Sometimes, the mere thought of producing a compelling and professional tender is enough to send you into a fit of resentful stress and perhaps even move you to throw in the towel, call it a day and get a job doing anything else.
You are not alone. Tendering can be a stressful and often confusing process, compounded by the pressure that tenders are vital to securing a pipeline of revenue and ensuring a successful future for your company.
My business, Tender Relief, is specifically designed to help Australian companies submit better tenders. Here, I will share three of the most common concerns tenderers have when responding to a bid.
Perhaps you’ve been asked to talk about a policy or procedure your organisation doesn’t have, or maybe you need to comment on an initiative you don’t do or provide a qualification that you don’t hold. Take a breath. This is normal. You are not expected to have the world’s most compelling
answer for every single question. But there is a right and wrong way to go about answering. Let’sexplore. Instead of panicking and:
1. Honesty: “Although our business has not yet developed this policy; we recognise its relevance both in our industry and within this scope of work...”
Remeber, buyers are savvy, directness and honesty are always best.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking the client for clarification. No, this will not make you look stupid. In fact, in most cases, it is encouraged. Remember, buyers, want your best submission, which cannot happen unless you confidently understand the request.
Now, don’t just jump on the blower – be sure to understand the instructions regarding submitting clarifications. There is usually a portal or specific communication channel you must use. Once you’ve found that, ask away!
Always answer the question in full where it is asked. Always.
Never respond with “Please refer to our answer to question X on page X”. Why? Just as tender responses are not always written by one person, they are equally not always read by one person. This means that your bid could be split up among several people for assessment.
Imagine now you are the reader, and you are asked to refer to the answer to a question that you don’t have. Do you think you might walk dramatically to the coffee machine telling everyone who will listen that you wish bidders would answer each question properly? Probably.
Don’t make it harder for your reader than it already is. Remember, they’re the ones dishing out the work. Tender Relief is a member of the Association of Proposal Management Professionals (APMP), which means our advice is backed by globally recognised best-practice expertise (i.e., we don’t make this stuff up). I hope, having read this, you can go into your next bid response feeling more confident. Perhaps even relieved, if you will.