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Discover How To Win Tenders – Even If You Have Never Tendered Before

how to bid for tenders

Welcome. Watch the recorded How to Win Tenders Webinar below .

I recently gave a webinar on how to win tenders where I share some of the secrets to a great tender response. This video will demonstrate how to win tenders. Due to popular demand, I have decided to share this with the visitors to my website. I share a few things I know about winning tenders and proposals. Knowledge that has been gained over a 15 year career as a project manager .

During this career as a project manager, I have issued and evaluated millions of dollars worth of tenders. and I can say without a doubt that most tender submissions fail to hit the mark.

The “How to Win Tenders” Webinar Recording Can Be Played Below.

I hope you enjoyed the How to Win Tenders Webinar. If you would like to discover more and register your interest to the Advanced Winning Tenders Workshop then please register now. Remember, this is a limited offer and I will only be running this workshop if there is sufficient interest.

How to Win Tenders Webinar Transcription


Chris: Hi, everyone. Thanks for tuning this webinar. I know it’s a

hopefully, win a lot more tenders than ever before.

The premise of this webinar is secrets to winning tenders, even

if you have never tendered before. What I hope to show you is

just give you some inside tips and secrets of what I look for in

tender responses and also what the tender evaluation panel is

looking to see. We’ll get straight into it.

How To Win Tenders Overview

What I’ll be covering in this session is I’ll give you a bit of

  • an overview of the opportunity in tendering
  • We’ll look at some of the different tendering strategies that are out there
  • and how you can really look to optimise your tendering solution
  • Understanding the Key Selection Criteria
  • Common mistakes to avoid
  • Free resources available

I know a lot of you will be thinking that tendering is hours and hours of work, and it can be, but, with some of these strategies, hopefully you’ll be able to keep that down to a minimum.

I’ll go through some of the key criteria that you really need to

look at and make sure you nail it down because they’re really

the key selection criteria that you must get right. I’ll also go

through some of the common mistakes that I see quite often. If

you can avoid these, you’ll also reduce some significant

penalties. I’ll share some tips that will help you win, these

are my big secrets. and a little bit of resources. Maybe you can

find some additional resources that will help you in your

tendering success.

About Me – Chris O’Halloran

Just a bit about me, so you know where I’m coming from, I own a

project management company called Striking Project Management. I

have an office in Brisbane and Shanghai. Basically, I sit on the

client’s side. That means that, in that role, I’m helping the

client to get the best value for the money in their project.

That starts with early planning of their project, putting

Why I am sharing this information

Why am I sharing this information? Well, basically, there are a

lot of tenders out there that just really don’t hit the mark. It

doesn’t do me any favors on the client side and it certainly

doesn’t do you guys any favors by not getting it right.

tender. It’s a bit of a two-sided coin there. If not, I know

that my clients will get a better result and hopefully I might

get some business out of it .

Tendering Opportunities

Now a view of the tender opportunity. Basically, we look at

there are huge opportunities in federal tenders. By that, we’re

looking at the main government, top tenders, things like your

AusTender, eTender portals. There’s stuff that handle direct government and they can be:

  • Australia-wide tenders,
  • fairly big multimillion dollar projects
  • Right down, we can go to local government tenders.That’s Queensland, New South Wales,Victoria, through their own tendering portals.
  • We have government agencies also. The larger utilities, things like the NBN and various others, or right down to the councils, like council websites, and larger companies are also offering tendering.

You see this a lot in commercial cleaning, advertising, construction. They all tender out for these larger projects.

Tendering Strategy

Now, if we talk strategy in tendering, basically what we want to

try to do is plan tenders in advance. I know most people get

onto a tender quite late. They normally have two to three weeks

putting a tender response. To be honest, that’s not enough time .

What you can do, especially for larger tenders, is look at that

six- or 12-month horizon and plan in advance which tenders

you’re going to bid for and prepare for those well in advance.

What you can actually start doing is pulling together recent

relevant information and even resource up for that tender

A good tool for this is looking at the forward procurement

plans. You’ll see these on most of the government websites. Go

through the tendering portal and look for procurement policies ,

forward procurement plans. They call them different terms on

different websites but if you look for something around

“procurement planning” and “forward procurement planning,”

you’ll get a long-term view of what tenders are in the pipeline .

These will be broken down by category. It could be an IT project

and it might say, “In 24 months we’ll be looking at rolling out

a new SAP system,” or, “The current commercial cleaning contract

is due to expire in eight months and that will be rereleased,”

or it could be a new panel of providers being raised in six

months. This gives you a fairly good indication of the upcoming


What you can then do is start to plan these ones out. You don’t

want to bid for all tenders in the same month because, if you

get them all, if you win them all, you’ll be in a lot of trouble

trying to resource up and deliver them. You’re much better off

picking one, two, three strategic tenders that you know you need

to win or you must win and really putting in a great response

for those. Then, you can do a couple of others in between those.

You don’t want to be in a position yourself where you can’t

deliver on the tenders you put forward.

Once you put together your tender responses, and I’ll go through

some of this tonight, basically most of it will be standard

documentation. What you want to try to get to is a point where

you have 70% of your tender documentations ready to go and

that’s through having standard templates, standard response

questions pre-prepared and really have this tender portfolio

ready to go.

You want to target only relevant tender opportunities. If you’re

Common tender writing mistakes

Some of the common mistakes that I see in tender responses is

noncompliance. Basically, if the tendering authority wants you

to submit two hard copies, one electronic, one in color and one

in black and white, you need to do that. Quite often, I’ll see a

Straightaway, if you get a lot of tenders and if you’re trying

to evaluate 30 or 40 tenders, you’re just going to call out

those nonconforming ones straightaway. It’s simple stuff and a

lot of it is commonly missed. Compliance to all the selection

criteria is critical and most of the stuff is hidden in plain

sight. It will tell you in the tender response requirements,

“Submit it on this date, in this format, with this information.”

The next big mistake that I see is tenders failing to

demonstrate their capability. What we’ll see is a provider

response to the tender questions and responses and they’ll tell

us that they can do it but they won’t prove that they can do it.

Every time you say that you can do something you need to

demonstrate it and you do that by showing relevant examples of

how you did in the past. how you would do it for this particular

tender, what’s different about the other tenders or what’s

different about this tender and how you will change your process

The other one is failing to demonstrate the understanding of the

scope of the work of the project. Now, this is a little bit

different than capability. In capability, you’re trying to

demonstrate that you have the skills and experience to deliver

the project. When you’re trying to demonstrate your

understanding of the scope, you need to prove to the evaluation

panel that you know so much about this type of project that you

factored everything in, you understand the project so well.

…The least risky tenderer of the evaluation.

Nonconformance submission is another big one. When we say

“conforming” and “nonconforming,” a conforming bid is if I ask

for a brown table with a black leather insert, for example, but

you know that you build white tables with a blue leather insert,

a far superior product, in your belief, you might send a tender

in for that, a white table with a blue leather insert. That’s

what we call a “nonconforming bid.” It doesn’t conform to the

requirements of the tender because the tender may have asked for

a black table or a brown table with a black leather insert. You

need to submit a conforming bid. otherwise the tender evaluation

committee cannot evaluate the tender and it will get thrown out

as a nonconforming.

Another big mistake is that there’s no innovation in the tender

response. It’s a great opportunity to show innovation, how your

product or service is better than the competitor’s and

demonstrate that. You will get points for innovation in your

approach, innovation for your product, and you want to

demonstrate that. Now, in order to demonstrate innovation, in

most cases, you need to submit a nonconforming bid. It may be

slightly different to what they asked for but the result could

be a lot better or should be a lot greater value to the client.

The important thing when you’re submitting a nonconforming bid

or highly innovative approach, you also need to submit a

conforming bid. There are two responses then. You submit the

conforming bid, as exactly how the client asked for it, and then

you might back up and say, “However, we believe we can offer

Key criteria, again, you need to get all these right in order to

win a tender. Number one, as we touched on earlier, compliance,

and that is compliance with the response criteria and the

submission criteria. Really read through the tender response


What I strongly suggest to the clients I work with is that you

read through the tender response documents two or three times

and then take out an Excel spreadsheet and start writing down

all the requirements, everything from due date, how they want

the answers responded to, what format, the timing of the

project, everything to do with the tenders. Just write it all

down and you’ll come with a list and list of a couple pages long

of all these key selection criteria. Then, in the next table

over, just start writing down some of the support documents that

you might be able to submit to demonstrate that. If you can do

just that step, you’ll be so far ahead of most other tenders, it

won’t be funny.

The next key criterion is to show an understanding of the scope

of works. I know in a lot of cases it sounds simple, but if I’m

asking you to build me a building that’s going to be 13 stories

high and residential in nature, type out half a page explaining

some of the material you might use, some of the similar projects

that you’ve used, and some of the issues that have occurred on

similar projects and how you manage those. Really show a depth

and breadth of understanding of the scope of works. Repeat back

to me what you believe the project is


Approach and methodology. this is probably one of the hardest

ones to get right. In most tender responses, you’ll have key

criteria that ask you to demonstrate your approach to

methodology. These are open questions deliberately because we

want you to prove to us that you understand how to go about

delivering the project and that you can think methodically in

your approach. The only way to do that is by not giving you

closed questions. Basically, you need to come back and really

create a word picture around how you propose to go about

You can do this in a number of ways. You can create a series of

word pictures or show a Gantt chart. You can show a process flow

or a workflow diagram. You can show all three, if that’s

required. You can show templates of how you’ve done similar

projects of similar scope. You need to walk through, from start

to finish, how you’ll go about doing the project and how you’ll

go about maintaining its scope and its time and budget


Risk managemen t is quite often forgotten. It’s a great area to

grab extra points. It can be quite a simple process. List out a

dozen to two dozen key critical risks that could occur in a

project. If you’re experience in that scope of work, you’ll know

you’ve got to put this together quite quickly. You may even have

it already recorded. Certainly, all my clients do.

What you want to do is, again, list some of the key risks that

Once you capture those risks, you then also need to document how

you’ll mitigate and manage those. This is just in a simple Excel

template. What’s the risk, how likely is it to occur, what the

impact could be, and how you’ll go about managing that risk.

Value-for-money. most government tendering bodies will tell you

they’re after a value-for-money approach. What that means is it

gives governments and organizations a bit of flexibility in how

they go about their selection criteria. Value-for-money doesn’t

mean the cheapest tender bid. Value-for-money does not mean the

cheapest tender bid wins. It means the bid that shows the

highest value for money. What that is, is normally a way to

select some criteria. Money, dollar value, it ranges depending

on the project, but it’s normally around 50% or more. The money

normally has a 50% weighting but this is, again, very dependent

on the project and don’t use that as a gospel. It’s only a

guide. Some requests for tenders will actually show you the

selection criteria weightings, but if not, if you work 50%, it’s

probably not a bad starting point.

You demonstrate value-for-money by really proving that you’re

the least risky tenderer. By that, I mean you may not be the

cheapest but your response, your approach and methodology, your

understanding of the scope, and your risk management all give

you higher points and a certainty that you can deliver this

project on time and on budget.

If you can prove that you offer the least risk to the evaluation

committee and if you’re still within the ballpark of price,

you’ll certainly be shortlisted. If your price is way out, then

you will be discounted because either it was seen that you

didn’t understand the scope or you’re pricing into much risk.

That’s the same, again, for if your price is too low. You’ll

quite often be discounted. I’ve seen some tender evaluations

where they discount the highest and the lowest bid or any bid

Tips to win more tenders

How do we win? That’s the key question. Well, basically, I said

it a couple times in this webinar so far. You win by

demonstrating that you are the least risk. that your tender is

the least risk to the client. You demonstrate a sound

methodology. Throughout your entire tender response, you need to

prove that you understand how you’ll go about delivering the

project. If you can tie it into a project management framework

or process. great. If you can tie it back to a best practice or

a standard. great. You need to understand the methodology and

then prove how you’ll do it and how you’ll keep it on track.

You demonstrate understanding of the risks. We talked about this

again before. List out the risks. I know it may seem simple, but

the fact that you’ve thought about those risks, you’ve planned

Understanding of scope. you need to tell me that you know what

you’re talking about. Tell me that you understand what I’m

asking you to apprise. I need confidence that you know what

you’re apprising. You do that by showing similar projects that

you delivered. Show me that you done an on-time. If you went

over time, show me why and show me how you’ve learnt from that


Yes, you want to try to keep your tender responses positive. but

if you don’t have a positive demonstrable piece of experience,

even if it was slightly negative, but you showed me that you’ve

learnt from that and these are the process changes you put in

place into your business so it doesn’t happen again, it can only

add value. If you haven’t learnt from that experience and you

haven’t changed your process, obviously don’t put it in. If you

don’t demonstrate any of the key criteria area, you’ll score

poorly. In a number of tenders, if there is insufficient

information, you’ll fall below the minimum acceptable criteria

and you’ll be out automatically.

Unidentified key personnel. this is another one where people

tend to shy away from experience. They’ll put in one or two of

their own personnel. If they don’t have internal personnel,

they’ll tend to shy away and leave this one out. Not having the

internal personnel isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It shows far

more value if you identify that you don’t have one or two key

personnel but then you show me how you’re going to get that key

personnel. Maybe that could be through a subcontractor or it

could be that you will hire additional staff. It doesn’t really

matter. What’s more important is that you’ve identified that

skills gap for this particular project and you’re mitigating my

risk by finding a suitable candidate.

What I think most tender respondents do is they go, “Oh, we

don’t have a PRINCE2 project manager, a certified project

manager, so we’ll just leave that out,” and that doesn’t do any

favors. What they’re better off doing is identifying that they

have that gap and saying, “We don’t have a project manager with

this capability. However, we will subcontract this component out

to Striking Group, for example, who specialize in project

management.” That type of answer will get good marks. Then what

you do is you go to your subcontractor and you say, “Send me

your CV. Show me how you will deliver on this project.” For

example, a project manager or any other key personnel, get them

involved in the tender process upfront. You want to demonstrate

that you can deliver.

For me, as a client-side project manager, all I care about is

that I get it delivered on time, I get it delivered on budget, I

get it delivered within the quality criteria that’s required,

and it meets the needs and the benefits of the business. If I

can do that, then I’ve done my job. I’m going to pick the

company that is going to assist me to do that.

Demonstrate that you can deliver. You do that by demonstrating

that you know through your sound approach and methodology,

through your understanding of the risks, through your

understanding of scope, and your key personnel. All of this ties

together into demonstrating that you can deliver. This might be

key criteria that you’ll see. This is all stuff that comes

through when you combine and read the tender response in its

entirety. You study in the sense of who can deliver. How much

certainty is there in this contractor that he will deliver on

My last little tip is read between the lines. Sometimes,

especially in high-risk tenders or projects, I won’t necessarily

tell you what those risks are or what some of the potential

issues could be because I want to see if you know what they are.

Quite often, it can be a little bit sneaky but read between the

lines, try to understand what some of the key risks are for the

client. for their business, and for the project, and just think

Free tendering resources

Just some final resources that you might want to look at. The

AusTender website is great for some of the larger federal

governments. Most council websites also offer some registration

for tenderers online. Also, on these tendering portals,

AusTender and the local governments, a lot of them have forward

procurement planning policies that you can download.

There’s also paid searches. Things like Cordell TendersOnline,

TenderLink, eTenders, Tender Bulletins. They’re all basically a

paid service. You pay a monthly subscription or an annual

subscription and they email you out any relevant tenders that

are in your category. It’s all public information anyway. It’s

just there are thousands of different points were tenders are

released and these guys aggregate them and send them out. If you

don’t want to spend the money, you can register at each state,

federal, local, on all the respective websites.

Another great resource is local governments. They usually have

some great tender schedules and templates for free. If you dig

around, some of the governments, SA Government, Brisbane City

Council, Victorian government, they have some great tender

templates, a free download.

Also, another thing to consider is that, quite often, tenders

are open publicly. You’re welcome to go along and listen to

those opened up. What they’ll actually do is open up each

tender. They’ll open up the envelope and they’ll read out who

the tenderer is and what their submission bid was. If you’re

just starting out, you’re more than welcome to go along and just

Also, local, state, and federal governments will normally post

the winning bid prices on the websites. A couple of months

If there are any questions, just please send me an email

directly. I can’t seem to get the chat room working up tonight.

I’ll post an opportunity where you can send through some

questions directly.

If you want to learn anything, go the next step in this, I am

considering running an advanced workshop. It’ll probably be a

series over six to eight weeks. What we’ll do is probably the

same format but I’ll probably open up a chat room forum just so

we can continue the questions. It will be an hour to an hour and

a half each week. online, delivered like this. I’ll run through

all those steps in detail and many more that I didn’t get a

chance to cover off tonight. I’ll only do it if there’s

significant demand and it warrants it. If you’re interested,

just sign up and just leave me your name and email address. If I

hit the numbers, I’ll get in touch and we’ll organize it.

As I said, I will go deep into each key selection criteria, how

you could answer it, some of the example demonstration criteria

you may want to submit, and some key things to think about in

that’s selection criteria. The key point is I’ll show you how to

demonstrate everything. I’ll show you what you need to submit in

your tender, what it needs to look like, how it needs to be

formatted, and how you prove to be the least risky tender

submission. If you can get that right, you’ll be in a very good

position to win tenders.

Like I say, once we’ve done this once, you’re 70% there for all

future tenders. You just take that same information and put it

in. You may tweak it for different projects, but for all intents

and purposes, you’ll have this portfolio of tendered documents

Category: Forex

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