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Tendering Top Tips

Tendering Top Tips

Executive Summary

An executive summary is a key part of any bid, proposal or tender document.

Try to write text which conveys your key messages with an upbeat tone rather than merely summarising the contract.

Having read the executive summary, the evaluator should know why you are the best company for the job.

Price Negotiation

If you have well written quality and technical sections in your tender, you will hold a stronger position if the client wants to negotiate on price.

The narrative sections of a bid describe the value of your offering.

If the client wants you to reduce your price, you can respond by asking which added-value aspects they want you to omit.

Bid Review

A review often identifies sections which are unclear or have been missed so it is therefore a vitally important stage in the bid process.

Despite this, many companies allow the review period to be compressed or even omitted due to pressure of time.

Ensure reviews are correctly prioritised and adequate resources are allocated to them.

Video Clips

Some clients are now happy to receive video files within bid and tender submissions.

However as the majority of tenders are still evaluated in hard copy, you need to ensure that they will be accepted before sending them.

If you do include videos, make sure the contents are relevant and tailored to the contract.

CVs and GDPR

It is a common myth that companies can no longer provide CVs in tenders due to data protection regulations (GDPR).

This arose from inaccurate interpretation of the requirements, combined with unwieldy company processes.

CVs can give you competitive advantage so challenge internal rulings and ensure they can continue to be used.

Refer to Spec

It is usual for a client’s tender to include a specification for the services they require.

When writing your response, it is important that you refer to this specification, or elements of it.

This shows that you are tailoring your solution to their requirements and not simply giving them an ‘off-the-shelf’ service.

Terms and Conditions

Inserting pages of very detailed terms and conditions to an otherwise concise bid can create a very negative impression with the client.

Although it depends on the sector in which you work, it is rarely a good idea to append these to a proposal.

It is more common to wait until the client is interested in buying before discussing terms, especially if some areas are negotiable.

Showing Value

When writing a winning bid, you need to justify the price you intend asking.

Delivering the client’s stated requirements will only command an average price; to charge more you must describe what else they will get.

This can be anything the client values and might cover areas such as risk-avoidance, increased scope or exemplar service.

Using Subheadings

Subheadings are helpful for readers who are trying to digest large quantities of text.

The subheadings should provide signposts which summarise the contents of the sections which follow.

Try to use informative and/or positive titles such as ’24 Week Programme with 10% Contingency’ or ‘Experienced Project Team’.


When pitching for work, there are different names for the documents you produce: these include tender, proposal and bid.

A tender usually responds to specific questions as part of a rigid procurement process, while a proposal or bid tends to be more flexible in structure and format.

There is no finite definition for each term and the golden rule is always to mirror the terminology used by the potential client.


The later stages of some projects cannot be defined either in terms of technical scope, resource or price until the earlier stages are complete.

When tendering for this type of project, it is important that you reduce the uncertainty to the buyer as much as possible.

While it is important that you retain flexibility for your own company, try to remember that the objective of the tender is to de-risk the selection process for the buyer.


There is a proverb about giving a man a fish and feeding him for a day or teaching him to fish and feeding him for life.

Engaging a consultant to help write a single tender is a short-term fix which may be effective.  It is usually quite expensive.

Effective training, which is tailored to the needs of the individual and the company, equips people with the skills and confidence they need to write winning tenders.  The cost is usually less than £200 per person per day.

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