Impression management is everything when it comes to bidding successfully on tender opportunities.

Every touch point a potential client has with you, whether it’s in-person, through your paperwork, email communications or your website, plays a role in that reputation. It’s vital for all of those things to give the client a sense of confidence in your ability to deliver. Anything sloppy might give them pause to wonder if your work will be treated with the same level of care.

Giving the best possible impression is a good policy to have for any business, but of course most of all, that impression has to come with excellent follow-through. Here are a few ways to ensure that you make a good impression when bidding on an electrical contract:

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#1. Clear communication

Every communication you make is either helping or hindering the impression that you create with clients. If you’re sending emails or writing up paperwork that is riddled with grammatical or spelling errors, inappropriately uses abbreviations or jargon, or is generally unclear, then a company is not going to be keen to deal with you.

At the same time, look at other representations of your company that the client might look for. A good example is your website. Is it professional-looking and error-free? While your job isn’t to write perfectly scripted essays for the client, whether you like it or not, they will make a judgement of your competence based on impressions. Make sure your documents are proofread before they are sent back to the client.

Electrical contract

#2. Professional formatting

Most companies will provide instructions around what their preferred formatting is for tender documents. If you ignore these instructions and go ahead with your own version, your bid will quickly end up on the reject pile. It conveys the impression that you don’t follow instructions, and if you can’t during the tender process, what if you’re also like that while on the job site?

Secondly, if there is a template provided, use it and fill out all required sections. Companies use these templates to make it easier to line up competing bids and compare them. You will again, only give the impression that you have difficulty with following instructions if you don’t use it.

If there are no templates provided, then structure your document clearly so that it is logical, well-organized and persuasive. Include a good introduction which clearly states your purpose, rationale and central proposition. Consider having your own template which your company uses as a standard response to tender requests which don’t have a required template.

As a final word on professional formatting, be sure to include all relevant details that have been asked for and provide clarity on any conditions that may affect your pricing.

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#3. Display qualifications

On the tender documentation itself, you may need to provide details such as your licensing and any insurances that you hold. It’s also a good idea to display those things on your website – sometimes companies will contact you asking you to put in a bid, and they may do so based on information they’ve found about you online.

Taking steps like promoting your safety and insurance programs can help to push you in front of others, and lets the potential client know those things are important to you. Typically, many bids will include safety questions, so it’s important to properly address those when you write up your bid.

Another thing to consider is displaying past projects on your website (or including mention of them in your tender documentation). This helps to show the client whether you have sufficient experience in the type of job that they need. It all adds up in terms of boosting the client’s confidence in your company.

#4. Provide clear breakdowns

One of the fastest ways to generate mistrust with a client is to provide vague or unclear breakdowns of costings. You’ve probably had this experience yourself – you go to get some kind of service and there are vague descriptions of extra charges or the “XYZ service fee” added on. You have no idea what that means and sometimes, it can feel like the company is simply making things up to add to the invoice.

Building trust with a potential client means taking the time to spell out how you came to your breakdowns, and defining what any service charges actually mean. People like to know exactly what they’re paying for, and can feel like they’re being ripped off if charges are unclear.

In addition to this, use your clarifications and exclusions to give your terms extra clarity. For example, were there any unknown quantities which you couldn’t account for? Are there certain items that are dependent on the client making a choice so that you can clarify price?

#5. Have testimonials

Testimonials are powerful tools for building trust with customers. We suggest you have a few good testimonials prominently displayed on your website, so that potential clients can easily find them. It helps if those testimonials come from people who don’t mind being contacted to speak about your company.

Testimonials are effective because they deliver “social proof”, something that everyone looks for, no matter what it is they are buying. People want to know that someone else has used the service or bought the product and had success with it. Having identifiable referees also helps to build trust; it shows that real people are behind the testimonials and you didn’t just make them up.

To speak more to the power of testimonials, consider these statistics compiled by Boast:

  • 90% of respondents who recalled reading online reviews claimed that positive online reviews influenced buying decisions.
  • Customer testimonials and case studies are considered the most effective content marketing tactics, as identified by 89% and 88%, respectively, of B2B (business to business) marketers.
  • 85% of consumers said they read up to 10 reviews before feeling they can trust a business.

#6. Play to your strengths

Have you handled projects of this size, scope and type previously? Does your team possess the requisite skills to manage this project effectively? Highlight your strengths with examples to back up your assertions. In the same vein as testimonials, clients are looking for proof that you’ve done this type of work successfully before.

In addition to this, to help build up a trustworthy, reliable reputation in the industry, it’s important that you pick and choose the contracts you bid on, trying only for those which you’re best-qualified to do. Some companies fall into a pattern of bidding on everything that comes their way, whether or not they’ll be suitable. This not only wastes your time, but the potential client’s as well. Often, tender documentation will lay out exactly what the minimum required qualifications and experience are, so by ignoring those you’re only dooming the bid to failure anyway. You will create a better impression by being more thoughtful and selective about what you bid on.

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Final thoughts

At every possible point that a customer will have contact with your company, it’s important that you’re creating a good impression. Contracts are awarded to companies that stand out as being competent and trustworthy, so while you may have top-notch skills on the tools among your team, it’s important that your professional reputation is managed in other areas too.

When a potential client has a pile of competing bids to sort through, they’re looking for reasons to eliminate bids as they go. Begin on the right footing by communicating clearly and following any instructions or templates that have been provided.

How will you create a good impression with clients? Another thing you can do is ensure clear, accurate estimates. Check out how Countfire can help you with this here.