Attorneys frequently ask us to train their intake staff on how to call the leads and follow up with them. Different attorneys take different approaches, but we can offer some tips on how to convert claimants from leads to actual cases, based on the experience of our most successful clients.
I: Explain the application process
The vast majority of claimants seeking Social Security disability help don't realize how complicated and time consuming applying for benefits is. Many think it's just about submitting an application and don't know that roughly 70% of initial applications will be denied. Because of this, it’s beneficial to take an educational approach with claimants and be patient with them as you explain the application process.
Let claimants know that their applications will be reviewed in anywhere between one to eight months. If the application is denied, which the majority will be, explain to claimants that they can enter the Reconsideration stage. If applications are still denied, which about 85% of them will be, claimants can enter the Hearing stage, which is their best chance of approval.
Keep in mind that many claimants come from adverse situations and can be confused, but they want your help. If you help them understand their situation, claimants will be more likely to trust in the assistance of an attorney in general. Based on your tone, helpfulness, and overall treatment, the claimants can also determine whether or not they want your help.
II: Soft-sell the benefits of third party representation
Besides explaining the process, the initial outreach to a claimant is a pitch – sell yourself to the claimants!
The first step should be emphasizing that pay for the attorney is based on contingency. Many claimants might not have a large income as is, and they think that by hiring an attorney they'll lose more money. Therefore, explain that the attorney is only paid if the case wins. Also, explain that having an attorney is an asset because a large number of Social Security applications are denied in the first two stages, and the attorney can help the claimant expedite the process.
Let them know that according to the SSA, about 90% of claimants applying for benefits have an attorney helping them. Attorneys have years of experience, can mold the case into something that will win, and know how to handle certain judges. Furthermore, if a claimant does not have a doctor, an attorney might have medical providers that he or she likes to work with and can refer the claimant.
In essence, let claimants know that having an attorney will only help them, not hurt them.
III: Sign up the claimant quickly with electronic documents
The moment after you initially reach claimants, they will be thrilled to work with you. The conversation you just had is still fresh, and they’re ready to become your client. Therefore, it’s important that you sign up your claimants as soon as possible.
If you send out a retainer packet in the mail, it can take several days before the claimant receives it. Furthermore, the claimant will have to figure out which papers to fill out or sign by hand, he or she will need to put in an envelope, and find a mailbox to send it back to you. That might seem doable, but any extra steps that are an inconvenience for claimants could deter them from signing the paperwork altogether.
Therefore, we urge you to try sending out documents to be signed electronically. That way, the claimant will receive the paperwork within seconds after speaking with you, sign it easily online, and the paperwork will be emailed back to you. That’s definitely faster and easier than waiting for snail mail.
If you’re interested in sending documents for electronic signature, feel free to checkout eLuminate, our online lead and case management system. With a couple of mouse clicks, you can send documents to be signed via EchoSign, and they’ll be automatically emailed back to you.
In short, after you finally connect with your lead, educate the claimant on the application process, thoroughly explain the benefits of having an attorney, and expedite signing them up by sending them electronic documents. Employing these strategies will help you convert confused claimants reluctant to use an attorney into your new clients.