27 Jun How To Write An Executive Summary That Will Win You More Work
Writing a good executive summary is a crucial part of winning the job you’re bidding on.
A well-written executive summary will clarify questions that your reader may have, identify the requirements of the bid and how your company can meet them, and give an overview of the main points that you raise in your tender response – such as financial projections and market research, for example.
Just as if you were advertising your business, you should keep your potential customer’s needs in mind throughout your executive summary, which needs to be clear, concise, and hyper-focused on the reader’s requirements in order to make the maximum impact.
What Is An Executive Summary?
In essence, an executive summary is a short (between 1-3 pages is standard), quick, and easily digestible overview of your bid, that is often placed at the start of your bid document.
Your executive summary should help your readers get an impression of the overall tone of the proposal, while also offering you the chance to pitch your key messages without needing to get into the ‘nitty gritty’ of the tender response.
A maximally effective executive summary will also function as a form of sales pitch, where you appeal to the needs of your customer and persuade the reader that your company is the best choice for the contract that has been put out to tender.
Why Should I Write An Executive Summary?
First and foremost, the aim of your executive summary is to illustrate to prospective clients how your business can deliver the work being bid on to an excellent standard. Your summary should be attention-grabbing, exciting, and most importantly, should make your audience want to read on.
Remember, your executive summary won’t just be read by the business owner; anyone with a stakeholding in the bid selection process may work their way through it. It is therefore important that your summary is engaging for a wide audience, and that it creates a great first impression on all the decision-makers who will see it.
In addition to getting your key points across in an immediate way, there are several further advantages to writing an executive summary:
1. It Saves Time
Executive summaries save the reader’s time by summing up everything in your business proposal, including your sales ‘patter’.
While we would all love to believe that we can spend hours creating an impressive business proposal covering everything there possibly is to know about our businesses, and that our prospective clients would read it enraptured, in most cases, this is unfortunately not the reality.
The truth is that your readers will have many business proposals to go through, and only the ones that make a powerful first impression will be read to the end. Therefore, it is crucial that you make your executive summary as impactful as possible.
If your executive summary is too wordy, contains conflicting messages, or falls flat, your proposal will likely be tossed aside, so keep it concise and choose your words carefully!
2. It Will Grab People’s Attention
If your executive summary is interesting, you stand a better chance of winning the bid. But if it is dull, it’s unlikely the potential client will read your full proposal.
Remember, your executive summary is like the blurb of a book. If the blurb doesn’t sound interesting or relevant to your interests, how likely are you to read it?
3. It Summarises Key Points
Condensing your 50-page bid proposal into just 1-3 pages enables you to polish your sales pitch and improve your understanding of how your business runs.
But more crucially, it allows you to summarise the key points of your business so that they are more memorable for the reader, and so that the most vital information is less likely to be lost or go unnoticed. Therefore, if there is anything that your client definitely needs to know about your business, make sure that it goes in the executive summary!
How To Structure Your Executive Summary
1. Summarise The Client’s Requirements
Firstly, your executive summary should concisely recap the requirements of the bid, and explain how your company can best meet the client’s needs.
However, if you don’t know precisely what criteria the client expects the bids to fulfil, do consider asking them for clarification before you write your bid.
2. Show How Your Company Can Help
Describe how your company can solve the problem that your client is facing. Keep it short, and stick to 5 or fewer key points when describing the benefits of choosing your business.
What will the client get by picking you ahead of the alternatives? What advantages does your business oﬀer? Make sure your executive summary clearly answers these questions.
3. Explain Why The Client Should Choose You
What does your business offer that others might not? Consider factors like pricing, quality of service, experience, and specialist skills. And avoid using phrases that are subjective, such as ‘the best’, unless you can clearly evidence this.
4. Outline Any Appropriate Experience
What contracts have you previously completed that were similar to the one now being bid on? Include case studies of your past projects that are relevant to the current bid, and provide references for them.
5. Discuss Costs
Provide a list of tasks that you will complete as part of the contract being bid on, along with the cost of each job. This allows the client to clearly see everything that your service provides for its pricing.
Initially, you may wish to pitch your lowest price point in your bid – particularly if the opportunity you are bidding on is especially competitive – before offering optional extras available for an additional cost.
6. Present An Action Plan
If you submit the winning bid, can you get started on the job right away, or will you need some added input from the client first? Plus, what do you need from the client to get the job done as well as possible? And how do you plan to meet your targets?
Make sure that your executive summary contains all these details!
Consider This Checklist Before Submitting Your Bid
When you have written your executive summary, it’s time to proofread it. Here are a few things to check before you send it – along with the rest of your bid – to the client for consideration:
- Does the first paragraph make an impact?
- Is the executive summary simple?
- Is it concise?
- Is it engaging?
- Is it hyper-focused on your client’s needs?
If you can answer yes to all of these questions, then congratulations, your document is ready for potential clients to read!