Tips for Writing a Successful Tender
26th April 2016 | Harold Lewis
“We have worked with many clients to assist them in sourcing and outsourcing many aspects of their of there business”.
“The company’s staff is it’s most valued asset, they are what makes us different, a team of exceptionable people”.
“Our experience comprises of four principle areas of activity”.
These are three statements taken from business websites. What do they have in common? Well, each contains at least one error in the use of English, whether it’s in spelling, grammar, phrasing, punctuation or sentence structure. And each betrays either non-existent or slipshod checking – in short, poor quality control.
Not a great advertisement for any business that works with words! If it cannot get right what it says in its own marketing, how can clients trust it to deliver error-free products for them? You don’t want your potential client to be the first person to spot that you have made an elementary mistake.
When you are preparing material for a tender or indeed any other document intended to convey professional quality, it is essential to check it through carefully (more than once!) and correct any mistakes or faults in the text before it is sent out.
Claiming to be an expert is one thing – proving it convincingly through case studies of your experience is quite another. When you are asked to give examples of contracts you have undertaken, don’t just recite the names of clients, tasks you performed, start and completion dates, contract values and so forth in a dry as dust table. Bring the experience to life. Highlight the demanding or unusual features of the contract, the difference that your services made and your success in helping to meet the customer’s objectives.
Don’t leave customers to draw their own conclusions about the relevance and value of your experience. Make the point yourself, directly and convincingly. What you should be communicating to the customer is ‘We have fulfilled similar requirements for other clients; here is how we helped them resolve similar issues, and this is how our experience can benefit you too.’ And don’t focus solely on the technical content of your experience. The management side of your contract record may be of equal importance to the customer – particularly your ability to deliver results to specification, on time and within budget.
Writing a successful tender is not just a matter of ticking boxes and entering the right numbers. Of course, it’s essential that you demonstrate the scale of your experience and provide evidence of the outcomes that your services have achieved. But most tenders call for statements about, for example, your background, your approach and the policies you apply. The way you structure those statements and the words you use to describe your experience and capability can not only gain vital marks in the scoring process but also determine whether your bid wins or fails.
Replying accurately to each question and giving the client all the information that is asked for are obvious pre-requisites for a competent response. But it is important that what is said is expressed in correct grammatical English and in sentences or bullet points that don’t just make sense but make the sense you want. And to score maximum marks, your answers need to be phrased in ways that communicate clearly the messages the client expects to read, and project emphatically the value that you offer the client. Remember, it isn’t literary or flowery language that your business client wants, just language that is straightforward, clear and to the point. And the skills of a good writer are even more useful if an answer has to be limited to a few hundred words or characters.
If the staff who prepare your tenders are not confident about their ability to write efficiently, consider enlisting the aid of a specialist tender writer who can review the drafts you produce, sort out errors or inconsistencies, and give your bid the impact it needs to deliver the winning punch.