Our tips for successful tenders

WINNING that tender can be extremely competitive but there are things you can do to give your business the edge when a client may be inundated with tender applications.

Keep in mind that your bid begins the moment you reach out to your prospective client, so make every email and call count. Build a relationship from the very first exchange and ask questions that can assist you in writing a better tender.

Likewise, positioning your business to get noticed in the first place is a process that starts long before your formal tender. Build relationships with prospective clients – attend industry events, network on LinkedIn, and use your industry and professional contacts.

Selling yourself and your business is essential – include a capability statement and consider including an appealing and concise business profile; consider how these documents look – you want to stand out from the pack with an eye-catching package. The capability statement and business profile is an opportunity to weave in examples that demonstrate your ability to do the job, thus building credibility and confidence.

Adhering to the brief is vital, learn as much about the client as you can and ensure you have adequately addressed the selection criteria in a clear and straightforward way. Consider what the client needs.

References and testimonials go a long way toward enhancing credibility. Testimonials come from endorsements on LinkedIn, Google reviews, and professional statements on your company website – always ask a client for permission to use or publish their testimonial or endorsement. A reference should include the referee’s job title and contact details. 

Pricing is obviously critical and tenders that guess prices or provide vague estimates could be ruled out by clients. Factors to take into consideration writing up a budget include company research, market intelligence, competitor insights and your company’s own financial position. Be prepared to justify your estimate.

“Why should the client choose you over potentially dozens of others? Consider your Unique Selling Point (USP) – what lies at the heart of your business.  Assess your point of differentiation. Research what sets you apart from your competitors; this is what stands out the most when tender documentation is being compared. Distinguish how your services positively differ to those of your competitors.”


  1. Details count – read the instructions carefully, use the tender documentation the client has provided, stick to word limits, and submit the tender early if possible to ensure you meet the deadline.
  2. Double check you have addressed the selection criteria in a succinct and direct way, thinking about what kind of answer the client hopes to see.
  3. Accuracy is everything – Often a client will request information including your ABN, insurance details, pricing tables, and more – make sure you get these details right. Check everything is signed correctly before submitting your tender.
  4. Do your research – learn everything about the company you can, and make sure you have the correct spelling of any company names you may be addressing in the tender, as well as their correct titles. You would be surprised by how many bids spell the name of the company or key members of the company wrong – and get instantly ruled out.
  5. Details count, again. check your bid for spelling and grammatical errors. Editing is a crucial step before submission. If you’re not confident in your ability to proofread, ask for help; consider paying to get your tender professionally laid out. Make sure your documents such as a cover letter look as professional as possible, use a company letterhead and your logo.