Let’s talk quotes and tenders. If you’re a service provider who regularly has the opportunity to respond to requests for quote and tenders, which describes your approach?

Option A – Mad panic desperately pulling together all the information you need, often ending in a sobbing heap over your keyboard to get it done on time, or just giving up altogether.

Option B – Calmly pulling together your application from a bank of ready-to-go content and adding in details thoughtfully tailored for this particular project, lodged with plenty of time to spare. 

If you’re currently more like Option A but you’d like to be more like Option B, here are some tips for being tender ready, to take you from crazy to calm.

Nail down what you really want to do

You are probably good at a lot of things. But it doesn’t mean you need to do them all. Start focusing on the things you are great at (and hopefully have the best profit margins on). Make a list of the ideal types of projects you want to work on and focus on seeking the opportunity to provide proposals for this type of work. Stop creating proposals for all the random things outside that scope.

That might sound counter-intuitive but by doing less things, you’ll likely win more work (you’ll get to refine your pitch), you’ll make more money (you can do things in a more replicable way, rather than having to design a new way of working every time) and you’ll build your reputation as a specialist in that field. 

Know why you’re different

If you want to win more work, you need to know why you are different and communicate the unique value you offer. And ideally, it’s not price. You want to articulate the difference you’ll make to the client and why you’re a better choice than the opposition.

Create a content bank

If you are starting from scratch every time you respond to an RFQ or tender, you’re doing it wrong. It is almost certain that you can create some content to use for every response, tweaking slightly if required. You can create a content bank that includes:

  • Overview of your business
  • Overview of your team
  • CVs of your team
  • Org Chart
  • Overview of all past projects (we keep a document organised by project type with a paragraph outlining each of these)

Depending on your industry and offering, you might also be able to have a few commonly used methodologies mapped out that you can tweak for the clients’ requirements.

Have your ‘evidence’ on file

If your tenders frequently require you to provide evidence of insurance policies, qualifications of team members, accreditation of your business, internal policies and other ‘proofs’, store electronic copies in a centralised place so you can quickly attach them.

Crunch your numbers

Don’t wait until you’re writing your tender to start working out your pricing. Analyse past projects to understand what it costs you to deliver a project, along with the cost of running your business (and what you want to earn as a director each year) so you can calculate what your pricing should look like. We recommend developing a spreadsheet that you can tweak for each project, allowing you to quickly calculate pricing and explore some variables in how you could deliver the project.

Need help?

We offer tender support services ranging from preparing complete tenders through to helping you feel ‘tender ready’.