Purchasing is a bit like dating – once you’ve found someone you like, you stop searching for new partners (…theoretically). Similarly, once a company finds a supplier whose goods or services they’re happy with, they stop looking. In the tendering game we call this ‘select’ or ‘private’ tendering, where companies only go out to a small group of preferred suppliers with a tender opportunity for goods or services, rather than opening up publicly to the entire market.

Private or select tendering is very popular – last year, private tenders made up 60% of all opportunities published by our e-Tendering partners. (Jan-Nov 2019).

If you’re part of a buyer’s select tendering group, you’re much more likely to win the tender because you’re competing from a position of trust and strength, and since it all happens in secret, you’re up against fewer competitors.

So how do you make it into a buyer’s select group? How do you make sure you’re in the shortlist of potential providers that they choose from to start a long-term relationship? Well, who the buyer invites into their exclusive supplier group is entirely at their discretion, but there are a few steps you can take to get their attention.

Here’s our 3 key tips:

  • Don’t settle – wait for your perfect match.
    Relationships are a two way street, and it’s not just about what the buyer is looking for, it’s also about what you’re looking for. Rather than wasting your time going on a bunch of ‘dates’ with people who don’t share your interests or values, on the off-chance that you’ll find ‘the one’, make sure you know what you want first in order to narrow down your options. Tendering should be a calculated investment, so take the time to create a tendering strategy which caters to your business goals, and ensure you have the time and resources needed to deliver to a high standard – for both bidding and the actual work.
  • Strut your stuff! Be seen.
    There’s a reason that dating websites and apps like Tinder and Bumble are so popular; they’re the perfect platform to get out there and be seen! You’re not going to get asked on a date if you’re not putting yourself out there, and the same goes for tendering. Companies aren’t going to select you if they don’t know about you. Do your research, take proactive steps to grow your network, and contact companies who are looking for the goods or services you provide. A good starting point is to search our buyer partners.
  • Blind dates don’t work! Get to know the buyer first.
    You’re more likely to go out with a friend of a friend than on a blind date, and for good reason – there’s much less risk! Similarly, buyers are more likely to include you in their select group if they already know you, because it reduces risk. So make sure you take the time and effort to get to know the company, and really understand what they require. What are their goals? What are their pain-points? What is the scope of the project? Soon you’ll both realise that you tick all the right boxes.

All of this will ensure your ‘first date’ goes well, and increase the chances of a long-term procurement relationship. Becoming part of a buyer’s select group for private tenders takes time, but ultimately means you can win more bids and grow your business!

At illion TenderLink, we’re celebrating our 25th anniversary, bringing suppliers and buyers together since 1994.

Check out our buyer partners to see if any are your perfect match, or chat to us about our tender notification service, which delivers relevant tenders from your industry directly to your inbox.