As a tender response writer who has written hundreds of tender submissions, I often see tenders that my clients have prepared for earlier bids that didn't win business. Although there are many factors that are taken into account when appointing the winner bidder (and obviously price plays a very large part in the mix), there are a number of common mistakes I come across when I'm reviewing previous submissions.
If you feel comfortable writing your own tender responses, here's a little advice from my experience:
- Even if you've done loads of work for the tender issuer and they know you really well, don't assume that the tender review panel will take this into consideration when they are evaluating your submission. The members of the review panel may or may not know you, but generally speaking most tenders will point score to evaluate the suitability of your response. In short - write your submission as if your are completely unknown and include detail that substantiates your reputation.
- It's not enough to refer to previous work you've done - in order to truely demonstrate that you're an expert in your field, you need to clearly articulate how you achieved what it was that you did.
- Don't include broad statements that are off the point. Stick to the questions and answer them thoroughly.
- Never cut and paste information from previous tenders or marketing information without checking to confirm it's relevant to the current tender.
- Don't deviate from the response template or response format requested. You might already have a generic tender submission that contains lots of really good information, but if you don't present it in the format requested by the tender issuer, you'll lose valuable points when your submission is evaluated.
- Make sure you fully understand the requirements of the tender. Your submission should demonstrate that you understand the problem and what the tender issuer is trying to achieve. Never submit generic motherhood-type statements that don't show how well you understand what is being asked for.
- Presentation matters - make sure your submission is clearly laid out, use heading and sub-headings, always include a table of contents and add a visually interesting cover page.
- Never submit a tender response with our a cover letter that summarises everything that makes your business the best company for the job.
That's my top 8 tips based on the common mistakes I see small business make time and time again. If you'd like a hand with your tender, I'm here to help - just call Pauline on 0400514579 for a chat, or shoot me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.