Social Security Disability partnerships have helped Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin experience incredible growth – increased calls, market expansion, and new staff members. Tom Newlin talks about how the firm manages it all.
Q: How has the firm grown since beginning Social Security Disability partnerships with cj clients two years ago?
A: We’ve enjoyed significant growth since January 2008, much as a result of our SSD partnerships.
- 1,144 SSD hearings in 2007
- 3,800 SSD hearings expected in 2010
- 4,048 cases open as of January 2008
- 6,628 cases open as of January 2010
- 12,200 intake calls in 2008
- about 50,000 intake calls expected in 2010
Q: What are your plans for market expansion in 2010, and what common goals do you have for each market?
A: We currently track 35 markets with recent additions being Hughes & Coleman in Louisville, Nurenberg Paris in Cleveland, Terry Bryant in Houston, and Daniel Stark in Waco. We anticipate expansion in March for Carter Mario in Springfield and Providence. Future plans include possible expansions into Florida, Alabama, and California.
Common goals for each market include exceptional client service; conversion rates in excess of 80 percent of contracts sent versus contracts received; and 15 to 20 percent sign-up ratio, the percentage of intakes we convert to contracts.
“We not only handle SSD but also SSI cases. We take applications at the initial, the reconsideration, and the hearing levels.”
Q: With an average of nearly 1,000 new intakes each week, how have your employees embraced the firm’s growth, and how does it affect your internal systems of checks and balances?
A: We have been proactive with respect to staff expansion and training in anticipation of projected growth. We currently have about 120 employees, including five attorneys, a three-person training department, a seven-person records department, and a 20-person intake department.
Q: How does your firm maintain your key productivity indicators (KPIs) in every market?
A: Our intake department manager and other department managers have been instrumental in monitoring, recording, and producing important management data. We use Needles for this information and continue to work to make our data processing more efficient.
Q: How often do you evaluate your conversion numbers, and what steps are taken to improve those numbers when needed?
A: We closely review and evaluate our conversion numbers for all our markets. Monthly review of criteria and guidelines is ongoing with training sessions involving conversion and sales techniques for existing and new employees. We also have instituted “ghost calls” for our intake department as an additional training tool.
Q: How are you and your SSD partners participating in referrals of veterans cases to Woods and Woods?
A: Our relationship with Woods and Woods enables them to cultivate our Social Security clients who are also veterans. Mike Woods and I have met about this several times. To date, referrals of existing clients who are veterans have been forwarded to Woods and Woods, and all indications are that this will be a positive relationship not only for Woods and Woods and our firm, but for all of our Social Security partners.
Q: Besides the goal of 8,500 SSD cases in 2010, what are your other plans for world domination?
A: First, I should point out that we not only handle SSD but also SSI cases. We take applications at the initial, the reconsideration, and the hearing levels. Our 2011 BHAG is to open 12,000 Social Security cases. This would be reflective of a 40+ percent increase over what we anticipate in 2010.