Direct Marketing for the US Government
Q: I’m a marketing consultant that would really like to work with the US Government. I know that there are tons of projects and they must need my services. Do you have any ideas as to how to get in the door with any local, state or federal US agency?
A: Well, you’re right — they totally need your services. It’s just figuring out how to get in. While we haven’t cracked the code on getting a consulting gig with any branch of the government YET, we’re still trying ourselves. Here are a few tactics that we’re using:
1) Get certified: There are a few key things to keep in mind here. In order to get work with the government, it helps to be certified as one of the following: Small Business, Minority, Women or Disabled-Veteran Owned Business. Depending upon what you qualify for, this is a foot in the door. Each agency has a certain percentage of budgetary dollars that they must spend with these certified companies in order to meet their goals. The only way you can be considered, however, is if you are certified through a recognized certification agency. For Women-Owned businesses, we recommend WBENC.
2) Check out the agency website: Each agency has their upcoming opportunities posted on their website. Most also hold networking and informational sessions on how to do business with them (they want to reach those budgetary goals — so they are motivated to help you get work with them). Check out the website, attend an event and get to know the folks that you are trying to get in with. The more familiar they are with your face and what you offer, the better are your chances. It’s like anything else, you have to build the relationship.
3) Check out the Small Business Administration website: The SBA has a plethora of information — and they sponsor a whole other set of events and networking sessions where they bring both large corporations and government agencies together with small business owners. The SBA has offices in all major US cities. Here is their website, so take a look at what they have to offer. They sponsor many matchmaking sessions through their Business Matchmaking sessions. Take a look at the site to see if there will be an event in your local area any time soon.
In addition, the key is to follow-up. There are literally a bazillion of us trying to get gigs with these large agencies. Let’s face it — if you get in, it’ll most likely be quite lucrative. If you do a good job, you’ll probably get awarded — or at least get a crack at– other opportunities. While being annoying isn’t an option, try to build your relationships respectfully, and contact them as often as they tell you that it’s OK to do so. If they don’t get back to you right away, it’s because they’re busy. However, that just means that you have to continually contact them. It’s a numbers game, and sooner or later it’ll work. Find the balance between being persistent and annoying. : )
Good luck in getting in . . . and if you find something that works outside of what I’ve outlined, please share it! We can all use the help !