Installment 20: Steps to Take After Winning Your First Federal Contract

Outsider Perception: Although exciting, winning your first federal contract is not really a big deal.

Reality: Winning your first federal contract is critical because it gives your company insider status.

Lesson: Use your coveted insider status to leverage additional sales.

Background:

You won one! Your company is now an insider and insiders use their position to leverage more sales. They work on-site with their federal customers on a daily basis and can legally look under every stone for more dollars. Use your insider position to nurture your contract into something much, much bigger.

Federal contractors working on-site at a federal facility are in an ideal position to generate more business. Their billable staff sits with the customer every day and, in most cases, gains invaluable intelligence about that customer. On-site personnel also have the opportunity to learn everything there is to know about the customer, the customer's problems, possible fixes, the agency's budget, the agency's procurement plans and the like. It's all perfectly legal because it is all public information. In this instance, the insider just has much easier access to it.

Perhaps most importantly, a contractor's on-site staff establishes strong relationships with federal customers. Establishing such relationships is critical to success in the federal market and the on-site contractor gets paid to do it. If you were the customer, to whom would you turn if you needed help? You would turn to the people with whom you are working every day, the ones you know and trust.

The federal government doesn't really have a practical way of eliminating the inherent insider edge. It could prohibit the incumbent contractor from re-bidding on existing contracts but this would be disruptive, expensive, and not in the taxpayers' best interests. The moral of the story is to take full advantage of any edge that you have and make it work for your business.

Many newcomers are reluctant to sell in the federal market because of the mysterious tangle of red tape involved. Newcomers shouldn't worry about red tape; untangling it just takes patience. The glass wall is the real barrier to entry and it can be penetrated with ingenuity, time, and sales dollars.

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Installment Series:

Installment 1: The Best Offense is a Good Defense
Installment 2: Make the World's Biggest Customer Your Own
Installment 3: Market Research in the Federal Sector
Installment 4: Become an Insider in the Federal Market
Installment 5: Competition and Price Sensitivity in the Federal Market
Installment 6: Are Federal Bids Wired?
Installment 7: Fundamentals of Federal Contracting
Installment 8: Making a Federal Sale
Installment 9: Closing a Federal Sale
Installment 10: Start with the Credit Card and Quick Buy Markets for Smaller Transactions
Installment 11: Consider Starting as a Subcontractor to a Prime
Installment 12: Selling Directly to Prime Contractors
Installment 13: Pre-approved Government Price Lists
Installment 14: Getting a Pre-approved Federal Price List for Your Company
Installment 15: Small Business Preference Programs
Installment 16: Distinguishing Messages Win in the Federal Market
Installment 17: Selling to Federal Agencies Located in Your Backyard
Installment 18: Getting Started in Federal Sales
Installment 19: Don't Get Caught Up in Red Tape
Installment 20: Steps to Take After Winning Your First Federal Contract 
Installment 21: Learn How to Write Federal Proposals
Installment 22: Prosper in the Federal Market

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