My best ever tip is … Answer the questions. I know, that sounds silly. Of…
Sending Your Prospects on a Wild Goose Chase
Following a brief diversion in my last post, prompted by finding an interesting piece of research, I’m returning to my series on how to prepare tenders and proposals that win.
So far, I have covered:
- which fonts to use;
- how to use pictures and graphics;
- gobbledygook vs jargon, and
- why you have to answer all the questions.
My topic this time covers an issue that really, really annoys procurement teams who have the joy (or otherwise) of reading your submission; being sent on a wild goose chase for the information they need.
Wild goose chase type #1.
According to the definition above, your reader may or may not be technically going on a wild goose chase; the information they need may or may not actually exist in your presentation. Semantics aside, making your prospect waste time flicking backwards and forwards through your document is not a way to endear yourself or induce them to look favourably upon your efforts.
If you recall my post on using graphics in tenders, I talked about making sure every picture adds to your story. The same applies to the attachments you include. By all means, include these attachments to help your business case, but make sure you include at least a short description in your tender.
This particular tender asks potential suppliers to provide details of their occupational health and safety (OH&S) approach, showing, e.g. “How the tenderer will discharge its obligations as a principal contractor …”
Compare these two possible responses:
Which one provides more information? If you were the reader, which one would give you a greater level of comfort that this company has actually thought about how they will meet their OH&S responsibilities?
Wild goose chase type #2.
Because of the way many tenders are worded, you will usually find yourself having to repeat information in different sections of the document. Yes, this can be intensely annoying, and you’ll find yourself tempted to write, “You’ve already asked me this twelve times” or simply “See Section 7.”
The correct response, however, is to answer the question as asked. If that means repeating some information from other places in the document, so be it. Remember that there will be more than one person reading your tender response. Often, your document will be broken up into different sections, to be evaluated by different teams. (After all, you don’t want a highly trained accountant evaluating your bridge design!) If you write “See Question 7” instead of writing a complete response, the bridge design evaluation team won’t have the information they need to make an informed decision. And that’s bad news for you.
It’s sometimes easy to forget that, while we are dealing with B2B (Business to Business) transactions, ultimately, it’s all H2H, Human to Human. The person reading your submission is a human too and probably has to read a whole pile of documents once they’ve finished yours. Make their life a little bit easier. They too have a home and family to go to, so don’t send them on a wild goose chase hunting for information. They will appreciate it.
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