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How to tender for government contracts part 2: tendering 101

In my last blog, I looked at how to get tender ready, to ensure you bid for the right contracts. In this blog, I’ll focus more closely on the tendering process itself and how you can begin to put a bid together.

My previous blog warned against spending time and effort putting a bid together if the contract is not right for you.

In this piece, I want to highlight some of the risks to look out for when you start planning your bid, focusing on three specific focus areas, to support you in your next bid submission.

1. Understand the requirement

Firstly, take the time to really make sure you understand the requirement. The buyer wants to buy something specific – ensure you understand that and sell it to the buyer.

Don’t try and sell them something that they don’t want to buy. Make sure what you are doing is what they want you to do.

2. Make sure you answer the question you have been set

This is probably the biggest point. Whenever you are tendering, whatever you do, make sure you answer the question.

I know that sounds really obvious, but when a question is asked, you need to specifically answer that question, don’t just add things that you want to say – the buyer knows what they are looking for.

  • If you answer the question, you are already halfway there.
  • If the question asks how you do something, say how you do it.
  • If they ask you who does something, say who does it.
  • If a question asks when you are going to do it, say when you will do it.

Don’t go off on a tangent, tenders are scored on a fixed mark scheme and you get scored on your answers to the questions asked, markers are not interested in what you think you want to say.

3. Remember, it is a human that’s marking your questions, so treat them like one

Finally, any tender is marked by a human, not a machine, so you need to think about the person who is marking your tender and make it easy to read.

As usual, language is important, so make it easy for everyone to understand.

Are you using acronyms that nobody has heard of? Are you using obscure English?

If you are, you already have a big problem; it turns people off.

You have to remember that the person marking your bid may not be an expert in that sector. They may be from the procurement team and have a crib sheet around what they need to see and look for.

If you make their job hard for them, you are not going to win. The person who makes it easiest for them and simply answers the questions, is always going to be the winner.

For more guidance, watch our recent webinar – Tendering 101.

In my final blog, I’ll focus on improving tender success.

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