Is my tender appearance really that important?

Dear Tender Doctor,

I know a couple of people in procurement and they told me that my tender appearance is not important. They said they make their decision only on the facts that are presented, the compliance with requirements and the pricing.

Am I wasting my time creating a professional looking proposal?

Yours truly,

The Tender Rationalist

Dear Tender Rationalist,

Many procurement people will tell you that they are immune to the professional look of a document. They say that the tender appearance will not influence their decision, particularly if they are buying on price, of course. They are making a rational decision based on the facts presented to them.

Presenting a proposal that resembles a high school essay devoid of visual formatting can save you a lot of time and effort. Maybe no one really does judge a book by its cover (although I do sometimes choose my claret based on the label).

Why would you want to grab the client’s attention? It could make you look too keen! Perhaps it is better to be modest. Rather, just slip your rough-hewn manuscript in a manilla envelope and let the tender assessors sift out the information buried somewhere in the unbroken pages of text.

I know that images, illustrations or graphics can be interpreted as distractions. Someone even told me they were just “fou-fou”. I do think illustrations aid in the conveying complex ideas, but that could just be that I have had too much claret this week, my mind is muddled and I need every bit of help to see things clearly.

In conclusion, dear Tender Rationalist, tender presentation is about as important as a cover on a book. So we hope that the people judging your tender are not so irrational as to judge it on its appearance. If they do you may have made a bad mistake.

Yours faithfully

The Tender Doctor