You’ve probably heard Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity: “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
If you ever have to write tenders, bids or proposals, you’ll know these words are particularly apt; it’s extremely frustrating to submit one after another without success.
One of the reasons for lack of success is the poor quality of tender submissions. Often, when I see tenders that businesses have submitted in the past, it doesn’t surprise me that they’ve been struggling to get more wins on the board.
So, what are the biggest weaknesses in tenders, and what can you do to improve your tenders or proposals without having to call in an expert?
Here are my top recommendations:
Make a clear offer.
Before you start writing, think about the strategy for your tender response. What is the prospect looking for? How does your service meet those needs? What are the 3-4 key benefits or offers you can make to this particular prospect?
Your offer will differ from prospect to prospect, depending on what they are seeking, their needs, their industry or market, and your relationship with them to date. Even if you only take five minutes to think about your response strategy, you’ll find that being clear about what you are offering makes your tender easier to write.
Remember who you’re tendering to.
When I read clients’ previous tenders, I often have no idea who they were tendering to. There’s no use of the prospect’s name. There’s nothing about the prospect’s needs or business. Yet, it’s important to make a connection with your prospect. Use their name, discuss what you understand to be their needs, remind them of what they told you when you met, and use ‘you’, ‘your’, ‘us’ and ‘we’. Making these small changes will help to show that you have thought about your prospect’s needs.
Tweak and tailor your content.
Much tender content is cut and pasted from previous tenders or other marketing documents. While this is a great time saver, you need to tailor all content to your prospect, including copy you’ve pasted from elsewhere. Tailoring your content shows you have considered the prospect’s needs and how your services will fulfil these needs.
Make it all about them.
Many tenders are all ‘me, me, me’. The purpose of a tender is different to that of a brochure or a website. Tenders and proposals are documents that are solely addressed to one prospect. Hence, their focus needs to be on the prospect. Make it about them, not you. Open your sentences with the prospect’s name, use ‘you’, ‘your’, ‘us’, and ‘we’ and explain how they will benefit by using your service or solution.
Keep it simple:
When writing your tender, keep your language simple and straightforward. Clearly state what the prospect has to gain by selecting your business. And repeat this throughout your tender. Answer the questions by setting out the benefits of your solution or service. Cut out superfluous words and make sure someone proofreads it for you before you submit it.
If you would like help writing, editing or proofreading your Tenders or business documents, head to the contact page or call Rosemary Gillespie direct on 02 8036 5532 or 0411 123 216.
Or watch our short video Tips for Winning a Proposal or Tender