5 Tender Writing Tips for Making a Successful Bid
For many business owners, no matter the industry, tendering for contracts is almost inevitable. That’s because all businesses provide either one or both of these two things: goods or services. Thus, if you want to be able to supply these goods or services to other businesses (or even the government), then you’ll need to tender for contracts.
The question now is, how do you write tenders in order to make a successful bid? Here are a few tips:
1. Understand the Request
In order to make a successful bid, you need to write a tender that will convince the client that you can provide what they need. In short, you need to understand these needs so that you can provide the “correct” response that will land you the contract.
Pay attention to the details in the RFT and answer them accurately. Beyond this, make sure to offer added value. You need to assure the client that they’re getting not just their money’s worth but something more that only you can provide.
You should also note that the government and bigger corporations have more complex tendering processes. Be sure to take note of these nuances if you’re trying to win a contract from these entities.
2. Answer Each Question in Detail
Once you’re sure that you understand the RFT and that you’re ready to submit your response, make sure to provide as much detail as you could. Pay attention to how the questions are structured; use that as a guide on how you compose your response. For example, if the question is bulleted, it’s a good idea to provide bulleted answers preceded by a clear heading.
If a question is open-ended, review how it’s worded. More often than not, you can get a clue about what the client wants simply by paying attention to how they describe the services they’re looking for.
3. Sell Your Company (Not Literally)
At its core, writing a tender is like writing a CV. Thus, don’t be afraid to sell your company. Showcase your experience and back up your response to the RFT with case studies and references. If you’ve won awards or earned relevant accreditations, include those in your tender submission.
All of these details can help your proposal stand out from the rest. Of course, don’t pad your tender excessively. Stick to the facts and don’t include fluff or jargon just to sound impressive.
Aside from your company’s qualifications, consider adding some testimonials from your previous clients as well. This can help build confidence in your ability to deliver what they require.
4. Follow the Word Count
Many RFTs have specified word or character counts. This helps save time for the clients, especially when they’re expecting to receive several tenders. In addition, these imposed word counts or character counts can also serve as one way to separate those who pay attention to detail from those who don’t.
The trick here is to just write your tender’s initial draft without minding the word count yet. The editing process is when you trim down your answer to fit into the allotted number. If you force yourself to meet the word or character count in the first pass, you might fall into the trap of not being able to sufficiently answer the questions on the RFT because you’re too preoccupied with the form and style of your document.
5. Double-Check Everything
As previously mentioned, you should have an editing process when you write a tender. This not only helps you cut down the fluff to meet the word count. It also helps you catch errors in your grammar, punctuation, and spelling. The editing process also helps you double-check if you actually covered or answered everything in the RFT.
Make sure to allocate enough time for this step in the tender-writing process. Don’t rush or else you might make further mistakes. In addition, have someone check your document for you because it’s likely that you’re going to miss a few errors the first time around. A new pair of eyes taking a look at the document can also provide a fresh perspective.
BONUS Tip: Enrol in a Tender Writing Course
Most requests for tender (RFTs) require two key pieces of information: (1) how much your products and/or services cost and (2) how you’ll be able to deliver these to the client. However, while the concept seems simple enough, writing the actual tender may not be as easy. This is especially true if you’re new to writing tenders and/or if your business doesn’t have manpower dedicated to tender writing.
If you find yourself having trouble writing tenders, it’s a good idea to participate in tender writing courses. It can help you understand the three P’s—positioning, planning, and preparing—as well as what to include and how to structure your tenders properly. You’ll also learn techniques on how to review your tenders to minimise revisions or reworks.
For those who already know how to write tenders, consider enrolling in advanced training, where you can learn more strategic ways to respond to RFTs.
As with almost everything in life and at work, getting good at writing tenders requires careful planning and a systematic process. Don’t worry if you don’t win the contract at your first submission, it will surely provide you with great pointers on what to do or what not to do when you submit your next one. Good luck!