One of the biggest—and most unfortunate—mistakes many clients make when looking for tender consultants for their company is choosing whoever quotes the lowest price. Winning a tender contract can potentially help you win work worth hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars depending upon its scope, and may even help you get more contracts. And because tender writing is a highly time and resource-consuming task, it is almost always advisable to tender for fewer contracts that you have higher chances of winning than bidding for every contract you see regardless of whether you have a chance at winning it or not.
So how do you go about deciding if the tender consultant you are choosing has your best interests at heart and will be able to give you the best result? Ask them the following questions to determine if they are the right fit for your needs. But before we go into the questions to ask, let’s look at what a tender consultant does.
What does a tender consultant do?
A tender consultant’s job is to ensure the tenders you prepare win contracts. From helping you select the right tender opportunity for your business, to conducting the required research to get you started on writing your proposal, right through to creating templates and actually writing your proposal to proofreading it, a tender consultant will help with it all.
However, it is important to know that not every organisation needs a permanent tender consultant on their payroll. If winning tenders is the primary way of getting new contracts for your company, by all means, hire a tender consultant on a full-time basis! But if you need one-off help for a tender or just need the services of a tender professional once or twice a year, you may choose a third-party provider who you can hire on a temporary basis.
Questions to Ask Your Tender Consultant
Before you bring a tender consultant on board, whether as a permanent part of your company or on a one-off basis, don’t forget to ask them the following questions to ensure you get your money’s worth:
- What is your success record?
Most professional tender writers and consultants will be more than happy to share how many contracts they’ve helped clients win and how they went about doing it. It is worthwhile to check how long the writer or consulting company has been in business and the type of industries they have the highest success in. Check out their previous case studies and find one which is most similar to the type of work you do, then proceed to ask the consultant targeted questions about how they handled the project. It’s better to ask too many questions and go in the process fully prepared than discovering your consultant doesn’t have the expertise you need to help you win the contract after you’ve already hired them.
- Do you have experience securing government contracts?
The way you write a proposal for a government tender will differ immensely from a private tender. There’s a reason why ‘government speak’ is a term and it isn’t just to make the process appear unapproachable. If you’re trying to win a government tender, it is important to choose someone who is proficient in the processes of the tendering department and the lingo used by them. They should also be aware of how a proposal is likely to be reviewed by the said department and their procurement processes.
- What is your preferred style of working with your clients?
No two tender writers will work the same way. Where one will be very hands-on in the entire process and will be constantly in touch with you throughout the process, another may prefer to get all the information they require upfront and present you with a final draft once they’re fully satisfied with it for approval. If you want someone who takes full control of the reigns and leaves you alone to focus on other aspects of the business, the first type of tender writer will probably seem like an annoyance to you, even though they’re just trying to do their job. It’s important for your working style to align with your writer’s for a successful outcome.
- What do you do if things don’t go according to plan?
When tendering for a contract, the one basic rule to remember is that things will never go exactly as you planned. There may be addendums added to the original documents that throw all your planning out of the window or major changes that force you to rethink your entire strategy. The important thing to do is to remain calm even under pressure and find a workaround. Ask your tender writer what they did the last time things went wrong. They should be able to give you concrete examples of how they found a workaround to an unexpected problem.
- How well do you understand the values of our business?
Often, the key to success depends on how well your tender writer understands the core values of your business. No one knows your business better than you, but your tender consultant should be able to translate these values onto paper in a way that they truly resonate with whoever’s assessing your application. No two businesses, even in the same industry will work the same way or follow the same processes, or even have the same end goals, which is why it is so important for a tender consultant to truly understand where you come from before they start tendering for contracts for you.