I review tenders written by recruitment agencies for a living, and the single most common mistake I see is poor use of the copy and paste function in PQQs, tenders and proposals.
If I can spot a “set piece” which has been pasted into a tender a hundred miles off, you can be sure that the client will be equally frustrated if they are forced to read through pages of irrelevant “standard” material to find the information they are looking for too!
You wouldn’t offer a “one size fits all” recruitment service if you were taking a job spec face to face from a client would you? You’d be more likely to take time to understand the client’s needs and preferences and then discuss how to tailor the recruitment process to identify and shortlist exactly the right candidates.
Responding to a tender is exactly the same…..except that the value of the contract is likely to be significantly higher than the single placement fee described above and you’ve got to prove to the client that you have the capacity, competence and experience to deliver the service in writing! This means that you need to take time to craft your responses rather than just using copy and paste.
Applying the following 3-step technique is a great way to customise existing material for recruitment tenders and proposals.
Step 1 – Ensure Your Source Material is Good!
“The definition of stupidity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
Pasting in material you have used before is perfectly logical – as long as it is relevant, well written, impactful and customised to the question being asked. Take time to develop strong source material that you can use as a basis for future recruitment tenders and proposals. Review it from time to time to ensure it is up to date and reflects current best practice, legislation and regulation. If the material that you’re using is not winning you business, it may be appropriate to discard it and start to build your library of material from scratch. Trotting out the same old text for each tender simply doesn’t work!
Step 2 – Customise Pasted Material to the Question
By all means use copy and paste, but it’s vital to customise your material to the question being asked. Sounds obvious doesn’t it? However, I estimate that more than 75% of the tenders that I review have failed to do this adequately!
Firstly check that your pasted text answers every part of the client’s question. If it doesn’t then you need to fill in the gaps. If you’re happy that you’ve covered everything, then use the “so what?” technique to help you identify and remove any irrelevant text.
To do this you need to read each sentence in the response and review it against the question and the specification. Ask yourself “so what?”. If the sentence does not contribute to the response needed, then simply remove the sentence.
Step 3 – Proof Read & Amend
By this time your response should answer the question in full, but you may need to redraft the copy so that it reads clearly and consistently. Read through your text several times and adjust it until you are happy that it:
(a) Covers everything required in the question
(b) Is relevant to the specification, terms & conditions, evaluation criteria and any other documents provided by the client
(c) Does not contain superfluous information that may distract the evaluator
Getting someone else to proof read and critique your tender or proposal is always worthwhile as they will be able to spot errors and ambiguities that you as the writer will miss.
It’s all about doing it right and outshining the competition……so sharpen your pencil, get scribbling and if you need help, just give us a shout on 07944 856293 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.