Getting a face-to-face meeting with a prime government prospect isn’t always easy. There’s only so much time on anyone’s calendar and not all of it can be allotted to contractor meetings. Once you have the meeting scheduled, here are three tips to give you the best chance for success:
1. Be Prepared to Listen: While you certainly want to make sure you talk about your great solutions, asking questions and listening first can help you shape what you say so that it’s of greater interest to your government contact. Speak first and run the risk of missing key points or, worse, saying something that might annoy your prospect.
2. Know Who You’re Talking To: Are you meeting with a technical person, program manager, acquisition specialist or someone else? It’s important to know beforehand so that you can tailor your message to the appropriate audience. Techies like to get specific, but so too do acquisition professionals who want to know how to get your solution, not just what it does. Similarly, if you’re there to make a high level presentation and a tech person is in the meeting, you want to make sure that you have the right tech person from your side to match.
3. Follow Up: You had a great meeting and the prospect is interested. That’s what you want. Next week, though, you’re scheduled to be at a conference. Make sure you take time to call or e-mail from the event. Failing to follow up is more prevalent than you might think and it essentially means that you’ve wasted a good opportunity. Don’t leave your prospect hanging. Reach out and touch someone (as the old saying goes.)
Lastly, remember that it is the government market we’re talking about. Today’s meeting may be just the first of several before you close business.
Allen Federal was in the “land of the mouse” recently
teaching GSA Schedule “do’s and don’ts”. One satisfied student said, “We really
didn’t know what we didn’t know”. Yes,
they have plenty of homework to do from the class. No matter whether you’re an experienced
contractor, or a newer market entry, it’s a sure thing that your company
doesn’t know – or at least isn’t focusing on – issues that can cost your
company money and time. Waiting till
later is never a good strategy, whether its contract compliance or seeing that
medical specialist you’ve been putting off.
The problems only get larger and more difficult to deal with. Make sure your contracts and federal business
stay healthy. Allen Federal consistently
receives top scores for delivering on-point training that is both educational
and entertaining. See what we can do for
you. Contact us at email@example.com.
Multiple committees in the House of Representatives sent letters, and in
the case of the Government Oversight Committee, subpoenas, to nearly one hundred
offices and individuals throughout government last week. While you may well have seen the headline,
you may not have realized that these developments may distract some of your
federal customers and slow the pace of business.They will. Any time the Congressional oversight
apparatus kicks into high gear agencies tend to call “all hands”, even if the
number of people directly covered is relatively small. First, someone – who is not the individual
to whom the letter went – must gather whatever documentation the Congressional
committee asked for. Second, most
agencies hold concomitant meetings to ensure that there are no other immediate
closet skeletons that could widen the initial probe. Senior level agency people you might want to
call on for new business could have their schedules impacted. If you’re already performing a critical
support mission inside an agency your company, too, may want to conduct a quick
double check to ensure that billing and other administrative matters are all
running smoothly. Congress isn’t
the only branch of government causing a rush to the copier machines,
either. A federal court also ruled last
week that GSA must turn over more documents than it originally did on the FBI
headquarters issue. Distractions abound. Make sure you know what’s tugging at your
customer and stay focused.
While the DOD CIO has
consistently stated a preference for managing cloud investments centrally, a preference backed
up by large cloud projects like JEDI and DISA DEOS, the Army is nevertheless forging
ahead with creating its own cloud program office. The new operation is intended to be the focus
point through which the Army accesses DOD cloud solutions, but will also
accelerate its own network system modernization with a series of new cloud and
enterprise-IT-as-a-service pilots coming this year. Army CIO Lt. General Bruce Crawford states
that this approach is in-line with DOD’s overall cloud strategy. Crawford, speaking at an industry gathering
last week, said that the idea is to start with small efforts to ensure
sustained success in a cloud migration.
To that end, the Army is planning at least five cloud efforts this year focused on
tactical intelligence data, financial management applications, global force
integration systems, logistics and maintenance and tactical service and
infrastructure. These present
good opportunities for companies with both proven cloud solutions and key Army
relationships. It is quite possible that these
smaller initiatives may actually lead to more immediate business than the
larger, enterprise wide DOD cloud projects. The Armyalso has plans on a larger scale. It is moving toward an Enterprise-IT-as-a-service
model for its assets.
Even though protests are part of government contracting life, many
companies that Allen Federal runs into are actually more reluctant to file a
protest than they should be.
Companies will lose business they could otherwise win out of concern
that they will harm their customer relationship. While it is perfectly appropriate to be
considerate of customer relationships, it’s important to remember, too, the
business interests of those who are financially backing your company. Relationships that don’t produce business
don’t do much for company valuation.
Indeed, almost all federal acquisition officials expect a protest on any good
size or mission-critical project.
Time is built into the acquisition lifecycle to address protests. Still not convinced? Well over half of the protests filed at GAO
over the past several years have resulted in acquisitions being withdrawn so
that some remedial action could be taken. In other words, you have a better than 50-50
chance of getting something you want out of a protest. At a minimum, that’s a chance to bid again on
the same project, but with better intelligence. While it’s true that neither customers nor
federal agencies like “serial protestors”, there is every reason to file a protest when
a valid business interest is at stake.
Lastly, get known as a “no protest” company and run the risk of never having
some offers even be reviewed.
Why bother with the government market at all at that point?