When you are preparing a response to a Tender or Expression of Interest, there are five particular pitfalls awaiting the Innocent, the Eager and the Doomed:
If Pitfall #1 is true, why prepare documents at all? Because if you are not the preferred supplier, but your price is within 10% of the preferred supplier's price, the prospective client will go through your response with a fine tooth comb to find reasons to reject you. If you have written a good response, you might show the prospective client your company knows more about the client's requirements than the preferred supplier. And on that basis you might knock out the preferred supplier.
If you are not the preferred supplier, why are you responding to this tender? Why do you think you can still win the business? Whether you are the preferred supplier or not, every word you write needs to address the second question.
There are four steps:
These four steps mitigate against cutting and pasting from previous responses — because each client has sub-sets of different requirements. Yes, many requirements are the same from one company to the next, especially within the same market, but it is recognising and capitalising on the differences that show client understanding and contribute to a winning response.
A benefit is something you can:
If it is not one of these three, then 9,999 times out of 10,000, you have described a feature and most clients could not care less about features.
When you are dying of thirst and someone offers you drink, you really do not want to hear about the 147 features associated with its preparation. You just want the drink because it will allow you to get on with your life.
The response document will contain few, if any, unsupportable claims in comparison with your previous responses.
The response document will contain many more crisp, identifiable benefits than your previous responses.
The response document will contain more words and pages talking about the client's company instead of your company in comparison with your previous responses.