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But nothing compared to the feeling of writing an executive summary.There is so much dissent about the function of the executive summary — what it should say, what it should do, how long it should be, and whether it be written before or after the body of the proposal — that it can add to the already stressful task of getting a winning proposal written, designed, and out the door to the client on time. The executive summary is arguably the most valuable component of any proposal.You can save the features for the body of the proposal.
But in fact, the purpose of the executive summary is to sell your solution to the client’s problem.
It should be persuasive, outlining why the client should choose your company. The executive summary needs to be persuasive and highlight the benefits of your company/product/service, rather than being descriptive and focusing on the features.
Some people feel you should write the executive summary first because it can help you outline your concept and organize your thoughts for the entire proposal.
That way it acts as a guide to members of your team who are tasked with preparing sections of the proposal, ensuring that everyone’s on the same page, that the big idea is consistent throughout, and that all necessary components are included.
The executive summary is arguably the most valuable component of any proposal, but most people are confused about its purpose.
It’s actually not about summarizing at all; it’s about selling.With an executive summary written, or at least outlined, I’m more confident about delegating parts of the proposal creation process to different team members because they’ll understand the approach and what they need to do to contribute to a consistent, cohesive document.Once the body of the proposal is finished, I then go back to tweak the executive summary as needed.Hopefully, it will make the proposal process less painful, and help you convince anyone on your team who might disagree to follow your lead. First of all, the executive summary needs a rebrand.To me, the name itself speaks of stuffy suits, boring, jargon-filled reports, and boardrooms filled with cigar smoke and people ready to say no. In all seriousness, the word “summary” can be misleading, and this is the first mistake people often make when it comes to writing their executive summary.You should also talk about how the client will benefit from solving the problem - what will change, the positive outcomes, the results.Again, the focus here is on the client and their challenge, not on you and your company. This section is where you talk about the brilliant solution you’re proposing and why it will work. They can read all the delicious details in the proposal so keep it high level but still provide enough detail to convince them you have something specific and well thought out for them.Here’s how to write an executive summary that seals the deal.I have written, edited, or managed the creation of what feels like a gagillion business proposals in my career, and 90% of the time I had a feeling of dread throughout the whole process (this was obviously in the dark ages before Proposify existed).Its purpose is clear, its potential is huge, and putting it together can be straightforward if you change your approach and follow a few simple steps.I’ll share what I’ve learned about writing an effective executive summary for client proposals.