Learning & Development

What are my chances of winning a tender?

A lot of people seem to have doubts about their chances of winning, and this is a very common question. 

Q: Is there any chance of winning at all? 
 
Of course there is! Bidding is not like the lottery, where winning is purely down to luck, it’s usually a very fair process. Your chance of winning depends on the quality of your submission and how it compares to your competition.  
 
The psychology of bidding is a quite complex and expansive topic.  It’s natural to get down on the process if you are consistently getting unsuccessful letters. The reality is that tenders are nearly always published in good faith and are designed to identify the best suppliers to then award the work to. If your results are consistently not what you would hope for then you need to reflect on what is going wrong, rather than just blaming the process.   

At the risk of giving away trade secrets, proposals measure two things; 

  1. Your capability to meet the buyer’s requirements
  2. Your capability to complete tenders to a high standard. 

You normally need both to be successful. Being great at one and terrible at the other won’t work. It’s worth reflecting on where you think you have issues:  
 
Are you not winning work that you feel is absolutely perfect for you and you have a great track record of delivering? It’s probably your tendering that’s letting you down.  
 
Are you bidding for things speculatively that you don’t really have experience delivering?  Then it’s probably your organisational capability. 

Always ask (and ask again if required!) for feedback from each and every unsuccessful tender.  Use this feedback, and do an internal debrief (lessons learned) after each submission. This should help you identify where the issues lie and drive improvements for future submissions. Don’t despair, just be honest and the ways to improve should be clear. 


If you have your own questions or are looking for specific help with your bid, please get in touch. Every week I help clients with their tendering, from bid writing to leading on bid responses. Use the details below to view the range of services we offer or to contact me directly.  

Tel: 07384818704
E-mail: andrew.watson@proactis.com  
Web: View our training and consultancy services 

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