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Building Tenders: Writing is Key to Success

by Tom Grant on Mar 14, 2013

Building tenders are your "foot in the door" with prospects. A good tender can mean repeat business for years to come. However, getting the first tender put together can be challenging. If you don't make a good impression, it's unlikely that you'll get the job. One of the stumbling blocks for most companies is the writing. Writing doesn't have to be difficult though. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Building Tenders: Writing is Key to Success

Keep It Simple

Companies sometimes become obsessed with creating a complex, and overly elaborate, proposal. Not only is this unnecessary, it could put off prospects. Don't design your tender with the intention of impressing the prospect. Create it to inform. Your tender is the first, and many times the last, thing a client will see before the project starts. Your tender needs to be clear, concise, and give all of the details in a straightforward manner.

It needs to communicate your ideas objectively. In other words, your prospects should be able to look at the tender and have no further questions about what any of the numbers mean, how the work will be done, how the project will be managed, milestones, due dates, billing, and supplementary plans if things go wrong. It should be a self-contained document with no questions left unanswered. You can't do that if you make the proposal too complex - you'll only confuse prospects.

Be Consistent With Formatting

Formatting your document is important. typeface is important. Make sure that you are consistent throughout your entire document. If you use Times New Roman in the beginning of the document, use it throughout. If you use a 12 point size, make sure it doesn't change from page to page.

Decide how you want to align all of your images and keep things flowing naturally. Your prospect shouldn't be confused about the layout of your tender. If he spends more time trying to figure out where everything is, it's entirely likely that he'll pass over your tender altogether. After all, if you're not consistent in your tender, you might not be consistent with the project.

Include a Cover and Content Page

A cover letter details what you think the project should look like when it's finished, how the project will be managed, due dates and milestones, what you will do if there are cost overruns, what you will do if there is a delay or the project can't be completed as promised. It also details important notes, facts, and figures that your prospect needs to be aware of before he sees the tender.

Finally, cover letters make your tender look professional. It's the only chance you get to show off your company's logo, style, and the "feel" of your company.

You should also include a content page. The content page will outline each step in the process and act as an index for the tender. This makes the tender easy to navigate and read. It also organises your proposal so that your prospect can go over any given section again, if need be, without fumbling through the tender.

Number Pages

Page numbers are a bit of common sense. It helps with organisation of the document, and allows prospects to easy flip to the section of the document they are looking for. Prospects can also reference specific page numbers in the unlikely event that they do not understand something in your tender or want to negotiate a particular detail of the proposal.

Use Bullet Points and Headings

Bullet points and heading keep things neat and organised. They cut down on clutter and help your prospect understand your message in a clear, and concise format. Headings break up long sections of text and provide important reference points for key data and information.

Proofread for Spelling, Grammatical and Factual Errors

Do not, under any circumstance, hand in a tender with spelling, grammatical, or factual errors. This is the easiest way to lose credibility with a prospect. Hire someone to proofread the tender, have it edited several times before submission, and look over the tender yourself before you hand it over to a prospect.


John Darling is a construction contractor and avid blogger. He especially enjoys sharing his expertise on building tenders. Visit the link to learn more about building tenders from Glenigan.



Tom Grant

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