What NOT to do When Selling to the Government (3 Common Mistakes)
We always hear about what you should be doing to be successful in selling to the government but not what you should AVOID doing. It is inevitable that you will make mistakes, but we have paid our dues...so here are 3 lessons so you can learn from our mishaps.
Registering on the GSA schedule, State Contract, or Co-op will increase your chances of success but only registering will lead to little or no sales. Companies believe that once you get on the GSA schedule that your phone will be ringing off the hook, taking orders all day, every day. This is simply not true. When you are approved for co-op or contract, you will need to start marketing your services through outreach to let agencies know what you have to offer and that it is easy to purchase by utilizing the contract so they can avoid the bid/rfp process. You must proactively reach out, forming a connection with each agency to explain your value proposition to help the agency solve whatever problem they have first. Then, the contract will be a nice bonus when they are ready to buy.
Sending mass email blasts is not how you form a relationship. You should first call the agency and then send a personal email with knowledge you have learned from their website or social media. Creating a template will help expedite the process, but also include something to get their attention! Leaving a voicemail is ok or sending an email is ok, but bring VALUE. This is not a sales pitch of your products or services. The message should be tailored on the education of something that is happening in the industry or specifically to their agency. Once you have formed a connection, you can then deliver your “pitch” on why they should work with you. If you are looking for marketing strategies, here are 7 Tips for building awareness with government agencies.
Only responding to bids or rfps will not grow your business. Yes, we said it. But wait, “How else am I going to make a sale?” you may be asking. Selling to the government is all about relationships. The sale is influenced before the bid hits the streets, with an agency need and vendors who can provide a solution. Getting ahead of the curve can help you win business by advising the necessary scope of work that will benefit your company to stand out from the competition. Also did you know that only 20% of spending is won through bids/RFPs? Targeting the other 80% will lead to shorter sales cycles, increase in profit margins, and stronger relationships with agencies. Learn more about how to win outside the bid/RFP process in this article.
With so much information online it can be difficult to know what path to follow. The founder of Govsales University, Jack Siney, has been selling to the government for over 25 years, with over $1.5 billion in revenue. This is why we have created a step-by-step course, with over 100 videos, to teach you the process from start to finish.