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How to Master the Art of Intake

We can all agree that intake is critical for our law firms. If you don’t master intake, your marketing efforts don’t matter and you are losing potential clients every day. But the question is, what are you doing to improve your intake process?

These are our firm’s 10 Rules for Intake and delivering an exceptional client experience.

Our 10 Rules for Intake

Rule #1Ask Permission: Ask permission to ask questions, e.g., “May I ask what prompted you to call us?”

Rule #2Express Sympathy:  There is no such thing as too much empathy. Have the courage to be vulnerable. Don’t forget to humanize the situation.  “You are in the relationship, healing and hope business.” Chris Mullins, the Phone Success Doctor

  • “I’m so sorry about what happened to you.”
  • “I heard what you said and that sounds horrible.”
  • “I can’t imagine how difficult this must be for you.”

Rule #3Tone of Voice: Change the tone and inflection of your voice.  Ask the questions as if this is the first time you’ve ever gotten this type of call.  

Do not use the flat, dry tone of voice that is typical of most law firms/businesses, e.g., “license and registration, please”.

Rule #4Use their Name: Say the name of our client throughout the conversation, e.g., “Thank you, Tina, for taking the time to call us.” Everyone loves the sound of their name.

Rule #5Recognize, Acknowledge and Compliment: Compliment our client for calling, e.g., “You are doing a great job. Your family is very fortunate to have you as an advocate for them.”

Rule #6Mirroring: Acknowledge what they said and repeat it back—you should do this periodically during the conversation. Mirroring shows that you’re listening to our client, e.g., “I heard you when you said that you ‘can’t handle it anymore’.”

After you mirror the last thing that our client said, you can redirect the conversation where you want to go (the “compassionate interrupt”, credit: Chris Mullins, the Phone Success Doctor). The compassionate interrupt is an effective way to take back control of the conversation, especially when our client is providing more information than you need.

Rule #7Repeat the Contact Information:  Always repeat the contact information to make sure you have it correct.

Rule #8Sell Yourself and Our Firm:  You want our client to know that they’ve called the right law firm. You are in the sales business.

  • “I am so glad you’ve called. We’ve handled many cases just like this. You are in the right place.”
  • “Let me tell you a little about our firm.”
  • “I want to tell you why I love working here.”

Rule #9Explain the Next Step: “Here’s what we can do to help you.” For example, you might explain that we will review the medical records with our surgeon and call them once we consult with our surgeon.

Rule #10Declining the Case: Don’t say a negative word like “unfortunately”. Rather than explaining what you can’t do for our client, tell them what you can do to help, e.g., send a link to file a complaint with the NYS Department of Health.

End the Call: Wrap up the conversation with a big red bow. Take their hand and walk them to the door. Deliver an exceptional experience for our client.

A Special Holiday Gift for You!

Last Thursday, December 23rd, Chris Mullins, one of the leading intake specialists in the country, delivered a fantastic presentation about intake. This special presentation involved a critique of 2 intake calls handled by my law firm and as always, Chris Mullins’s critique was spot-on and very insightful.

If you’d like to review the video recording of this special presentation, please send an email to jfisherlawyer@gmail.com with the subject line, “I want the intake recording from Mullins”. I will be happy to send the video recording to you with my compliments.

Happy New Year!

John Fisher
Cell: 518-265-9131

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Leave a comment below telling me what surprised, inspired or taught you the most (I personally respond to every comment). And if you disagree with my take on running a personal injury law firm, or have a specific, actionable tip, I’d love to hear from you.