CCR Vendors: Your 1st step in federal sales

Selling to governments is no different than selling to private companies.

Step #1 - You must identify a potential customer and sell to that person directly.

Why? : You must focus your sales efforts As a vendor new to government sales, focus on one target agency (or at most a few if you have the resources), make a sale, and then nurture your new, small customer into a large customer. Government agencies tend to be loyal customers. In many cases, they'll return for your product or service again and again if you serve them well.

Tip: Start with a local government office in your city.  Call on that office and talk to the person there that make purchases.  Find out what he or she is currently buying, find out who they are buying and how much they are paying for those products/services. Drop in and pay the buyer a visit, leave a catalog and contact information, and take with you the buyer's contact information.

After the initial sales call, it's up to you to close a sale by analyzing the prices of your competition, making more personal visits and telephone calls, and providing additional product/service information until you receive the first order or sign the first contract.

Insider's Tip: Remember this: federal, state, and local government agencies have issued over 800,000 credit cards to government employees so that they can efficiently buy virtually anything under $2,500 on a single source basis. This market segment is much like the commercial world and should not be intimidating, even for the first-time government contractor. So stay focused. Find success in a few places first. With too broad an approach you can end up with some broad and diluted brand identity, but little or no sales.

Richard White, a 43-year veteran of the federal marketplace examines the challenges faced by small businesses hoping to break into the federal market in his book "Cracking the $500 Billion Federal Market:  A Small Business Guide to Federal Sales."

Opt in to a new weekly e-mail series  by Richard White based on "Cracking the $500 Billion Federal Market"  and covering topics integral to vendors new to the government marketplace.  View topics covered, click here. 

The federal marketplace is not just for a select group of elite businesses; there are opportunities for everyone. Federal procurement officials must, by mandate, direct a portion of their annual purchases to various types of small businesses. If your company sells it, there's an excellent chance that the federal government buys it.

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Fedmarket has been helping companies win government business since 1995. We have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and other trade publications. Our customer testimonials speak to our competence and expertise in helping customers win federal business. We have been singled out by public and private organizations -- including the Small Business Administration and federally-funded Procurement Technical Assistance Centers -- as the most comprehensive government contracting resource in the industry. Our web site's free content includes informative newsletters on GSA Schedules, Proposal Writing and Federal Business Development.

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