And How to Improve It

You know your reaction when you get a badly written document – your thoughts are negative from the start.

Think really hard about this one.  Show through the presentation of your tender or quotation that you are ahead of the pack.  And your words, fonts, headers and images are confident, show leadership, and inspire confidence.  Leave people feeling inspired.

Your presentation has a role to play.  It is important.  What will your proposal look like, visually that is?  And how will it read.  Does it get your message across?   Does your presentation make it easier to read?  If it is easier to read, then your communication will communicate. 

This is not about a big glossy document.  It is about the ease with which the Assessors can read your response.  If it is difficult for the Assessors to read, they are going to have an increasingly negative mind-set as they review your response.  Put yourself in the Assessor’s shoes.  Make it easy for them.

There is a further factor. Poorly presented tender responses and bids suggest you lack professionalism, raising doubts in the assessor’s minds.  A good presentation will make you look so much more professional

Good presentations reduce the risk in the Assessors mind.  It makes them more comfortable with the response and the ability of the company.

The right information, presented properly:

  • Removes doubts
  • Removes risks
  • Downgrades pricing

Are there other things you might need to do, other than wining and dining the prospect?   Can you make it easier for them to assess what you have presented?

Now there’s a clue – What are you presenting?

Content & presentation belong together

  • Content: obviously very important – your content tells them what they need to know about what makes you the only logical choice
  • Presentation: changes emphasis, determines what is read & when, highlights key messages
  • Balance: content and presentation of key messages and technical detail must be considered together

How content is presented can influence key take-away messages

  • Grab their Attention!.  Your proposal needs to capture the prospect's attention
  • Visual presentation is important, as is how will it read.

If the way your industry does things is a simple “price, quality, delivery” quotation here is your chance to make yourself different, and stand out. 

Four Aspects of a Good Presentation

1.    Clear writing
2.    Formatting
3.    Writing style
4.    Photos, charts and diagrams

1.    Clear writing

The quality of writing makes a difference. Poor writing may mean that you don’t get your key messages across.

Not everyone can write well.  That is nothing to be ashamed of; we all have different skills.  Don’t be afraid to bring in a good writer if that will make a difference.  I’ve seen in large organisations people whose sole job was to write bids and proposals.  In fact, that ended up as my responsibility in my aerospace industry days, along with the responsibility to negotiate the contracts.

You may know what your mean, but does the reader?  Being able to express yourself clearly and concisely on paper is important.  Writing well is the skill of expressing worthy ideas concisely and clearly on paper

Good writing skills make a real difference.  Tenders should be written in a way that is straight forward, professional and positive.   Present your case in an engaging and compelling way.  And write with the Assessors in mind.

Writing skills are critical in tender writing; contracts are often lost on the basis of poor writing that is unclear, illogical and fails to get across the key messages of the offer being made. 

Keep your writing — not your ideas — simple.  You're often trying to get across complex ideas to your reader.  Don't make his life more difficult by using complex language.

I’ve been involved the judging of our regional business excellence awards and have been struck, yet again, by the way poor skills in writing and presenting their case considerably reduce business’s chances of winning.  Some wonderful businesses have entered with a good story to tell.  But they don’t tell it well.  And they make reading their entries difficult for the judges. 

You might say, “we aren’t entering awards so this is of little interest to me.”  But it should be.

Why, because the same skills needed to write a winning entry are those you need to write winning sales letters, quotations, proposals and tenders.  They are the same skills you need to write content for your website, for your advertisements, for….

More than ever, today small business owners have to write.  And the words you use, and the way you use them, can either attract or repel customers or, for that matter, get your staff offside. 

I’m not concerned about writing grammatically correct sentences, although that does help.  What I am concerned about is writing in a way that communicates, that has an impact, that makes your business stand out, that builds relationships with your customers and your staff.  You need to write in a way that is engaging if you want people to read it.

If they don’t read your advertisement, or your webpage, or your proposal doesn’t capture their attention, customers will be going to your competitor, not you.

Tight copy uses the least number of words to get your idea across. It’s easy to understand.  It’s conversational and natural sounding.  And, it doesn’t contain glitches that make your reader stop, scratch his head, and wonder what you meant.

In short, tight copy is readable.  Readability isn’t the only quality of tight writing, but it’s one of the most crucial.  If your writing isn’t easy to read, it gets tossed. Sorry!

Next week I’ll go onto explore the next three aspects of a Good Presentation

•    Formatting
•    Writing style
•    Photos, charts and diagrams

And how, together, they help turn your tender, quotation or proposal into something almost irresistible.

Could your Tender Presentation Responses be Improved?

There’s nothing like an outside view.  So often we are too close to what we have written to properly assess our response.  The outside view sees what we don't see.

I have an upcoming online course you can do at your own pace - TenderWins, a 4-week intensive course designed to help you win more tenders, without the stress and time issues that currently hold you back!  Presentation is a key element of the course.

If you would like to discuss how this might help you, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  There’s no cost for a consultation.  It is my gift to you.

Or buy "Small Change, Big Result", my manual on how to increase your success rate with proposals and quotations; make a few small changes, and reap the rewards.

© Copyright 2018 Adam Gordon, The Profits Leak Detective 

Add comment


Security code
Refresh

Opt in above and get instant access to our exclusive report including…

Some profit losses are pretty obvious - so you fix them.
BUT, what if you don't know profits are leaking, cash out the door?
Possible leaks could be anywhere.
Are there some clues or symptoms that are tell-tales?

  • Get 21 Questions that help identify tell-tale clues of a profit leak.