When the government is an intended source of sales revenue for your business, it is important to prioritize building solid relationships. One common marketing method is to attend Business Matchmaking events. Matchmaking typically offers the vendor 10 minutes to sit with an advocate or buyer to introduce themselves and their business, and discuss how their company can meet the needs of the agency. Vendors should not expect to leave with a contract, but again either introduce their company to the agency or use it as an opportunity to make additional contact with those who buy what they sell.
The following are detailed steps on what to expect and how to prepare for a matchmaking event:
BEFORE YOU ARRIVE
- Do your homework! Research the agencies and primes, visit their websites, review their forecast, etc.
- Create a Capability Statement (one page is typically plenty, but if you intend to have two pages make sure key information the buyers must have is on the first/front page).
- List Certifications (and certification numbers) for State of CA Small Business, 8(a), Service Disabled, Veteran-Owned , Disadvantaged Business Enterprise, Women-Owned, HUB Zone, etc.
- Include your DUNS, Cage Code, NAICS (federal) and UNSPSC codes (State of CA)
- Highlight your company's qualifications and what makes your different!
- Show a track record/past performance. If you don’t have past performance yet, but have key employees that do, consider listing “experience of key employee(s)” in the interim.
- Schedule a meeting with a PTAC Procurement Specialist to assist with strategy and research, and to provide feedback on your presentation.
WHEN YOU ARRIVE
- Be on Time!
- Be Prepared! Research past purchasing and forecasts for the agencies you are meeting.
- If possible, visit the buyer’s booth before the matchmaking session.
- Plant the seeds to build this relationship or renew or develop an existing one.
- Have fun, be yourself and be positive.
- DRESS Appropriately/Professionally.
- Ask the buyer or advocate to answer any questions you have after researching the agency.
- Bring the right person that can answer any questions the advocate or buyer may have.
- Sell yourself!
- Spend the first few minutes introducing your company and discuss applicable certifications.
- Tell the buyer "This is how my company can help you." Describe your solution to a problem.
- Present your business card, capability statement and brochure.
- Spend a few minutes describing your products and services and your unique niches.
- Spend a few minutes on your track record and successes.
- The rest of the meeting can be spent on interacting with the buyer or advocate to find out about opportunities, what the next step is, and how you plan to follow up.
AFTER THE EVENT
- Follow-up by email, phone, or thank you card. Ask when it is appropriate to check-in again.
- Request another meeting in your follow-up.
- Set-up a profile in the organization’s ‘vendor profile’ section of their website.
- Be proactive. Create a template for future follow-ups that can be personalized and/or scheduled.
- Remind them of who you are, your track record, solutions you have to problems they have, the prices you charge, etc.
- Remember it typically takes several “touches” before an agency responds. Be patient and persistent. Be professional.
- Remember the agency will not come knocking on your door.
Written by Christina Jones, Norcal PTAC Sr./Lead Procurement Specialist
Attend the 2020 Norcal Gov2Biz Matchmaker!
Santa Rosa | Thursday, April 2, 2020 9:00am to 1:00pm
The Norcal Gov2Biz Matchmaker will feature one-on-one scheduled meetings between businesses and local, state, and federal agencies, and large prime contractors.
More information at bizmatch2020.eventbrite.com