by Candace Wells, COO and Law Business Strategist, Attorney Alchemy
You’ve probably heard that policies, procedures, systems, and processes will not only save your sanity, but also make you and your team more efficient. Maybe you even “get” it and want to document your processes, but don’t know where to start. I hear you. It can be daunting to figure out where to begin.
My recommendation? Start small. By formalizing your intake script, you can get started on documenting how things work in your firm and decrease fee objections, increase your closure rates, and save hours of your time.
Let me explain.
Start by weeding out the tire kickers. By formalizing your intake script, you’ll have an opportunity to gather necessary contact information, explain the estate planning process, and weed out any tire kickers along the way. Depending on how you conduct your intake and consults, you can even quote a range for your fee before you meet your potential new client. This is an opportunity for both of you: they understand the process and fee ahead of time and you both know you’re a good fit for each other before you proceed. Most of the tough stuff has been done ahead of time and by the time they get to your office…
They’re ready to sign on the dotted line. When it’s time to meet your potential new client in person, they’ve almost certainly already decided that your fee is worth it and they’re going to hire you. Once they’ve signed on the dotted line and given you their deposit, you’re free to focus on designing the plan that will best help them accomplish their estate planning goals. Not only did you just help another family this month, but your process made the best use of everyone’s time…
And saved hours of your time. Since you didn’t spend your day meeting with potential new clients who weren’t your ideal client, were intimidated by your fee, didn’t understand your process, or simply weren’t ready to move forward with estate planning, you were able to make the best use of your time at the office, get out of there at closing time, and make it home for a hot dinner with your family.
Ready to get started? Here are a couple of sample scripts to help. I suggest you review them, consider your current process, and make any adjustments needed to match how you currently perform intake. After that’s done, practice with your team. Yes, this means role-playing. You get to be the receptionist, they get to be the potential client. Switch. Repeat until everyone is comfortable with the script. You’ll know everyone is ready when they’ve gotten over being embarrassed about practicing and they sound confident and natural, like they’re talking to their mom or best friend on the other end of the line.
Try this out for a few weeks. Once you know the process is working well, you can re-evaluate it to make small improvements here and there. You’ll be tempted to want to overhaul your entire intake process. Don’t do that. Remember, start small. You’ll avoid overwhelming yourself and your team - and still reap huge rewards in return. Your team, your clients, and your family will thank you.
Now what are you waiting for? Dig in!
To your success!
Candace helped propel her very first law firm from $150,000 in annual revenue to $3 million in just 5 years, while managing a team of seven and supporting three attorneys. It’s her self-made grandfather, starting in the cotton fields and advancing to owning his own business, who showed her that a tried and true process will save you almost every time and an empowered team will always have your back.
Candace has served as a Practice Development Facilitator for one of the nation’s leading drafting software companies, a fractional COO for How To Manage a Small Law Firm, and now serves as the COO for Attorney Alchemy.
Candace lives in the Pacific Northwest with her wife and their menagerie of rescued pets. Fueled by her enthusiasm for coffee and processes, her mission is to empower attorneys to create and build their ideal law firms.
You can find out more about Candace on LinkedIn and reach her at [email protected].