Do you make these tender writing mistakes?

If you’re a rookie when it comes to tender writing, there are some common traps that a novice tender writer can easily fall into, especially when responding to government tenders.

As professional tender writers, here’s our advice on how to avoid the most common tender writing mistakes.

Answer the tender questions using factual, focused responses

Don’t waffle on. Keep to the point. Use examples to back up your points.

Keep your examples relevant

Use examples in your tender that are relevant to the service or product you are tendering to provide.

Write in complete sentences but don’t waffle on

Use complete sentences when tender writing but don’t go on and on. Keep your paragraphs short.

Don’t assume that the procurement team knows who you are

Even if you’ve worked for years with the organisations that’s issued the request for tender (RFT) or request for proposal (RFP), don’t assume that the procurement team knows your business and relationship with their organisation. Write your tender as if they’ve never heard of you.

If you make any assumptions, set them out and explain why you’ve made them

If, for example, the pricing in your tender response is based on some factors that you’ve had to assume, make sure you set these out.

Ask questions of the procurement team

Don’t be shy about seeking clarifications or asking other questions of the procurement team. Their responses may help your tender writing.

Focus on your organisation’s strengths, not the weaknesses of your competitors

When writing a tender, keep to positive points about your organisation’s abilities (capacity, capability, experience), not the weaknesses of your competitors.

Be consistent – use the same names and terms throughout

When referring to your organisation’s name, job titles, roles, programs, initiatives and so on, make sure you use the same names for each throughout your tender response. Don’t switch names half way through tender writing. A good tender writer will ensure that all terms and names are consistent. For example, if your company name is Best Ever Tender Writers, and that’s how you introduce yourself at the start of your tender response, stick to using the same name throughout. Don’t shorten it to ‘Best Ever’ or ‘Tender Writers’.

Be careful when cutting and pasting

It’s a good idea to cut and paste relevant content from previous tenders and proposals to save time. Bear in mind, however, that you’ll need to be a copy editor as well as a tender writer. All content copied from other tenders will need to be copy edited to precisely answer the question in your new tender response. But be especially aware of cutting and pasting the name of the previous organisation you tendered to and forgetting to change it in your new tender. The procurement team will think you’re sloppy.

Get your referees’ details right

Lots of tenderers provide the wrong email or phone numbers for their referees. This wastes the procurement team’s time.

Read through the tender before you submit – or even better, have tender writing professionals do it for you

All tenders should be proofread before they are submitted. Typos can cost money. Ask a professional tender writer to read it for you to give you feedback on the tender response and to make sure that there are no typos or inconsistencies. If you use a professional tender writer to review your tender, you’ll have the assurance of knowing that your tender response is tip-top. Proof Communications can help you with this.

Submit your best offer

Most tenders, especially government tenders, do not go through a clarification or negotiation stage. Don’t expect procurement to come back to you with questions. Therefore, submit your best and final offer in your tender response.

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