Last week, we suggested various avenues of communication, strategic marketing planning, and a consistent lead qualification process would make the legal intake process more efficient. This week, we pick up with how to build a lead qualification process to reduce the amount of time legal intake staff spends with unqualified prospects.
Build a Lead Qualification Process
The first step in creating a streamlined lead qualifying process is the opposite of where most legal intake firms begin: with the knock-out questions. Starting with the reasons a prospect is disqualified eliminates valuable time otherwise spent with unqualified prospects and frees up more resources for the leads more likely to close. Once the knock-out questions are identified, it is time to prioritize leads:
- Has the prospect experienced a serious injury that requires an urgent response?
- How recent was the incident?
- Does the type of case fall under one of your specialty areas?
- Has the prospect discussed the issue with another attorney?
- How did the prospect learn about your firm? (Referrals are far more likely to close than any other type of lead.)
Gather Specific Numbers
Marketing efforts directly impact the quality of incoming leads, but aiming for sheer call volume wastes time and money. Without hard data, firms are left to rely on anecdotal information that makes it challenging to identify patterns and implement significant improvements. Start by quantifying what leads and new clients looked like over the past year:
- Where did leads come from: referrals, websites, advertising campaigns, etc.?
- If leads were referred, what was the referral source: former clients, other firms, etc.)?
- What types of cases did prospects inquire about?
- What was the value of each new client by type of case?
- How long did it take from first contact to close?
- What was the cost per lead and cost per client for each type of advertising?
- When were leads received: business hours, after-hours or weekends?
The answers to these questions can shed light on the most valuable lead sources and the times leads may be lost.
Analyze The Data
Some advertising venues may have generated more leads than others, but were they qualified leads that actually closed? Should you stop some forms of advertising altogether and put that money into areas that performed better? Asking critical questions like these will help you focus marketing efforts on campaigns that yield the type of qualified leads your firm wants more of.
- Where did your most profitable clients come from?
- How could you better target profitable clients in the future?
- Are there some types of cases that you should no longer pursue because of poor profit margins: high overhead, low win rates, nominal payouts, etc.?
- What legal intake forms and processes did you use to successfully close on new clients?
- Were there important differences depending upon the type of case?
- Is everyone in your office using the same processes?
A relatively small amount of time invested in establishing a lead qualification process and collecting and analyzing data on a quarterly basis can help legal firms continually refine the performance of their marketing dollars and improve lead quality. In a short time, your firm will attract quality leads that legal intake staff can convert into quality clients.
This blog was written by Laurie Leonard, the President of SUITE 1000, a U.S. based national telephone answering service, inbound call center and outsourced call center service. Her company has specialized in handling legal intake, sales leads, email lead response, appointment scheduling, customer service and help desk calls for over 20 years.