By Joel Guge, PTAC counselor at North Carolina State University
As we approach Marketplace 2019, being held at the Durham Sheraton Imperial on May 29th, now is a good time to revisit the vendor’s vitally important foundation block of successfully selling to government agencies: the marketing of a business’ goods and services to those government agencies. With the United States’ Government scheduled to spend an all time high $560 billion on goods and services, and, with multitudes of businesses vying to get a piece of the government pie, the importance of a business intentionally promoting its goods and services is also at an all time high.
A basic premise of marketing is to know your customer. This building block of marketing holds true as a business moves ahead with marketing to government agencies and prime contractors. Knowing who performs the purchasing functions, those that influence purchasing decisions, and who is the ultimate end user of a product or service, are important in presenting both your business and its product/service in the best possible light. Making a connection with a particular government agency, or prime contractor, and allowing that agency or contractor the opportunity to make a connection with you are two of the most rewarding benefits of attending the Marketplace event. People buy from people. By forging a personal connection with a customer that your business is seeking, you are setting the stage to bring your company the recognition that can prove to be the deciding factor in a contracting officer’s or prime contractor’s decision on an award that could have significant impact on your company.
While making that all important personal connection is vital, making the most out of the opportunity is just as important. Being prepared to maximize the short time available with your targeted agency or contractor (customers), will magnify the impact that the face to face meeting will have. Prepare and present a Capability Statement that is geared toward that potential customer. This may dictate that you have variations of your basic statement. By outlining, however, how your business and its products or services can “solve that customer’s problem”, both you and the potential customer will gain the benefit that each desires. By having a paper that you can place in the hands of a customer, you have increased the chances that you and your business will be remembered. In conjunction with the written Capability Statement, have a 30 second speech prepared, and rehearsed, that succinctly, but accurately, outlines your business’ expertise. Lastly, have and present a business card that includes all your pertinent information – including your DUNS number, Cage Code, and NAICS codes, Making it easy and convenient for the contracting officer or prime contractor to remember your business and its offerings, as well as, ensuring that those potential customers remember the “right” business cannot be overstated. The North Carolina Procurement Technical Assistance Center and its counselors are an excellent resource to assist businesses in being prepared to take full advantage of the face to face opportunities afforded businesses that attend Marketplace. Through individual, confidential counseling, training resources and OnDemand webinars, PTAC can help make an attendee’s experience as profitable as possible – and that is the name of the game.