Six ways to ensure your bid stands out from the competition
Not all bids are equal. And for many construction companies the sheer volume of bids and tenders they have to submit is considerable.
Some bids are “must win jobs” and in those instances, our clients come to us to create something truly special and bespoke. But what happens to the lesser value or less strategic tenders? They’re still important but the quality of these submissions can sometimes suffer when the pressure’s on. And simple errors and omissions could lose you the job.
So what are some simple things your bid writers can do to ensure a quality proposal every time?
Here are six top tips to help your bid stand out:
1. Answer your client’s ‘what’s in it for me?’ question, fast
Every client wants to see themselves reflected in a proposal or bid. They want to know that potential contractors understand them and their business. Some contractors fall down by writing bids that talk a good fight about themselves and their business but fail to take account of the client and what they want.
We helped a client win a significant bid with Google. We researched the end client and discovered that in every Google office you’re never more than a couple of steps away from food. Be that cafes, vending machines or kiosks, no Google employee ever goes hungry. We used this insight to create a tailored bid box that included tasty treats branded with the Google logo. Our bid marker wouldn’t go hungry when reviewing this proposal, and our customer won the business.
2. Be careful with your client’s brand
This sounds like stating the obvious, but you’d be amazed how often these simple mistakes mar a construction bid.
Make sure you’ve researched the client’s most up to date logo and use that in your document. Seeing an out of date logo on your proposal will give your marker a bad impression.
And an even worse impression if the document carries the logo of the last client you pitched for. If you’ve copied and pasted content from an earlier proposal, check you’ve removed the last client’s name.
3. Be consistent with your own brand, words and design
Clients are looking for partners they can trust. That means putting your money where your mouth is. There’s no point talking about your company’s commitment to sustainability in a bid document delivered in reams of paper and acetate all wrapped up in plastic.
If you’re saying you’re green, demonstrate that you’re green.
4. Let your clients do the talking
When it comes to making a decision about who to award a contract to, markers will look for relevant experience. And yet some contractors fail to put case studies into a proposal.
What better way to show you are qualified for the job than letting your past clients tell your story for you. Simple case studies outlining the client’s problem, how you solved it, and the benefit you delivered are invaluable.
5. Focus on what you’re good at
Chances are your bid writers aren’t trained in graphic design. And yet the look and feel of a proposal can have a material effect on whether you win that bid.
Is it worth investing in developing a bid template that your team can use without any graphic design training? Then you can rest assured that all your documents are presentable and on brand, and your bid team can focus on what they know best – pitching the best solution to the client’s problems.
6. Check your formats
Many bids today are submitted online – uploaded to a portal. So your formats also need to change to make it as easy as possible for the marker to assess your proposal. If your bid submission is online you should ensure your document is oriented correctly – in landscape, to make it easy to read on screen. You’ll definitely stand out from the competitor that’s submitted their bid in portrait PDF format that needs to be printed out.
If it’s online there’s scope for building an interactive document that is easily navigated on screen. It’s much easier for the marker to work with a document that can be navigated like a website. You’ll stand out if the marker can click from section to section, or go straight to a key element of the bid, rather than make the end-user scroll through 60 pages before they get to the page that's relevant to them.
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