How to Handle Intake Calls

Share this content
Intake Calls

Q&A was part of Next Level Practice, the most supportive community for therapists starting a private practice. In this video, Joe answers the question based on how to handle intake calls.


Camilla: Am I saying something wrong? When I do actually get a call from a client, I focus on what is the right fit for the client and if what I offer meets that need. I also try not to be the salesman pushing for them to schedule an intake. Should I be pushing more for an intake to discuss more in-depth treatment options?


Joe: In an intake call, someone has already initiated that they want to work with you. So if you feel like you’re making a sale, that’s probably more of an internal issue. They’re already saying, ‘I’m interested in working with you in the same way’. If you called a new doctor, and you’re talking to her receptionist on the front desk, if they say, ‘So here’s when we have intakes for doctor’, that’s not ‘salesy’. That’s offering what you’re calling for. You’re calling to try to see if that person is a fit.

So I would start with saying be confident that people want to work with you. If they call you or email you. Then, next, the way I would frame an intake call is: ‘I would love to hear about what’s going on, what you want to work on in counseling, I want to see if this is within my specialty’. And, if it is, I’ll say, ‘Let’s schedule our intake conversation’. And, if not, then I’ll give a referral for someone else.

If it is a fit, we’d want to create a treatment plan and then work through all of that. Also request what day of the week works best for them, and what time. So, there’s no ‘sales’ talk. It’s just asking why they’re calling. Then, it’s giving them ideas and then saying what time works and helping them get scheduled. I don’t think that it’s pushing them to schedule an intake. They’re already saying they want an intake if they’re calling. I feel like if you’re saying, ‘Why don’t you come in for an intake and we can talk more in-depth about treatment options..’ – they’re already saying to you that they want treatment.

So if it feels like we’re having a call or meeting to decide what to do, I would just say this person is saying to you, ‘I want to make changes in my life, take some authority and tell me what to do’. That feels like it’s too pushy sometimes, but you are the expert. You’re the person that has this education. 8% of the us have Master’s Degrees and you probably know more about this person and their issues than they do. So you’re going to be able to then help them get the help that they need quicker.

Joseph R. Sanok, MA, LLP, LPC, NCC

joe-sanok-private-practice-consultant-headshot-smaller-versionJoe Sanok is an ambitious results expert. He is a private practice business consultant and counselor that helps small businesses and counselors in private practice to increase revenue and have more fun! He helps owners with website design, vision, growth, and using their time to create income through being a private practice consultant. Joe was frustrated with his lack of business and marketing skills when he left graduate school. He loved helping people through counseling, but felt that often people couldn’t find him. Over the past few years he has grown his skills, income, and ability to lead others, while still maintaining an active private practice in Traverse City, MI. To link to Joe’s Google+ .