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Tender Series – Three Tender Writing Pitfalls to Avoid

Business, Tender Writing

Bidding for tenders can be a tough gig. This is why we’re sharing our top three tender writing pitfalls to avoid for a successful bid.

To get across the line, you need to be able to write a tender that stands out from your competitors. We’re not just talking about addressing the selection criteria here (that’s obvious).

First, imagine yourself as an assessor – having to read through numerous applications, one after another…after another. Not an enviable task! So, in addition to what you say, how you say it and present it is also critical.

Pitfall #1: Substandard or Generic Presentation

Kicking off with Tender Writing Pitfall #1 is substandard or generic presentation. If you’re required to use a specific template for your tender bid, make sure that you’ve met all of its requirements (word limits, file formats etc.). However, if this isn’t a requirement, take advantage of the opportunity and make your presentation count. Avoid making the mistake of presenting your bid in a certain way because that’s how you’ve always done it. Remember, you only get one chance to make a good impression.

Instead, establish a branded template that you can use and populate each time you bid. Include quality photos that showcase what you offer (resources, specialised equipment, facilities, etc.). Doing this will allow you to present yourself in a way that reflects a high level of professionalism and expertise.

Pitfall #2: Poor Readability

Tender Writing Pitfall # 2 is poor readability. This is one you really want to avoid. As an assessor, if you’ve got a stack of applications to review, the last thing you want to be faced with is a wall of text and distracting formatting. Your tender submission needs to be a concise and easy read for the assessor. So keep it brief and simple.

To do this, structure your text under headings and make them clear. Avoid long, wordy paragraphs and technical vocabulary and acronyms that aren’t explained. A tender might be a formal document, but you don’t need to use dry formal language. Instead, write your tender using conversation style (think blog but not informal) and try using bullet points where possible (less is more).

Pitfall #3: Lack of Alignment

The third common tender writing pitfall is a lack of alignment. Tender writing is all about solving the client’s problem and doing it better than your competitors. So it’s important to identify what is important to the client. You can do this by checking out their Strategic Plan (or any other publicly available documents about their priorities) and their website, and closely reading the tender for clues.

Even better, get to know the client BEFORE the tender is released so you can understand their pain points. Make sure their priorities and values are reflected in your responses so they see that your business closely aligns with what matters to them. Show them that you know exactly how to meet their needs.

For example, don’t just talk about how good your business is. Talk about what you can deliver to your client and how well you’ll deliver it. Also, make sure you provide solid evidence to back up what you’re saying (think case studies, real examples, data or statistics).

As regional development specialists, business success matters to us, particularly if you’re based in or servicing the regions. If you’re interested in chatting about how we can help you achieve a winning tender submission, we’d love to hear from you. Check out our tender writing services or book in for a chat.

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