Right now we are in the final quarter of the federal fiscal year. Historically, the government spends about 35% of its total budget during this time. During the “Fiscal Year-End Spending: Positioning Your Business to Win” webinar (available On-Demand) Gloria Larkin states, “Relationships count if you want to make the short list…You have a better chance of winning contracts if decision makers know who you are.” We know that the government is risk adverse so why would they buy from a company they haven’t worked with or don’t know. And who can blame them? Would you buy from a company if you didn’t know they could perform a service or provide a product that met your needs?
Even if you have not previously performed work for an agency you can still build confidence and gain trust by cultivating a relationship with the decision makers. Meeting a decision maker once at an event isn’t going to land you a contract; instead, it should be seen as a stepping stone to success. Entrepreneur provides some tips and insight on building customer relationships. “Relationships have a short shelf life. No matter how charming, enthusiastic or persuasive you are, no one will likely remember you from a business card or a one-time meeting,” says Entrepreneur. “One of the biggest mistakes people make is that they come home from networking events and fail to follow up. Make the connection immediately. Send a “nice to meet you” e-mail or let these new contacts know you’ve added them to your newsletter list and then send them the latest copy. Immediately reinforce who you are, what you do and the connection you’ve made.” Make the most of this opportunity by sending your Capability Statement, if you haven’t already done so.
Keeping in communication to build a relationship takes time and effort but over time your efforts will pay off. Rarely will a contracting officer have an opportunity available when they first meet you. By staying in contact and on their mind, you’ll the first person they think of when an opportunity arises.
Entrepreneur suggests, “An easy way to communicate is with a brief e-mail newsletter that shows prospects why they should buy from you. For just pennies per customer, you can distribute an e-mail newsletter that includes tips, advice and short items that entice consumers and leave them wanting more. E-mail marketing is a cost-effective and easy way to stay on customers’ minds, build their confidence in your expertise, and retain them.”
One last thing to keep in mind: If you don’t stay in touch with your customers, your competitors will.
“5 Key Ways to Build Customer Relationships” by Entrepreneur http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/77686
You can receive a complimentary copy of the “Fiscal Year End To Do Checklist” by signing up to become a TargetGov Preferred Client