6 Common Mistakes To Avoid When Writing Government Tender Proposals

  • Posted in Tender Tips under
  • Government Tenders

Tendering for new opportunities is challenging at the best of times. It can be tedious work to scour through tender after tender opportunity to find the one that works best for your organisation, then to read through pages upon pages of tender documents and ensure you meet every single requirement then finally to creating the actual proposal itself. Writing a single tender proposal requires keen attention to detail and a significant amount of time and effort. Even with the amount of time that clients put into preparing their government tender proposals, we see the same mistakes pop up over and over again proposal after proposal. But knowing what these mistakes are puts you in a better position to avoid them the next time you write your proposal for a local, state or federal government tender. Let’s look at what they are:

Mistake 1: Not answering the questions

It might seem like a no-brainer: the purpose of writing a tender proposal is to answer the question the buyer has about your service, right? You’d be surprised at how often people actually forget to answer certain questions, or change up the order of the questions answered, or even include loads of details about their service without addressing what the question asks! The order of the questions, in addition to the evaluation criteria, are placed in a certain manner to allow evaluators to easily compare answers, and if an evaluator has to shuffle through pages to find your answers, it can be a surefire way of getting disqualified without even getting your proposal read.

Mistake 2: Adding too much fluff

Continuing on from the previous mistake, another common mistake we see clients making in their proposal is adding too many details or making vague statements that may bring more questions into the evaluator’s mind than answers. It’s important to keep your answers short and snappy, avoiding any general statements and following up any claims you make about your services with cold, hard facts to support them. Additionally, your evaluator doesn’t have the time to read through page after page of what you have achieved and how your company came into being. Stick to the question asked.

Mistake 3: Making it all about yourself

Yes, a tender proposal is an opportunity to sell yourself and your product or service to the buyer. But too often, suppliers fall into the trap of talking too much about themselves, all of their accomplishments and how winning the contract would help them progress in their goals without showing the buyer how they would benefit from working with said supplier. Hold the attention of your evaluator by directly addressing their needs and challenges and how your solution is best suited to solve their problem for them. Tell them what’s in it for them, not for you.

Mistake 4: Assuming you’ll have a second chance

Two words: you won’t. When it comes to pricing, offer your best figures right in your proposal and don’t assume you’ll be able to negotiate prices when you’ve successfully won the contract. It is dishonest to add an unrealistically low price for your services or products in the proposal in an attempt to grab the contract and then raise your prices once the work begins. Secondly, make sure you’re providing a complete and accurate breakdown of costs and your pricing schedule, as this will likely be one of the first things the buyer will consider. There are no second chances on a tender proposal.

Mistake 5: Getting the organisation name wrong

It may come as a surprise, but one of the most common mistakes we come across is clients using the wrong organisation’s name at some point in their proposal. It is quite normal to copy and paste some sections of your proposal from a previous proposal, especially for questions which are likely to have the same answer, such as your company brief. But every time you do so, you run the risk of letting the previous organisation’s name slip into your final submission, which is why we recommend having a third party look over the proposal before you hit the submit button. They might just be able to pick up mistakes your eyes completely glossed over!

Mistake 6: Unclear writing

Nothing leaves a worse impression on an evaluator than a proposal that is covered in grammatical and spelling errors, poor document layout and unclear answers. It signals to your buyer that you may not be as serious about the contract as they’d like and reflects poorly on your organisation. Leave yourself sometime between preparing the final draft of the proposal and editing and proofreading it so you are better able to pick up any errors and unclear statements. Better yet, enlist the help of our professional bid writers and reviewers to look over your proposal before submitting it. Having a third party professional that has also served on evaluator panels to go over your proposal will put you in a better position of submitting a proposal that is not only error-free but also has a higher chance of winning a contract.

Whether you’re applying for a government or private tender in VIC or NSW, or even for a Federal Government tender, avoiding the above mistakes will up your chances of winning your next tender.