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6 things to do if your award entry wasn’t successful

We all enter awards in the hope of winning. But, for every bride there are multiple bridesmaids. So, with the Professional Adviser awards shortlists due out soon, and many others after Christmas, if you’re not successful how should you react?

You’ve got two choices.

Sulk and blame the judges (we’ve all done it, I’m like a bear with a sore head when things don’t go my way!) or use it as a learning opportunity to improve your chances of future success.

This is something Lee Robertson of Octo and serial award winner at Investment Quorum, echoes: “Just the process of entering is incredibly valuable. It allows for proper reflection on your business and how you and your team do things on behalf of clients. In fact, I would say that is far more valuable than a win.”

So, assuming you take the second option, here are six things you should do after every unsuccessful award entry.

1. Review your entry

In our experience, very few firms ever review their entries following the result. It’s important that you do, though, as there’s a lot to learn.

If you won, it’ll help you understand what you did right. If you lost, you will learn things which will help improve your future entries.

Assuming it was the right award to enter in the first place (see point two), you should review your submission for these commonly made, yet fundamental, mistakes:

  • You didn’t answer the questions or address the entry criteria
  • Your entry was late or exceeded the word count
  • You failed to back up your claims with evidence
  • You talked about the future rather than things you’ve already achieved

You might also consider reading our top 10 tips to boost your chances of winning awards and using our free checklist when the time comes to write your next entry.

2. Review the entry criteria

No award entry is a waste of time as each one will help you learn more about your business and the process.

Of course, the aim is to win. Therefore, we recommend only entering the awards which you have a chance of winning. Writing effective entries is too time-consuming to do otherwise.

Look back at the entry criteria and ask yourself again whether this was the right award at the right time. If it wasn’t, it’ll help explain why you weren’t successful.

3. Celebrate highly commended and runner-up positions

Many awards will recognise entries they thought carried merit but weren’t quite good enough to win, by awarding a runner-up position or by ‘highly commending’ them.

If you didn’t win but were the runner-up or highly commended, it’s still worth celebrating. Your clients will be interested, as will your team; remember, your awards success is a celebration of their hard work.

So, celebrate the second place or your commendation by using the hints and tips in this checklist.

4. Look at the winner

Analyse the winner:

  • Where did they have the edge over you?
  • What are they doing in their business which you’re not?
  • How do they showcase themselves?

This is something Lee Robertson also agrees with: “Reviewing an entry that didn’t win often yields real benefits, particularly if compared to a published winning entry. Seeing how winning entries were composed and the detail offered gives a real learning and opportunity for improvement.”

5. Try to speak to the judges

If you can get it, feedback from the judges is invaluable.

There’s growing transparency around many awards with the names of judges often made public. If you can find those which adjudicated on your category and approach them sensitively, many will be happy to give you feedback on your entry.

There’s value too in chatting to the experts who regularly judge awards. Offer to buy them a coffee (or, in the case of a few judges, something stronger!) and pick their brains to find out what they are looking for in an entry and where you can improve your submissions.

6. Keep the faith

If entering awards is part of your marketing strategy, then one win doesn’t suddenly make you invincible and a loss shouldn’t dent your faith in your strategy.

If you’ve not won, or even been shortlisted, pick yourself up and dust yourself down. Treat each entry as a learning opportunity whether you won or not. Every knockback and rejection (because it will feel that way) is an opportunity to learn. And, when you are successful, victory will taste even sweeter.

Free resources to help you write successful award entries

If entering (and winning) awards is part of your marketing strategy we’ve got some free resources to help you.

Blog: 10 top tips to boost your chances of winning awards

Checklist: How to prepare an effective award entry

Checklist: 8 ways to capitalise on your award success

If you’re not sure which award to enter next, take a look at our Adviser Award Index, which gives a comprehensive list of awards you might want to enter.

Finally, if you don’t have time to enter awards yourself, or would like some advice on how to write entries we’re here to help. Please get in touch by emailing or call 0115 8965 300.

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