Government agencies may be a solid source of income, but they also require a significant investment of time and resources to close a deal, depending on the length of your sales cycle. The open-bidding process often goes through several layers with fewer potential contractors competing at each step. As you manage your capture through all the different stages, networking and making contacts is a big part of the process. Given the complexity of agency structures, no one person makes the final decision on bids. This fact makes building relationships a must – and that’s where Industry Days come in to play.

Industry Day events are important because they give you – or your organization’s Capture Manager – the opportunity to learn about a client directly, the face time you need to develop the relationship and the ability to express interest in specific contracts. Read on to learn more about how to prepare for and achieve success in these three critical areas during Industry Days.

Listen and Learn

Industry Days provide critical information about potential contracts. Agencies offer details about upcoming projects and define their scope, and interested businesses you are there for you to talk to about teaming. This event can afford you the opportunity to learn more about the desires of potential clients and determine ways in which your company can offer innovative solutions. So the more you know, the better your proposal will be.

Be Seen and Heard

By the time you arrive at an Industry Day presentation, have contacts in-hand from at least one of the presenting agencies. At the Industry Day, you will be able to put faces with names (and email addresses) and meet people you may have only spoken to on the phone. This critical face-time will help you to get to know the prospect better, network with those in funding and delve deeper into the bid requirements. The more you develop those relationships, the better your chances at the final-bid stage. Remember, as you meet people at different levels of the Government Agency, you will want to work to get your “Gold Card” so you can setup more meetings with additional people in that Agency.

Ultimately, it’s all about relationship-building. Meaning those who staff government agencies seek a greater level of comfort in doing business with people they know and like. Attending Industry Days transforms you from a faceless company to a personal connection.

Express Your Interest

If you’re intending to bid on multiple government contracts, the answer to, “Should I attend Industry Days?” should always be “Absolutely.” You might have one or two deals already in the pipeline, but the fastest way to develop more is simply by letting agencies know you’re interested in their project. No agency will reach out to you if they don’t realize you have an interest.

At Industry Days, you also have the opportunity to explain why you’re interested. You can start by outlining some of the solutions you have for their company and get feedback. You may not be in line for any new contracts that you have not already started to develop, but you can start the development process for the next round.

Position Yourself for Success

A big part of a capture manager’s job is to get to know the decision makers at different government agencies. Getting to know the people behind those RFP’s help you make better strategic choices for your business.

Even if there are no current contracts that catch your eye or work for your business, the networking opportunity presented by Industry Days can’t be beat.

By attending a single event you can:

  • Gather leads on upcoming projects.
  • Build relationships with the people who award those contracts.
  • Build relationships with companies that are also interested in these types of projects.  Both for teaming purposes and for scoping out the competition!
  • Position your company as an innovative-solutions provider.

When a single event offers that much value, the real question becomes, “Why not go?”

About Skip Blackburn