In my experience it’s the same for estate agents. When an agency wins a property industry award the difference it can make to its business, when maximised is, potentially, huge.
Like any great salesperson a good estate agent will promote the benefits of a property more than the features.
They’ll highlight the great local schools, the really good grocery store down the road and the lovely nearby walk that not many people know about. The viewer sees the property’s features, they’re obvious. And it’s the same with awards.
The features of entering awards and hopefully being shortlisted, then fingers crossed being named as one of the winners are obvious.
There’s the ‘we’ve been shortlisted logo’ which you can apply to your website and email signatures.
There’s the night out on the tiles in your best outfit at the awards ceremony.
If you have never entered an Awards competition, my advice is very simple: give it a go!
And if you’re name pops out of the envelope you can jig off into the moonlight with a lovely trophy to plonk on your desk.
GET ON THE SHORTLIST
Now I’m not dismissing these features. Being shortlisted as one of the best for what you do provides a fantastic PR opportunity. (I would say that but honestly – it really does – Scout’s Honour.) Everyone likes a nice night out and bagging a shiny trophy is great for the ego and for showing off, but the really BIG plus when it comes to entering and being recognised at awards ceremonies is the benefit, the opportunity spin offs, the little bit of marketing magic it presents that’s not immediately glaringly obvious.
So let’s talk awards’ benefits and start right at the start.
Simply by sitting down and focusing you and your team’s minds on what makes your agency worth entering for awards is something worth doing.
You might be so good at what you do, with years of experience that all the good stuff your agency does has become second nature.
But as any advertising man / woman will tell you – people need reminding of how good you are. And that includes your own team, so get everyone involved in the entry process.
Also, and this is one of the most undervalued parts of the process – when you create a strong award entry you’ve just collated some very valuable stuff.
Let me explain. By recording what your agency does well, highlighting glowing testimonials, outlining your use of technology, efficient systems and what makes you special you’ve just created a heap of material which with a bit of creativity can be applied to other marketing efforts very easily.
Giving you more for the time and effort invested.
So let’s say you get shortlisted. Game on. Being shortlisted for a worthwhile award (by that I mean awards that people have heard of, such as The Negs, local Chamber of Commerce etc.) gives you something to bang your PR drum about.
Whenever a client of mine gets shortlisted I rub my hands with Fagin type glee because it’s usually a quick and easy PR win as the local media tend to cover it.
Even if you don’t win but have been shortlisted, most agencies I’ve worked with over the years notice an increase in staff morale.
People love to be recognised for what they do, and being recognised in an awards environment is great for adding a spring to the step of your team.
GET ON THE STAGE
And finally let’s say your agency wins. Kerching. You then have the second bite of the local PR apple. You also have some great news to share with your database. It can also remind existing clients that they work with winners.
It gently nudges lapsed or past clients that ‘we’re very good’ and sends out a strong, clear and snappy message to prospective clients that ‘hey, it’s not just us saying we’re very good.’
You can also get busy changing your email signatures, letterheads, website, window display and anywhere else you can to reflect the fact that you are an award winning agency.
You’ve won so don’t hide your shining trophy under a bushel.
If you’ve never entered an awards competition, my advice, if you feel your agency is good enough (and if you don’t you might need the help of industry experts like Julian O’Dell and Adam Walker), is simple – give it a go.
You could start with this year’s Negotiator Awards.
And the sooner you do, the sooner your agency (fingers crossed) could be reaping the instruction-winning benefits outlined above.
Jerry Lyons, Public Relations expert: www.propertyprexpert.co.uk