Do you ever struggle to get your message across in a way that convinces your potential client to award you the contract? I’ve reviewed loads of unsuccessful submissions and found a common mistake that’s easily corrected!
In my reviews I‘ve found that the responses the bidder made in their bid often ignored the very question that was asked in favour of a question that they preferred to answer. Now, this might sound somewhat dramatic but have a look at one of your previous bids- preferably one you didn’t win and see if you’ve made similar mistakes.
The questions you find in the pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ), invitation to tender (ITT) or Request for Proposal (RFP) are designed to assist your potential client evaluate who is likely to be the best partner; who has the right skills for the job; and, who can solve the problem that they need fixed. This is crucial to successful business generation and winning bids because if you don’t answer questions fully and accurately with information your potential client is seeking you risk scoring low and could miss the opportunity as a consequence.
But how do you answer these questions properly and what sort of response should you write?
PQQ, ITT and RFP questions often start with similar phrases, such as:
Detail your proposals…
Describe in detail how you will…
How will you ensure..?
Identify the added value…
These are instructive or direction keywords and tell you what type of response your potential client is seeking. Different instructive or task words have different meanings, so different instructive or task words tell you to write different types of responses. It is important that you understand exactly what you are being asked, how you need to respond and the information that you should provide to support your answer.
Here are some examples of keywords and what that means to you:
Describe – give a detailed account of the different aspects of the topic in the question.
Detail – provide detailed information directly relating to the contract you’re bidding for.
Explain – give plain or clear information about the topic and why this is relevant.
Illustrate – provide a clear explanation using examples, comparisons, diagrams or graphs.
Outline – Briefly identify & systemically present the most important aspects of the topic.
When you use this table to direct your attention to the purpose of the question it will ensure that you interpret the instructive or direction keywords accurately and can then give the best response you can. Your information is more easily digested and the result is a better connection with your client from the outset which sets you above your rivals.
Make sure you keep to the point and don’t wander off to talk about something that is closer to your heart and that you know more about. And remember that it’s all about what your potential client wants to know so make sure you tell them succinctly, accurately and fully.