A business proposal executive summary is clearly the most important part of any business proposal. It offers the business owner a chance at selling their services or goods to prospective clients. There are so many arguments and opinions about the function of a business proposal executive summary, its appropriate length, whether it should come before or after the proposal body, and so forth. Let us clear the air once and for all and show you how to write the best executive summary you possibly can to help you win more clients for your business.
What is the purpose of an executive summary
Before we get to the how of writing a business executive summary to win more clients, first things first; let us answer why you need to include an executive summary in your business proposal. In the simplest of terms, the function of an executive summary is to present a summarized version of your business proposal and the solution you are offering to the prospective client. It outlines the value your company brings to the equation, the benefits that your client will receive if they hire you, why you are their only chance at successfully solving the problem they have, and how you will execute your solution. The executive summary helps the client to quickly make a decision as to whether they are going to read the rest of your proposal or add it to their "not hire" pile.
That said, you should write your business proposal executive summary before you write your actual proposal. This way, you get to make a clear outline of the concepts you want to present in your proposal. Any ideas that may come in the course of writing the rest of the proposal should be added to the executive summary. Here is how to write a compelling executive summary that will guarantee more prospective clients hire you to do business with them.
Capture the reader’s attention
A compelling opener is necessary in order to get the reader’s attention from the onset. To do this, ensure that you make a good first impression. The desired impression in such a scenario is that you are talking about them and not you. Let everything in the opener revolve around the client. Mention the client’s company name at least a couple of times. It is also advisable to be direct and focused on the issues in question and the solutions you are able to provide.
Show that you understand their needs
You cannot solve a problem that you do not know exists. Before anyone can decide to buy your product or service, they need to know that you understand their needs. It is in the executive summary that you get to showcase how well you understand their problems and needs. It is a good idea to point out previous experiences with your past clients who had similar situations, or even research you have done that is relevant to the matter at hand. Always remember to focus on the client, their challenges, and the benefits they will receive after your help them solve their problem.
Present the solution
This is where the spotlight shines on you. It is in presenting the solution that you get to showcase your ability to help them. You have to present a strong case on why you know your solution will work. It is good to keep in mind that the business proposal executive summary is an overview of the proposal. Do not go into overwhelming detail. Provide just enough information to convince your prospect that you have a well thought out plan of action that will help them. Get the client exited and hopeful.
Prove you can do it
You have to show your client that your solution will work by talking about why you are able to make the project a success and bring in the desired result. This is where you talk about your company's service or product. Showcase your qualification and track record for success. This is where you need to show the client why they need you and not one of your competitors. The most successful businesses are those that have the WHY BUY FROM US factor right.
Call to action
Always keep in mind that the purpose of the executive summary is to sell. In any sales proposition, there is always a time when you need to take charge and close the deal. Make the client feel like you are the only logical option they have. You are their one chance at getting a solution to their problem. Differentiate yourself from the competition, flatter them a little, and point out how enjoyable it will be to work with them and help their company be more successful.
Having gotten the components right, it is important to keep the following points in mind when doing the actual writing of the executive summary. The following are the "Do’s and Don’t’s" of writing your executive summary.
Don’t use jargon
Keep the language simple and understandable. Jargon gives the impression that you are trying to hide the fact that you don’t know what you are talking about. And remember this saying, "nobody has ever complained that something was too simple to understand."
Don’t give your company’s history
The history of your company and founders does not belong in the executive summary.
Don’t try to be funny
Use a professional tone when writing the executive summary. It is a serious business affair, so any attempts at making anyone laugh is unwelcome. Furthermore, you want to be brief and set the right tone for what is about to follow--the rest of your business proposal.
Don’t be technical in your language
For the most part, it is the executive administration that will read your proposal, so unless you are sure it is the engineer or the company’s IT staff reading the executive summary, avoid overly technical language.
Do focus on your prospect
Put yourself in their shoes and actually think about what they are likely to be curious about. Write about their interests and desires. Every company wants to be more successful. How can you help them be more successful?
Do mention the name of your client’s company
People like to be referred to; it brings a sense or recognition, respect, and relationship. Mentioning your client’s company name at least twice in the executive summary makes them feel the focus is on them.
Do use clear language
When writing the executive summary, keep the sentences short and clear so they are easily understood by everyone. Be brief and persuasive.
Proof read it and then proof read it again... and again
Proof read and edit your executive summary several times. Typos, grammatical errors and misplaced punctuation are the kiss of death and prove that you do not pay attention to detail. You may even want to even consider hiring a professional proof reader to read and edit your executive summary and full proposal. Again, typos, grammar errors, and spelling errors are the kiss of death for any business proposal.
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