Of the thousands of tenders submitted to all levels of Australian government each year, a shocking 60% fail to make the first cut. And the main reason? Non-conformance with specific tender requirements.
Michael Lee, Principal Project Officer with the Queensland Government and Manager of the Industry Development Team can’t stress highly enough the need to respond in the right manner. ‘Golden rule number one,’ he says, ‘is to answer all the questions’.
If you’re the incumbent, be aware that a high number of tenders are immediately disqualified due to blank spaces, unanswered questions and the use of ‘n/a’ as a response, according to Lee. He outlines the following straightforward advice on how to improve your bid:
- If the question doesn’t apply to you, say so. Stating ‘This question doesn’t apply to my business because…’ means you’ve conformed to the requirement to provide an answer. It also gives confidence to the tender assessment team that you have carefully considered each question; always a point in your favour.
- Fill in all forms, noting carefully which sections use the words will, shall and must. There is no wriggle room here; any form or question containing these words needs to be fully addressed. Again, if it doesn’t apply to you, provide a ‘This form does not apply because…’ response to be compliant. Print everything out, highlighting which forms and questions are mandatory to ensure you don’t miss a thing.
- Where possible, provide any additional information which may support your tender. You’ll find scope to do this in any section or question which uses the words should, could or may. It’s how you respond here which just may tip the balance in your favour when all else is equal. Create attachments if necessary.
- Respond in conversational language. Don’t utilise ‘government speak’; your own words are fine. Say what you mean succinctly, don’t use jargon or be overly technical and answer in one or two paragraphs at the most. If your answer is going to go beyond 250 words, consider providing an attachment.
Your response should emphasise your strengths, not criticise your competitors. Doing so is not a good way to market your organisation and reflects badly on your business.
Finally, Lee says it can’t be stressed highly enough that all bids for government tenders must be submitted not a minute later than the specified time and date to avoid automatic rejection. Always make sure you allow ample time for delivery, whether by post, emails or uploads. Many is the bid which never saw the light of day because it was just that tiny bit late. Don’t let yours be one of them!
Check out our short video Tips for Winning a Proposal or Tender