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For every tender, write a positive response!

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If you’re feeling unsure about all things tenders, it might be worth considering some tender training or an online course.

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Kristine Daw is the Managing Director of Dawtek, a Melbourne-based company specialising in tenders and proposals, tender training, copywriting, editing and creating business templates. Kristine and her small team have a range of clients including small businesses, multi-national corporations, all levels of government and not-for-profits.

1300 DAWTEK or dawtek.com.au

Writing positive tender responses will assist you in maximising the impact of your offer. We all know that positivity is important in everyday life, well, it is also important across your tender responses.

The tender document needs to be:

  • Logical
  • Well organised
  • Factual
  • Concise

Bad grammar, spelling errors and poor attention to detail (for example typos, extra spaces etc.) undermine a tender document and leave the reader questioning your capabilities. And it will reflect on your organisation and its professionalism.

A positive tender will shine through, and conversely, so will any negativity.

So it is essential that you avoid sounding negative and always write in a positive manner. This will make your response appear confident and will encourage the evaluation team to read your tender in a positive way.

Firstly, be positive and remove any negativity

It is essential that you never start a sentence with a no. Always start with the positive part of your sentence and then incorporate your negative information.

A good example is a common question that I see many people struggle to respond.

Question: Do you have a certified quality management system?

Most people answer with No.

What this question is asking?

Well it is not just about a certified system, it is also about showing the client that you have system in place to manage quality across your organisation.

So here is a sample response, and as you can see, I have removed the negativity from the response.

“We have in place a Quality Management System which is based on the principals of ISO 9008:2015 and allows us to be methodical and process driven in the delivery of our services. Whilst our system is not formally accredited we are seeking accreditation in late 2018.”

Use different words

Another way to reduce negativity, is to change the words that you use in your response.

It is the little changes that can start to have bigger impacts across your text. For example:

Use will – not would

Use can – not could

Dawtek would be able to deliver the services to the Council. We would use our system to meet the Council’s requirements.

Avoid using these words

The following words can also have a negative impact, as they do not demonstrate your ability, and provide the reader with negativity and doubt.

‘If successful…’

‘We believe…’

‘We feel…’

‘In our opinion…’

Positive Words

There are so many positive words that you can use in your tender response, and also your everyday business.

Remember, use the words to provide the client with a story of your business as well as describing the benefits of your offer. Use to words to demonstrate your knowledge, understanding and ability to deliver.

Some words that add a lot of positive value are:

  • Flexible
  • Proactive
  • Reliable
  • Trusted
  • Exclusive
  • Strong
  • Versatile
  • Responsive
  • Active
  • Dynamic
  • Enhance
  • Quality
  • Value
  • Unique

Use Active Voice Rather Than Passive Voice

Using the active voice is much more effective in business writing.

The passive voice avoids assigning the action in a sentence. Overuse of the passive voice leads to convoluted and unclear writing

For example:

All service delivery KPIs will be met by our service department.

Our service department will ensure that all service delivery KPIs are met.

If winning work through tenders is important to your business, in order to win, grow and retain clients, you are not being competitive if you consistently under-resource your tender submissions. Spending time and effort planning your response will increase your chances of securing that new contract.

My Complete Guide to Tendering provides a module on how to best write your tender. I talk about and provide examples of all the aspects of writing in a positive and winning way.

Check out my course at: https://www.dawtek.com.au/training/


If you’d like to connect with a tender writing professional with almost two decades’ worth of experience, let’s organise a time to chat.

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