68. Gary Falkowitz, Intake Conversion Experts The Right Way To Manage Intake and the Secret To Converting Leads

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Gary Falkowitz is a man of many talents. Hes an attorney, author, consultant and the CEO of Intake Conversion Experts, an external phone answering service for law firms that facilitates lead follow-up, mass tort campaign retention, lead resurrection and more.

On todays show, Gary shares with us his journey from lawyer to independent consultant to CEO of one of the most invaluable services for law firm owners around the country. We discuss where most firms fail when it comes to their intake departments and what they should focus on to improve them, and why its simply not enough just to rely on a polite telephone manner when trying to sign cases.

Transcript

Gary Falkowitz

Uh, for those you law firms who are just starting out, uh, or, uh, are looking to get referrals from other law firms take on the garbage, guys. Accept the garbage.

Chris Dreyer

Intake departments are the lungs of law firms – inhaling strong leads and exhaling the weaker ones to keep you going. And much in the same way damaged lungs will severely affect the body, an ineffective intake will have drastic consequences on your practice. Thankfully, today we’ve got a specialist in to tell us how to keep the airways open and your law firm thriving.

Gary Falkowitz

Like everything we do will have a domino effect. And if we’re able to close out cases or reject cases, um, with a little bit of a class, that’s gonna impact whether we’re going to have that claimant come back to us in the future, which they may need to, or recommend us to others in the future.

Chris Dreyer

You’re listening to The Rankings Podcast, the show where top marketers and elite personal injury attorneys share their stories about getting to the top and what keeps them there. My guest today is Gary Falkowitz. Gary is an attorney author, and the CEO of Intake, Conversion Experts, a service dedicated to helping law firms answer every call and every client. Intake Conversion Experts allow you to supercharge your SEO efforts safe in the knowledge that even the most wildly successful digital marketing campaigns, won’t leave your in-house intake department overwhelmed. I’m your host, Chris Dreyer, founder and CEO of Rankings.io. We help elite personal injury attorneys dominate first page rankings with search engine optimization. SEO is all about the first page, and that’s also where we like to start our show. Here’s Gary Falkowitz, CEO of Intake, Conversion Experts.

Gary Falkowitz

I began my legal career in the personal injury side of things at Parker Waichman. And within a couple of weeks of starting, um, I noticed that there was this whole business side of the industry that I never really put any thought into. No one ever shared that with me. And I remember sitting down with my boss at the time, Jerry Barker. I drafted this whole one page – this is what I’m would say, it’s going to come across clearly and confidently, and I’m going to get what I want to be wonderful – when I sat down, I said, Jerry, I said, if there’s ever an opportunity where I can get involved in the business side of things, I would love to do that for you. I think I’d do really well. And he kind of give me one of these looks and I, I went down this whole list that I drafted and he came in with one of these statements of that was nice. Thanks so much for sharing. Now, please go back to your office and do whatever you were. Um, now whether it’s luck, skill, uh, or circumstance, uh, about a year later, I was promoted to the managing attorney of the intake department. Uh, it was new from me. Uh, I was excited because I realized that I can make change very quickly, that I can see, um, the results of my work very quickly. And that’s really important because especially as an attorney, uh, doing personal injury cases, uh, even mass tort cases, sometimes it can take months or years before you can see the benefits of your work and I’m the type of person that really wants to see results quickly. Whether you call that impatience, uh, or, or, um, or aggressiveness, I don’t know, but, uh, in this position, right, there’s going to be changes on a daily basis, and to help others make changes on a daily basis, whereby we can effectuate, uh, positive results, uh, very quickly. So I loved every second I jumped right in. I learned a lot, um, and it was… ended up, you know, it spring-boarded me to other, uh, similar ventures.

Chris Dreyer

Yeah, absolutely. And I, I got a couple of questions, you know, on a follow-up on that. So when you, when you took on this position, was it already, the faucet was on and they’re receiving a good steady amount of intakes? Or was it kind of like this slow progression where it increased, uh, where they kind of thrown you to the fire and saying, here you go, you’ve got a lot of data to optimize, you know. What was it like at the beginning?

Gary Falkowitz

You know, uh, they were crushing. This is a firm that was already doing great. The firm was ahead of the curve with respect to marketing and intake. Um, so when I landed the position, it wasn’t as if I landed the position and said, okay, I have all these great ideas. Let’s fix it. I didn’t know it was broken. I was just more interested in being a part of whatever the program was. Now, as I sat in that position and as I learned, I started second guessing things. I started playing with things. I started sharing my ideas and, uh, to Jerry’s credit, he gave me the leash to mess with, um, the, the status quo. Uh, and it wasn’t just about the intake process sort of people. It was also about, um, how do we get more cases into the firm that are not the traditional sense of spend more money – generate leads? Maybe we can get more referrals? So I really, when I put that on my shoulders and, and increased the referral aspect. Maybe it was the other way around. Maybe it was, hey, we get all these leads, we either accept them or reject them. What if we find other homes for them that we would normally throw out? So we started referring out more cases, not just bringing in more referrals. So I guess the answer is, uh, I learned as I went and I had the ability to make those changes and the results spoke for themselves. The numbers were were, were great, but it took a lot of hard work. It was, it was a team effort. I did not be by myself. I needed a team that I could trust, that I could train that I could learn from, uh, because they were doing it before I was, and figure out how to put them in the best position. And that’s the goal of any team, right? How to put others in their best position to flourish. And that was, uh, that was fun for me.

Chris Dreyer

Yeah. That’s incredible. And I really liked what you had to say about, you know, developing the referral network. And your partners, because the best way to build a relationship is to send a lead. You know, you can be buddy-buddy, and you know, maybe co-market and things like that. But if you actually start sending leads, they’re more likely to reciprocate.

Gary Falkowitz

That’s exactly right. Now, I’ll tell you what, uh, for those whose law firms… who are just starting out, uh, or, uh, are looking to get referrals from other law firms – take on the garbage, guys. Accept the garbage. But I remember one specific example, uh, where we started sending, I don’t remember the case type – let’s call it employment law cases – uh, to one law firm. And we’re getting a lot of those leads and we weren’t handling employment law cases internally. Um, and I found a law firm that I would send cases to. And after a few months they reached out to me and they said, you know, stop sending me this garbage. I only signed like five cases within the last six months. I don’t want you to give me… Or every 30 cases you give me – they all stink. So I said, no worries. You know, we’ll find another law firm. I found another law firm and they were like, hey, send all the garbage you want. If it takes me 50 cases to get the one I’ll do that because there’s an ROI, and there’s an opportunity cost that you have to consider. Uh, and let’s not be greedy in this industry. If you’re able to look through leads at no cost upfront, you do that, right? You consider that. You never know if there’s a valuable lead and you can create a, certainly a give and take with another law firm, that a mutual-beneficial, uh, a mutually beneficial relationship that could be long-term.

Chris Dreyer

Yeah, absolutely. I couldn’t agree more. And I think that’s amazing advice for, for attorneys listening on how to get their foot in the door with relationships, with some of these big firms, too, Gary, has a real eye for spotting opportunities and solving problems. So it’s no wonder that he set up a service as valuable as intake, conversion experts. I asked him how he went from a one-man intake, consultancy practice to teaming up with the minds behind Captora to create the hugely important service, Intake Conversion Experts is today.

Gary Falkowitz

It’s interesting. It wasn’t planned that way, but I went out on my own and I started consulting law firms on intake. And I had spoken with somebody who had a good reputation within the industry at the time. Um, he knew that I was jumping ship and starting my own consulting practice, which by the way, one of the scariest things I ever did, and I think any entrepreneur out there, anybody that has taken that leap of faith on themselves knows that scary moment or months or years where they go, wow, did I do the right thing here? It’s not really working the way I was hoping it would work. And I was at that stage and I had met this individual who said, you know, you gotta meet this guy, Chris O’Brien who has his own intake software. And at first I was like, yeah, sure. Why not? Met with him at a conference in Las Vegas and I remember sitting outside, uh, at one of those tables outside of the conference room, and we must have spent three hours just talking shop. Uh, itntake stuff, challenge as law firms are having, what he’s doing, you resolve those issues, and what I’m trying to do to resolve the issues from a consulting standpoint. Uh, one thing led to another and we said, what can we do together? Uh, and the first thing we did believe it or not wasn’t create the call center. It was actually put on an intake conference. I figured and we both thought, hey, if we put on this intake conference and we bring in law firms from throughout the country and I try to teach them about intake processes and maybe get some consulting clients out of it, and you teach them about the technology of intake and maybe you get some clients for, for Captora, this could be a win-win. And hey, maybe we’ll make some money with a conference as well. Now, um, we really just pieced it together one item at a time did not hire anybody to do this. We did it ourselves. His team, and my team. Um, we ended up getting, uh, 20 law firms representing 19 States at the conference, um, in New York city. And, uh, it was, it was, uh, I thought a tremendous success, so did he. I remember driving into the airport and saying, all right, this isn’t the end. What else can we do here? And then the call center idea came up and the call center turned into this outsourced intake center, uh, which has been, uh, a huge, uh, value added proposition for those law firms that want to get involved in a higher volume cases, but maybe didn’t have the resources internally to maximize the return on those marketing investments.

Chris Dreyer

Yeah. So let’s, let’s talk about that. You know, um, when you’re, when you’re making these improvements, you’re, you’re making, uh, you’re, you’re, you’re seeing these opportunities, you’re hearing from the attorneys at the conference, which I think is super smart. You get to hear their pains and get to figure out, you know, how they’re approaching, solving the issues, you know? So was, it was it simply getting that information and, and testing it through the intake conversion experts, and then kind of applying, you know, seeing what worked best? What was kind of that, that iteration process.

Gary Falkowitz

You know, I think it was a combination of so many things, Chris. You know, when I was at the firm, I was discussing with other lawyers how they handle their intake or how we were getting referrals or how they were getting referrals. It dawned on me that the process was so broken up. It was so not prioritized that it, it certainly had an impact on the results. So the gold standard was, hey, we, we, we know that we can’t help you, but there’s a law firm we’re very close with, uh, I’d love to get them on the phone right now and have you speak with them to see if they can help you. And you won’t transfer that call. That would be great. There’s no break. There’s no opportunity for them to find somebody else. And I realized no one was doing that. Then let’s go, let’s say gold standard wasn’t available. Then I’d realize that law firms would send cases to each other and then have no followup on those referrals. So for instance, I once worked with a law firm. Um, a top, uh, marketer in its state and, uh, they were signing 400 cases a month for their law firm. And when they brought me in to consult, we realized that they had referred out over a thousand cases to another law firm in the past year. When we talked about the status of those cases, they said, oh, well, you know, we get a check, you know, we get a check every once in a while so we know things are going well. I said okay. That’s good. But what about, do you know which cases you’re getting the check from? Does your system dictate for you what the status of each case that you’ve sent to them is? Have they accepted, are they rejected or they trying to sign it? Did it resolve? What status is it in? And they didn’t, but they weren’t the only ones. Most law firms figure, hey, referrals are like a winning lottery ticket. If it ends up being a few dollars, that’s great. But we can’t do that because we paid for those leads, right? If you’re a law firm spending money marketing, you paid for every lead, whether they qualify for you or not. So, um, when we look back at, when we, when we contacted the law firm that they had sent a thousand plus cases to, we realized that over 200 of them were not given the credit as a referral, right? So they had to go back, figure out how much money was owed. Um, and I think what happens generally is law firms are so busy being lawyers, right, that they forget about the business side of their business. Listen, I’m an attorney, I’ve been practicing since 2005. Uh, I did not learn the business side of this industry in law school. I had to figure it out myself or watch it or read about it or jump into it. Uh, and it’s not natural for law firms to consider the business side of things. So for me, I saw this white space and I was so intrigued by it because I knew that there was going to be so much value to everyone. To the claimants who want a lawyer and no one’s called them back, or to the lawyers that are spending hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars and want to maximize the return on that money. So it’s been a lot of fun.

Chris Dreyer

There’s so much to unpack there. The warm transfer without, you know, the hang up and then sending an email introduction, the, the intentional attribution to make sure you get the reciprocation to see if they’re even closing the leads that you send where someone else that maybe has a better process could close more.

Gary Falkowitz

And by the way, Chris, to that point, I would start to implement with the law firms. I’ve worked with that if the law firm you’re sending cases to doesn’t give you an update within 24 hours of whether they want that case or not – you need to find it in another law firm to send that case. Because how dare us think that we have the luxury or how dare another law firm, think that they have the luxury to sit on a lead that we received and paid for and sent their way to consider and potentially sign and say, we’ll get to it after the weekend or we’ll get to it next week.

Chris Dreyer

Absolutely. It makes me think of the saying – I think it’s a Russell Brunson saying where he says the business that can pay the most for the leads wins. So, you know, even if you have a higher cost per acquisition, you know, if, if it’s still getting placed and you’re still monetizing that case, I mean, there’s something there, and that has to, you know, that’s a good referral relationships.

Gary Falkowitz

Oh, for sure. I mean, I, you know, there are the law firms that have turned around where referrals, uh, represented five or ten percent of their revenue, uh, that, and it changed the 40% of their revenue or higher.

Chris Dreyer

Absolutely. You know? So, so we’ve talked a lot about, you know, some of the failures, what are some of the most common failures you see though when, when firms are handling intakes? Is it, is it the speed they’re not getting to them quick enough? Is, is that maybe the biggest?

Gary Falkowitz

So our web leads for sure. The law firms need to understand that it’s so easy for claimants to copy and paste a summary on to five different law firms, websites that most of the time the winning law firm is not the most successful law firm of the bunch, it’s not the most known well-known law firm in a bunch, it’s actually the first to respond, whether they’re a solo shop or a hundred lawyer shop. And I think if we understand that if we, if we change and see… lawyers, normally their lowest paid employees are the intake specialists, which is crazy when you think about it, because there might be one of, if not the most important responsibility of the law firm. And I think it’s a mentality shift that we have to create or make for the law firms, which is understanding that we don’t have the time to sit and wait. It is a position that requires being aggressive and persistent and understanding that that prioritizing calling somebody back not only right away, but multiple times over multiple weeks is necessary to convert that lead into a client. Another issue with probably not giving your intake team, um, decision making authority. Right. Lots of times what happens is an intake specialist or a legal rep or a receptionist, whatever you want to call it in your law firm, um, will speak with a claimant, will, will capture a summary of what happened. And it’s okay, we’ll share that information with you or we’ll share this information with our legal team and someone will be in touch with you shortly. We cannot brake that chain, we’ve got to train our intake, uh, specialists on what qualifies and what doesn’t qualify. And if it qualifies, how do we get it signed? Right. We need to have that process in place. And by the way, If you’re not considering electronic signature, that’s an issue too, right? At the end of the day, Chris, I like to tell law firms, compare yourself to two other law firms. Why Gary? Because I promise you, if you assume that that claim is reaching out to three, at least three in law firms, you’re going to start to think outside the box of what you can do better than two other law firms. If you have the mentality that I’m the only game in town, and they’re calling me because they want me, it’s going to hurt you. I promise it’s going to hurt you. So I think any time that you realize that competition exists, and anytime you respect your competitors, that’s going to bring the best side out of you. It’s going to bring your best competitor out. And I think that’s the mentality that we have to drive home with not only our intake specialists, by the way, but with our lawyers. Gary why the lawyers? There are already cases, multiple reasons. First one is lots of law firms will give them lawyers some intake responsibility. Sometimes you’ll give them the closing, right? The signing, the ABC always be closing. That, that responsibility to the law, to the lawyer, if the lawyer has bad bedside manner and is arrogant and has no warl personality, that’s gonna hurt. It’s gonna hurt. I remember being at the firm and there were some lawyers I would not give calls to no way, no, how they would have hurt us. 100%. Let’s go the other way. They become a client and the lawyer isn’t respectful or it doesn’t make them feel like you’re prioritizing their case. They’ll leave you like that. Believe you, I see it all the time. Uh, so I think it’s a matter of honoring the system right. Of respecting your competitors and then making sure that everybody’s on the same page.

Chris Dreyer

I, 1000% agree. And I see that not only in other law firms, but I see that most businesses, including my own. So I just assumed that if I receive an intake, looking at someone we’re looking for SEO services, they probably contacted three or four, because like you said, you can just copy and paste it. The other thing is everyone’s got a phone in arm’s reach. So it’s very simple to just dial a couple phone numbers, you know, contact a few firms, as opposed to in the past where, you know, it was more about your location and location was everything. Now, all the firms, essentially on the same street, if you think of, you know, the street being, you know, your cell phone. And, uh, so I think that’s just incredible piece of advice there, you know, and I wasn’t, I wasn’t, didn’t have this prepped here, but I kind of want to hear your opinion on this. Is, you know, local service ads, the Google screened are just so prevalent right now. And one of the three ranking factors, it’s, it’s, uh, it’s the three R’s it’s reviews, it is region and responsiveness. You know, in a situation like that, where responsiveness on its own is not only a conversion criteria, like what you’re talking about, but it also affects your rankings if you’re not responding quickly. You know, how would you treat something like that? Would you, would you have, you know, your top intake specialists be dedicated to a specific number that those come in, you know, um, would you create a channel specific strategy? What’s it look like on the local service ad front?

Gary Falkowitz

Um, I would say this, rather than consider who it is of your intake, the team that’s responding. Cause if they’re your intake team, then they obviously have proven to you that they’re good enough at speaking with new claimants and understanding what your firm wants. I think it’s more about understanding that this is no longer a nine to five job, right? 20 years ago, if I was at dinner with my wife, and I got a, uh, an, a claimant called my phone and said I was in a terrible car accident, whatever it is, bad injury. Can you help? I might be able to tell that claimant on the phone, you know what Mrs. Jones, I’m so sorry to hear that. Of course we can help. I’m at dinner with my wife right now. What I’m going to do is on Monday, I’m going to sit down with you. I’m going to get it signed up and we’re going to move this thing along and I may have been successful. Maybe even 90% of the time. I may have been successful. Um, right now you do that 90% of the time you’re out, right? Because it’s not just about them speaking with somebody. You talk about responsiveness. It’s not nine to five it’s nights. It’s weekends, it’s overnights. You got to have someone picking up your inbound calls. You’ve got to make, you have to know what outbound hours, you know, you’re not going to call somebody back at 3:30 in the morning, but you have to call them back at 7:30. You might, you’re going to call them at 9:45 at night. You might, right? You have to consider those things, but it’s also: okay now they qualify. How the path that you give to them to become a client can be very persuasive one way or the other. If you’re giving them an intimidating path – Mrs. Jones, do me a favor. Go get your police report for me. Then come in to our office on Monday, we’ll sign you up. You just ask Mrs. Jones to do two things that seem really inconvenient. You compare that to Mrs. Jones and I’m going to do right now is I’m going to stay on the phone with you, and I’m going to text you our attainment. I’m gonna stay on the phone and answer any questions you have. What I’d like to do is start representing you the moment you can hang up. So let’s get this thing signed right now. I’ll walk through anything you need me to walk through and I’ll let you know that I got it signed. Now, what did she have to do? No police report, no figuring out how to get to the office. She signed it. And it’s one less thing she has to worry about. What law firms need to do a better job of is understanding the claimant’s mentality, Chris. You know, where we take for granted that we get so many leads that they’ll just keep coming in and they’ll just keep coming in. They’ll just keep coming. But the reality is, and I’ve done this little test. I presented at a conference, uh, with like 200 people in New Orleans. And I said, raise your hand, if you ever needed a personal injury lawyer. Okay. Five hands went up. Okay. Five hands out of 200 people. Okay, great. Um, raise your hand if you’ve ever needed a personal injury lawyer, twice in your life. One hand went up. What does that mean? It means that most people will never be a personal injury lawyer in their whole entire lives. And if they do, it’s likely going to be once. So this is the first time somebody calls you. It’s the first time they’re needing a personal injury lawyer. If we don’t accept that, if we don’t provide the appropriate response to that mentality and we just treat them like a number they’ll go on to somebody else. They need someone to make them feel, not like a number, but as a friend, as a client, as someone they can trust. And I think we have to appreciate them, or we can’t take for granted that we get 50 calls a day so we’re fine if our intake team is only average.

Chris Dreyer

I love all of that. I love the just, you know, you want to make it easy for them. You want to make it convenient. When I was, when you were talking about this, I was thinking. As well, just, you know, I see a lot of law firms they’ll have one office. They’ll have an office downtown. Let’s just say downtown Chicago. Well, if a consumer doesn’t want to drive, you know, only a couple miles, maybe, you know, who knows their transportation, who knows where their work, you could consider opening other offices in your same city. Just because you have your one headquarters, because it’s a convenience thing. Some, some individuals, they, you know, they, they aren’t bombarded by the TV. They don’t have a brand that they recognize and trust. They’re just gonna look and see who’s the closest.

Gary Falkowitz

That’s right. And Oh, by the way, everyone judges books by their covers. If I see one law firm that has. One, uh, one address and it’s nowhere near me. And then I see another law firm that has five addresses, in my mind I’m giving more credit to the firm that has five addresses. It’s not because I’m thinking that they’re more successful, or I’m thinking that they’re a better lawyer. It’s because I’m thinking that they realize that they need to make it more convenient for people around them who might value their location, believe it or not, they might put value on wherever you’re located as whether to hire you or not.

Chris Dreyer

Absolutely. So let’s, let’s talk about, uh, Intake Conversion Experts for a moment here. You know, for me, I have this fear and I think some, probably, firms listening have this fear that someone, a third party would take over and handle that aspect of, of the business, because, you know, it’s, it’s so important, right? The conversion aspect, you know, how does, how does Intake Conversion Experts replace a firm’s existing intake department? How does that process work? How do you, you know, build the trust with the firm? You know, how, how does it work like that?

Gary Falkowitz

We simplified the process. If you over-complicate something you’re never going to truly be happy with it, because you’re going to keep saying what we’re, but we’re not doing this and we’re not doing that, and now let’s add this aspect to it. We simplified intake to the following: get somebody’s contact information, see if they qualify for representation, get some additional information, if they qualify – get them signed and move it to the law firm to handle the legal work. I, we don’t look at the intake as the legal work. In my book, The Complete Guide to Law Firm Intake. I said, um, it’s better to retain then investigate, than to investigate that retain. Do not use intake as an opportunity to investigate the case, right? Retain it first, if it qualifies, retain it, and then investigate the matter. If you start to investigate the case prior to retention, you’re going to find a holes in it and you’re going to actually overwhelm the claimant because they’re going to think, well, maybe they don’t want my case. Maybe I should go to someone who said that they do want my case. So I think we have, we simplified this process. We use the law firm’s criteria and we, we try to educate the law firm, hey, is that a qualifying question or is that an information gathering question? And if it’s an information gathering question, do you need it before the case is signed or is it something you go wait on after the case? For instance social security, why would a law firm require a claimant to give their social security number when you know that people hold that tight to their chest? You know, that people are hesitant about sharing their social security numbers. So why we’re require them to give them your social security number when, before signing the case, when the moment they become a client, they’re going to give you their credit card number if you want it? They’re going to give you everything, they’re going to trust you completely, implicitly. So we have to understand and appreciate what’s investigative and can’t wait and what’s required. And we did that really well. And for law firms that, uh, want a higher volume inventory, but don’t have the intake, the necessary intake resources internally there is this outsource option you can use.

Chris Dreyer

Gary doesn’t keep all of his valuable intake advice to himself and his business. He’s written a book about it too. And one of the most interesting elements of intake is something which he calls “the bridge”. I asked him to explain a little bit more about this concept to give you some pointers on intake and to help you build strong client relationships.

Gary Falkowitz

Yeah, so it’s, it’s making it easy. We talked about a little a second ago. If you, um, did the bridge from qualification to retention is so important and if you make it difficult for somebody they’re going to walk away. Lots of times claimants don’t understand. Whether they have a strong case or a weaker case, they don’t know the factors associated with what will dictate whether their case is worth a million dollars or $15,000. And the more that you ask of them prior to becoming a client, the more that they’re going to second, guess this really important decision about whether to sign with a lawyer. So when I talk about a bridge, what I’m saying is, Hey, if you know, this is a client, whether it’s a strong client or a weaker client, once they meet your criteria, you’ve got to give them the path of least resistance. You’ve got to be able to, whether it’s electronic retainer, whether it’s having an investigator go right to their house, whether it’s telling them, hey, we’re going to get you a police report don’t worry about that, or we’re going to order your medical records don’t worry about that. You’ve got to make it so simple and easy for them so that they actually say, okay, I can do this. If you make it difficult, you know what they’re going to do, Chris? They’re going to get this retention packet, they’re going to put it on their kitchen table, and then they go to put something on top of that and something on top of that. And they’re never going to get to it again. You’ve got to keep it simple and you’ve got to keep being in front of them. And because claimants have this mentality to matter, right now, we are all in a stage of wanting immediate gratification. I had to order a basketball for my son because he lost it somewhere, right? So I’m not going to go to the local sporting goods store anymore just to get the basketball, because that takes an hour out of my day. I’m going on Amazon. I went in three minutes. I know which basketball I want, I can order it between two phone calls and that while I walk downstairs in my house and that’s it. It’s the same thing for lawyers. Let’s give them immediate gratification. Don’t let them to wait, don’t tell them we’re going to have a lawyer call you back later, we’re going to think about it over the weekend. That’s a really unappealing bridge. And when I talk about the bridge last point in this, Chris. I talk about the bridge. It’s not just the steps on the bridge – it’s actually, what’s on the other side of the bridge, right? So if you’re not making what’s on the other side, very appealing, we can help you, we think we can get you money, we’ve done this a million times, you’re going to trust us. If you’re not making that really appealing and you keep it scared – well, we don’t know if we can help you or not, we have some lawyers who maybe have done this. Now, you know what? I don’t need to go over that bridge. I’ll find another bridge, right? Because they have other bridges. Other lawyers are throwing out their bridge and saying, come to us, come to us.

Chris Dreyer

Yeah, I loved your example of the basketball too, because you have a ton of options right on Amazon, right at your fingertips. There’s just options everywhere. And if Amazon doesn’t have it, you’re going to go to Best Buy or, well, I don’t know about Best Buy, but at a sporting goods site to find it. You know, I, I’ve got one other question that’s really common that I wanted to touch on. I kind of want to hear your opinion here. As I see some, you know, top chat programs, you know, maybe they miss empathy and it can lead to a negative review right at the initial onset. And I wanted specifically to ask you when the person doing the intake knows the case isn’t qualified. They know that for whatever reason, the firm’s not going to take it. What’s, what’s the best process to treat that consumer, um, you know, try to help them, you know, find a new firm? What’s that process look for, because I’ll tell you as a marketing specialist, many of the one-star reviews, I see isn’t even the existing clients, it’s the individuals that they didn’t, they didn’t take their case. So they call them, they said, hey, we aren’t going to take your case, and they leave a one star review. And they’re mad about that. So how do you handle those situations where you don’t take the case?

Gary Falkowitz

Uh, without getting into too much detai, there’s a company I’m aware of right now, it has a responsibility, um, only to assist with disqualifying leads on behalf of law firms and they do it warmly, uh, they there’s, uh, they, they, they shared a law firms V card. It’s really impressive stuff. Um, and that’s for a whole other conversation, but I guess the point is Chris, you hit on something right now that is being ignored, right? Because it also goes back to referrals. Right. You paid for those leads and if you can help them now, let’s say you couldn’t refer it out on them, if you can help them now, how you treated them when you rejected that case will impact whether they call you again in the future, whether they give you a negative review, whether they promote you to another law firm, whether they share your information with their friends or family. We have to remember this. You know, we’re building a legacy. We’re not building a one-time, they call us, we can help, great. We can’t no big deal, move on. Like everything we do will have a domino effect. And if we’re able to close our cases or reject cases, um, with a little bit of class, that’s going to impact whether we’re going to have that claimant come back to us in the future, which they may need to, or recommend us to others in the future. So it’s, uh, it’s really being disregarded completely now, unfortunately.

Chris Dreyer

Wow. Wow. Yeah. So, so powerful. I’ve seen it so many times and it it’s difficult because a lot of times you can’t get those reviews taken down. They they’re, they’re telling a factual situation of what occurred and I’m sure it’s frustrating for some of those firms because they say, hey, well, it wasn’t a case. Well, it’s, it’s maybe it’s an empathy thing and how you treated that individual.

Gary Falkowitz

It is an empathy thing. You know, I think people forget. That so many decisions are based upon emotion and customer experience. Um, I have someone I know right now this minute, uh, is considering between two different types of surgeries, right? We’re talking about surgeries right now, serious things. Back/neck surgery, and he’s not sure which path he’s going to take. And he told me that, you know, one of the doctors has been calling him, uh, early morning or late at night when he has any questions, because the doctor’s convinced that there’s one surgery has to undertake or participate in and that’s the right surgery for him. And I’ll tell you right now, it was personality driven. The doctor’s ability to communicate empathy, like you said, passion for what they’re doing. Passion for helping might be the deciding factor in which surgery to take right now. The science, because the science, I guess all things being equal might be very similar, but it’s the fact that one doctor is so passionately advocating this surgery, that the personality right there might be the deciding factor. How is that different than anything else we do? I’ll tell you a quick story. When, uh, when I first moved to my current neighborhood and my wife, her, she had an eye energy and we needed to go see an eye doctor. We didn’t know any of the local eye doctors, so I did my Google search, you know, and I asked people I knew, then I called multiple eye doctors and I called one eye doctor where the receptionist picked up and that’s called Dr. Kaplan. And, uh, I said, you don’t mind, my wife has this allergy. I’d love to bring her in. Do you guys know… is that something, you know, Dr. Caplin can assist with? And she said, oh, he’s the best! Now like, I was like the way she said it to me. Right. He’s he’s the best was so impactful. That it didn’t matter if the appointment was a year later or the next day or same day, I was going to that doctor that receptionist may not have realized it, or maybe it was a fantastic salesperson and a practice salesperson, she knew that there was a empathy play here and a personality play here that was going to potentially, uh, tug on my, on my heart chords, if you will. And it did. And it worked. And I went to that doctor who was fine. I’ve sort of, most doctors have been fine as well, but the deciding factor for us was the personality of the receptionist and how she bragged and loved about the person she worked for. And if we can get our intake team to do the same thing, that’s a win.

Chris Dreyer

That’s incredible, such a great piece of advice. That that’s, that’s so amazing. And I completely agree. I see that every day and that’s, that’s such a great story. You know, Gary, as, as we come to our closing segment here, we have a three for three, it’s just a quick fire round. And, uh, so starting off which habit contributes the most to your success?

Gary Falkowitz

I would say, uh, impatience and persistence. You know, similar things. I, I, yeah, I, I feel like I’m only on the early stages of uber success. Um, and I think we have to feel that way. Uh, but, but, uh, I honestly, there’s this great line I once read or a heard somewhere that I convinced or that I remind myself of all the time, which is: don’t judge your day by, um, uh, how much you harvested, judge your day by how many plants, how many seeds you planted. Right. So I think it’s, um, you got to really throw things out there as much as you can, uh, and stay persistent. Um, and don’t accept mediocrety, you know, be impatient to excell. Um, so that, that’s what drives me.

Chris Dreyer

Love it, love it. Which entrepreneur, and I’m going to say besides Elon Musk, because we’re getting a lot of those, do you admire the most.

Gary Falkowitz

So it happens to be a, a social media, um, guy who is an influencer it’s Gary Vaynerchuk. Um, you know, I’m a fan of his, but I’m not one of these, I’m not listening to him every single day. But I guess what got me thinking as an entrepreneurr is, um, he kinda got in my mind about looking for the white space. And whether it’s intake or anything else, I’m constantly looking for opportunities that are either, uh, begging for more efficient solutions or being ignored, um, where there’s so much value that you can add.

Chris Dreyer

Yeah. Yeah. What’s interesting about that is I feel like you’re a D I on the DISC personality assessment, because I have so much in common with you. I feel like a bat in a way, these shiny objects. Uh, we got one more question here. If you had to recommend one business book to a personal injury attorney looking to grow their practice, which would it be?

Gary Falkowitz

So it’s not just a personal injury attorney. It’s really anybody who wants to build their business. One of the first books I read when I went out on my own was Ask More Getting More. Um, and it really just allowed you to, even from claimants, I’ll give you a great example. Um, if you can’t sign a claimant, ask them why. Hey, Mrs. Jones. I understand you’re not going to be going to our firm. Can I just ask you what happened? You will learn about, well, you know what your, your intake specialist told me that you don’t take these types of cases? No, no. We do take these types of cases. Or another lawyer responded to me faster. Oh, they did. And you’ll learn about your own processes that you can fix. And I think if you start to ask, not only asking for more things from people, but if you ask more questions, you’re going to get more answers and it’s going to provide more clarity for you as you run your business.

Chris Dreyer

That’s a great piece of advice there on its own. I mean, I think we could talk a lot about that. Um, Gary, it’s, it’s been so awesome having you on the show. Uh, where can people go to learn more?

Gary Falkowitz

Yeah. I mean, uh, email me, um, a bunch of email addresses. You can do gary@getgary.com. Uh, it’s just the easy one to remember. Uh, reach out to me if you have any questions. I literally love to talk about, uh, the, the law firm intake stuff.

Chris Dreyer

Well, his love of talking about intake will certainly come as no surprise. And though they may not teach you about intake in law schoo, Gary has definitely provided resources to make up for that with his book and his company. I’d like to think Gary Falkowitz from Intake Conversion Experts for sharing his story with us. And I hope you gained some valuable insights from the conversation. You’ve been listening to The Rankings Podcast. I’m Chris Dreyer. If you like the episode or have an idea for a future guest whose story you’d like to hear, leave a review and tell me more. I’ll catch you next week with another inspiring story and some SEO tips and tricks all with page one in mind.

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