Look for online advice about writing winning tenders and you’ll be stuck for choice. However, so many tricks and tips available can make it difficult to know which ones are winners. Read on for 18 of the best to help you write better, sharper proposals.

  1. Before you even think of beginning your draft, identify 3 or 4 key selling points that set you apart. Think of these as the points you consider vital for the assessment panel to know about your business.
  2. To ensure your writing style is easily understandable, pitch it at a 14-year-old reader. Use simple language and be direct so readers get your message first time.
  3. Avoid lengthy sentences. Keep them short instead. This keeps your writing fresh. (See what we’ve done there?) Wherever possible, do away with conjunctions such as ‘and’ and ‘but’ for maximum conciseness.
  4. Short, 6-line paragraphs – featuring one clear point each – are ideal. TOP TIP: Jot down everything you want to say in any order. Cut and paste the last line to the start of the paragraph, then edit it for better flow.
  5. Banish bland subheadings. Replace ‘About us’ with ‘Use our expertise to save you money’. Instead of ‘Our experience’, try ’30 years of delivering results’. Swap ‘Our team’ for ‘The people who will work with your people’.
  6. Avoid beginning each paragraph with ‘We’ or ‘Our’. Try to include the prospective client’s name as much as possible.
  7. Keep bringing the narrative back to the benefits you can provide for the potential client. For example, ‘The XMD Group will benefit from our…’ or ‘XMD Group staff will experience faster turnaround times using our intuitive ordering system…’. Similarly, frequently use ‘you’ and ‘your’ to keep the focus on the client and their needs.
  8. Use active rather than passive voice to keep assessors engaged and encourage them to read on. ‘Enquiries increased by 28 per cent’ is more interesting than ‘The level of enquiries we received rose by 28 per cent.’
  9. Unless you have clear evidence that some part of your offering really is ‘game changing’, ‘best in class’, ‘cutting edge’ or ‘top of the range’, then these hackneyed phrases will add nothing to your content.
  10. Speaking of evidence, make sure to provide it wherever possible. If you claim your software is ‘award-winning’, which award did it win and when? If you describe your processes as innovative, state how and why they are innovative and how they will benefit the prospective client. For instance, time or cost savings.
  11. Your product or service may be totally new to the prospective client, so describe its features clearly. Delivery in 24 hours, free 3-monthly service calls, annual 1:1 advice meeting – all are excellent features that should be pointed out.
  12. Then, turn each feature a benefit. ‘Delivery in 24 hours so your customers can enjoy their new appliance sooner.’ ‘Free 3-monthly service calls will keep the XMD Group’s plant in top condition and reduce maintenance call-outs.’
  13. Make sure to answer every question in the RFT. Responses such as ‘Not applicable’ or ‘See question 8 response’ are not acceptable. Always provide a response even if it seems very much like one you’ve already supplied.
  14. When your draft is complete, prune it back by getting rid of words and phrases that are surplus to requirements. Replace ‘In order to’ with ‘To’. Swap ‘At this point in time’ for ‘Now’. Change ‘Came at a time when’ to ‘When’.
  15. Keep tender assessors’ attention by using graphics, photographs, tables, flow charts, and diagrams to illustrate your key points. Don’t forget to use captions.
  16. Use spell check by all means, but not as a substitute for proofreading your tenders. Spell check won’t pick up words that are spelled correctly but are the wrong word, for example. The statement, ‘Sails increased by 20 per cent’ won’t help your case.
  17. If you’re using content from other tenders then be sure to tweak it so that it is accurate for the current tender response. Always, always check that the name of the previous potential client has been changed to the current one!
  18. Leave ample time for proofreading. Reading your draft aloud is a great way to find typos and identify sentences that don’t flow well. Ideally, invest in the services of a professional proofreader.

Many of these tender writing tips may sound simple and they are. However, collectively, they’ll help ensure that your proposal is as polished and effective as it can be at positioning your business for tender success.

Get help with tender writing

For help with writing, editing or proofreading your tender, contact Tender Writers today or call us on 0448 566 377 or 02 8036 5532.