We know that every detail counts and first impressions are pivotal in your world. But reminders and staying top of mind are almost as important. Perfecting your client intake process is an art form – it's the delicate balance of efficiency and personal touch that sets successful firms apart. We both know the stakes are high. But fear not, with the right CRM outfitted with the right stages, you can craft an experience that not only captivates potential clients but also enhances your team's performance.
Stage 1: Lead In
When a lead comes your way, whether it's from a marketing campaign, a referral, or an organic lead, it needs a landing spot. Think of this stage as your welcome mat where the journey begins. Make sure the potential new client is welcomed and tasks for your team are deployed so that every potential new client receives the attention they deserve, right from the get-go.
Stage 2: Did Not Respond
Not every call gets answered, and that's okay! I mean, hey, do you answer calls from unknown numbers? Disregard that, if you do. This stage is your safety net, ensuring that those who didn't pick up aren't lost. Through automated follow-ups, to call backs or a gentle nudge with a booking link, you keep the dialogue going and the opportunity alive.
Stage 3: Qualifying Call Complete
Sometimes, a call doesn't conclude with a resounding 'yes', and that's part of the dance. I mean, you may not even want to work with them. This stage helps you sort the rhythm from the noise. It's where you identify if a lead needs more time, wasn't the right fit, or simply needs a nudge towards scheduling that all-important next meeting. And if you see a ton of unqualified leads in this stage, it may be time to adjust your marketing tactics.
Stage 4: Consultation Scheduled
This stage is all about ensuring the consultation goes on without a hitch. Automated reminders for both your team and the client are essential – we know how easy it is to keep working past the reminders from Outlook or Google Calendar, and we don’t want you to miss any appointments. And here's a pro tip: integrate an internal form that comes pre-filled with the potential client’s info already collected for your team. Even better if your team can use that form to dictate next steps. It's like having the perfect setlist before the show begins, plus, it saves your team from needing to dig through a CRM right before an important consultation.
Stage 5: Reschedule Consultation
Life happens, and sometimes schedules clash. This stage is your plan B, ensuring that a rescheduled consultation isn't a missed opportunity. Automating rescheduling reminders not only saves time but keeps potentially valuable clients in your orbit.
Stage 6: Consultation Complete
Post-consultation, your client may glide into this stage based on how several paths unfold. Whether it's sending them into a long-term nurture for further engagement or prompting your team to prepare an engagement agreement, this stage is about keeping the momentum. And if they are unqualified somehow make it to your consultation, this stage will help you develop a report to indicate who those leads were so you can adjust your qualifying process accordingly.
Stage 7: Engagement Agreement Sent
Sending an engagement agreement is like asking for a dance. Doing it right sets the tone for the relationship. Whether you're on a call or wrapping up a consultation and need the ability to trigger the engagement agreement right then, or you have someone that wants to skip right into getting started, you need an easy way to help someone “purchase your services.” Setting up a form to present the engagement agreement options, and show the right fields that work for each agreement, makes it easy to trigger this stage and have your agreements go out successfully. And once you have it sent, make sure automatic follow ups help you seal the deal.
Stage 8: Initial Invoice Sent
If your firm operates beyond contingency fees, this stage is crucial. It's where the financial commitments are laid out clearly and followed up on. Some firms like to send the invoice with the agreement, but we always recommend keeping it separate so you can be specific on what you’re following up for. Don’t forget to also plan for what happens if they never pay — do you want to move them into a long term nurture, or mark them lost, or send a search and rescue crew?
Stage 9: Hired
Once the agreement is signed and (if necessary) payment received, welcome your new client to the 'Hired' stage. This is where the real relationship begins. Kick it off with onboarding questionnaires or guides. It’s the beginning of your new client relationship, so make it good!
Remember That Your Law Firm Has Nuances
Each firm has its own processes and style, and your workflows should reflect that. Contingency based firms, for example, will have different steps than those dealing with retainer-based services. Same with firms doing paid consultations vs. free consultations, and whether they require a questionnaire to be filled prior. Mapping out a workflow that resonates with your firm's identity is key.
Beyond the Intake: Case Management
Intake is just the prelude to case management. It's crucial to think beyond the initial stages and plan for the entire lifecycle of a case, integrating your CRM with a Case Management System (CMS) where necessary. And don't forget what happens after - using these systems to gather reviews and testimonials once a case is concluded.
Map Out Your Law Firm Intake for Success
Crafting an intake process with the right CRM stages is more than just a procedure, it's about creating a seamless experience that resonates with both your team and your clients. Remember, the goal is to make every interaction count, turning inquiries into opportunities and opportunities into lasting client relationships.
Ready to transform your intake process into a well-oiled machine? Schedule a meeting with our team at LegalEase Marketing. We'll help you outline the perfect intake system for your law firm, building automations and crafting messaging that turns every lead into a potential win.