Do Tenders or Quotations form an Important or perhaps a Major Part of Your Income?

If so, do you measure the number of tenders and quotations you submit, and the proportion that you win.  Both figures are important Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) of your future cash flow.

Changes in the number of tenders or quotes you have the opportunity to submit may indicate changes in your market place.  If they start to trend down – why, what is happening out there?  Have you earned some black-marks, or is the market turning down?

Do you target to win a certain percentage of tenders and quotes you submit – 10%, 20%, 33%, 50%?  What proportion do you actually win, and what is the trend?  If you are not winning “your share” is it because the competition is getting stronger, or are you doing something not quite right?

Whatever the reason, improving your tendering or quotation writing skills can significantly improve your business results.

There is money in tenders.  The NSW Government alone spends $12.7 billion annually procuring goods and services.  At the other end of the scale the NT Government is the major buyer in the Northern Territory, procuring over $800 million in goods and services each year.  NT Research found that whilst the tender process for goods and services under $50,000 represented just 2% of the total value of tenders awarded, they comprised 47% of the total volume of tenders.

Tender writing can seem an unenjoyable, difficult and resource-consuming task 

How do you respond to all the requirements?  How do you answer the criteria?  How do you layout and format the response?  How do you clearly show, on paper, why you are the only logical choice for the contract?  And how do you do all this on top of your other workload?

Just to avoid rejection in the first cut, a tender must be compliant and answer every single requirement.  To go on to win, it must also be competitive and persuasive - it must show, clearly and persuasively, your difference, why you rather than the competition should get the contract.  And the margin between winning and losing is very often only a few points.

Successful tendering therefore demands an unusual combination of:

  • Knowledge of your business, industry and services – you should have this
  • Sales & Marketing skills – smaller businesses tend to lack these
  • Rigorous analysis of the requirement – do you do this, or do you just jump in?
  • Attention to detail – many skip the details because they are ‘too hard’, or they just don’t see them.
  • Experience in the tendering/proposal process – Catch 22
  • Sales writing skills – again – smaller businesses tend to lack these, concentrating on their technical skills

Successful tender writing isn’t simply about answering the questions, providing a technical description and putting in a price.  Success comes from understanding the tendering process, careful planning and preparation, differentiating yourself from the competition, and putting in a professional sales document.  This may involve:

  • Writing or pulling together the tender or proposal
  • Developing company profiles and other supporting documentation
  • Establishing procedures, templates etc. to assist future tender preparation
  • Improving your tendering processes and materials, for future success
  • Bringing an outside or strategic view, identifying the key factors required to win, and strengthening the projection of your differentiation and competitive strengths in the bid
  • Developing a value proposition relating to the requirement
  • Developing processes to identify and pursue key tendering opportunities, including those not advertised.


You need to avoid a situation whereby your final proposal is bidder-centric.  In other words, you have placed your solution at the heart of the bid.  From the client’s perspective, these bids tend to come across as ME-ME-ME.

A more successful approach is to place the client ‘smack dab in the middle’ of your response.  Everything has to revolve around their needs, which, of course, is the way it should be.

Client-centric proposals make the client feel that the tender is written for them in person; not written down at them.

Successful proposals place the emphasis on the client’s needs rather than on your abilities, technology, or experience, regardless of their technical merit.

Novice proposal writers tend to hype their own products/services and relegate the client’s needs to second place.

You Can Win More!

Responding to tenders need not be a complex, stressful burden, nor costly and demanding.   

I’ve been running workshops and coaching businesses for many years on helping them improve their tender submissions.   There are a number of testimonials on my website supporting the success I have had (

I’m developing an online course (TenderWins) to help businesses improve their success in tendering to governments and reduce the stress and time in preparing government tenders.

You will understand how to prepare for, analyse and persuasively respond to tender requirements.  Winning more tenders will take the stress out of your life.

If your wish is to have the skills and systems to consistently write persuasive and successful government tenders without stress and late nights that win a high proportion of the tenders you submit This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

© Copyright 2018 Adam Gordon, The Profits Leak Detective

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