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“I treat potential new clients bad.” Yikes!

I had the pleasure of working with one of the Southeast’s premier personal injury plaintiff firms.  These lawyers were the absolute cream of the crop when it comes to trial attorneys… capable of delivering massive results for clients.  Notwithstanding, they were looking to reduce the millions in referral fees they paid each year and, to their credit, were willing to spend just over $16,000 per month to originate cases.

Unfortunately, their sole intake person, Allison, was responsible for way too many things at the firm.  She answered phones, sent out settlement packets, reviewed medical records, scheduled appointments, and did just about every task the firm could find for her to do.  She was also my contact for marketing strategy.

One day, after going on for more than five minutes about how overworked and underpaid she was, Allison bluntly said “Matt, I’m so busy with all the work they pile on me that I treat potential new clients bad just to get off the phone.”  Wow!  This was one of the most shocking things I’ve heard in my 18 years working with law firms.  Her employer was spending nearly $200,000 a year to bring in huge cases… and she was single-handedly sabotaging the effort.

From the perspective of an hourly employee, it is much more important to take care of the interrogatories for existing client, Mr. Johnson, than it is to talk on the phone with a prospective client no one at the firm knows.

Yet, that prospective client call is critically important and needs to receive the absolute undivided attention of the intake person.  Educating those responsible for screening new business leads is critical, and in particular the necessity that they drop everything else when new business is on the phone or email.  It’s also a very good idea to structure their workload so they have plenty of time to do an excellent job converting prospects into clients.

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