7 Things You Should Know Before Bidding Internationally

If you are bidding for projects outside your country, there are a few things you must be aware of: the proposal writing style, the color palettes used, the use of words and a whole host of other things matter. It would be great to have an RFP management software to manage international bids as these bids are usually more complex and need more reviews than locally sourced bids.

#1 Know the Country’s Customs

It is important to observe the usage and practices of the English language when you are writing for an international project. Make an extra effort not to sound critical of the company you are writing to or their country.

Also ensure you use the right colors in your illustrations, graphics, and photographs. For example, using black borders around a person’s photograph signifies the person’s death. The color yellow signifies content relating to pornography and white signifies funerals.

#2 Know the Country’s Work Culture

Depending on where your customer is from, the work culture changes. For example, the schedule and pace of activity in Japan are very high. So, if a customer from Japan requests for the proposal to be submitted by a specific date, asking for an extension would reflect poorly on your company.

Similarly, poor mail etiquette is a serious offense if you are writing to a company in England. Ensure that nothing you say sounds impolite. No one intends to be impolite, but it is important that you anticipate the worst and double check your work before sending it.

#3 Adapt your content and solution to accommodate the country’s legal landscape, tax structures, and assessment method.

Countries vary widely in terms of a legal landscape. For example, if you are writing a proposal to a customer in Germany, the mention of claims such as “We will increase your efficiency by 20%” will be taken very seriously. Countless companies who were not privy about this were sued by their German clients when they submitted proposals with claims they were not able to achieve. Instead, you are allowed to say “We will assist you in improving efficiency by up to 20%”. That is more legally acceptable in Germany.

Again, here too, relying on an end to end RFP management software will give you the bandwidth to search and find content like this in your proposal that may be the cause of legal issues later on.

#4 Abbreviations and Jargon

Avoiding jargon and abbreviations is an oft-discussed matter by proposal writers across the world. However, this is even more important in the case of international customers who may not even understand the word. For example, the phrase “lucked out” in Great Britain means “not lucky.” But in the US, “lucked out” means “lucky.” Although the phrase remains the same, the meanings are diagonally opposite.

Abbreviations and technical jargon also have the potential to be misunderstood. It is a good practice to always include a guide at the end of your proposal that clarifies the meanings of words that have the potential to be misunderstood or not understood.

In Japan, people confuse between singular words and plural words. This is because, in Japanese, there is no singular or plural form for a word in Japanese. Every word can be used both ways.

Relying on an RFP management software like Zbizlink will allow you to find the time to make these appendices, and show your customer that you empathise with them.

#5 Proposals in Other Languages

Very often, we are requested to submit proposals in Chinese, French, Spanish or German. For these scenarios, we recommend using a translation service. Translation services are available from freelancers, but it is always better to approach a professional. Ensure that you have sufficient time allocated for translation activities when you are writing a proposal for a customer based out of another country.

Even after you get it translated, get it rechecked by someone in your organization who understands your business what they think about the translation. Ensure that if not all, your key messages, value propositions, assumptions, and presumptions are accurately translated beyond a shadow of doubt.

It would be best to run the proposal by a native citizen so that they can let you know if there is something that catches their eye. Local citizens can help you prevent the occurrence of an event that may be uncomfortable or offensive to your customer.

Consider using an RFP Management software in order to plan for complicated bid requests such as these. Zbizlink’s Workflows allow you to plan and execute complicated operations like this better. The dashboard also tells you who in your team can take up activities so that you can allocate work accordingly

#6 Solving these problems with graphics

The simplest and safest way to solve these problems is to make a proposal graphically rich. We do not advocate placing graphics just for the sake of placing graphics, but rather- so that readers would not misunderstand what they read. Graphics are universally understandable. Never forget to include a small description that articulates what the graphic is all about above or below the graphic. We recommend using an RFP management software like Zbizlink where you can save previously created graphics and access them with ease- with a single click.

#7 How Zbizlink can help you

Zbizlink’s RFP management software can help you find previously written proposals with ease. You can search based on a wide range of criteria such as (but not limited to) customer name and geography to easily find previously written proposals that address the same subject. You can easily look up partners who your organization has worked with previously to translate proposals.

If you are bidding in a location where you have no expertise, an RFP management software like Zbizlink can also help you assess your capabilities and locates partners to help you win contracts. It displays what each potential partner offers—mapping their credentials to yours—and it shows whether together, you meet all the solicitation requirements.

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