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5 steps to a winning Executive Summary : Strategic Bidding | aardmaan blog

5 steps to a winning Executive Summary : Strategic Bidding

Published April 10, 2011 by Gillian Hunter

Writing a bid, pitchbook, or proposal? The most important page to get right is the Executive Summary - the single page at the start of the bid document that summarises the key points.

Here's how to write an executive summary that will win over hearts and minds:

Write the executive summary first - as that sets the scene for the rest of the proposal. You can always go back and edit your executive summary later.

Following a simple template will make it easier to get your thoughts in order and decide on the key sales messages.

Tip 1: Introduce the Subject

Write a simple subject line that outlines the the most significant things you do and know - relevant to the proposal. Use a few words as possible. Between two and four would be ideal. For example: "Customer Engagement"

Tip 2: State your Intent

Write a very short introduction paragraph that outlines your theme and explains your vision for the project. A paragraph looks better at a start of a Executive summary.

The emphasis is on quick understanding - so cut out any superflous words and waffle. Needs to convey insight - engaging your audience intellectually and emotionally. And, resonate with your audience. In line with their own vision and dreams.

Tip 3: Introduce Hot Buttons

What excites or fires up your customer? What are the things they are really interested in? Is it cutting costs, boosting productivity, increasing sales, reducing risk? Find out!

You can brainstorm this section - writing down all the things that you know are important to the customer. Once you have a list, whittle it down to three very powerful "hot buttons" . They must represent the three things that are critical to your customer. Not to you. And, use no more than 3 hot buttons. Use the most important hot button at the number 1 position.

Hot Button 1: Keep it short

Hot Button 2: Keep it relevant

Hot Button 3: Keep it interesting

Tip 4: Outline your solution

This is easy. You've already done your three hot buttons, now expand on this and show how your solution will answer each of their "hot button" needs.

Point out your USP: what makes your offer relevant, flag what differentiates you from others, and justify your approach.

This section of your executive summary should cover:

  • Hot Button headline
  • Solution offered
  • Benefit of that solution
  • Evidence where you've done it before
  • A visual :  powerful when used to prove your claim

Take the "Keep it short" hot button as an example. Look at what elements of your solution will achieve the objective. Out of your portfolio of offers, you choose editing.

The benefit of editing is that it will help to reduce words and make text quicker and easier to read.

Evidence demonstrates that you did a similar job for someone else - and even better if you can prove that by linking to the material, or showing what you've done visually .. such as a screen grab of the edited page. Do the same for each of the three hot buttons.

Bullet points or short sentences will work best in this section of your Executive Summary.

Tip 5: Restate your Pitch

Remind the reader, using different words what your strategy is, why you're different and why they should choose you. Summarise your solution and suggest next steps.

Aim to win ...

Your aim is to make life as easy as possible for your bid reviewer. Make it easy to understand what you offer, how that helps them or their business, and who else you have helped with a similar issue.

And easy to get in touch with you too. Its really important that you add your contact details to your executive summary. Your address, telephone number, and email address will add credibility and make it easy for people to contact you.

The trick is to do this on one page - two at the very most!


Got a proposal or bid project? We can help you win - find out more