Writing proposals and tenders usually means writing an executive summary. This is a really crucial part of your tender submission. Not every Request for Tender (RFT) or Request for Proposal (RFP) gives you the opportunity for an executive summary, but when you do have the chance to present one, grab it.
When I was starting out as a tender writer, I was taught to write the executive summary last. But as my skills developed, I found it easier to write a draft executive summary before I embarked on the body of the tender. Why? Well, because the executive summary sums up all the key points you want to make in the tender or proposal, it keeps you on track when writing the remainder of the tender. It acts as a checklist, ensuring you are covering off all your key selling points as you work your way through the questions set by the RFT or RFP.
I always endeavour to start each executive summary with the prospective client’s name, so it’s the first word they read. From there, describe your understanding of the client’s needs, reflecting back what they have told you at a briefing, meeting or in the RFT. Keep this brief – one paragraph is ideal.
After your opening paragraph, the rest of the executive summary positions your business as the perfect solution. Very simply, your executive summary needs to add value to your client. Rather than being about what you do and how you do it, the executive summary sets out how the client will get what they want and need by choosing your firm.
At the same time, bear the RFT selection criteria in mind. Write your executive summary to the selection criteria, using the same words. Again, be brief. This is a summary, after all.
It’s important, however, not to start each paragraph with your firm’s name. Wherever you can, use the client’s name and ‘you’ and ‘your’ to keep the focus on the client.
Finally, keep your Executive Summary to one page. The rest of the tender or proposal is for the detail.
For help writing your tenders, contact Rosemary Gillespie at Proof Communications on 02 9314 7506 or 0411 123 216.
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