FEEDBACK ON ENTRIES
Here the judging panel provide some general feedback on the entries this year.
Being presented with the entries in a consistent format greatly eased the judging process this year; particularly with the increased number of entries received. There were probably a greater number of quality submissions than in previous years and the judges were grateful for the efforts that entrants had gone to, both on paper, and in video.
There is often innovation found in smaller providers and size is not a determinant, either way in our judgements, we very much treat each application on its merits. Three quality testimonials are better than a number of short ones saying entrants are a ‘good’ person or company.
There is a degree of negotiation and deliberation between us, although we are constantly surprised by the extent to which we all have the same entrants on our individual shortlists and we found the videos this year helped us in our decisions to make a final choice However, a simple presentation told us just as much about the person or the company than a wizzy professional production; in fact some of the latter we found quite irritating. We are not aware of who the sponsors are when we are judging these Awards and this has no influence on our decision making, as some of the sponsors who don’t feature will attest to!
We would still rather see entrants picking a few key categories they feel strong in, and tailoring their entries to those categories, rather than blitzing every category with half-hearted attempts that simply regurgitate entries for other categories. We are looking for something that makes you or your company stand out from the crowd. Also, ensure you substantiate your claims with evidence. An example or short case study can really strengthen a nomination. Those who have won awards in successive years are always very good at keeping entries fresh and current each year.
We are also looking hard at how entrants treat their leaseholders and freeholders as customers/clients and also for that ‘special touch’ in terms of customer service, not just the mechanics and processes of being a good agent or sugar-sweet stories. Residential Property Management is experiencing new challenges not least from greater mixed tenure, mixed use and raised customer expectations. We are therefore keen to see how the industry is adapting to new challenges.
Some company applications tend to be too centred around one individual. We want to see a greater breadth of what they do and not just a reliance on one individual. There were some instances where the entrant had hardly got their feet under the desk in terms of a contract, and we prefer to see more of a track record, however glowing the reference is.
Having now judged these Awards for six years, we have seen how they grow in stature, significance – and competitiveness each year. We understand that some companies put significant effort into their entries and yet are disappointed. Often we will put more time in to deciding who will be highly commended as we do on who should be winner. It therefore disappoints us sometimes to see highly commended awards not being appreciated. To be seen as being in the top two or three of your peer group in what is a large industry is surely an honour and to not receive that with good grace devalues it for others. Of course, ultimately, there can be only one winner. Our general advice is to take on board our comments above, watch the video we have made on the Awards website, and enter again next year.