Though this sounds like something obvious, we at Shipley find that the Executive Summary often degenerates to a eulogy of the vendor. That is, the vendor makes too extreme an effort to keep harping about its credentials and extensive track record of success or may explicitly try to pull down a competitor by name.
The Executive Summary is absolutely the wrong place for such chest-beating.
On the contrary, it is the right place to demonstrate empathy to the challenges facing the client. It is the right place to allude to the positive impact on specific business parameters if your solution is implemented. This is a great place to refer to the dynamics of the business environment that surrounds the client.
Focus entirely on the customer and make it clear that you are sensitive to the pain being experienced and that you truly care.
The reader is worried about something. That’s why he’s asked for your proposal. He presumes, for the moment, that you have the competency to help him. There is no need to emphasize your track record and such; for the moment, it is a given. By harping on it excessively, you are wasting valuable time and risk the possibility of alienating the reader. Let me drive this home: a quick review of your Executive Summary should find the customer being mentioned three times more than you.
Take time to refer to the customer’s stated vision and explain how the solution is likely to make a great difference to the achieving of the vision. Never forget that while the customer will stand to benefit, the reader must also be made to feel a winner.
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