BD tips and insights

Will your tender end up in the “too long; didn’t read” pile?

December 9, 2015 | Posted in: Win Tenders Bids Proposals | Tags:

Will evaluators react to your tender, bid or proposal with TL;DR (too long; didn’t read)?

In competitive bid processes, evaluators usually have scores of submissions to wade through.  Requests increasingly insist on brevity in responses, often setting word or page limits and other restrictive formats.

Your tender responses are not the place for long and rambling walls of text.  Nor are they place to editorialise about the ins and outs of the law or tax regulations.

In a panic, it’s all too easy to fall into the trap of recycling dull or irrelevant material to make your case for appointment, especially if you are not properly prepared.  But it’s specifics that sell, and in a tender, you must focus your writing.

J Peterman: Untamed print ad

Click image to enlarge. Source:

J Peterman is a real company in the United States (much mocked in the television series Seinfeld), which uses long,  outlandish stories to sell expensive clothes and accessories.  Whilst it may work for J Peterman to inspire their consumers to buy, digressive prose is not appropriate for tender responses.  Keep on point.

As I have said before, general “me too” claims of being “experienced, full-service, cost-effective, client-focused” (i.e. just like every other contender) are not only ineffective, but also boring to read.  Combined with a lack of clarity of expression, you inadvertently put up a barrier between you and the evaluator (and your prospective client).  If you make readers work too hard to figure out what you’re trying to say, they probably won’t bother to work out what you’re trying to tell them.

Make  your tender responses on point, with every sentence progressing your case, not digressing like a too-long J Peterman.

Relevant and resonant tender writing is our specialty.  If your writing would benefit from a fresh perspective, please email me or contact us.

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Tender readability – tips to improve your tender presentation and some tender presentation no-nos

Tender readability – tips to improve your tender presentation and some tender presentation no-nos

Tender readability remains a problem for some in the 21st century. I still see submission documents that cling to a handful of really old hat tender presentation and formatting techniques. I suspect this is because some of these ‘rules’ are viewed as being more appropriate to a ‘formal’ style of document such as a tender. […]