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Tips to networking and relationship building when selling products and services to the government.

Feb 08, 2013

Do you want to market your goods and or services to government agencies? If so, developing an effective approach to the process can be helpful. The following are a few tips to that will prepare you for efficient communication that will be important when networking with contracting officers and other government agency representatives.


Conferences, matching making events and any other time you have the opportunity to engage in a conversation with a government agency may seem like the time to sell your business and do all of the talking. However, it is far better to do more listening so you can gather performance criteria information and have a better idea of what they are looking for. It is very important to take direction from contracting officers carefully because the information that you receive will help you focus on the contracting officer’s mission and what you can do to meet their objectives.


The government is very interested in the latest methods and technologies but before presenting an advanced solution make sure and do your research by reviewing the government standards compliance, and be prepared to discuss a cost-benefit in your presentation. A business should know exactly what the agency is expecting if they want to be successful in government contracting.


Being awarded a contract represents your company’s commitment to successfully perform all tasks detailed within the contract regardless of its monetary value. Everyday, more and more acquisition abuse stories are being reported. Business ethics and compliance with established laws are no joke when working with the government. Not only can non-compliance and poor business ethics bring bad publicity the chances of ever receiving another award are extremely slim.


 Once you receive a contract award, you should understand that this is only one of the first steps in a successful government contracting relationship. Maintaining a “win-win” relationship before and after the contracting officer’s established agreement is made is essential to being awarded any other contract there after. If your business provides the government with a quality product or service that delivers to the agencies needs, then it is more likely your business will have more contracts awarded in the future. Past performance is one of the areas measured during the source selection process of a contract award.


In summary, it is good to keep in mind when entering a conversation with a government agency representative to listen and not to overly sell. Knowing what the agency is looking for will help you when bidding on a contract.  Also, be aware of the Federal Acquisition Regulations that apply when you are placing your bid to prevent termination of default on a contract. When bringing new innovative products or services to the table do your research. Finally, once you get the award be prepared to deliver. Your performance on your first contract as well as the ones that follow is key to government contracting success. For more tips and assistance before approaching a government agency contact your local Procurement Technical Assistance Center. They provide free strategic planning assistance to small businesses across the country. Visit their website


Also, for opportunities to meet with government agency representatives in Wyoming contact the Wyoming PTAC. They have several workshops as well as an annual conference that provide great opportunities to connect with contracting officers. The 2013 Annual GRO-Biz Conference will be held on February 19th-21st at the Holiday Inn in Cody WY.

Natasha Stahla

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