Turn Every Page

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Many moons ago, when I was new to bidding, a much older and wiser person told me to “Turn every page”. It’s a habit I have had for over two decades.

We are in an era where we want to do everything faster, quicker, now; and when there are multiple bids on the go, this can seem counter-intuitive. Easier just to read the bits that are important, right? Or let the AI do it. The ITT should be enough to learn about what is being evaluated – what more do we need to know? But this is how you fall into the procurer’s trap.

They HIDE stuff.

Whether on purpose or not, procurers hide important bits of information that can trip us up.

They WANT us to fail to make their jobs easier. “Ooh Terry, they’ve not mentioned xxxx, I’m going to knock some points off.” The easiest way to whittle down bidders.

There might be a line in the pricing return that would be a good thing to mention in our methodology. Or it might be something we have to ask about. The contract might state an activity that you can’t physically deliver. The scope might give you a great idea for some added value, or you may find something important that you didn’t know, like they want a dedicated social value manager. If you’re in construction, the drawings can tell you a thousand things. Like the fact that the works could block a school delivery entrance, or there are more drainage items than they’ve mentioned in the pricing schedule.

And yes, you may be thinking, I’ve done my comprehensive capture process, I have a relationship with this client and we have been talking to them for years – I KNOW what they want.  But don’t forget, to be compliant, we have to do what is asked for in the tender documents, and this could differ from what Henry in the buyers’ department has been banging on about for the last two years.

OK, so we don’t have to print out and physically turn the page these days. Personally, I do print out documents and go through them old school with my highlighter before starting. Mainly to give me a break from the screen and allow me to concentrate without things pinging at me while I’m reading. But you don’t have to. The highlight function on a PDF, or scribbling and circling with your electronic pen on your tablet are just as good. But please, digest the information on each page. Don’t get caught out.


*Dedicating this article to the legendary Frank Midwinter, as he was the originator of this tip.😊

This article was written by Pippa Birch.

Pippa owns Pipster Solutions Ltd – an award-winning bid consultancy. Pippa has been a bid writer for over 20 years, mainly in highways and civil engineering. She is well known in the sector and is an active member of the Institute of Asphalt and has won several industry awards. Pippa went freelance in 2012 and started growing the Pipster team during the Covid pandemic. She is APMP Professional certified and mentors other bid professionals, winning Contribution to the Profession in 2022. She also developed #ThursdayThrong and #BidBites – free online meetings for the bidding community to reduce isolation.

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