Remember, nothing is so complex that it cannot be explained simply
Albert Einstein was spot-on when he said “nothing is so complex that it cannot be explained simply”.
Tenders, bids, proposals, and informal pitches for business are not times to show how clever and capable you are by using legalese (I’m looking at you lawyers), overly technical terms, professional jargon, acronyms and if-you’re-as-clever-as-me-you’ll-be-able-to-digest-this language.
Don’t shroud your good ideas and strong professional credentials when tender writing in a deluge of:
- many words where few would do better
- complex language
- long sentences and paragraphs that stuff in too many ideas at once
- difficult, clumsy and odd constructions that obscure your point
- pompous, old-fashioned expression and anachronisms that alienate rather than convert.
Tell your story simply and succinctly.
Pitch your case plainly through your tender writing.
So your bid will be top of the pile, convey an ease of doing business and communicate strong “buy us” messages when you next propose your services:
- remember that well-chosen metaphors, similes and analogies can be powerful ways to get your story across
- use clear, modern business language and plain English (think ‘use’ rather than the seemingly fancier ‘utilise’)
- well conceived tender writing templates with lots of white space, headings, subheadings, and bullet points will help
- invest in graphics, diagrams, and other visuals if that helps better communicate your message
- choose expression which evaluators will both grasp and warm to reflecting back ‘their’ language and terminology (rather than your own internal language and short hand terms)
- offer examples and case studies which show your expertise at work in relevant and concrete ways
- include hypotheticals or worked models directed to showing how this prospective client will experience your service
- cite referees, references, and testimonials as ‘social proof’ of successes with similar clients which will strike a chord
- show you are forward-thinking and strategically focused by hooking into contemporary management issues, concepts and language (but don’t over do it with ‘trendy’ words)
- distil and articulate the value and benefits you promise – financial and non-financial – through your tender writing which the client will derive by appointing you.
Way back, trainers used to tell salespeople to adopt the “KISS” approach: Keep It Simple Stupid (or perhaps Keep it Short & Simple). The idea around simplifying your tender writing is basically the same as KISS, but Einstein’s more sophisticated framing fits better with selling professional and business services in tenders, bids and proposals.
It’s not so much about ‘dumbing down’ your offer, solution or service, but about being understood – fully and rapidly. By reducing the complicated and complex to the clear, straightforward, and simple, you put a compelling case as a truly client-friendly provider and the ‘right’ choice.
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. […]