Sometimes the tendering process involves pre tender meetings. After the ITT has been issued bidders are invited to a tender briefing, allowed to ask questions and possibly view a site (to help to understand the specification or location eg for cleaning, security or construction tenders).
Normally all bidders attend a group session although sometimes pre tender meetings are held on a one-to-one basis.
Some consider these as low-priority and a waste of time but if you are invited to pre-tender meetings always make the effort to attend.
Benefits of Pre Tender Meetings
First and foremost, it shows the buyers that that you are taking the tender seriously.
You get to see the competitors – knowing who you are up against is very useful in terms of shaping your proposal and price!
You also have a chance to meet the buying team. This gives you an opportunity to start developing relationships in what is otherwise a faceless process.
Pre tender meetings can be a useful tool to help with qualifying tenders. After finding out more, you might feel that the tender is not for you. See Qualifying Tenders (part 1) and Qualifying Tenders (Part 2).
What to do at Pre Tender Meetings
Consider who should attend and make sure everyone is briefed (and of course, suitably dressed).
Many people don’t want to speak out in front of their competitors in case they ‘give anything away’ but hosts must hate silent pre tender meetings. Also it is always best to know the answers to any area of uncertainty. So do ask tender clarification questions and introduce yourself when you do so.
If you have a number of questions to ask or want clarification on a potentially difficult point, don’t be the first to speak out as other bidders might ask one of the questions for you.
If there is a walk-round, do try and walk alongside the hosts for some time. This gives you another chance to ask questions outside of the main meeting and work on relationship building.
Tenders take a lot of time and effort so you want to maximise your chances of winning – so always attend pre tender meetings and maximise the opportunity.