Invitations To Tender In Seven Steps

in Construction
It's not difficult to get tender enquiries through the door if you follow some simple steps.

Step One. Get your accreditations, insurances and references in place for those dreaded Pre Qualification Questionnaires!

The PQQ is often a requirement before tenders or enquiries will be offered, so it's worth getting your paperwork in order. Health and safety is a priority in this day and age and if you can't show you have everything covered, you won't get the tender opportunity. In the UK, CHAS, the Contractors Health And Safety Scheme, is becoming an industry standard in terms of what clients, architects and surveyors require. The annual CHAS assessment is a rather laborious process, but once you have that certificate, the kudos of your company will go sky high. In the USA, the OSHA, Occupational Safety And Health Administration, have a major role in driving forward health and safety standards in the workplace. Make sure you have your specialist accreditations in place according to your trade. In the UK your on site operatives will all need to hold CSCS cards - Construction Skills Certificate Scheme. Have the right level of insurance for the work you are doing. As a bare minimum it's standard these days for the smaller contractor to have 10,000,000 pounds UK, Employers Liability Insurance and 5,000,000 pounds UK, Professional Indemnity Insurance. By the way, endorsements and references for your company are like gold dust! Keep them updated and post them everywhere.

Step Two. Adopt the right lead generation system

There are several systems that have become common in the industry, among them: Emap Glenigan, Barbour ABI and Builders Conference. I have used all three of them with mixed results. They all track planning leads coming through local authorities and compile projects in various database formats for easy access for the user. If you are a main building contractor targeting architects, developers and quantity surveyors, then Emap Glenigan or Barbour ABI would be a good choice. Be careful to record the information gleaned in an efficient way because the information you will receive could easily overwhelm and that's when crucial contacts can be lost. Systems like these can be an excellent source of leads if you want to develop a reliable sales pipeline. It's rare to get a quick opportunity using these systems, but with accurate monitoring and filtering, they can be very effective. If you are a sub contractor targeting work with main contractors, Builders Conference is the best system to use.

Step Three. Know how to get past the gatekeeper

I have dealt with this question quite exhaustively in another article and in my Marketing For Construction Masterclass Course, so I won't spend time here. Just to say that you need to build up a profile of every company you are targeting for work remembering that the gatekeepers - the staff you need to convince before you can talk to the decision maker, is also very important. Often by building a rapport with this key person opens the door to further, more significant contacts within the company. Persevere and always be polite.

Step Four. Keep accurate records of every contact

You absolutely must have a CRM system. (Customer Relations Management). Getting tenders through the door is not difficult when you remember important things like the name of the person you talk to, what their interests are and what projects they are working on. Before you pick up the phone to ask for the tender, do your homework. Remind yourself about the person you are going to talk to and what was said on previous occasions. You will never remember this unless you have an efficient CRM system. There are systems which have been developed specifically for the construction industry, however, unless you have a large budget, these can be extremely expensive. If you are a small to medium sized company, something like ACT can be a good solution and it can be edited to include all the information fields you require. Once this has been done, you have an efficient and cost effective system and plenty of help is available online.

Step Five. Build relationships of trust by being trustworthy

Developing business these days is not about over promising and under delivering. Marketing speak and hyped jargon never won anyone a reliable sales pipeline. It's all about building relationships. You will find no difficulty in ensuring an endless stream of tender opportunities, if you have spent time building relationships with the right people. This is one of my focuses in my Marketing For construction Masterclass, and is the key to business success. One way of doing this is by returning your quotes on time and in a professional format.

Step Six: Target the right work. Nothing annoys architects and estimators more than un-priced, returned tender enquiries

Never use the 'scatter gun' approach. If you target everything, you will inevitably find that you can't deliver on all your promises. Expectations will be shattered and you will struggle to regain credibility with your tender sources. If you have a robust, thought through business marketing plan, you should be able to focus on your key strengths when targeting work. You will also be much more competitive than if you were trying to break into business areas for which you are not equipped.

Step Seven. Be ready to Value Engineer your quote

Let's face it, the competition is more rigorous than ever, especially since the economic recession hit the construction industry hard back in 2008. We are not out of the woods yet, although there are some hopeful signs that recovery is under way. After a long period when the housing market went very quiet, there are now signs of recovery with house prices stabilising and in some areas, beginning to rise. As a construction professional grappling with the issues involved in keeping your business viable and profitable, you will be aware that there have are unscrupulous contractors pricing tender enquiries below profit margins just to get the work and then suddenly finding the hidden extras for the unsuspecting client once established on site! Contractors who operate like this will not survive in the long term. Meanwhile, others who want to develop their business with integrity are in danger of being crushed by this unfair competition. Value Engineering is essential therefore, to enable you to keep that door of opportunity open. So make sure you keep contact with the surveyor who will be looking at the quotes to assure them you are ready to negotiate in the best interests of all parties involved. But be realistic. The quality service you offer will be acknowledged and rewarded. Remember in this whole exercise our aim is to offer added value by offering solutions. So if you are a mechanical sub contractor, find a reliable electrical partner so that you can offer a fully managed M & E solution. If you are a main contractor, offer a pre and post construction service. For example, an ongoing maintenance solution beyond the required snagging period.

I have explored these issues and many more proven strategies, in my Marketing For Construction Masterclass.
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Steve Flashman has 1 articles online

Steve Flashman is a Marketing & Business Development Consultant in the Construction Industry. He is a writer and broadcaster and has produced a groundbreaking Masterclass Video Course for personal and staff training
Masterclass In Construction Marketing

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Invitations To Tender In Seven Steps

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This article was published on 2011/04/07