I was always impressed by trophies. The bigger the trophy, the better. I loved winning trophies.

I am not as impressed by trophies anymore. A few years ago, I discovered that I could pretty much go to any trophy store, order whatever trophy I wanted, and have the trophy engraved with whatever award I wanted. All I had to do was pay for the trophy.

Turns out, trophies are not even that expensive. I could buy a lot of them. I could get a trophy display case and have a lot of awards to display. I am the table tennis champion of Central Office Systems. I thought about buying a 4-foot-tall trophy to display in my office, next to the machete.

That would be kind of rubbing my victory in everyone’s face. I did that when I won.

Third party independent awards are a great way to introduce yourself to potential new clients. Sometimes you get a nice trophy to display when you win an award.

Third party independent awards can make your current clients feel even better about working with you. Awards validate their decision.

I was always impressed with 3rd party independent awards, just like trophies.

Turns out you can buy independent 3rd party awards too. Here is an unsolicited e mail from an organization called CIO review:

 Hi Art,

I hope you are doing great. I am (some dude) from CIO Review Magazine.

We are working on the 7th annual edition on Managed Print. I am glad to let you know that our evaluation panel has shortlisted Central Office Systems as one of the most promising Managed Print Consulting/Service Companies. 

CIOReview is an enterprise technology magazine that reaches out to 77,000 print readers in the U.S., comprising technology decision-makers responsible for acquiring technology for their organizations. With our unique peer to peer learning approach, we bring together senior decision-makers from leading organizations and their counterparts under one roof so that they can share their wisdom, knowledge, and technological expertise among peers.

Managed Print Services come in many forms to fit one’s business needs. MPS keeps the I.T. staff focused on priorities, reduces print costs, improves productivity, and generally enhances the effectiveness of the print environment. MPS programs even reduce the workload of the I.T. department and, therefore, increase their efficiency. Finally, MPS programs are a partnership that enhances a business’s ability to manage their printing environment more efficiently. Choosing a print service that complements an organization’s needs and employee work requirements is very important, not just from a productivity standpoint but also from the bottom line. Considering these factors, we are bringing forth the list of 10 Most Promising Managed Print Consulting/Service Providers.

Central Office Systems will have a one-full page profile in this edition with the complete print and digital rights to use it in all of your promotional campaigns. We will also provide you with a certificate of honor, logo, and a one-page advertisement space that you can use any time before six months. The charges for the reprints package is $3000.

It is a recognition from a leading magazine that you would like to tout and can use to outsell Central Office Systems’s competition by converting more prospects than the current rate. I am sure you will receive lots of requests from our readers for your services, as well as immensely helping you to turn your existing prospects to your clients. Do fill me in regarding whether you have any questions on the participation. Please don’t hesitate to reach me up whenever it might suit you.

Well how about that! I can buy the award. Not too expensive. I looked over the materials and they are really good. Looks like a real magazine. Looks like a real award. Clients and potential clients will not find out. This looks so good it might actually fool my team in to thinking this is a real award too.

Now for the kicker. Two of my successful competitors here in town have already made the purchase and are in the magazine. Congratulations on your award! (You know who you are.)

I decided not to make the purchase.

I am still considering the 4-foot-tall trophy for the ping pong championship. I won that fair and square.