Putting together a tender document is tedious and painful and they always seem full of irrelevant details set to catch you out and trip you up. Unfortunately, for many companies that is what happens – get caught out and tripped up. Often it is not the best company who wins and tender but the tender that is completed correctly and ticks all the boxes. Their competitors have been eliminated not by what they can do, or the price but simply by what they didn’t do right.
Here are some tips to follow:
- Read the details of the tender carefully. Not all of us are cut out for this part so if you’re not, get someone who is. As the saying goes, the devil is in the details.
- Research the buyer. Dig into the background to the tender and find out what they’re really wanting. Is your core strength linked to what they really value? If not, it may be best to pass the opportunity now before you commit too much resource
- Follow every instruction. When faced with multiple tenderers the buyers have to reduce the options. Having obvious errors or blanks gives them an easy decision on which to cull first – don’t be that tenderer.
- Provide relevant references. When quoting past experience and references, ensure they are directly related to the tender on hand. Make sure they are genuine and never try to stretch the truth. When the buyer is doing due diligence any ambiguity or dishonesty will immediately call your ethics into question and jeopardise your chances of success.
- Get the price right. For many buyers price is not the most important thing. There are a host of other priorities which will also affect the final decision like delivery, experience, reputation etc. Research from No.2 will stand you in good stead to know where you can confidently pitch.
- Submit a complete tender, on time. If you’re submitting late or having to ask for extensions before the project has even begun, it simply doesn’t give a good impression. Ensure you sign everything and it’s always good to get someone (with an eye for detail) to go over it one final time.
- Request feedback. By asking for this information it shows the buyer that you’re serious about what you do and you’re interested in knowing how you performed. Any information gained will stand you in good stead for future bids and puts you in a strong position next time as understanding what really is important.
So, no rocket science to tender completions – in fact it’s the opposite. Slow and steady is better as this will ensure you get the T’s crossed and I’s dotted. And again, it better to submit 5 amazing tenders that you have a high confidence of winning, than 15 sloppy ones, most of which don’t fit into your area of expertise. Leave those ones and focus on what you can do really well.