The 2014 Government Procurement Conference is coming up on Wednesday, April 16, 2014 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Centre, 801 Mount Vernon Place, NW Washington, DC, from 8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
In a previous post, I described who is going to be at the conference and what opportunities will be opened up for you. Now let’s talk about who’s going to get the most value from this event, and how best to prepare.
New federal contractors
First, business owners preparing to enter the federal market for the first time, or expand your footprint into a new agency. You'll need to research the federal agencies whose needs you meet best. Pick just two or three, and focus on specific programs and forecast opportunities. Then, be able to say in a single sentence what problem you solve for the federal buyer within that agency. If you have past performance, come ready to show how your track record demonstrates your ability to solve the new agency's problems well.
Prospective teaming partners for large prime contractors
Second, business owners who want an entrée into one of the twenty large prime contractors who will be exhibiting. You'll get in more easily if you have identified specific opportunities you could win by teaming with that specific large prime, you've already researched which division of the company serves that federal agency, and you’ve registered on that prime's supplier diversity portal.
Navigating the conference
Use the event website to plan your day. Check the exhibitor page in advance. It lists government and industry exhibitors and their booth spaces. Decide which booths are your top priority to visit. The procurement opportunities page links to government buying web pages.
Bring plenty of business cards, capability statements and marketing materials. When you're making connections, always ask how (phone? email?) and when (specific day, and time of day) is the right way to follow up, and jot that on the person's business card. When you get home, get your follow up plans in place. Set specific dates for those that requested them. Otherwise, get back in touch within five business days.
Companies that have a plan and do their homework beforehand will always be the most successful at events like the Government Procurement Conference.
These tips taped at the 2012 OSDBU conference are still relevant and applicable today – watch and learn!