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Tender Document Essentials 1: How can I improve my chances of winning a tender?

Sales leads can get you a foot in the door, but you still have to win the work. If you’re looking to improve your win rate on the tenders you’re submitting, here are some things you might want to consider:

  • Are you reaching the key decision maker? Ask early about who is making the final decision and make sure you’re talking to the right person.
  • Is your tender comprehensive? Deliver a high quality, fully detailed tender document that is impossible to ignore.
  • Add value through your tender – add cost savings in an appendix, or state that you’re open to negotiation. Distinguish yourself as a firm that’s on the client’s side.
  • Make sure you’re submitting on time, or a day early. Nothing damages a reputation like being late! If you have to file late, at least tell the architect when to expect your price.
  • Be honest if you can’t do it – sometimes you’re halfway through the process before you realise the job’s not for you after all. Let the architect know straight away, so they can get another builder to tender. They’ll appreciate the honesty and remember it next time.
  • Check receipt and say thank you – when you submit your price, call and check that it’s been received, and say thank you for the opportunity. Gratitude goes a long way in construction and will predispose the architect towards you.
  • Call back – a week later, call back and ask about your price and where you stand. Confirm your willingness to look at cost reductions or negotiate as necessary.
  • Stay involved – architects, clients and Quantity Surveyors appreciate builders who show genuine interest. Help out if they need cost savings or re-pricing.
  • Lose graciously – everyone loses more tenders than they win (if you win one in four you’re doing fine). Wish them well with the job, find out who did win it and then ask about the next job coming out to tender.

See beyond the job in front of you – you’re not just chasing jobs, you’re building a relationship with a work provider. Over the next few years, that could pay you returns worth millions of pounds.

This article was kindly contributed by David Crick, MD of Contractors Marketing Services. You can read more in The Really Useful Guide To Construction Sales or see their construction sales special offers here.

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