How to Sell to Government Agencies

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Doing business with the government can be very lucrative, and knowing how to sell to government agencies can go a long way to increasing your business profits. The federal government spends about $240 billion annually in contracts with businesses, and the state, local, and municipal governments combined spend an additional $200 billion each year. Obviously, the government is a big spender and continues to buy products and services even when the economy is slow. While securing contracts with the government is not likely to be quick or easy, doing so offers considerable returns that are likely to continue once a business relationship has been established.

The tips below will help companies that want to do business with the government devise strategies on how to sell their products and services to government agencies:

Put together a contact list.

Tracking down contact information for government agency managers and representatives who likely need the products or services you offer is important. Make a list of these contacts and inform them about your company and what you offer. Attempt to communicate directly with them and set up an interview if possible. Use as many communication channels as possible – e-mail, phone, mail, fax, social media, etc. – although you may need permission to send some types of correspondence to avoid being blacklisted as a spammer.

Set intermediate goals.

Working your way towards doing business with government agencies is a gradual process. Set intermediate goals around marketing strategies and making the correct contacts. Getting a response from an agency manager comes first with your next step being arranging a meeting or interview. Take intermediate steps to work your way up towards landing that big contract.

Use a business development professional.

The typical salesperson is not generally the one who secures a government contract. Building a business relationship with a government agency requires a different professional: the business development professional. This individual has the know-how to match your company’s strengths to the best opportunities with government agencies. The long-term nature of working with government agencies requires an experienced business development professional to track down appropriate contracts and communicate effectively between your company and the agency.

Pay attention to your marketing information.

Tailor you marketing tactics to a government audience if you wish to sell to government agencies. Ideas that may work for the private sector or general public may not be appropriate for marketing to a government agency. Government agency directors and authorities are more interested in serving the needs of the public than simply increasing profits. Take a careful look at your marketing strategies and the wording of your documents. Also evaluate where you advertise. Are you marketing in ways that are visible to a government audience?

Start by subcontracting.

Because finding government clients initially may be difficult, consider subcontracting with a larger firm that already regularly works with government agencies. Initially, your profits may be lower and you will have to play by the rules established by that firm; however, in the long run, subcontracting with a larger firm pays off. As you build your relationship with a particular government agency, eventually it may decide to work with your company directly.

While winning contracts with government agencies may take time, knowing how to sell to government agencies definitely pays off in the long run. A well thought out and carefully executed strategy – along with products and services that outshine the competition – ensures that lucrative government deals will start coming in before long. Develop your strategy for how to sell to government agencies and consider these tips to bolster your efforts.

(Image credit: © Argus – Fotolia.com)

About Cheryl Bikowski

Cheryl Bikowski is Marketing Communications Supervisor of Gamber-Johnson in Stevens Point, WI. Gamber-Johnson is a leading supplier of rugged computer mounting systems and vehicle mounting components and is a member of the Leggett & Platt Commercial Vehicle Products (CVP) Group. Connect with Gamber-Johnson on LinkedIn and Facebook or follow Gamber-Johnson on Twitter and YouTube.

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