Executive Summaries: Three Questions to Ask Yourself

The Executive Summary is arguably the most important part of any proposal; it not only summarizes the features and benefits of your solution, product or service, it also makes your strongest pitch for being the best provider in the marketplace. If you want your Executive Summary to work hard for you, you need to ask yourself three questions:

  1. Does the Executive Summary respond clearly and concisely, right at the beginning, to the customer’s major concern? The start of the summary is not the place to explain how long you have been in business or how your product works. It is the place to say, “You are worried about x; we will solve the problem with y.” The details may be left to the proposal itself, but the Executive Summary must begin by telling the customer that you understand and can solve the problem.
  2. Does the proposal back up the Executive Summary (and vice versa)? Often a disconnect occurs between the Executive Summary and the proposal because they are written and reviewed by different people. The writer or reviewer of the summary might make assumptions about the product or service that are no longer true, without reading the proposal to check. Cross-references may have changed. Make sure that everyone is on board with the facts and that the Executive Summary and proposal are consistent.
  3. Does the Executive Summary include a next step? Because the Executive Summary is often the only part of the proposal that is read, make sure the customer is told what comes next, whether that is a tentative start date or a contact at your company who can respond to questions and concerns.

Especially if your proposal has been written by several company employees, you need to make sure the Executive Summary speaks with one voice, addressing the customer’s expressed needs, supporting the proposal content and including a next step. At TWP Marketing & Technical Communications, we take pride in our ability to quickly absorb proposals and then write, edit and proof Executive Summaries so that they represent your company and its solution in the strongest possible way. Contact us today.