Tip #540: Marketing to the Federal Government

“The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself. ” Peter Drucker

Once my company, Laurel and Associates, Ltd., was finally on the GSA MOBIS Schedule, the next step was marketing.

First, we needed a mailing list. The marketing company I hired gave me a list of 100’s of government contracts to sift through to identify: (1) the contracts relevant to my services, (2) the government agencies that purchased those services; and (3) the names and phone numbers of the purchasing agents for those agencies.

My next task was to create a marketing letter that introduced my company. It was addressed to Buyers and Contracting Officials. The first paragraph described my company as a small woman-owned business that “is interested in doing business with your agency.”

It briefly described our services in general terms and then requested the recipient to please add our business name to their agency’s mailing list to receive bid and non-bid opportunities under Federal Supply Categories. These were listed by schedule and sin number in MOBIS as well as by NAICS codes.

It went on to say: We are registered with CCR/ORCA/SAM/ and Pro-Net. We are interested in both small and large purchase opportunities. Please send your agency’s Fiscal Year 2014 forecast or Long Range Acquisition Plan. We understand that this information may be viewed online; however, we would prefer to keep a hard copy for our reference.

In addition, please send any hard copy publications you may have about doing business with your agency. Also, please forward the telephone number, address and email address for any buyers or contracting officials who may have the need for our services.”

The letter concluded with the statement that I would follow up with the recipient within two weeks, provided contact information if there were any questions, and thanked the recipient for “your time and assistance in this matter.”

Anyone who opened the letter and did not respond by asking to be removed from the mailing list was considered fair game. There were 90 in that list, and not one of them replied with any of the information I had requested.

I was tasked with calling each of them. Which I did. Yes, the person who had shied away from even doing warm calling for the past twenty-five years actually made all of these cold calls. Most people were very gracious. Each one explained that the best way to get work with their agency was to watch federal postings and respond to the Requests for Proposals.

So that is what I have done. I have spent hours responding to requests for proposals with absolutely no success. This has included estimating total travel costs without knowing when the training would occur and how that would affect transportation and lodging.

I have had absolutely no success. Why? The answer is very simple. I’ll tell you in the next Tip.

May your learning be sweet.

Deborah

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