First impressions are everything in all aspects of life from interviews to buying a house.
If you were in the middle of recruiting a new employee and they turned up to the interview with ripped jeans and a stained t-shirt or just poorly prepared for the interview. What would be your first impression? I’d assume, not great! If you were to compare them to the well presented and prepared candidates you’d interviewed so far if would probably be difficult to not put this person at the bottom of your list. Which leaves them to spend the entire interview trying to make up lost ground.
Similarly, if you’re looking to win new business, a poorly written and presented bid won’t get you very far through the process, no matter how well qualified or experienced your Company. The end client will probably be left feeling underwhelmed on the effort and consideration that has gone into your submission.
Successful tender and bid writing is a key factor in winning new business for all sizes of company.
Your writing skills need to match those of your delivery skills. Your document won’t get past the starting post if it’s untidy, poorly structured, contains spelling mistakes, grammatical errors or simply doesn’t meet the brief. In the worst case scenario, a misplaced typo that changes the meaning of a sentence or compliance response could be the difference between pass/fail.
A well written persuasive tender is all about selling, it acts as another member of your team to show off your business and what it can offer. Your tender submission is the only sales tool present when the buyers are behind closed doors making their assessment and decision It needs to do the persuading on its own.
Keep it clear and persuasive
When writing persuasively you need to know your objectives. What is it that you can offer the client? What do they need and how can you best provide it? Keep it positive, provide plenty of relevant examples/evidence and focus on a win-win scenario for you and the client.
Always plan the structure – include the beginning, middle and end with section headings to highlight the important points.
Tailor the bid to the client – they want to know you understand the brief and can deliver what they need. Generic responses show a lack of engagement – if you’re churning out ‘one size fits all’ answers, it will show.
Write simply. I don’t mean ‘We can build your house’. But plain English always works. Remember that your audience may not be native English speakers and, even if they are, they don’t want to wade through pages of complex and flowery sentences that belong in the Victorian era.
Grammar is everything.
Also, be aware of basic grammar, style and spelling errors which flag up a poorly written bid. One example is starting a sentence with ‘there is’ or ‘there are’. Try rewording the sentence to start with a verb or ‘I’ or ‘you’, otherwise it sounds lazy. Restructuring to include a verb gives the sentence a bit more of a punch. For example:
“There are 12 bricklayers who can do the job now.”
“We have twelve qualified bricklayers who are available immediately to complete works.”
Be careful with commonly misspelled words, such as ‘except’ v ‘accept’. It can change the meaning of a sentence completely if used incorrectly. For example:
“We currently except all forms of payment.”
That’s not very helpful for the client as you’ve just told them that you don’t take payment. Your accounts department won’t thank you for it either. The correct word in this case is ‘accept’.
Work to your strengths.
If you’re highly skilled in your trade and you have an expert team behind you for delivery, the only hurdle you may face is writing the submission. If you know your writing is less than perfect and you’d much rather be out there doing the job, this is where bid support companies come into their own.
Bid writing companies know the ropes. They can write. They can format the application in the prescribed style for the client and they know how to sell your company. If writing a document evidencing your company’s skills fills you with dread then leave it to us as external specialist Bid Writers.
If you feel confident enough to write a bid yourself, keep in mind the points we’ve mentioned above and good luck!