Seven steps to a great Executive Summary

In a proposal, the executive summary is your proxy for a face-to-face conversation with the customer. It sets out your case for the business in a short, confident piece of less than three pages – no matter how long and complex your actual proposal is.

As a Bid Leader, your job is to make sure that the executive summary really rocks. Write it yourself, in a clear, confident tone of voice that sounds exactly like it would if you spoke to the customer in person.

Writing your executive summary early is a great idea.

Your Purchaser Value Topics are the scaffolding on which you will build your offer, and writing your executive summary lets you scale that scaffolding, test how strong it is, and see where there are gaps you need to fill.

Here is a simple method to follow when you’re writing your executive summary.

1.     Thank the client and name the project, contract or opportunity you are responding to. Show that you understand what the client is looking for, presenting at least several insights that go over and above the requirements in the Request for Tender.

2.     Include an offer statement that summarises the commercial benefits of your offer in one paragraph.

3.     Confirm that your proposal conforms to the Request for Tender requirements. If necessary and relevant, explain briefly how they should read the proposal.

4.     Using your Purchaser Value Topics as headings, explain why the customer should choose you. Substantiate claims with your best examples and evidence, and include testimonials. This section represents the bulk of your executive summary.

5.     If you haven’t already, briefly explain why your proposal offers value for money. If relevant, address any concerns the client may have about choosing you.

6.     Ask for the business and summarise why you deserve it.

7.     Sign off using your name, as the most senior person on your bid team.

Robyn Haydon is a business development consultant who helps helps service-based businesses that compete through bids and tenders to articulate the value in what they do, command a price premium, and build an offer that buyers can’t refuse. Don’t let others dictate how far and how fast your business can grow – take your power back! Email robyn@robynhaydon.com to request the white paper for the Beyond Ticking Boxes program.