I clearly remember the words spoken by my teachers before each exam saying, “remember to check your answer before the time is up to make sure you’ve included everything.” Yeah, yeah I thought at the time…but little did I know that I would be giving the same advice all these years later!
Checking your bid before you submit is so important and just not possible if you’ve rushed to the end and pulled an all-nighter! This is never something I advocate and if you’ve planned and managed your bid correctly shouldn’t be necessary.
Read the final document carefully from your client’s perspective before you submit it to ensure that it is all about them and how you will help them achieve the aspirations for the project. Check for typos because they stand out and show a lack of care- check for grammatical errors to ensure your submission is easy to read.
Most importantly, if you have used any text from previous submissions, be extra careful to ensure all references are correct and relevant to this project. I’ve seen this happen far too often and the submission will be filed very quickly where you don’t want it to be!
I often bang on about the subliminal messages that you give out in your written tenders and it’s worth remembering that people interpret (and misinterpret) meaning faster in your bid than you think…so it’s important that you connect in the right way, that you’ve addressed all their woes and concerns (whether openly stated or ones you’ve determined are relevant), and that you have complied with the instructions in the tender documents.
The thing is when we’re writing a bid it’s all too easy to get too close to it and no longer be able to dispassionately check if your messages are clear and comprehensive.
That’s why many bidders use Red Review Teams to independently read the responses, as these people are not influenced from having been deeply involved. But it’s easy to do and worth doing before you let others see your efforts, if only to save a bit of face!
The first thing to do is to go back to the beginning and check your research and Bid Strategy to see what you thought were the key issues that would win the bid. You’ll remember the three crucial questions we explored in Effective Research and if you’ve already started to implement these strategies then it’ll be easy to go back to your answers and check that your final submission is in line or improves upon your initial thinking. Read your Bid Roadmap again and see if there are any issues that you haven’t adequately addressed…what makes a ‘perfect’ answer and is yours likely to be one of them?
Review each response you’ve made against the question you have been asked…this is important so I’ll say it again…the question you have been asked.
This is not the one you would have liked to have been asked or the one that you can easily answer because it’s what you do! If you think this is obvious you would be surprised at how often I come across answers that are completely off line with what the client wanted to know and if this happens to you then you will score lower than you want.
You can ask a very useful question when you read each section as if you were the client and that is, “what’s in it for me?” Use Vision’s 3Ps Process to check that you’ve outlined the problem, described the products (your goods or services) you think will solve it, and most importantly what purpose (your clients objectives) or benefit it will bring to your client. You’ll find the specifics of how to do this in our online training programme ‘Win More Bids’.
When you’re reading your bid submission consider it from your audiences point of view:
- Is it easy to read without unnecessary jargon, long sentences or technical words?
- Can you find information quickly in the correct order and understand the point that is being made and how it relates to the problem?
- Are there grammatical errors or spelling mistakes that might unnecessarily divert your attention?
- If you’ve used text from other bids have you completed a word search to make sure that are no references to another project or client?
Check that you have complied fully with the instructions and that the text size, font, line spacing and margin sizes are correct. Be sure not to exceed word counts or page limits as you will risk your bid being thrown out or assessors not considering anything beyond the limit.
We’ve taken you through ten stages of the bid process and given you some insight into the techniques that have helped our clients win in excess of £6 billion of new contracts. When you apply these techniques to your own bids they will help you to win more work too. I know from feedback that some of you are already implementing these techniques and have won new business as a consequence, so well done to you! If you haven’t read the previous articles then this may be a good time to have a look to see how quickly these techniques can impact on your success…click here to view them now.
Good luck with all your future bids!
Read back through the Ten Ways to Win More Bids so you get a complete understanding of what we’ve discussed and can start to implement the techniques today! And if you want to learn more then check out Vision’s online training programme ‘Win More Bids’ or call us directly.