Securing a face-to-face meeting with the government, while critical to the success of your Capture Management process can often be incredibly challenging. Often, these hurdles originate from the Gate Keeper. While, as we mentioned in our last blog, impressing the Gate Keeper is always the easiest and most obvious solution, this can sometimes be impossible. If that’s the case, do you have any other options?
Bypass the Government Gate Keeper
Let’s say you are working a 2-Star Command and need to meet with all the Program Managers to make certain they know who you are. Each time you call, the Gate Keeper tells you they have a calendar opening in 5 months (Yikes)! So, now comes your best option: Figurative stalking.
If they live in your town, find out where they go to church, where they play golf, who they are friends with… Get the idea? Remember, they’ll call the police if they think you are really stalking them, so be discrete and don’t sell. The very best Capture Executives do these things every day and become friendly with the leaders of their accounts. Now think… Who do you want to do business with? Of course, people you know and trust. Believe me, this happens in the dark all the time.
Look for EVERY place that the 2-Star & 1-Stars are speaking. Industry days, AFCEA, NDIA type conferences, Town Hall meetings, etc. Attend all of them. After the meeting, get in line (along with everyone else) and meet them. Trade business cards, tell them your elevator pitch and ask for a meeting to brief them. Three things could happen:
- They like your elevator pitch and call for their XO to exchange cards and get you on their calendar
- They tell you that you should call one or more of their PM’s and brief them
- They tell you they already have that covered and thank you for stopping by
As soon as they tell you to brief someone in their organization – you just struck Gold (Gold Card)! Now, when you call the Gate Keeper, your conversation will go much differently … you tell them their Boss (or Boss’ Boss), told you to brief the PM – watch how quickly their calendar opens and you get in to see them!
Here’s another tip. Continue to follow the Boss around the Country and continue to meet with them, always letting them know you have a meeting or have already met with one of their PMs. You will find that they will start to recognize you. Then they will begin to remember your name. Finally, as they start their speeches, they see you and nod their head to you – now you are in the club.
The best thing to do is when the Boss gives you several names to brief – immediately thank them, tell them you will get that done right away, then tell them you’d like to follow-up with them after you have met all the PM’s to bring them up to speed on what you learned so the Boss is in the loop. This is good for them, but great for you – now you have another reason to meet the 2-Star again and continue earning their trust!
Once you have the Gold Card, you can call anyone in the Command and say your Boss’ Boss told you to brief them… And you’re in! Who is going to call the Boss’ Boss and ask them if they want this done? No one will – if the Boss wants info, they need to get it.