Executive Summary Secrets




Do you want to win Government proposals more often? If so, you must leave no stone unturned to outdo your competition when you prepare for and write your proposals. Executive summary is the TOP proposal persuasion tool that goes a long way to make your proposal truly sell – and get you to that win.

The only catch is, most executive summaries end up bland, general, and full of fluff

Such executive summaries don’t sell – at best they leave the Government evaluators cold, and at worst they cast a negative light on your entire proposal.

Two things happen when you write a poor Executive Summary:

1. When you submit your proposal and it undergoes evaluation, the evaluators often don’t even see your executive summary.

When I polled Government contracting officers (to whom you deliver your proposals) on whether they share executive summaries with the rest of the evaluators, they told me what really happens. If the executive summary is good and helps the evaluator understand the proposal and the offer better, they provide copies to the source selection evaluation board; and if it is the “usual” document full of fluff, they just keep it in their own file and don’t bother distributing it. Essentially, if the RFP doesn’t require an executive summary, most of the time no one really reads it – not because it’s not needed for the evaluators to better understand your offer, but because it is so poorly written.

In this highly competitive arena, it is not enough to be compliant, have good past performance, and have competitive price. In the world of “technical leveling” (where so many companies have very similar credentials and capabilities), and “transparent Government” (where everyone knows each other’s prices since most of this information is public), you have to leave no stone unturned to make yourself shine.

Today’s Federal bid competitions are tough, as everyone has caught on that the U.S. Government is the largest and the most stable customer in the world with $500+ billion market. This market is still growing – as Washington Technology just reported. If you want an illustration of how steep the competition has become, take a look at the Eagle II opportunity for the Department of Homeland Security – there are more than 1000 interested vendors for the unrestricted and small business vehicles. In competitions like these, being merely compliant and having great past performance and price is not enough. You have to do whatever it takes to get your proposal to shine – in every way. You have to have something that distinguishes you and gets the evaluator to notice you, and… you miss your chance.

2. When evaluators get the full proposal copy, a badly written executive summary can cast a negative light over your whole proposal that may be otherwise a decent document.

Evaluators are human beings subject to first impressions – and bad first impressions