What makes a great Executive Summary?

The purpose of an Executive Summary is to convince the buyer to say “yes” to your proposal. Unfortunately, many fall far short of this aim.

Here’s what an Executive Summary is not:

·      It’s not an “introduction” to the proposal.

·      It’s not a summary of the technical solution.

·      And it’s definitely not all about you – and nothing about the buyer.

A good Executive Summary sets out your commercial argument for the business in a clear and confident tone. A great executive summary does even more than this; it connects the buyer emotionally with your offering and your vision, and sets out an exciting future that they couldn’t possibly say no to.

Here’s how to distinguish an average Executive Summary from really great ones that will win you business:

Average Executive Summaries… Great Executive Summaries…
Show how you will do the job Show how you will deliver value
Talk about you and your credentials Talk about them and their future
Make you sound like every other supplier Make you sound like the only people they would want to work with
Are professional, detached, and a bit of a dull read Are conversational, enthusiastic and interesting to read
Look like the one that was in the last proposal Look fresh and exciting; are written specifically for each new opportunity
Sound like they are talking to no one in particular Are a conversation at the highest level; as if your CEO was talking directly to the buyer

Next time, try writing your Executive Summary before you write your proposal. This will help you to get clear on your strategy, identify gaps and holes in the evidence you have to support the strategy, and build your team’s connection to the vision.

Robyn Haydon is a business development consultant specialising in business that is won through competitive bids and tenders. Her clients have won and retained hundreds of millions of dollars worth of business with many of Australia’s largest corporate and government buyers.

Re-Engage is my training and coaching program for organisations with multiple major accounts. It will give your people the framework, skills, and confidence to lead contract renewals with your existing customers. Email info@robynhaydon.com or call 03 9557 4585 to find out more.