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Get Federal Contracts: The Surprising Invisible Rule

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How to Get Federal Contracts - what you need to know

This whole month, I'm going to be talking about how to fall in love with Federal contracting all over again (or maybe even for the first time ever).

This is a hard market to love. It takes incredible determination, smarts, patience and resources to success, whether you're a prime or a sub or both. Thousands of businesses try and fail, or give it their all before giving up when the success they want simply never comes to pass.

You can take all the courses you like in Federal contracting. I've taken dozens over the years, and taught a few, too: in acquisition law, GSA Schedules, competitive intelligence, proposal strategies, capture management, cost and pricing. But with all of that, with hundreds of programs and set-asides and specialists dedicated to helping small -- and all! -- business, why is the most common question,

What does it really take to get Federal contracts?

Some are simply eager to get the secret sauce that will make their proposals irresistible. Others are looking for a silver bullet to knock the competition out of the running. Maybe all you really want is a time machine to speed things up on the path to the new Federal contracts you've already invested so much unrequited time and effort to win.

I've always said, "When I find it, I'll share it with you."  That's what drove me to write "Government Contracts Made Easier," and give hundreds of presentations for thousands of business owners and write millions of words for over 28 years: to help you succeed, to truly make easier something that shouldn't be that hard.

In 1908, the War Department awarded the Wright Brothers a contract to build an airplane. What might a $25,000 contract then beget federal contract wright brothers worth today? The web site Measuring Worth suggests that such a contract might be valued at $14.3 million in today's dollars.

One page, over $14 million dollars.

If you can't imagine such a thing happening today, then well you might ask, "What changed?" In some ways, nothing: Until they know you, like you, and trust you, they're not going to hire you. What would you do if your Federal buyer told you, "I know you, and I like you. But I'm not ready to trust you?"

I realized recently that I've been teaching the answer to this question -- and vital success strategy to my clients for going on two years now. This strategy is a paradox: it's incredibly complex while perfectly obvious. So sharing it isn't giving away anything; it's pointing the way to something we all experience every day. But I just found someone who presents what you've been looking for with such power and clarity that I'm glad I waited til now to share it with you here.

Consider the Federal Acquisition Regulations as the never-ending effort to define trust in the eyes of a Federal government buyer. Thousands of those clauses exist because an experience with a contractor, or a contracting officer, taught someone, "We just can't assume people know what to do. We need to write it down."

I'm not saying that the number of Federal Acquisition Regulations today is a measure of the deterioration of trust between Federal vendors and their buyers. Our laws and our government as well as our technology is incredibly more complex today than it was a hundred years ago.

That's what's fascinating -- and so totally on point -- about Brene Brown's talk, The Anatomy of Trust. You will find the principles she presents held and protected deeply in the heart of every Federal contracting success -- and shattered in the core of every failure.

That's a really big assertion.

This month, I'm going to unpack my thoughts about this, one post at a time. I'll share some ideas and resources to let you explore it on your own.

More than anything, I want to hear from you. So I invite you on the journey with me.

  1. Watch The Talk
    View or listen to the phenomenal 20-minute talk with Dr Brene Brown --The Anatomy of Trust. Even better, watch the no-ad version as part of the short, free, online course of the same name that Brene offers on her web site, CourageWorks.

  2. Register For My 2/17 Webinar.
    Join me for a very special webinar, Straight From The Heart: Building Your Federal Buyer's Trust. We'll explore about how to build trust between you, your federal team, and your buyers and partners, this together. Register now, but please watch Brene's talk before the webinar begins!

  3. Get The Discussion Started.
    When did trust make -- or break -- your Federal deal? Leave your comments, below, on the role trust has played in YOUR federal business success, as a prime, a sub, or even as a Federal buyer. Got a story to tell you want to tell as my webinar co-host? I'd love that! Message me today and tell me more.

Mon, 02/01/2016 - 4:53pm


Submitted by Steven Tabor on
If the seminar was Monday Feb 1, 2016, i will be viewing a recording. if so will there be a way to ask you questions?

Submitted by Judy Bradt on
Hi, Steven! The webinar is on February 17th, so you can still register and participate live, and ask questions. Second, so long as you register -- https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1619575502475196674 -- then if life intervenes and you can't take part, you will still get the recording AND an invitation to join us for a future series of webinars JUST on trust in the federal market. I look forward to reconnecting with you soon! Judy

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