DEVELOPING BUSINESS THROUGH A TRANSITION: THREE THINGS TO CONSIDER DOING NOW IN FEDERAL BUSINESS
It can be difficult to set customer briefings or follow-up meetings right now as career professionals take time to brief a new wave of political appointees. Here are three things contractors should consider now to keep their customer discussions going. 1. Make sure you have a “hook”: What’s new or really special about your solution? How is it different from the last time you briefed the customer you’re reaching out to now? Whether its new functionality or the way your solution supports a new operational goal, a well-defined hook can get you the follow-up or new discussion you seek. 2. Do you have a new partner to introduce?: A new business partner, whether a “brand name” company or a specialized small business with a unique talent, can also catch the interest of an otherwise over-committed customer. Like a hook, a new partner gives you something different to talk about. It adds to your previous capabilities, something that can be attention-getting if those capabilities now align more closely with agency priorities. New partners can make your company look dynamic and able to meet a wide array of needs. 3. Consider an incremental approach: Some customers may not want to commit to longer-term projects at a time when new leadership is coming in. Indeed, larger pieces of business may be subject to review during a transition. Consider a “start small” proposal that allows your project to get underway and start showing its worth. Whether it’s a task order against an existing contract, or a buy made via Simplified Acquisition Threshold procedures, this approach gets you business now and positions your firm for any follow-on business. It may, however, not be the time to talk about “pilot” projects unless you know your customer will be receptive. “Pilot” may sound too new. Overall, understanding what your customer can and can’t do during a transition time is key to success now and after the transition is complete.