1. Understand the tenders requirements
Take time to dissect the tender documents, not all tenders are as profitable as they first look. Ensure that you complete a risk and opportunity analysis and have a full understanding of the exposure your company will have. Ensure you understand the potential damages – if they are not clear ask! Make sure your product or service matches the specification set by the client, do not waste your time submitting a bid if you do not meet the basic requirements.
2. Demonstrate capability & capacity
The product or service is of course what you are trying to sell to in your bid but what else can you offer. Every bid has a financial and quality split, you need to ensure you are capitalising on every available quality point. Sell your service as well as your product. What have your team achieved, what unique selling points your team members can bring i.e. qualifications, membership to professional bodies, experience and level of authority. What has your company achieved and what has it given back to the local community, it demonstrates commitment.
3. Understanding the clients vision and aligning your business to support them
Many local authorities have policies they adopt to promote financial, environmental and ethical understanding. Take the time to read these, often you will be asked to agree to commit to them, take the time to tell them what you are going to do to support them. Often you will be doing a lot of it already, it may even give you ideas to improve your business processes. Make sure you reference the clients policies and draw parallels to your processes and give examples of what you have achieved. It is also crucial to share your future plans, what accreditations are you aiming for? What business changes have you got planned.
4. Be clear with your offer
And be specific, the tender should be specific so do the work for the client and pick the best product from your range. Make it clear what product best suits their requirements and why, tell them the product code and sell its features and benefits. Options can of course be offered but must be justified.
5. Spell out whole life savings
Of course the purpose of a tender is to get your product chosen and you don’t want to highlight on-going costs, or do you? The whole life costing is of huge interest if your product costs £1000 to buy but uses £500 of energy per year or needs to be serviced every three months, the procurement team need this information but don’t always ask for it. Be proactive and provide a “typical” whole life costing but always clearly state any assumptions you have made i.e. usage, energy costs etc.
6. Make your product or service stand out
It is never good practice to criticise or comment on competitors’ products and services, however we all know what our businesses are good at and also what our existing clients think we are good at so tell perspective new clients. There is a myth that the procurement teams appraising bids only check that prospective suppliers meet the specification set out and nothing more, this is not the case, we all want the latest technology, best customer service and longest life from our goods. Always think to yourself why am I better than the competition and put it in your submission, if you do something different tell the world. Also think about how to sell these benefits for products use performance statistics, diagrams and installation photos. For service industries use references of other similar clients and testimonials.
Remember the golden rule as obvious as it sounds is to make sure you answer the question being asked first, then try to add information to your answer that sells the unique abilities of your business.