Sing from the Assessor’s Song Sheet
In Part 1 we looked at the building blocks for a successful tender response, and how you might use them. A key point was not to leave preparation for a successful tender response until the last minute, but to have all the data, information you need available to minimise the stress and time in preparing a persuasive and compelling response. It requires developing a database of files, images, case studies, CVs etc. you can draw upon when required.
It is how you use and present that information that makes all the difference.
As I mentioned: “Tenders take time, and effort.” If you have to put a lot of both into your response, you will put yourself under pressure. And you know what happens then; mistakes, typos, forgetting to add final details, not enough time to review and edit.
A poorly thought-through and presented response can do you damage and tarnish your reputation in the marketplace.”
I started with the Executive Summary, that critical document at the front of your response which compels the Assessor to want to read more – put a mental tick, not a mental cross in their mind from the start.
Now let’s move on to the other elements.
There’s not much you can do with the next, except make a mistake. Somewhere in the RFT you will be asked for details about your business, that you are who you say you are, and can be checked upon.
Tenderer Details – Legal entity name, ABN, addresses, contact details etc.
Declaration by Tenderer – received any addenda, agree to Conditions of Contract, Business Status (not bankrupt etc.), validity period etc,
I’ll leave that up to you. Just make sure it is error free. Errors suggest possible objections. They may only be a typo, but you don’t want to raise doubts.
Price/Schedule of Rates
This is not about your price, but how you present it. My message is that having great technical skills is not enough to win such contracts. Nor is discounting. Price is but one factor, and rarely the most important. You need to be able to draft persuasive and compelling responses that demonstrate you are the only logical choice for the contract.
Please do not do what one coaching client did; decide that the pricing format the agency asked for “was not how they did their pricing”! That is lead balloon stuff. If that is the way the prospective client wants the pricing information presented, give it to them in their format. Make it easy for them.
Don’t make life difficult for the Assessors by making it hard for them to compare prices. When quoting, price is not the only thing.
Because you must write to reassure and persuade, bid preparation, tender response, call it what you will, is more than just compliance. Your ability to write effective tenders and proposals is an essential business skill. Despite this, and probably because most businesses, like yours, are built on the technical skills of their owners, it is uncommon.
But you must still comply. Depending on the requirement, that may include certifications in Quality, Work Health & Safety, Diversity, and so on. They may want to see that you have them.
You must check the compliance requirements – if you don’t tick these boxes, then all your persuasive responses will go to waste.
Add to these the “Nice to Have” elements which reinforce the persuasive elements of your response.
Now you have to persuade them why the Contract should be awarded to you!
You demonstrate that you have the capacity and capability to deliver in responding to the Assessment Criteria. Draft a response drawing on your past performance to support your claims. Show where you have undertaken similar jobs, and the testimonials that you have received in doing so.
Case studies, testimonials, images all help add credibility to your claims. They validate your Value Proposition. What makes you different from your competition
It is about removing any objections to you being the “only logical choice”. You must demonstrate, not just claim, that you have the ability, capability, capacity, and systems to deliver. And in doing so, remove any doubts.
The Role of Presentation
What I have learnt over many years of both writing tenders and coaching is the importance of presentation.
Your presentation has a role to play. What will your proposal look like, visually that is? And how will it read? Does it get your message across? Does your presentation make it easier to read? If it is easier to read, then your communication will communicate.
You want a stand-out presentation, one that will not have the Assessor’s eyes glazing over. It reduces risk in the Assessors’ minds, makes you look professional, and reduces the emphasis on price.
Don’t forget the role of images to demonstrate – “show”, not just ”tell”.
If you would like to read more on this go to:
There’s One Final Step
As I mentioned above, not having time to edit and review leads to mistakes which could cause you to lose the tender, or cost you money if you win it. The problem is we tend to read what we expect to see, so take a break, if you have time, before your read and review, and sign off for submission.
Or get someone not involved in the preparation of the response to review and check.
Could your Tender Response be Improved?
There’s nothing like an outside view, a second opinion. Very often when we read something we’ve written, we read what we expect to see. And miss the mistakes, or lack of logic, or lack of persuasiveness.
© Copyright 2019 Adam Gordon,
6 December, 2019