with that person, but reached out.
Then, the third one is need defined–
Gary: Does reached out mean that we spoke with them?
Laura: No. It means that we contacted them because sometimes we don’t have phone numbers.
Gary: Okay. So, it’s an attempt? Is that fair?
Laura: Right. Mm-hmm.
Laura: And then, the third one is need defined which is basically when the Leads Team is able to qualify them and answer those three qualifying questions that we laid out. So, if they have an immigration case that we handle, do they have an attorney? And can they afford us? So, that’s the third stage. And then, in that stage, the objective is to get them to talk to the attorney. And that’s the fourth stage, attorney qualified. So, when the attorney talks to them, they’re determining the specs of the case and the exact price.
Laura: Then, the fifth stage is contract sent. So, these are people that have been sent a contract. The attorney has said that we can represent them. They’ve been sent the contract, but they haven’t signed it yet. That happens a lot.
Laura: And then, the final stage is contract signed, but they haven’t made the down payment yet. And the work only starts with the down payment. So, those are the six stages.
Gary: Okay. So, first, before I answer the question you had, my question to you is are stages three, four, and five happening on the same call and is that– obviously, that’s the objective [inaudible 00:08:41].
Laura: Whoops. Sorry. You also cut out there. Could you repeat?
Gary: Of course. I’m sorry–
Laura: No, it’s fine.
Gary: Are stages three, four, and five, which is the objective, are they happening on the same call?
Laura: Ideally, yes, but sometimes that doesn’t happen. That’s why we split them – we divided them. Ideally, they would happen in the same call.
Gary: Yeah. And I think we have to figure out. Right off the bat, from my perspective, we have to take the approach that we’re not going to get a second bite at the apple. So, in recognizing that, we have to also make it our normal course of business. Let’s call it minimal 80% of the time, completing three, four and five on the same call. And if it turns out where it’s funny, a 30%, a 40%, or 50% of the time, then we’re not appreciating what has to be done.
Gary: Right? And I think– and this is where accountability comes into play because, you know, there are goals and then there are standards.
Gary: This is not a goal. This is the standard, right? We don’t want to make this like, “Oh, guys, if everything works out, great. This is how it should ideally be.” I’d rather make it, “Guys, this is what has to happen. And the exception to the rule is when it doesn’t happen, and we need to figure out why. Why was there an exception in place? What did– could we not find a lawyer? Did the claimant– could we not qualify the case? Were we not able to get an email maybe to send the contract out to?”
But like the standard needs to be, when we speak with that claimant, were we able to qualify it? If we’re be able to qualify it, we’re able to get a contract out.
Gary: Okay? And then, obviously, I’ll throw a– now, I’ll throw a goal in there which is less standard more goal, which is number six. Number six, the goal would be, “Hey, guys, we’ve qualified it. We sent a contract out. We had the attorney review it. Why not stay on the phone and wait for them to sign it?” Right? That’s the goal.
Jim: Hey, for both of you guys, in that six stages that Laura just listed, what about people like I just got off the phone with, a very nice couple, that are thinking about hiring us for an I-130, but they didn’t ask for a contract to be sent yet? They’re not sure what they want to do.
Gary: Why aren’t we send it anyway, Jim, and telling them to review it? Well, why don’t we send it anyway and tell them to review it during their moment of hesitation so that we can follow back up on that contract?
Jim: Okay. I’m open to that.
Gary: So, in other words, “Mrs. Jones, why don’t I do this? I’m going to send you our agreement so you could review it. And so, you could see that everything I just told you is echoed in that agreement. And also, so that, maybe after this call, you and your husband or you and your wife can look at this, and try to make a decision today because the last thing you want to do, even if you don’t hire us, the last thing you want to do is push this off to another week or another month.”
Jim: Yeah, that’s good. That’s good.
That’ll be good for our lawyer training, too, Laura. We’re doing lawyer training on this next week.
That’s not something I’ve ever done, Gary, but I like that.
Laura: Okay. So, attorneys should send them the contract regardless, even if they’ve asked for more time, and then kind of push them to make a decision by that day or soon because they don’t want to push it off, right? Correct?
Gary: Yeah. Yeah, and I think we have to– this is where us being lawyers and having a law firm come into play and it’s not giving any legal advice. It’s explaining to them, “Hey, by the way, the reason you want to make this decision as soon as possible is because you need to protect your rights. You need to make sure you’re not delaying something that can pose more challenges for you in the future. So, the sooner you resolve this, using our law firm or somebody else, the better for you. Do I think we’re the best firm for you? Of course, I do. Do we have the resources? Of course, we do. But I’m not going to sit here and say, Hey, take your time with it because I know that’s not in the best interest of you [inaudible 00:13:29].”
Laura: Got it. Okay, we’ll definitely– that will definitely change attorney approach.
Gary: And I guess, Laura, to go back. I think I forgot about it, you know, they put their follow-up questions and how frequent. Certainly, the lead in’s [inaudible 00:13:53] a new lead and we haven’t spoken with them yet. You’re going to want to go, ideally, and standard-wise every day, for a week, easily. And I would then tell you every other day, the next week, you know. And every other day for the third week. And this way, you [inaudible 00:14:11], you know what? Because at the end of the day here, I want Jim to be able to go to sleep at night and go, “Listen, I spent five grand or 5 million on marketing and I know my team did everything possible to convert leads into clients, especially qualified leads into clients.”
And if he goes to sleep, wondering, “Hey, we came in a week ago and we only called twice. Why do we only call twice? Is it possible they were just on vacation for a few days that’s why we couldn’t get in touch with them?” But I know that if you’re calling every day, and then every other day after that, and they’re just ignoring us, they’re not interested. And I would sleep better. I know Jim would sleep better.
Laura: Okay. So, when the lead comes in, you suggest follow up for five days straight and five times every other day?
Gary: I mean, I would do five to seven days straight. And then, every day for at least another week. I’m not opposed to doing it for another two weeks, but I don’t want to change things too drastically for you over there.
I’d also say that the first couple of days, there’s no reason why you can’t call at two different times during the day. If they’re working, you know, their nine to five is tough so maybe we try to call them at 5:30, or 6:00, or 630. If we’ve been calling in the morning, maybe try calling in the afternoon.
Gary: So, we have to think about that approach. Right.
Laura: And what about for the leads we don’t have numbers for? I mean, I know we asked them via email but how many emails are–
Gary: Yeah. So similar but not as aggressive. Emails, it’s going to be more about what’s in the body and what’s in the subject because emails are not opened nearly as much as we want them to be from a law firm’s perspective. But from a consumer’s perspective, obviously, we don’t open them anymore.
But the subject has to be things like, “You just reached out, your immigration claim, your immigration issue, we can help, we think we can help, we may be able to help, we received your inquiry, need to speak,” okay. And I think that we should be emailing similar the first week. I think, twice a day for the first couple of days. And then, once a day for about a week. And then, after that, if they’re not responding to email at all and you have no phone number, then we’re probably not going to get them.
Laura: Okay. All right.
Gary: Now, and something Jim and I talked about in the past is, in those emails, the more impressive you make it– so, in other words, were you able to attach a video? If you’re able to have a line from Jim, if you’re able to change up a little bit – the content of the email so it’s not just the same email they’re getting over and over again, the better the chance you have of them replying and responding.
Jim: Should we be trying to do something early on for the people that we don’t have a phone number for to try to get that phone number from them?
Gary: I mean, if they don’t give us a phone number in their web inquiry, is there something we should be doing [inaudible 00:17:35] try to get their numbers?
Gary: For sure. Yeah. I mean, I would say the whole [inaudible 00:17:45] of the email is, “Hey, what’s your number? We’ll call you. We’ll text you. Here’s our number. Call us.” That’s the goal because we’re not going to be able to [inaudible 00:17:53]. We’re going to be very unsuccessful. We try to capitalize or utilize the email that qualifies them.
Jim: Okay. Yeah. I think that maybe the first email should be, “We want to talk to you” and then, you know, just have it almost make it look like this short little email from Daniel or something that says–
Gary: You can even, if you wanted to, I’ve worked for a few law firms that, in their email was Calendar.ly emails. And it just says, “Hey, pick a time and put your phone number in and we’ll call you at that time.” If you wanted to, give an option to the claimant.
Laura: Okay. That seems nice.
Okay. Okay. I got that.
So, in the following stages, if exceptionally, you’re not able to go through the stages three to five, how would the follow up be? I assume equally as intense or as thorough than when the lead is in?
Gary: So, let’s go over each one. The contact made, one, similar as lead in.
Gary: The lead defined, I’m going to assume that if we defined the lead, we spoke with them and we were able to make an initial determination as to whether they qualify.
Gary: In that scenario, the follow up is going to be similar, but it’s going to be a different– it might be a different voice, right? At that time, you might want a lawyer to leave some messages in your follow up because a lawyer saying, “Your case qualifies and we think we can help” is going to be more valuable than a non-lawyer’s. Yeah. Otherwise, it’s going to be a pretty similar follow up frequency.
Laura: Okay. So, five and five? Five days in a row and then five times every other day?
Gary: Yeah. And what I find is, when you have a lawyer call up and leave a message, when they say things like, “After our phone call, I was able to review the information that you provided. Just wanted to remind you that this is exactly the type of case that we [inaudible 00:20:47] basis. And we think we can help you, as we told you on the phone.” Right? So, it’s a reassurance to the claimant that, “Hey, I slept on this, as did you, and now we’re coming out with the same [inaudible 00:20:59] and I’m hoping that you now are ready to proceed.”
Laura: Okay. That would be after the attorney speaks to them – the client?
Gary: Yes. And quite frankly, are you having the attorney– well, let’s say three doesn’t get the four. Your stage three is lead defined and your stage four is attorney qualification? If it goes through stage three and it’s something we want, but they don’t get a lawyer on the phone, whatever the reason, even that type of follow up could benefit from a lawyer calling.
Laura: Oh, okay. I get it. Like–
Gary: Does that make sense?
Laura: Yeah. “Somebody on our team informed us that you qualify for representation. I went over the notes. This is definitely the kind of case that we can handle. I’d like to discuss it further” or something like that?
Laura: Okay. Handle–
Okay. Got it.
Great. So, five days here. So, essentially, our follow up is the same for every stage. It’s just the content of our message is what varies?
Gary: It really is.
Gary: That’s right. Because, I mean, if they hear [inaudible 00:22:51] for the justification. It’s what you’re losing out on. If it’s a new lead that we haven’t spoken with, we’re scared that they might be speaking to other lawyers. If it’s someone we qualified, now, we’re scared that they know they qualify, and now they really know they have options, and we don’t want them taking other options. So, there’s not like one [inaudible 00:23:12] any less important. It only becomes more important. And we only want the case more as we speak with them.
Okay. So, I’m just going to lay out five days – five times every other day for all the stages. And once we sent the contract, how are we kind of pushing them to sign it, effectively?
So, what can be the difference, I guess, in the–
Gary: Okay. I say, by the way, I have law firms bringing me in to answer that question. That could take days to answer that question.
But I’ll tell you, you know, in order to convert a claimant to a signed client, it takes a mix of some of the following. Number one, and I use this word before. They have to know. They have to have reassurance [inaudible 00:24:15] called is exactly the type of thing that the law firm handles. Number two, they have to know that the law firm has the resources and the experience to handle that type of case. Number three, they need to know that there are deadlines here. Now, this is not something they can sit on, either internal deadlines in addition to potentially potential legal deadlines. They need to trust you. They need to trust the person they’re speaking with. So, there’s needs to be a level of compassion and likability that the person they’re speaking with is able to convey. And then, you know, I guess, lastly is they need to have their questions answered.
So, we need to be able to ask they, “Hey, so what is it– by the way, what what’s holding you up right now? Maybe I can answer some of your questions.” And some of them could be as basic as, “Well, I’m nervous that if you can’t help me, I’m still going to owe money.” And then, [inaudible 00:25:12] look at the contract, paragraph three, we only blah, blah, blah,” you know.
So, if you start to get those things communicated effectively and it could be at multiple stages, not at one conversation, then you’re putting yourself in the best position to convert a qualified lead into a retained client.
Laura: Okay. Okay, okay.
Right. All right. Okay.
Gary: You know what happens, just so you know, Laura, since you asked, the mentality of claimants is– I can only imagine from an immigration standpoint, but I could tell you from a much more [inaudible 00:25:55] level with personal injury claimants. The reality is they’re probably scared, and they’re nervous, and they’re not experts. They don’t want their lives to be ruined and uprooted.
And, from personal experience, I’m sure all of us, whenever we have any challenges, and I’m sure most of us, you know, we’re privileged, we don’t have the challenges that immigrants may be having nowhere near the challenges they have. But whenever we have any challenge, we always feel better when someone tells us with clarity and confidence that, “here’s your path for getting over that challenge.” And that’s what we have to provide these folks before we even become their lawyers. Otherwise, they just look like a number, or they think they can do it themselves, unfortunately.
And I say unfortunate because they won’t do well, or correctly, or they’ll go somewhere else. So, it’s a matter of making them feel like, “Oh, okay, it’s not an overwhelmingly impossible task that I’m asking somebody to do but rather it’s something that this firm [inaudible 00:27:02] on on a daily basis, and they’re confident that I fit that mold.
Okay, I think I get–
Okay, I think I get a picture of the kind of follow up that we’re going to have to do in the sales pipeline. And then, as I mentioned, at the beginning, we have like a pre-screening pipeline which is basically anybody that has come into contact with our firm that isn’t a previous client or doesn’t have a previous deal, so brand new, and they don’t yet have confirmed immigration case.
So these are people like that sign up to Jim’s webinars, for instance, that we just want to reach out to make sure that they don’t have an immigration case, or that they need help, or just to kind of follow up on everybody that comes into contact with us. So, what kind of follow up should we do there?
Gary: What’s your goal with the follow up there?
Laura: So, the goal would be to identify kind of if there is a potential immigration case. Usually people that join the Ask Me Anything webinar are people that have current immigration cases that might be a need of representation. And the Delay Lawsuit webinar, the same applies. Sometimes, they don’t, and they signed up because they have a friend that’s in a similar situation or something. But sometimes it’s actually them having a case. So, it’s a kind of [crosstalk].
Gary: And is it unbeknownst to them?
Gary: Is it that you’re potentially trying to help someone that may not even realize that they need help?
Laura: It could be. I mean, the situation varies.
Jim, what do you say of the people that register for your webinars?
Jim: Well, Laura, you have you have said that we should have someone on there like right away, like during the webinar itself, to sort of sign people up. We’ve got a ton of feedback from this last one we did on Tuesday. So, I would say there were 130 people registered, 35 showed up, and I would say 25 of them all had questions. So, it’s certainly a right time to follow up with people.
Gary: Now, do you have a question Q&A, after your webinar, for those who have questions?
Jim: Yeah. The last 20 minutes are all Q&A, mm hmm.
Gary: So, I guess, the question really is, how do you get the audience from that of spectator to someone who actually is interested in our services or has some questions about the potential attorney-client relationship? Is that fair?
Jim: Yeah, it’s sort of passive, as you might expect with me. It’s sort of passive. We send them a replay of the webinar. Everybody that registered gets a copy of the webinar. And these are people that we’ve done Facebook ads to, so we know exactly what their issue is there. They’re experiencing a delay and they want us to sue the embassy for them. So, it’s pretty straightforward as to why they’re there and we could definitely market to them specifically about their issue.
Gary: I would make it– I would say– two things are coming to mind. Now, I’m just thinking out loud. I want you to communicate that you’re offering a free consultation. And that consultation, by the way, could be the equivalent of five questions on a phone call which is what we do, anyway, to define whether a case is a lead or not.
But I would say, “Listen, guys. You know, thanks for participating in my webinar. You know, what we’re offering, right now is a free consultation [inaudible 00:31:18] are. And if you’re interested in that [inaudible 00:31:24] give us– you know, and we have your email address, and we’ll send you an email for you for you to schedule a time to speak with us, preferably today or tomorrow, because you don’t want to wait on these things. Or if you’d like us just to call you. Today, you can choose that.” Like I almost feel like we just need them to click a button or do something. And then, we’ll make sure we get them on the phone and find out what their issues are. Does that make sense?
Jim: It does to me.
Gary: Like, in other words, I don’t want you [inaudible 00:31:59] without direction, without a path for these claimants to take. And that path could be as simple as, “Hey, in the chat function of this webinar, just click– you know, click on interested, or click please call me, or please email me.” We have your information – your contact information, we’ll reach out to you. And, after this webinar, we’re also going to email everybody who’s on this webinar with a calendar where you can try to find a day and time this week to call us or for us to schedule a free consultation with you.” I think we’ve just got to give them that path so they know exactly what options they have in front of ‘em.
Jim: You’re right.
I mean, Laura, I don’t know about you but listening to all these great ideas. And I think they’re all things that we should do and need to get done. It just sounds like we are we are severely understaffed.
Laura: It does, severely. I mean, I–
Gary: But you need to prove it out, guys. Like the last thing I’m going to tell you is go hire 10 people. And then, [inaudible 00:33:15] this exact– this exact path. I’d rather you take, you know, just a couple of slow steps [inaudible 00:33:21] making your follow ups a little bit more aggressive. And as you see that it’s providing results, because, at the end of the day, I want the results to direct you. Not Gary Falkowitz telling you to spend more money with more intake team but, as you see the results working in your favor, then you have to start to say, “Okay. Let’s go one more step. Let’s go another step.”
Laura: Okay. Yeah.
So, for now, what we were planning on doing is kind of putting them through that preliminary pipeline, just adding everybody, following up with them right after webinars, depending on what contact information they left. Follow up with them three times to see if they have an immigration case and want to hire an attorney, basically. That’s kind of what we said we could do.
Laura: But it’s not nearly as aggressive as the sales one.
Gary: I don’t think it needs to be. I think that these are folks that are probably– not probably. I’m really just speculating here. These are folks that some of them may just want to hear an expert speak about it and be aware of some issues and make sure they’re not running afoul certain rules.
But the ones that are participating, that actually leave that webinar and go, “Oh, man, I think I need someone to help me out” [inaudible 00:34:57] give folks easy and immediate path to have a free consultation. And that can be as simple as sending– right, sending a text message because you have their phone numbers, I presume, and say, “Hey, hope you enjoyed the webinar today. Do you think there’s something– do you have any questions for us? Would you like a free consultation to see if we can help you?” That could be a simple one. There’ll write back, “Yeah, I do.” And then, boom, you schedule a call.
Laura: Okay. So, you would differentiate between people that just come and participate in the webinar versus people that are actively chatting at us kind of asking more questions and seem like they have an actual case?
Gary: Well, I would differentiate–
That’s not what I mean and I appreciate the question. I mean, I would differentiate it from your leads that you’re getting on your website or some of your marketers, right? Those are people who are actively [inaudible 00:36:00] with somebody. What I’m [inaudible 00:36:03] not concerned– excited about is– now, I have this [inaudible 00:36:09] and there’s [inaudible 00:36:13] people who are in the audience who can use a lawyer. And we need to make sure that while– not only to make sure that everyone on the webinar understands that you can help “and here’s the path to contact us.” And oh, by the way, they’re going to share that information with their friends who might need an immigration lawyer. But, I want those folks who know they want a free consultation, I want them the most easy direction to take the moment that that webinar is closed or ended, so that they can figure it out.
I don’t want them wondering, “Oh, my God, I think I have an issue. What do I do now?” I want them to get a text that says, “Hey, thanks for joining today. We’d love your feedback. By the way, if you think [inaudible 00:36:56] have an issue, we’d love to give you a free consultation to see if we can help you out. Just, you know, click on one here or text back.” Whatever you want to do. There a million ways to do that.
Jim: That sounds great.
Laura: McKenzie, was going to incorporate that, like the call to action, in the webinar software, somehow.
So just to be super clear, you wouldn’t necessarily follow up on all the people that sign up to the webinar? You wouldn’t put them in the pre-qualifying pipeline? You would just— or would you?
Gary: Um, well, let me throw it back to you, Laura. Have you done it already? What percentage of those have turned out to be a case?
Laura: No, we haven’t done it already.
Gary: So, let’s start small. Since you’re talking about the resources you may have, internally. Putting the onus or the pressure on– or the responsibility on our audience, giving them, like you said, a very direct call to action and having them reach out to us after we reach out to everybody.
I think we have to reach out to everybody no matter what. We have to thank them. We have to make sure they know we’re here. We have to give them a call to action that is multifaceted. We have to try to maybe text them and get our contact in their phones. But, certainly, we want to make it very clear, on those webinars, that if they think they have an issue, we want to give them a free consult today.
Laura: Okay. Got it. Okay.
Gary: Jim, I’ve got to cut this [inaudible 00:39:02]. I apologize.
Jim: No problem, Gary.
Gary: Thanks, Jim.
Jim: Lauren, anything else pressing?
Laura: I think, I’m good. I think I have a better understanding of the best way to [inaudible 00:39:23].
Gary: [inaudible 00:39:31], guys. [inaudible 00:39:32] Jim, I know, we talked via email. I think you made a couple of changes and you were happy with the results what did you do and how has it changed the results?
Jim: Well, the way that it changed and the thing that’s really improved is you’re pushing me to really focus, at first, on the people who’ve already had a consult and not hired us. And this is all mostly manual right now. We’ve just manually been following up a lot more aggressively than when we just used to send out an agreement and if they signed it, that was great. And if not, we got an alert that they hadn’t signed it a week or two later. So, that’s turned into real cash.
Gary: Okay. Good. I’m glad to hear that. Excellent.
Jim: All right. Well, we’re going to get to work, Gary. We’ll talk to you again in a couple of weeks. Thanks for all your help, as always.