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Another pair of eyes for your proposals and tenders

Do proposals and tenders make up a significant amount of your revenue?

Or do you see proposals and tenders a waste of your time?

Need to win more business from proposals and tenders?

Find that you:

Without winning the amount of business you think you should?

Losing out to ‘lesser’ or ‘newer’ companies that ‘shouldn’t’ get the work?

Our proposals and tenders review service can help.

We’ll gladly have a look through to ensure that you’re addressing requirements, answering the questions in full, and not just writing “everything I know about…”.

Proposals

“Give them something they can say yes to.”

A piece of proposal writing advice that has stuck with us for many years.

Your proposal should be:

If you read through your current proposal(s) template(s), are you convinced and impressed?

Be honest:

Why aren’t your proposals successful?

In our experience, proposals are often too long and complicated.

In an attempt to show that you are capable, knowledgeable, and suitable, you’re probably making your proposal:

Instead of simply saying you can carry out the work or can provide the required products within the timeframe, you churn out everything you know about the product or service.

You explain every last little detail about how you do what you do, and why.

Usually in order to justify your price or timescale.

Abby and Gibbs

Here at Write Again Ltd, we’re huge NCIS fans, and anyone who’s watched NCIS knows that Gibbs (the boss) just wants the facts – the pertinent information – there and then.

Gibbs doesn’t want Abby (the forensic scientist) to explain how she found the evidence or what it is – he just needs to know what it means.

NCIS Forensic scientist Abby Sciuto talking to NCIS Special Agent Gibbs in her lab

NCIS Forensic scientist Abby Sciuto talking to NCIS Special Agent Gibbs in her lab Photo: Cliff Lipson/CBS
©2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved https://www.cbs.com/shows/ncis/

While she’s desperate to tell him the:

He’s got the information he needs, and is already walking out of her lab back to solving the case.

Gibbs doesn’t care about the number of firewalls or the levels of encryption on the ‘bad guys’ server, he just needs one of his Special Agents to be able to access the information on the database hosted on it.

The Special Agents don’t care what file format the security camera footage is in, they just want to watch it to find out whether the suspect was at the scene of the crime at the time.

Nobody cares how the fingerprints were identified, they just want to know who they belong to.

Abby, Gibbs, and your proposal

So what does NCIS have to do with your proposals?

Your potential client or customer doesn’t want to know exactly how you do something, and probably doesn’t need to know what tools, processes or software you use.

They need to be confident that you can do the work.

NCIS Special Agent Gibbs sat at his desk

NCIS Special Agent Gibbs sat at his desk. Note the five monitors on his desk. Has he got time to waste?Photo: Cliff Lipson/CBS. ©2007 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved https://www.cbs.com/shows/ncis/

If you write proposals, then you might feel pressured into including every last detail to:

However, this is often too much information for the recipient of your proposal or tender – the people who are holding the purse strings – the people you want to say “Yes”.

They’re highly likely to just skip to the Costs page.

Which is what Gibbs does with Abby’s information.

So, in most cases, trim your proposal right down, and still get your message across.

You’ll already have had a conversation with your potential customer, or at least been asked to submit a proposal. They know what you do, and how you do it, to some extent.

You can probably skip the ‘boring’ bits, and just on with get your main points.

Abby and your proposal

Maybe you do need some of ‘Abby’s information’, to:

Then you can explain what you’re going to do, and how you’re going to do it, and much it’s going to cost.

Don’t make it boring

Nobody’s going to read through your 25-page proposal which explains the minutiae of what you do, when they just want the cost.

Don’t make it boring.

Do you remember the last time you were:

Don’t be that person when it comes to your propsals.

Pro tip

If you ‘leave them wanting more’, your reader is more likely to get in contact with you, which gives you the opportunity to explain your offering in more detail as required.

Tenders

For tenders, it’s a bit different.

You need to reassure the reader that you can do the work and eliminate or mitigate risks.

The supplier will want as much information about you as possible to know that ‘their’ money is in safe hands, and will be ‘paid back’ (in terms of doing the work).

You’ll need to be convincing and answer the questions in full, as required.

You need to be Abby.

NCIS forensic scientist Abby Sciuto using her microscope on a case

NCIS forensic scientist Abby Sciuto using her microscope on a case. Pictured: Pauley Perrette Photo: Robert Voets/CBS © 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. https://www.cbs.com/shows/ncis/

The kitchen sink

With a tender you’ll need to expand on your answers and add much more detail.

You’ll need to be ‘Abby’ not ‘Gibbs’ when it comes to tenders, and explain everything.

You’ll need to include things like:

Instead of leaving the reader wanting more, you’ll need to reassure them that they should choose you over the other potential suppliers (and ‘lend you the money’).

This time you will need to throw in the kitchen sink.

The squad room

Referring back to NCIS, when Gibbs, Abby, and the rest of the Special Agents have the information they need, they ‘put it on the plasma’ – the big TV – in the squad room.

This is where details of the victims, suspects, financial information, jobs, work and business connections, and other pertinent information are shared and processed before the appropriate course of action is taken.

NCIS Special Agents looking at a plasma screen to learn more about a case

NCIS Special Agents looking at a plasma screen to learn more about a case. Image from Popculture.com

This includes determining the right people to:

Creating a tender involves potentially all of your departments, and so you’ll need to get the ‘evidence’, ‘get a warrant’, and start ‘interrogating’.

Just like an NCIS investigation.

Reassurance

Unlike proposals, where the reader will pretty much skip to the Costs page, the tender reader will pore over every word and detail.

They’re looking for reassurance.

That you:

Eliminate risk

The reader wants to eliminate or at least mitigate any risks, uncertainty or doubt.

Perhaps you’ll find the opportunity to provide statistics, achievements or other evidence to demonstrate that you can be trusted and are the right company to do the work.

Help is at hand

If you know you have a tendency to waffle, or find it hard to explain things in detail, then let us help.

You might have the salient points, but it doesn’t read well, or isn’t convincing, so our proposals and tenders help is at hand.

You might not watch NCIS (what’s wrong with you?!) and struggle to remember who’s who.

Here’s the easy way:


What next?

Ready to talk about your content requirements?
Contact us now at [email protected] or on 01704 529007 and tell us how we can help your content turn more readers into customers.

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