There is a general perception that awards are bestowed on the winners because they are the best in their field. The reality is that almost all awards have to be applied for, in other words, “you can’t win it, unless you’re in it.”
Why should you consider applying for awards? I consider the major reason is to use it as a framework for creating excellence in your business. Using the criteria by which awards are judged and working to achieve excellence in those areas will automatically make you a better and more marketable business. Hairdressers have been particularly active in pursuing this strategy. Trevor Sorbie, four times UK Hairdresser of the Year has maximised his reputation by continually winning awards over the years.
From a marketing perspective, winning awards or even being named as a finalist has the following benefits:-
- Attracting prospects
- Increasing the conversion of prospects to active clients
- Challenging your competitors
- Retaining customers
- Perceived as the best in your profession
From a team building viewpoint, being an award winner or finalist increases the pride your people have in being part of your organisation and ensures that your good people don’t look elsewhere. It also helps you to recruit the best and brightest talent.
Regardless of whether you win a major national or minor local award, the most immediate benefit you receive is a wonderful feeling of great pride and achievement.
So how do you win awards? The first thing to do is locate the ideal award for you and your business. Start planning an award application as early as possible to give yourself the maximum chance of success. Many applications are put in at the last moment with inadequate planning and as a result they stand little chance of success. A winning award application has the following features:-
- Each section clearly matches the criteria the judges set and what they have asked for.
- Minimal waffle.
- Case studies to show how others have benefitted. Remember “facts tell, stories sell.”
- Statistics to show your excellent performance, particularly compared to others in your industry.
- Relevant testimonials from happy clients, if possible named.
- Photos and graphics so your application is attractive and easy for the judges to read.
- Lastly, do not exceed the word count that is set.
If your application includes all these features it will dramatically increase your chances of winning. Whether you are a winner or a finalist, maximise the publicity to your customers, contacts and the wider world through emails broadcasts, press releases, social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, as well as putting it on your email signatures and website.
I wish you much success.
By Andrew Rhodes