Writing Winning Executive Summaries

Executive Summaries often are developed at the very last minute in proposals.  That may be inevitable because so much time needs to be spent on writing the contents of the management and technical proposals.  However, Executive Summaries are not unimportant.  In fact, the first couple of pages of your proposal may be the most important ones.

Executive Summaries are very important because they are the first – and perhaps the only – pages reviewers will read carefully.  They provide a road map to reviewers who probably no nothing about your company and its products and services.  Consequently, your Executive Summary must tell them in just a few pages who you are; what you propose to do; and why your solution is the best one.

Follow these rules, and your Executive Summaries will be compelling and persuasive:

  • Always include an Executive Summary, even if the Request for Proposals (RFP) does not call for one.  It should appear in every proposal volume you submit.
  • Focus on the potential customer.  Your Executive Summary should address the evaluation factors in the order in which they appear in the RFP.
  • Tell the customer why you are superbly qualified to achieve the goals and objectives of the RFP.
  • Write clearly and straightforwardly so that any educated person could read your Executive Summary and understand it in just a minute or two.
  • Use visuals to help make your points.  For many reviewers, a few good visuals may be more informative and convincing than several pages of text.
  • Emphasize your benefits, not your features.  Save the details for the rest of the proposal.  Explain how your solution will benefit the potential customer.
  • Address the issues that matter most in the RFP.

The Executive Summary is your best opportunity to engage reviewers and encourage them to read your proposal seriously.  In your Executive Summary, it is not enough to state that you will comply with the terms of the RFP.  You must convince skeptical reviewers that you have the experience, skills, and solutions needed to address the main problem identified in the RFP.

Use your Executive Summary to set the tone for your entire proposal and connect your solution to the customer’s most critical needs.

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