How to Write Tender Responses in a Positive Style (and Win More Bids!)

When you write tender responses, being positive helps you to maximise the impact of your bids. A confident tone shines through – as will any negativity. Therefore, you want to ensure that you avoid sounding negative and always be positive. You will appear confident and so encourage the markers to read your tender in an affirmative way. Hopefully leading to higher scores and therefore a win! This article explains 3 simple techniques that will help you achieve the right tone.

How to Write Positive Tender Responses

How to respond to tender questions covers all the basic steps of writing good answers to tender questions..

How to score high marks explains how to use the right language and style when answering tender questions. This includes:

  • Using benefits
  • Correct, complete and succinct writing
  • Writing in terms of ‘them’
  • Using the second or third person
  • Supporting evidence
  • Differentiating from the competition

We are now going to add some more subtle aspects to this ‘to do’ list by showing you how to write positive tender responses.

Write Positive Tender Responses

Most people tend to be somewhat shy or modest when writing copy for business. I often tell clients not to ‘hide one’s light under a bushel’. Explain what you do and use evidence.

In a similar manner, people often avoid appearing too pushy. This often results in a less confident style of copy writing. It was once described to me as the Uriah Heap style of writing: too humble and not at all confident or inspiring.Some bid writers use methods like Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) to ensure positiveness. You don’t need to go that far, just use these 3 simple techniques to create confident tender responses and sales proposals.

1. Be Positive – Rule Out Negativity or Doubt

To start off with, the simplest of changes is to use:

  • ‘Will’ not ‘would’
  • ‘Can’ not ‘could’

For example:

  • CompanyName would use its experience in this service to provide ABC Council with a quality service
  • CompanyName could offer ABC Council training for its staff


  • CompanyName will use its experience in this service to provide ABC Council with a quality service
  • CompanyName can offer ABC Council training for its staff

Next, apart from not using ‘we’ or ‘our’ avoid saying:

  • ‘If successful…’
  • ‘We believe…’
  • ‘We feel…’
  • ‘In our opinion…’

None of these come across with confidence and so infer negativity or doubt.

For example, change these:

  • If successful in winning this tender, we would provide a dedicated manager
  • We believe that good customer care is paramount is ensuring excellent service
  • We feel that our experience in customer care would be beneficial to this contract
  • In our opinion KPIs for this contract should include keeping to appointments on time

To these:

  • CompanyName will provide a dedicated manager
  • Good customer care is paramount to ensuring excellent service
  • CompanyName’s experience in customer care will bring benefit to this contract
  • Experience has shown that KPIs should include keeping to appointments on time

2. Use Positive Words

Lots of research has gone into the power of positive words. They provide the reader with reassurance, confidence and an upbeat feeling. (Those words in italics are all positive words.) Here are some more examples of positive words that you might use in a bid response:

  • Active
  • Approved
  • Best
  • Certain
  • Dependable
  • Dynamic
  • Easy
  • Economical
  • Efficient

  • Enhance
  • Exclusive
  • Extra
  • First
  • New
  • Proactive
  • Protection
  • Quality
  • Reliable

  • Savings
  • Simple
  • Strong
  • Success
  • Trusted
  • Unique
  • Value
  • Versatile
  • Yes

Let’s put this into practice with an example:

  • CompanyName would provide a dedicated manager
  • Customer care training would support good service

Add some positive words:

  • CompanyName will provide an experienced dedicated manager
  • Customer care training will ensure excellent service

Here is a link to a useful list of positive words:  Positive Words Research.

 3. Use Active Voice Rather Than Passive Voice

For tenders, the active voice is better than the passive voice. It is more direct and also helps reduce word-count.

Let’s look at an example where we are explaining our complaints process in the passive voice:

  • Complaints will be acknowledged within 2 working days
  • The manager will make contact to discuss and resolve the complaint
  • If not satisfactorily resolved, the complaint will be escalated to a director

Change to the active voice:

  • Complaints are acknowledged within 2 working days
  • The manager makes contact to discuss and resolve the complaint
  • Any unresolved complaints are escalated to a director

Not only does the active voice feel more positive and urgent, it also uses slightly less words.

If you need help with a writing a tender, Contact us for professional tender writing, editing and review.

Summary – Writing Tender Responses

Positive tender responses can be created by 3 easy techniques. Review your tender and PQQ submissions to use:

  • Positive words
  • Active voice
  • Positive style

In themselves, these will not instantly win tenders. But using these methods (along with other best practices in this blog) you will increase your proposal and tender hit rates.

Please do add your thoughts, ideas and experiences below.

8 thoughts on “How to Write Tender Responses in a Positive Style (and Win More Bids!)”

  1. Tony,

    As usual, you are right on point. These are excellent guidelines. What makes this article even more valuable is the clear examples of the different responses that could be used. Every little bit counts, and I think this advice will add tremendous credibility to any submission. Good stuff.

  2. Morton,
    Thanks for the feedback & glad that you found the examples helpful.
    I agree, ‘every little bit helps’ in what is a very competitive marketplace.

  3. I have been taught not to use ‘leverage’, which is very overused in proposals

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