Over the past 20 years, Proof Communications has helped hundreds of businesses pitch for and win millions of dollars in new business. And while much has changed over the last two decades, the fundamentals of tender writing success have not. Here are 10 ways to write a better tender:
1. Be careful to answer the questions
Sounds obvious, right? But you’d be surprised at how many people don’t do it. Many tenderers fail to do this and wonder why they are never shortlisted or selected.
2. Keep to the point
The procurement team assessing your tender will certainly be reading more than one tender or proposal, possibly hundreds. Yours will stand out if the procurement team doesn’t have to read through lots of long-winded waffle. So cut it out. For example:
In order to… instead use…To A wide range of… instead use… Many For the reason that… instead use…Because, Since For the purpose of… instead use…To
3. Stay active
Use active voice to be more succinct and direct. In the active voice, the voice of a verb tells us whether the subject is doing the action (active) or whether something is being done to it (passive). For example:
Active: We are submitting our tender. Rosemary is writing about tendering. Passive: This tender is being submitted by… This article about tendering was written by Rosemary.
4. Speak directly
Keep the focus on the organisation to which you are tendering, if you want your tender to attract attention. Begin as many paragraphs as possible with their name, and use ‘you’ and ‘your’ to personalise your tender.
5. What are the benefits?
Essentially, all that the organisation that’s issued the RFT really wants to know is what they will gain by selecting you – so tell them. Highlight how your skills, knowledge or experience or what you propose will benefit them. Every time you make a statement about your business or its service or products, put yourself in your prospect’s shoes and ask yourself, “How will I benefit from this?”
6. Use evidence
Use evidence to prove your claims about your company. Use quotes from the media or happy clients, or award wins or good survey results to back up what you say. Avoid claims such as “we are the leading/fastest/best value provider of…” unless you have hard evidence to prove it.
7. Present case studies
Give short, punchy examples of how your company makes a difference to its clients. Mini case studies are a great way to make an impact. Provide specific, factual evidence (or even testimonials) showing how you have helped a client to save time or money, or how you devised an innovative solution to a client’s problem.
8. Use some simple graphic design
Tenders that are well laid out are visually appealing and easy to read. Use headings, sub-headings, photos, diagrams, graphics and white space. If you are tendering for project work, include a timetable or a project management plan.
9. Remind them of what you’ve delivered
If your tender or proposal is to an existing client, remind them how much you have achieved together so far, all the problems you have resolved, or the extra value you’ve given. Describe the benefits of continuing to use your service or product (e.g. they will avoid upheaval, or they will continue to benefit from your intimate knowledge of their business).
10. Make no mistakes
Find a colleague, or pay a professional, to proofread your final draft. While a word-perfect tender won’t win you points alone, one with typos could cost you. Check every word. And while you’re at it, check you’ve met all the requirements for lodgement and attachments.
If you would like help writing, editing or proofreading your tenders, proposals or business documents, head to the contact page or call Rosemary Gillespie direct on 02 8036 5532 or 0411 123 216