5 Steps to Prepare for Speaking to a Buyer
When you’re ready to do business with a government agency, you’ll be talking to a lot of buyers. These roles have a number of titles, such as a state coordinator or liaison officer, but they all do similar job functions. This includes reviewing capabilities statements for different projects.
Of course, having a strong capabilities statement can help set you apart from other companies. But getting to know the buyers you’ll work with can help put you ahead too. Here are five steps to preparing to speak with them that will set you and your business up for success.
Step 1: Identify agencies or businesses you want to talk to
What government agencies or businesses would benefit from your work? Having a running list of these at all times will help you keep an eye out for opportunities to work with them. You should have a clear why for working with them too. Does your small business do the work better than the competition? Do your values align? Can the agency or business benefit their own bottom line by working with you? Know your why.
Then identify what types of certifications they accept and the markets they serve. If you’ve previously worked with them, that’s good to document too.
Step 2: Research them
You want to be as knowledgeable as possible about an agency or business before working with them. Treat it like you would a job interview—do your research prior to any conversations so you can demonstrate in meetings that you understand their needs.
Visit places like their website and look at the about page. Scrolling through their newsroom or a blog can help you learn about the company as well. Check the procurement site for information relevant to you. Look up planholder lists from past RFPs, sign up for any networking events they may host, or sit in on bid openings or awards, if possible. You can also keep tabs on which firms the agency or business tends to contract with to learn what they’re looking for.
Step 3: Know your company
Just as important as researching the company you want to work for is knowing your own company. It may sound obvious, but taking time to know your data and then connecting it to how it can benefit the agency may be the difference between you winning a contract versus someone else.
Know things like your value proposition, your NAICS codes, and your insurance requirements so you can list them off with confidence in person.
Step 4: Reach out to the buyer
You can often figure out who the buyer is by reviewing the plan holder list. Consider reaching out via a phone call to introduce yourself or ask any questions you may have about the project. Network with them at the pre-bid meeting. Attend industry conferences they may also be at to get to know them.
Step 5: Prepare questions ahead of time
It’s easier to go into a meeting with a buy about a potential project if you have questions prepared ahead of time. Of course, ask any clarifying questions about the project you may have.
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