THE INDUSTRY'S largest, longest-running and most prestigious retail competition opens in April as the entry process begins for the 23rd Annual Dealernews Top 100 Dealer Awards.
The 2014 Dealernews Top 100 Dealers will be announced Nov. 1 and will be feted at a formal awards gala Dec. 4 in Chicago, where Dealernews will reveal the winners of the Merit Awards (see bottom of article), the Top 10 Dealers and finally, the prestigious Dealer of the Year for 2014.
“In addition to the award itself, the 2014 Top 100 Dealers will receive numerous benefits to help them market their stores to their local community, regionally and nationally,” said Mary Slepicka, content director for Dealernews and competition director for Top 100.
In order to qualify for the Dealernews Top 100, a dealer has to enter the competition. In addition to certain business information (location, hours of operation, number of employees, brands represented, etc.), entrants must provide examples of operational excellence by answering a few essay questions and by submitting supporting documents and images.
Those associated with the Top 100 over the past two decades can attest: Just entering the competition means you’re doing something right.
“Many dealerships use the Top 100 entry process as a team-building exercise, or as an annual qualitative audit of their business,” Slepicka noted. “Top 100 gives you that opportunity to review. It makes you look through the photos, compare displays, rate a promotion and, most importantly, talk to each other. When you have to convince a third party that your activities are worth merit, by default you end up examining those activities to identify where you shine, and where you
Information a dealer generates for a Top 100 entry, therefore, can be repurposed for business planning, marketing calendars and other programs. “The entry process is designed to provide business benefits beyond the competition itself,” Slepicka said.
IT’S NOT A SALES CONTEST
The Top 100 is not a financial or sales competition; rather, it is a program that recognizes achievements for all the steps leading up to the sale: customer service, marketing, merchandising and display, employee training and engagement, community outreach, promotional programs, even the cleanliness of your parking lot.
The qualitative aspect of the competition provides an equal footing for entrants, regardless of a dealership’s size or volume.
YOU SET THE TERMS
In Top 100, dealers compete against the goals they themselves establish. Entrants are required to submit their business mission statement or unique sales proposition. Judges then evaluate the entry according to how well the business, through its regular programs and activities, executes the goals in their mission statement or USP. This enables the smallest dealer to have a shot at the Top 100 equal to the biggest megastore.
“Given the variety of business models, store sizes, variations in local markets and other factors, it is really the fairest and most effective way to conduct such a large competition,” Slepicka said.
IT’S EASIER THAN YOU THINK
The competition entry website opens in April; entries are due Sept. 1. Once you establish a secure account and start your entry, you can save your work and return to it at your leisure throughout the spring and summer. Then, when you are ready, click the Submit button — and you’re done.
Entries will be evaluated by dozens of expert judges nationwide — secured from the powersports industry and the general retail sector — in September and October. “Each entry is reviewed and evaluated by multiple judges who understand the nature of powersports and of retail,” Slepicka explained. Judges assign numerical scores which are then averaged and tabulated.
The top 100 scoring dealerships are the Top 100 Dealers for the coming year, and the dealership with the highest score is named the Dealer of the Year.
Questions? Contact Slepicka at email@example.com, and watch the DealerNEWS ALERT enewsletters and the April issue of Dealernews for instructions on how to access the 2014 entry form and begin your journey to the Top 100.
MERIT AWARDS EXPAND for 2014 - see next page for list