So, you’re thinking of submitting your entry for the Personal Finance Awards 2021/22? Great! If you’re wondering where to start, look no further. An award-winning entry takes time to craft, which is why we’ve put together our top tips to help you get started.
There are many valuable benefits to being associated with entering and winning awards:
- Validates your hard work
- Strengthens client relationships
- Increases your credibility
- Boosts team morale
- Attracts new talent
- Benchmarks your firm
- Success can be a valuable marketing tool
Top tip #1: Check the entry requirements and don’t leave it to the last minute!
Many entries fail to satisfy the entry criteria, meaning that they cannot be shortlisted, so before deciding whether to prepare an entry, make sure you check what is required. Allow plenty of time to collate supporting materials, draft your entry, refine it and review everything before you press ‘submit’.
Top tip #2: Talk positively in your entry about what you have achieved and back up your assertions.
It’s really important to make your entry stand out, so have a think about your biggest achievements. Is there anything you’ve perhaps done differently to your competitors? By the time the judges see your entry they may have seen dozens of others. Can you ensure that yours highlights your firm’s personality and grabs their attention? Demonstrating the drive, energy and passion that has helped you reach your biggest achievements will boost your entry.
Top tip #3: Consider the supporting evidence you may need to submit (sometimes it takes time to gather)
Consider what you could cite as evidence that you satisfy each of the necessary criteria in turn. Try to keep the main content of your entry quite high level and avoid going into too much detail unless this is specifically requested. You can always supply more detail in supporting attachments, which should help you meet the criteria of the specific category you are entering.
Could your entry benefit from the inclusion of simple charts, lists or numerical evidence? One common mistake is thinking that ‘more is better’ and supplying too much unfocused supporting data, so make sure it is necessary and relevant. How you evidence your claims will depend on what you are looking to prove. You could reference survey results, statistics, third-party confirmation, client feedback or your own financial data. Try to signpost the content of your supporting material by referencing key elements or summarising what it shows so the judges know what it contains.
Top tip #4: Consider asking clients for a testimonial (where this lends weight to your entry)
Has your work had an outstanding impact on any of your clients? Shout about this. Current and recent testimonials are more compelling than those dated a year or more earlier.
Top tip #5: Decide who will be responsible for creating your entry and make sure you get a 2nd or 3rd pair of eyes to check it
You might choose to invest in a professional copywriter to help ensure your entry has maximum impact. If your writing skills are a bit rough around the edges, hire someone to help. If you ask colleagues to help, ensure they cross-reference your entry against the criteria set-out for each award – you don’t want to miss a key bit of information!
Here’s a summary of our top tips for an award-winning entry:
- Check the entry requirements and don’t leave it to the last minute!
- Talk positively in your entry about what you have achieved and back up your assertions.
- Consider the supporting evidence you may need to submit (sometimes it takes time to gather)
- Consider asking clients for a testimonial (where this lends weight to your entry).
- Decide who will be responsible for creating your entry and make sure you get a 2nd or 3rd pair of eyes to check it.
See what some of the 2020/21 winners had to say about crafting their entries:
- Chartered Financial Planning Firm of the Year: Barry Horner – Chief Executive Officer, Paradigm Norton Financial Planning Ltd
- Chartered Financial Planner of the Year: Robin Melley FPFS TEP – Founder, Matrix Capital
- Retirement and Later Life Advice Specialist of the Year: Sebastian Elwell – Director, Switchfoot Wealth Limited
- Paraplanner of the Year: Jenni Currell – Senior Technical Analyst, Lockhart Capital Management LLP