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Formal bid letter

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Formal bid letter
July 13, 2019 Wedding Anniversary Wishes 4 comments

A brief cover letter that serves as a formal introduction to a potential client. template library and can quickly be created with proposal software, Bidsketch.

OK, there’s no getting away from it: successful bids take a bit of effort to create. And if you’ve never written one before, it could seem like a particularly daunting task. But keeping a few crucial principles in mind will put you in the strongest possible position when you have to write one for the first time.

So here are five things to remember when that time comes.

1. A bid is not an info packet. It’s a persuasion tool.

If you start the bid-writing process from the wrong perspective, chances are high that your proposal won’t do its job. The goal of a bid is to persuade someone to choose your company. Therefore, you must think of this process as an exercise in persuasive writing, not in providing an encyclopedic description of what your company is capable of.

Taking a cue from sales, the best road to persuasion is understanding your customer, identifying their need, comprehending that need, showing your customer you understand it, and then showing that you (and only you) have the solution.

By simply supplying your potential client with an exhaustive treatise on why your company is wonderful, you’ve not taken any of the necessary steps towards persuasion. If you don’t show the relevance of these facets to your potential customer, you’ve failed from the start. Don’t assume this is self-evident: connect the dots for them.

The next four pointers will set you on the right pathway for actually writing your first bid. Follow them and you’ll end up with an effective persuasion tool that gives you the edge above your competitors. (To learn how to apply them to your own bids, check out our bid-writing courses for individuals and for teams.)

2. A bid should be personalised for the client.

Take the time to customise the proposal. Bid writing should not be a template-driven process or an exercise in copy and paste. You’ll need to do your homework and create a bid that’s completely tailored for the client.

This means you need to put in some solid research before you can even write a word. Yes, it’s time-consuming and nearly impossible to farm out, but doing so will raise your chances of winning dramatically.

Begin by approaching your bid writing from your client’s perspective. That means finding out who the key decision-makers and influencers will be and writing specifically for them.

Finding out who the decision-makers are is only step one, however. Then the real detective work begins: your aim here is to work out the mindset of this person (or these people). The more you can get inside their heads, the more likely you’ll be to strike a chord with them and be selected for the job.

How to do this? Again: research. This will mean you can take the perspective of your prospective client. Only then will you be able to see the ‘problem’ from their point of view. Exactly why is it a problem to them?

Determine the decision-makers’ focus. You’ll need to consider different approaches depending on what this is. For example, are they more concerned about customer service or cost savings? Are they operations-orientated or finance-focused? Write your bid in a way that speaks to that point of view and its needs.

The more you can sync your bid to the client’s way of thinking about the project, the more likely it will be that they’ll see your proposal as offering the right solution for them. Which brings us to the next point.

3. A bid should show that you clearly understand the job.

Think of your bid as a customised solution to the client’s unique problem. Just as you should tailor the bid to the decision-makers’ thought processes, you should also tailor your proposal to the job at hand.

Bids that win are those which show clearly that you understand the job.

It may seem obvious that your understanding of the project is inherent to your providing a solution. However, keep in mind that your bid is a sales tool. Therefore, you’re taking the reader through a sales thought process. That process involves leading the client from step one all the way up to the conclusion that only your company can do the job.

An essential part of that sales thought process is confirming that you ‘get it’: you understand the job as the client understands it. Once you’ve laid that groundwork (and reassured them), the next logical step is showing how you’ll provide a great solution.

How can you show that you understand the job? At the risk of repeating myself: do your homework. Look at the client’s website; look at everything they’ve told you. Use their language. The more your bid lines up with the client’s way of thinking about the problem, the easier it will be to present the right solution.

4. A bid should show how you will provide value.

In the business environment, persuasion is all about adding value. If your bid isn’t showing the client how your company will add value, then it’s not a good bid.

Merely describing your company’s capabilities isn’t necessarily going to win you the job. Put teeth into your proposal by describing what results the client can expect. If you’ve ever worked in sales, think of the classic ‘features versus benefits’ approach and you’ll understand what needs to happen here.

Clients want to see the benefits of choosing you. Make these explicit. Listing the features of your organisation does not equate with showing benefits: don’t expect your client to pick apart such a list and guess at how each thing will help them. Simply telling them you’ll put the best and the brightest to work on their project means nothing if they can’t make the connection between expertise and added value for them.

What really lights up decision-makers’ eyes are statements like ‘we project an increase in sales after three months’ or ‘you can expect a 10 per cent upturn in leads by the end of the month’.

5. The devil is in the detail.

Don’t forget logistics. Provide a timetable for delivery and explain how and where everything will happen. Include a timeline for development too, so the client will feel informed at every stage of the plan.

And don’t forget

Finally, everything we’ve covered could still come to no good if you submit a bid littered with obvious grammar problems and typos. It may not seem likely (or fair) that a stray apostrophe could bring the whole deal crashing down to earth, but it’s not worth taking that risk.

Good writing reflects the quality of your company’s abilities and attention to detail. If you clearly haven’t taken the time to proofread your bid for errors (or even hire an editor to clean it up for you, if that’s an option) it could make you look very bad.

The last word

Your bid is an indication of how well you’re going to perform the job. If you’re serious about creating a winning proposal, these five reminders will serve you well.

Keep this as a guideline and follow these steps and you’ll be well-placed to put the competition to shame with your first bid – and every one after that.


Image credit: Sunny studio / Shutterstock

Writing a bid proposal for any business with our free bid proposal template. Our bid Interview Appointment Letter (7+ Sample Letters, Formats & Templates).

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formal bid letter

Step 1Competitive Bidding

STEP 2

Updated June 2018

What is Competitive Bidding?

Competitive bidding is a formal process to identify and request the products and services you need so that potential service providers can review those requests and submit bids for them.

The entity that will run the competitive bidding process - which may be you, a state procurement agency, or another entity that you have authorized to negotiate on your behalf with a Letter of Agency (LOA) - certifies an FCC Form 470 (Description of Services Requested and Certification) in the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) and must be prepared to receive and evaluate bids and negotiate with service providers.

Filing an FCC Form 470

The FCC Form 470 for the upcoming funding year is generally available in EPC one year before the start of the funding year.

Services provided under tariff or on a month-to-month basis require an FCC Form 470 to be posted each year. However, if a multi-year contract results from a completed competitive bidding process, it is not necessary to post a new FCC Form 470 in subsequent funding years until a new contract is required.

After the FCC Form 470 is certified, USAC will issue an FCC Form 470 Receipt Notification Letter (RNL) in the entity's EPC News feed. Applicants can edit some fields in a certified FCC Form 470. Allowable changes include:

  • editing an application name
  • changing the main contact person and/or technical contact person
  • making minor, non-substantive updates to an RFP

Applicants must wait at least 28 days from the date the FCC Form 470 is certified before closing the competitive bidding process. Changes to the FCC Form 470 beyond the allowable changes require applicants to wait 28 days from the date of the change before closing the competitive bidding process.

If a consultant is assisting you with the application process, you must go to your organization profile in EPC, add your consultant in the Manage Your Organization Relationships area of your EPC account, and identify your consultant on your FCC Form 470.

Requests for Proposal

The entity filing an FCC Form 470 can issue a request for proposal (RFP) in addition to the FCC Form 470. In general, an RFP is a formal bidding document that describes the project and requested services in sufficient detail so that potential bidders understand the scope, location, and any other requirements. However, we use "RFP" or "RFP document" generically to refer to any bidding document that describes your project and requested services in more detail than in the fields provided on the FCC Form 470.

E-rate Program rules do not require applicants to issue an RFP. Generally, you are not required to issue an RFP unless your state or local procurement rules or regulations require you to do so. However, if you have issued or will issue an RFP, you must upload that document in EPC. Do not upload a document that simply contains a link to the RFP.

There are additional competitive bidding requirements for leased dark fiber and for self-provisioned networks. The eligible service options are represented on the FCC Form 470 by various drop-down options. The FCC Form 470 Category One Services Drop-Down Menu Reference Table provides additional guidance about how to select the correct drop-down option and when an RFP is required.

Please note that an RFP is required in EPC if you are requesting the options for:

  • "Leased Dark Fiber and Leased Lit Fiber"
  • "Self-Provisioned Network and Services Provided Over Third Party Networks"
  • "Network Equipment"
  • "Maintenance & Operations"
  • "Cellular Data Plan/Air Card Service"
  • "Other"

If you issue RFP documents after your FCC Form 470 is certified, you are required to upload them to your form using the Add an RFP Document feature in the Related Actions menu on your form in EPC.

Exemption from Filing an FCC Form 470

Commercially available business class Internet access services are exempt from the FCC Form 470 posting requirement if they cost $3,600 or less annually per entity (school or library), including any one-time costs such as installation; provide bandwidth speeds of at least 100 Mbps downstream and 10 Mbps upstream; and provide basic conduit access to the Internet at those required minimum speeds.

Open and Fair Competitive Bid Process

The entity filing the FCC Form 470 must ensure that the competitive bidding process is open and fair:

  • All bidders must be treated the same.
  • No bidder can have advance knowledge of the project information.
  • There are no secrets in the process - such as information shared with one bidder but not with others - and that all bidders know what is required of them.
  • With limited exceptions, service providers and potential service providers cannot give gifts to applicants.
  • In addition, the value of free services (e.g., price reductions, promotional offers, free products) generally must be deducted from the pre-discount cost of funding requests.

Next Steps

Once the competitive bidding process has closed, the entity that filed the FCC Form 470 must evaluate the bids received and select the service provider(s) that will provide the requested services as described further in the next step, Selecting Service Providers.

 

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Agent Forms and Letters For Bid Related Use

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      A brief cover letter that serves as a formal introduction to a potential client. template library and can quickly be created with proposal software, Bidsketch.

      No bid letter example

      formal bid letter

      Sample Letter #1

      Copied!

      On behalf of Doe Company, I am pleased to present you with the enclosed proposal. I am certain you will find the information in line with your needs. The proposal covers the key points we discussed:

      *(list points)

      Doe Company is a full-service manufacturing company dedicated to quality products and superior customer service.

      Thank you for the opportunity to serve you. We look forward to meeting with you again after you have reviewed the proposal,

      Sample Letter #2

      Copied!

      This letter is in response to Doe Corporation's invitation for subcontractor bids on the projected south wing addition to Doe's corporate headquarters. Please find enclosed an itemized estimate of plumbing fixtures, pipes, miscellaneous supplies and labor to complete the job. As the estimate states, we will complete the project as specified for $23,460.

      Because we are able to obtain our plumbing supplies wholesale, our bids of this magnitude are generally $2500 lower than our competitors'. Not only are our bids lower, but we pride ourselves on finishing our work on time. In the event that we fail to complete the plumbing by the designated date, we agree to pay the corporation $100 for every day we are past due.

      Because we extend such an unusual offer to Doe Corporation, we expect a response within five days so we have time to make necessary preparations. Failing a response within that time, we revoke this written offer.

      Sample Letter #3

      Copied!

      Thank you for allowing me to examine your antique dining room set. You are correct in assuming it needs extensive reconstruction, refinishing and upholstering. I am enclosing a detailed breakdown of my bid. Briefly, I can restore the table and chairs for $2500 and the hutch for $1500. Several of the chairs are badly split or broken and require extensive rebuilding. However, reconstruction is worth doing. Your lovely Victorian set could easily auction for $10,000 in mint condition. Please acknowledge confirmation of our bid as soon as possible. I am anticipating your response and am eager to start the project.

      Sample Letter #4

      Copied!

      In response to your request for proposal (RFP) for Springfield Bridge expansion, Doe Corporation submits the enclosed bid. We found numerous problems with the bid specifications and noted them in our proposal. Our proposal reflects the additional cost of dealing with those problems. We ask that you act on our bid no later than August 10, 2019, so that we can prioritize our summer work schedule.

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      Guide to Write This Letter ❯

      Writing a bid proposal for any business with our free bid proposal template. Our bid Interview Appointment Letter (7+ Sample Letters, Formats & Templates).

      formal bid letter
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