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Bidding internationally is a tough process to wrangle. There are a few things you should know before bidding internationally: the proposal writing style, the color palettes used, the use of words and a whole host of other things matter.
As proposals ramp up, consider the proposal management tools and subject matter experts you need to help develop proposals effectively and on time. International bidding is more complex than managing domestic or local bids.
#1 Understand the buyer country’s customs
First, observe the usage and practices of the English language when you are writing for an international project. The English language is very layered and the same words can have a very different meaning in another country.
Next, double-check your response for references to goods or services outside of the buyer’s desired practices. Overlooking this consideration can make your response seem offensive or even potential liability.
Also, be sure to use the right colors in your illustrations, graphics, and photos. Incorrect color use can send the wrong message. For example, in some countries using black borders around a person’s photograph signifies the person’s death. Yellow may signal that the content relates to pornography.
#2 Understand the country’s work culture
Depending on where you are bidding, the work culture changes. For example, the schedule and pace of activity in Japan are very high. So, asking for an extension to a Japanese buyer’s specified due date would be rude and reflect poorly on your company.
In England, poor mail etiquette is a serious offense. Ensure that your submission is not impolite in any way. No one intends to be impolite, but you must anticipate the worst possibility and double-check your work before sending it.
#3 Accommodate the country’s legal landscape, tax structures, and assessment method
The legal landscape and tax structures vary widely across countries. You must comply with contractual terms no matter if bidding internationally or not. Yet, in a country like Germany, proposals that say “We will increase your efficiency by 20%” will be taken very literally. German clients have sued vendors over proposal claims they were not able to achieve. Instead, you can say, “We will help you improve efficiency up to 20%”.
Leveraging an end-to-end proposal management software will give you the bandwidth to search and find content in your proposal that may cause legal issues later.
#4 Limit abbreviations and jargon
Avoiding jargon and abbreviations is an oft-discussed matter among proposal writers across the world. However, this is an even more important consideration in the case of international bidding. The proposal reader may not understand the jargon-heavy content. For example, the phrase “lucked out” in England means “not lucky.” However, in the US, “lucked out” means “you got lucky.”
Abbreviations and jargon have the potential to be misunderstood. It is a good practice to 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 Japanese, there is no singular or plural form for a word. Every word can be used both ways.
#5 Verify correct usage of other languages
Use a professional translation service to write a proposal in a different language. Ensure that there is enough time to monitor translation activities and have the proposal reviewed prior to submission.
After the proposal is translated, get it rechecked by someone in your organization who understands your business, the language, and the country’s customs. Make certain that your key messages, value propositions, assumptions, and presumptions are accurately translated beyond a shadow of a doubt. Scan the proposal with an RFP software.
Ideally, a native-speaker or citizen liaison would be the best person to review the proposal. Native-speakers will improper address to the client.
Zbizlink workflows allow you to plan and execute complicated operations like this better with remote SMEs. Dashboards show the workload of members on your response team.
#6 Show the solution with graphics
The simplest and safest way to mitigate issues is to show the solution with graphics. Do not add irrelevant or space-filler graphics just for the sake of having them, but as guides to help the reader understand the content.
Graphics are universally understandable. Yet, never forget to include a title and caption that articulates the value of the graphic.
#7 Use analytical tools to help you
Use a trusted analytical tool and machine learning rather than attempt to tackle such a large task and leave chance to human error. Zbizlink enables your team to identify repeatable solutions and best practices for ongoing success.
Leverage proposals that were previously written and are similar in nature to respond to your next international bid. Save yourself the much needed time for translation services and compliance review. Zbizlink allows you to shred complex documents for all proposal requirements, identify compliant business partners, collaborate effectively with remote SMEs, and identify resources who are skilled in the required language.
Zbizlink helps you assess your capabilities if you are bidding internationally or in a new location where you have limited expertise.
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