When assisting clients with their pre-qualification questionnaires (PQQs) you’d be amazed at just how often we see the same mistakes rear their heads time and time again. And if we notice them, you can bet your prospect will too. Unfortunately it’s a bit of a catch 22 situation – you know you have to improve your responses, but each practice PQQ is a missed contract and worse still possibly a dent in your reputation.
To help you try to identify where you might be going wrong we’ve decided to let you in on the top 3 PQQ blunders that in our experience prevent suppliers from getting shortlisted:
Strike One: Not proof reading! You’d think this one was obvious. The main culprits are;
- Concentrating on the narrative questions and not spending enough time on the detail of shorter responses
- Cutting and pasting text from different drafts
- And the really embarrassing one, using content from old PQQs and forgetting to change the details!
These kind of mistakes disrupt the flow of reading and can start to distract from what you’re trying to say. And in the case of using copied text from former PQQs they say to the buyer that you aren’t taking them seriously, therefore how on earth will you be able to deliver the contract?
Often clients have proof read their documents, they just haven’t done it well enough or because they have written it struggle to see the wood from the trees.
Tip One: finish your response in good time and ask a colleague to give it a good proof read.
Strike Two: Not taking maximum advantage of your word limit! What a waste! The buyer has given you a set amount of space to tell them about your company, and you leave it blank?! It may be difficult to think of how best to structure your answers, but you should always aim to use as much of the allotted space as you can. Lots of blank space can create the impression that you don’t have much to offer.
Tip Two: Decide what’s important to the buyer in this section. Consider why have they asked this question. What would be the ideal answer?
Strike Three: Not selling your business! It may feel strange to blow your own trumpet so shamelessly but don’t forget this is a competition. The buyer will have a ton of documents to read through and if you don’t convince them that your company is the best then you won’t be shortlisted. If you understate your capabilities and achievements the buyer will reach for the next PQQ, so make sure they know you’re the best.
Tip Three: Before getting into the content, identify your story. Why are you better than your competitors and why should you win this contract. Carry this theme throughout the PQQ.
So there you have it, three simple rules for success. We know that this is only a small part of growing your business, but at times like these every little helps. Every PQQ is important, so don’t waste your chances.