Writing Bids

Writing bids

Writing a bid application, tender for work or proposal is time consuming. You need to work as smart as possible to make sure you win as many as you can. Here are some simple tips which will help:

1. Understand and answer the question(s)

This seems obvious, but often people miss this simple point. When writing a tender for a large organisation, it is key to list all the questions in the right order, check that you understand them and then answer them in the right order. Remember that the person reading it needs to understand quickly that you understand what they are looking for and that you can deliver it.

2. Don’t waffle

Your tender is likely to be one of many. Keep it as short and simple as possible. Try using www.hemingwayapp.com (it’s free) to keep anything you write easy to read.

3. Always write using active rather than passive phrases

This helps keep your tender short and to the point and reads much better. For example:

We are submitting our tender.

This tender is being submitted by…

4. Be personal

If you want your tender to attract attention, keep the focus on your prospect. Begin as many paragraphs as possible with their name, and use ‘you’ and ‘your’ to personalise your tender.

5. Explain what is in it for them

All the person reading your document want to know is what you can deliver for them.  Highlight how your skills, knowledge, experience and proposal will benefit their business or organisation. Whenever you explain what you will do, ask yourself the question “Is it clear what is in it for them?”

6. Provide proof

Only make a claim when you have hard evidence to prove it. Use things such as case studies, testimonials or awards as proof.

7. Paint a picture

Provide examples of how and when you have made a difference to your customers. Case studies should include factual evidence showing how you delivered a similar solution to that which the tender is looking for.

8. Spend time to make it visually attractive and easy to read

Use headings, sub-headings, photos, diagrams, graphics and white space. If project work is required, include a timetable or a project management plan.

9. Remind them of what you have achieved together if you have worked with them before

If your tender or proposal is to an existing or former customer, remind them of achievements, problems solved and the impact of your previous work. Explain how they will benefit from using you as you already know how they work, and any issues they still have.

10. Ask somebody else to check it

Find a colleague, or pay a professional, to proofread your final draft. Any spelling or grammar mistakes can make you look unprofessional. Don’t forget to check that you have answered every question in the right order and met all the requirements (including attachments).