How to write winning tenders – 18 quick tips from our expert tender writers

There are lots of techniques and advice online about writing winning tenders, including government tenders. But it can be overwhelming to keep on top of all the tender-winning tricks available.

To make it easier for you to apply real-life advice to your tender writing, our expert tender writers have put together this list of 18 quick ways to write winning tenders. Their advice is drawn from our two decades’ experience of tender writing. It brings together simple tips that will help you when it comes to writing better tenders including writing successful government tenders.

  1. Have 3-4 key selling points in mind before you start writing. These are the key points you want the organisation assessing your tender to know about how your business will benefit them.
  2. Imagine you are writing for a 14-year old. Be straightforward. Use simple language. Your readers will appreciate it and they’ll grasp your messages more quickly.
  3. Keep your sentences short. This keeps your writing snappy. Being concise and to the point is a gift to your readers. One way to do this is to delete the conjunctions ‘and’ and ‘but’ and use a full stop instead.
  4. Write short paragraphs, up to 6 lines maximum. Make one clear point in each para. If you’re not sure how to do it, write down what you want to say in any order. Take the last line and cut and paste it to the start of the paragraph. Finally, edit the paragraph so that it flows and makes sense.
  5. Use subheadings that that focus on the outcome or benefit for your prospective client or customer. For example, instead of a subheading that says ‘About Us’, try: ‘How our team’s expertise will save you money’ (or whatever the benefit of your team’s expertise). Or instead of ‘Our Experience’, how about: ‘Experience that delivers real results’.
  6. Don’t start every paragraph with the words ‘We’ and ‘Our’. Focus on the prospective client or customer by using their name as much as possible.
  7. Focus on the prospective by using ‘you’ and ‘your’ as much as possible. For example, ‘You will experience’, ‘You will benefit from’, ‘You will receive’.
  8. Use active voice: ‘Julie wrote the tender’. This is more direct than passive voice: ‘The tender was written by Julie’.
  9. Avoid vague cliches and waffle such as ‘best of breed’, ‘best in class’, ‘cutting edge’, ‘disruptive’, ‘leading’, ‘game changing’. These are overused and fail to add clarity to business content.
  10. Give evidence or proof for any claims that you make. For instance, if you say that your company is ‘innovative’, explain how – what have you done that is innovative? Why would this interest your prospect? Can you give measurable results for the innovation? Such as, for example, that it reduces costs by 10%? Or that it speeds the manufacturing process by two days?
  11. Describe the features that your product or service delivers. These are the facts about your service, product or delivery. For example, a feature could be that you deliver in 24 hours or less.
  12. Describe the benefits offered by each feature. If you promise to deliver your product or service in 24 hours or less, what is the benefit of this to your client or customer? Is the benefit that your client can in turn can get their product or service to market more quickly?
  13. Answer every question in the request for tender, even if you feel that you are repeating yourself. Never use ‘Not Applicable’ – explain why the question is not applicable to your business. And never say: ‘See response to question x above/below’. Always provide a response even if it is similar to another response.
  14. Keep to the point. Edit ruthlessly. Delete superfluous words. For example, ‘only unique, or ‘in order to’.
  15. Include graphics to illustrate your key points. These are photographs, tables, flow charts, bar charts and diagrams.
  16. Use spell check (but bear in mind that it won’t pick up words that are typed correctly but that used incorrectly – unclear / nuclear, for instance).
  17. Feel free to copy and paste content from previous tenders or other documents. But don’t forget to change the name of the previous prospect and to edit the content to make sure it precisely answers the questions in the current request for tender.
  18. Proofread your tender like a pro. Read your draft tender aloud before you submit it. You’ll find typos more easily and sentences that are jerky or that don’t make sense.

These tender writing tips are all super quick and easy to implement. They’re all put together by our experienced tender writers. With more than 1,145 tenders behind us, we know what works.

If you need help with writing tenders, contact us today. Our tender writers will be pleased to help in any way we can.

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