Federal fiscal year-end is coming.
With a little planning and discipline, you can get your Q4 game plan set, and start cashing in on more year-end opportunities. This is a three-part series with tips to help you stay ahead of the game!
While the White House has proposed spending cuts in every agency except DHS, DoD and VA, Congress is pushing back hard. That means federal buyers are uncertain about what FY18 will bring…and eager to spend every last dollar they have in the current year’s budget! So get a jump start on Q4: if you haven’t started doing these things now, you can bet your competitors have.
#1: Revisit Your Forecasting
- Look hard at your federal business pipeline. Review, and reset, the priorities: which ones do you really think you can win? Not sure? Focus on opportunities that most closely match your past performance.
- Take one more look at your target agencies' forecasts and bid boards. Anything new?
- Are there things that aren’t set aside for your kind of small business…that could and should be? If so, that’s a great reason to get in touch with the relevant small business specialist: to ask whether it can be.
#2: Ask for Referrals from Your Best Customers
Ask your best customers for introductions! It's the least expensive -- and most powerful -- source of leads you have. Not sure who your best customers are? Here are the clues: they pay you on time. They come back for more. They send their friends. They have your phone number on speed dial.
- Ask for leads within their agency.
- Ask who they know in another agency who might value your expertise or products.
Does that feel awkward? Not sure what to say? Here’s a couple of ideas:
- “My business is growing and we’re looking for new projects! Who do you know who would appreciate the kind of superlative experience that we’ve had working together?”
- “I’m hoping you can point me in the right direction. We’re looking to build relationships with people who… If you were me, who (in your / in another agency) would you be talking to?”
#3: Stay Top-of-Mind
When did you last check in with your best clients, partners, current and past contacts? Call long-time, one-time and former government clients to let them know you’re here for them – even if they’re not buying right now. Call on marginal accounts – ones you’ve never quite been able to close a deal with.
While you want the sale…you also want to build the relationship even if they’re nowhere near ready to buy. Don’t know what to say? Here are some easy ideas.
- What insight do you have on best practices in the private sector that could help them with their career? Be the person who’s looking out for them. Offer something useful -- an article, a link – that they might like to keep on hand or share.
- If you’re not the incumbent, ask how things are going with their current vendor. What do they like best about them? What does this vendor not provide that they wish they could get? And…what do the other guys do that they really don’t like?
- Ask past & current clients if they plan to reorder from you this fiscal year. If yes, or possibly, ask when is the best time to get back in touch, and when is this agency’s annual ordering cutoff for different contract vehicles during their end-of-year spending?
- BE HELPFUL even when it doesn’t lead to a sale today. Are they regularly buying from someone else? You can still say: “Hey, I know sometimes you just need a fast “file-filler” quote to get three bids. You can always call me and I’ll help you out.”
Ask past & current clients if they plan to reorder from you this fiscal year. If yes, or possibly, ask when is the best time to get back in touch, and when is this agency’s annual ordering cutoff for different contract vehicles during their end-of-year spending?
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Judy Bradt helps business owners get in front of federal buyers. Her clients increase their win rates and revenue, while lowering their cost of sales and marketing. Find out how they do it. Give her a call at (703) 627 1074, or email Judy.Bradt@SummitInsight.com.