You know you’ve got all the aces up your sleeve, but how can you be sure of winning the game and taking the top prize at the Las Vegas-themed Forecourt Trader of the Year awards ceremony at the London Hilton on Park Lane Hotel on Wednesday, September 22?
Winners are people who know how to get themselves noticed. If you’ve been a winner at the Forecourt Trader awards then you’ve obviously done the right things to make sure the judges don’t pass you by not just because your forecourt is the best in its class, but because you’ve managed to show that by putting in a good entry.
Many of you probably think your site is as good as, if not better than, sites that have won and yet you didn’t get past the first hurdle. But how good was your entry? To help we have compiled some tips to give you the best chance of success.
You can be sure we go to great lengths to make sure the competition is as fair as possible. There is no favouritism we just want the best sites and the best retailers in our industry to come to the fore. After all, they may have something to teach us all advice that can help improve everyone’s business.
But we believe everyone should have an even chance of winning something at our awards, and if you think you’ve got something to shout about, we want your entry to be the best you can make it.
Categories to enter
Whether you’re a rural site providing an invaluable service to the local community, or manager of a big oil company forecourt, we have a category for you. Groupings are by type of operation Rural, Neighbourhood, Main Route and Motorway. We also identify sites by ownership status to cover: oil company/supermarket/wholesaler owned and managed; oil company-owned/franchisee; independent dealer with up to nine sites; and independent dealer with 10 sites or more. If you think your site excels in a specific area, there are 13 specialist categories to enter as well:
Best Site with a Licence to Sell Alcohol
Best Car Care & Lubricants Outlet
Best Display of Chilled Food
Best Confectionery Outlet
Best Crisps & Snacks Outlet
Best Customer Service
Best Eco-friendly Outlet
Best Food-to-Go Outlet
Best Forecourt Facilities
Best Hot Beverages Outlet
Best Soft Drinks Outlet
Best Tobacco Retailer
Best Use of Retail Technology
But first things first get hold of an entry pack by either calling the awards hotline 01293 846587 or by visiting our website www.forecourttraderawards.co.uk. Read it thoroughly and make sure you understand the rules and what’s expected of you.
The entry form requires you to explain why you think your site should be a winner. This is your chance to highlight any big achievements, successes or elements of your business of which you are particularly proud.
The pack also includes the judging criteria for the specialist categories use these as guidelines, not just for how to run that particular category of your business, but also as a BIG CLUE as to what the judges are looking for.
Make sure your entry form has been completed correctly, with the site’s full name, ownership, address and telephone details. And please make sure you tick the right ownership box for your site! You don’t want to be knocked out of the competition because the judges have visited your site and discovered you’ve entered the wrong category.
We can’t stress enough the importance of the photographs. The early rounds are judged anonymously using only the pictures you’ve sent in.
You can’t be judged on what we can’t see (so don’t just send in a picture of the front door yes, it’s been done!), so the photographs should give a good impression of both the interior and exterior of your site. They need to be bright and clear, so try not to take the outside shots on a dull, rainy day if at all possible. And if you’re entering a specialist category, make sure the photos show how you are meeting the judges’ criteria. If you have multiple displays for some products, for example, let’s see them.
This year only digital photography is being accepted please send on a disc, with pictures in separate folders for each category you are entering. Don’t forget to clearly label the disc with the site name and categories entered.
Six of the specialist categories require written entries Best Use of Retail Technology, Best Customer Service, Best Eco-Friendly Outlet, Best Food-to-Go Outlet, Best Hot Beverages and Best Tobacco Retailer. In around 300 words, bearing in mind the judging criteria detailed in the entry pack, you should clearly explain why your site should be a winner.
If you think you’ve got what it takes, get going now. Last of all good luck. And remember, you’ve got to be in it to win it!
The judging team is chaired by Forecourt Trader editor Merril Boulton, and includes the Forecourt Trader team and awards sponsors. It has been extended this year to include our very own Shop Doctor, Julian Phillips from RMI Petrol; and last year’s overall winner, Patrick Sewell, managing director of Sewell Retail. The first round of the judging takes place at William Reed Business Media’s head office in Crawley, West Sussex. The process involves looking at all the entries, which are presented anonymously. Marks are awarded for each entry, including an overall mark for the site and a separate mark for each specialist category. This round relies almost entirely on your photographs, so make sure they show off your forecourt and facilities to their best advantage. The written entry is also key.
Judges then take to the road and visit the top-scoring forecourt in each category, to see if the forecourt is trading as well as is shown in the pictures. Cleanliness, tidiness and friendly and helpful staff are key elements for consideration at this stage, as well as adherence to the criteria for the specialist categories. If the site is every bit as good as the photographs suggest, it goes on to the final rounds. If the site doesn’t come up to scratch, judges move down the list to the next highest scorer, and so on. Thus high-scoring sites from round one can be knocked out at this stage. So make sure you don’t let standards slip once the pictures are taken!
There will be three finalists competing for each of the specialist category awards; and also three finalists in each ownership status category competing for the national title of Best Rural Retailer, Best Neighbourhood Retailer and Best Main Route Retailer. There is one award for Best Motorway Site regardless of ownership/operation status. The overall winner is chosen from these category winners.
BEFORE YOU SEND IN YOUR ENTRY, CHECK THAT YOU HAVE:
Supplied full and correct name and address details
Told us why you should be a winner
Ticked the right ownership and category boxes
Provided good quality photographs
Included a written entry where appropriate
For further information visit
or for an entry pack call the
awards hotline 01293 846587
Entry Deadline May 28, 2010