I always tell clients that to have an effective business development program, the firm must have incentives to bring in new business. People need a goal to shoot for, and they need a reward for achieving it. That's how human nature works. Leonard, Street and Deinard, a Minnesota law firm that ranked 30 in the MLF 50 Best Marketing Programs, has built three tiers of awards into their "Fast Forward" sales program.
Jill Weber, firm CMO, writes about the program in the Q4 2006 issue of the LSSO Review. Fast Forward was a program to train 21 attorneys to generate an additional $500,000 in revenue each over two years. The firm employs 200 attorneys in more than 40 practice areas.
The top level award for participants who achieved a $500,000 revenue increase was a four-day, three-night trip to any Ritz Carlton in the US, including hotel, airfare, per-day meal allocations and paid childcare. Sweet.
13 of the 21 lawyers won an incentive, ranging from the Ritz Carlton trip to a gift certificate to a high-end restaurant.
And man, did the incentives work. Overall the participants generated an additional $8 million in fee receipts. (Granted, the program also included extensive training, branding and surveys.) The program cost $150,000 to run, yielding a whopping 5300% return on investment. So you can see: incentives really make a difference.