Three easy ways to improve your tender

Putting a winning tender together against your competitors requires a lot of work but for simple jobs (perhaps where price is the primary criteria) a few small changes can make your tender stand out and perhaps give you the edge.

1. Use a good photo on the cover

You might think that “a picture tells a thousand words” is a cliché—but in reality it is an understatement. Images send important psychological messages to the readers of a document.

Choose a good image for the cover of your document. The best kind of image is a high quality picture of people providing your service or people using your product. It is worth getting a professional photographer to take a portfolio of photographs (we can recommend several commercial photographers if you need advice).

Authenticity is really important but if you don’t have photos of your own staff you can use stock images from one of the large image libraries (for example: iStock, Shutterstock, Getty Images) or see if you can find something suitable from a free service (for example: Pexels or Pixabay).

Make sure the image sends the right message, for instance, if you are emphasising your organisation’s safety record, images of people wearing correct personal protective equipment (PPE) should be prominent.

2. Make the presentation easy to read

Having a clear and easy to follow document helps the assessors to understand your proposal and makes it easier for them to choose your bid. Plain, simple language is important that addresses the requirements of the client.

If the client is asking you to meet several criteria make sure you have sections that clearly answer these criteria. Use lots of headings and sub-headings with words that help to sell your product or service: for instance, rather than using the heading QUALITY use OUR HIGH QUALITY PRODUCTS; rather than CHEAP PRICE use VALUE FOR MONEY, etcetera.

With lots of headings you should then include a table of contents at the beginning of the document. Even if it is a large document make sure your table of contents is no longer than one page.

3. Make sure your pricing is competitive

One common error in tendering, both by the clients and the respondents, is not asking for, or providing the information that is necessary to compare the different responses. Some clients are naive and do not understand how a service or product is fully priced and they may leave out questions about important aspects of price. Understanding what the client needs is therefore very important.

A pricing strategy is important. If the pricing criteria is to your advantage you submit your price as requested but make sure that you give yourself the options for extras and variations to the offered service. If you know your competitors will quote low because they will make their money from extras and variations you should consider making it clear (without naming names) in your submission that, although your pricing may be higher, it includes services or extras that your competitors may charge separately. It might even be important to draw this to the client’s attention as part of the formal questioning.

So these small things can improve your chances of wining the tender: use a great image on the cover to improve the presentation; make sure the writing is clear and easy to follow; and make sure your pricing is really clear, competitive and transparent.