What do you do if your client puts your services out to tender?

Even if you’ve been providing the best service in the world at great value for years, sometimes out of the blue a client will decide to put your services out to tender.

This can come as a big shock. If they’re one of your biggest clients, and a significant part of your revenue stream, it can potentially be devasting for business.

In an ideal world,  of course, client would have notified you well in advance. And you’d have had time to ask why. But painful and frustrating as it is, you’ll still need to write a tender response to the request for tender or proposal if you want to continue providing the service.

As the incumbent, you’re in the strongest position to win the new tender. But whilst most incumbents will win a new tender, it’s not always the case. So you’ll need to get cracking. If writing tenders, bids or proposals is not your forte, here’s our expert Tender Writers’ advice on how to win a tender when you’re the incumbent.

Don’t take anything for granted

A survey conducted by the UK based Rebid Centre revealed that complacency is the number one killer when it comes incumbents winning tenders. Putting anything less than 110 per cent effort into the tender could be disasterous. Apply all the focus and energy you would if it was a totally new bid; put together your best team and prepare the best proposal or tender you can. Not only do you owe it to yourself, you owe it to your customer who supported you for so long.

Be honest – it might be painful but identify what you can do better

In your tender response, highlight the wins you’ve achieved for the client during the years of your relationship. Think about your strategy for your tender response. And when writing a tender response, use case studies, an executive summary and great team profiles.

But also have a critical look at the changes you could make going forward. Your customer is looking for even better results from you now, and probably at a lower cost, so let them know what they can expect. Being honest about your performance also sends positive signals about your commitment to the contract. Demonstrate how you’ll add value by using your experience to innovate and put the focus firmly on further improvements.

Know who’ll be assessing the tender responses

Business hierarchies change constantly, so don’t assume that the customer relationships that have helped you deliver the contract to date will be the same ones you need to win the new tender.

Are your current contacts actually involved this time? Are they the decision makers? What influence do they really have? Make it your business to find out exactly who in the organisation is involved in the tender process. Once you know that, do as much as you can to build relationships and find out what the most important aspect of this rebid process is. For example, you may have won the last contract based on cost, but this new tender opportunity may be more focused on innovation. Don’t leave it to the last minute to know where your efforts should lie.

Include lots of evidence in your tender response for what you’ve done well

The tender assessors can only assess your tender based on what they read in your response. Don’t rely on your customer “knowing” what you’ve done or “remembering” how responsive you’ve been, how reliable you are and what great value you offer.

You must assume that your customer will view what you’re offering in your tender as your best, so make sure that it is. You need to provide every possible piece of evidence you have to support your tender response.

Preparing tenders can be challenging at the best of times; preparing fresh tenders for an existing contract even more so. Proof Communications is always here to lend a hand to guide you through the process. Our professional tender writers bring you more than 20 years of experience.

Don’t hesitate to give us a call on 02 9314 7506 or 0411 123 216 or contact us via our form.

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