Responding to Tender Questions

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.

How to Write Tenders with Word, Page and Character Limits

My last post gave a lot of good general advice on answering tender questions. This time we are going to look at how to write tenders where word restrictions, page limits or maximum character levels apply.

How to Write Tenders with Word, Page or Character Limits

Tender Writing With Content Restrictions

This is a more recent challenge – limits on pages, words or characters. Once, you rarely saw restrictions. Now most public sector and corporate tenders have some type of limitation e.g.

  • Maximum 500 words
  • No more than 2 sides of A4 using Arial font size 11
  • Response is limited to 5,000 characters (including spaces)

The instruction will be accompanied by something like “anything over the stated limit will be disregarded and not marked”. This means that your tender answers must comply to the restriction to have any chance of getting a good score. Anything over the set limits will not earn you any scores!

The limits often seem a bit harsh when trying to answer complex questions. However, they can help us focus on writing a concise response. Which of course is the idea – no waffle!

I always say to clients that “we are all in the same boat”. Every bidder faces the same challenge; we just have to be better! And we normally are! The following techniques will help you to write tenders with high-scoring answers and observe limitations.

How to Answer Tender Questions to Score High Marks

This guide on how to answer tender questions will help you to create better tender responses. Previous posts have been combined with some new information to provide a comprehensive resource on answering tender questions.

To win a tender (or get through a PQQ) you need to score high marks. Answer tender questions well and submit a competitive price then you should score highly. And hopefully win the bid!

How to Answer Tender Questions and Score High Marks

Answer Tender Questions Effectively

Once you have qualified the tender and made a plan, you can start writing. NB make sure you avoid the most common tendering mistakes.

An earlier post explained best practice for Answering Tender Questions:

It explains how to approach each response so that it is correct, complete and succinct. So often I see answers where waffle or irrelevant information is used in place of a crisp precise answer. Sometimes this is due to copy and pasting of a past response which is similar (but not identical) to the current question. It is important that you focus your response on the question in hand.

Responding to Tender Questions Guide

This guide to responding to tender questions also relates to PQQs, RFPs etc. If you follow these simple steps, you will improve the quality of your tender responses and your chances of winning the bid.

Responding to Tender Questions Guide

Responding to Tender Questions Checklist

These basic actions explain tender writing best practice and how to avoid making common tendering errors.

Before you start answering the questions, make sure the tender is right for you. And make sure you plan your tender correctly.

Be Careful When Re-using Old Content

You should build up a tender response library. There’s nothing wrong with re-using good content. As long as it is relevant and customised to each tender. Avoid just cutting and pasting or sticking to a tender template.

Answer All the Questions

Simply put – don’t leave any gaps. If you do, you cannot get marked and that means zero points / no score.

Answer the Question

Don’t fudge an answer – if you are not sure then ask.

Also check that you have really answered what is being asked – not what you think is being asked.

Tell the Truth!

It’s often tempting to give the answer that is expected e.g. “Is your company ISO 9001 accredited?” Too many companies have responded: “The company is in the process of getting 9001 accreditation”. Buyers know this normally translates to “No, and no intention of getting it unless you really push me”.

Therefore give a positive response by adding when it is due to be completed (if you really are in the process) or state that you do not have 9001 but do have quality processes in place / would be willing to get it. Or just say no. NB if it is a mandatory requirement, then you may just have to pull out.

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