Blog hero - Writing a good tender response
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How to Write a Tender Response Well

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How to Write a Tender Response Well

How do you write a tender response that will win you that contract? Read this simple and effective advice and respond to tenders with confidence.

Why Are You Tendering?
You should have two primary reasons for this. The first will satisfy the buyer and the second will satisfy you:
  • You want to help the buyer. They have a problem that you can solve by offering your service.
  • You want to pay your bills. You work hard to make sure your service is good and worthy of the cost for that business.

If you're simply chasing money, you won't get the message across that you are genuinely wanting to help by stepping up for the job. So as important as getting paid is, don't let it cloud the desire to help someone else. Your secondary reasons for tendering are important, however, having your primary focus as wanting to HELP someone is where you want to keep coming back to. This will inform the tone of your tender response and that message will come across to the buyer.

Can You Do This Job?
Download and read the tender document carefully.
  • Can you do what is being asked in the time frame required?
  • Have you registered on time?
  • Have you read the terms and conditions?
  • Do you understand all of the selection criteria?
  • Are there issues with location, technology or logistics that will hamper how well you can do the job?
  • Have you researched the buyer to discover aspects about them that will attract them specifically to your organisation?
  • Are there tender briefing sessions to attend?

Answer All The Questions
The selection criteria is the part of the tender document that asks you about your ability to do the job advertised. It is the most important part of your tender response. Answer every part and review it carefully. Don't add extra information that has not been asked for in the selection criteria. If you do feel the need to provide additional information such as a company brochure add this information as an appendix.

Read each question carefully and work out exactly what information is being asked for.

  • Don't include anything that hasn't been specifically asked for...
  • Unless you can see that the outcome of the project would be greatly improved if a certain service was included. In this case, first offer what is being asked for, then add the solution that will make the outcome better with the extra cost for that particular service.
  • Do include a response for everything that has been asked for; if you're not certain get advice from the buyer or someone else.

Be Succinct
Write in plain English and don't think that using big, clever words will be an advantage. It won't. You are not trying to impress the buyer with your mastery of language, you're trying to get the message across in as plain terms as possible that you have the desire and ability to solve their problem, to do the job they need done.
  • Write in simple and plain English.
  • Don't embellish your responses at all with 'impressive' language. Only add in what has been asked for, eg, testimonials.
  • Don't add photos or graphics unless they have been requested or suggested. Some industries use charts and graphics (such as a pie chart for instance) in all their communications. Only do this if you know it is the best way to answer the question or respond to the selection criteria.
  • If you do want to add information not specifically asked for, do so in an appendix or a separate attached document clearly titled, as suggested above. Keep the response to selection criteria exactly as asked for by the buyer.

Bad Spelling and Grammar Will Work Against You
Don't use poor spelling or grammar. It is a distraction to your message and makes you look sloppy. Always have a second pair of eyes to look over your tender response. Australian Tenders has an in-house writer/editor who can do this (for a fee). Email for a quote.
  • Spell everything correctly.
  • Check your grammar.
  • Use an editor - either someone you know who is good with writing or a professional editing service.

Format Your Response Properly
The golden rule is to use the format that has been supplied if there is one. Otherwise, use their request document as your format guide. Copy and paste the tender request into a new document and place your answers clearly underneath each question/requirement with spaces between questions and answers.
  • Use the format you have been asked to use.
  • Read the parts that specify font, word count etc if there is one. If you can't follow these instructions, the buyer's confidence in your ability to do the job as asked will be low.
  • If no response template document is provided, use a plain font like Arial.

Be Honest and Confidence Will Follow
If you believe you can help the buyer and you have the capability to do so in the time frame they have asked for, just point that out by answering the selection criteria honestly and carefully. Don't lie or exaggerate. It will keep you awake at night.
  • Be clear about what you can do and include referees who can back up your claims.
  • Don't exaggerate as it might affect future tenders you apply for if you are not able to perform as promised.
  • A bad reputation is easier to get than to lose. Be honest and if you need to stretch the truth in order to win the tender, this isn't the tender for you; subscribe to new tender notifications at Australian Tenders and keep looking.

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