So you attended the 2019 Norcal Procurement Expo, followed up with your contacts, and are in the process of establishing some great relationships. Now what? What can you do to continue the momentum? How do you continue to build your relationships and business at the same exciting rate that you experienced during the Expo?
Here are some suggestions which might help:
- You are not going to build great relationships sitting in your office or at your job and attending a couple of good events a year. Relationships require commitment and constant attention, as any of your business process does.
- Establish a marketing plan. Decide which agencies you will target and which conferences you will attend within the next year. What is your end goal? Ask for help along the way. Asking someone (like your PTAC counselor) to review your marketing plan will inevitably lead to more contacts, suggestions, etc. to add to your plan.
- Utilize PTAC's subscription to GovSpend to identify agencies who already buy what you sell who you may not have met at the Expo. GovSpend is available to all active PTAC clients and can be accessed during one of your counseling sessions with your PTAC Procurement Specialist.
- Become an expert in one area of your industry. Chances are that if you own a business, you are already close to becoming an expert.
- Speaking in public is the number one fear for most people on the planet. Use this to your advantage. Attend a Toastmasters Meeting, work with your PTAC, check out the National Speakers Association. There are several venues where you can learn public speaking in a safe place with encouragement.
- Take your expert status and your improved speaking in public skills and volunteer for panels, presentations, and industry talks. Many organizations are looking for presenters on a variety of subjects. Start with your Chamber of Commerce or local business bureau. You will become known in your industry as being comfortable talking in front of a group, and your opportunities and audience will grow.
- Remember to keep all this manageable. You don’t have to speak in front of large groups to obtain a return on investment on the pain of learning and practicing speaking well in public settings. Strategically plan and start small with known groups in your industry. Start on a panel so you are not the only person on stage. Individuals who can handle public speaking comfortably are in high demand.
- Write a column for your local business journal or industry publication. Again, it’s all about getting your name out there for people to see.
- Become a sponsor – and this does not have to involve thousands of dollars. One of my PTAC clients was at a Destruction Derby, and they asked over the loudspeakers for volunteer sponsor donations. He went up to the booth and offered to donate 2 breakfasts at a local restaurant. The individual in line behind him provided a $500 gift card to Lowes. While they were waiting in line, they talked, established a relationship, and my PTAC client worked up getting a six-figure subcontract from the person he met at a Destruction Derby 9 months later. If this can happen at a Destruction Derby, think of the possibilities with a little planning!
These are just a few suggestions intended to spark some thought about different methods of connecting and marketing. The Norcal PTAC is always available to help you by reviewing communications before you send, presentations, suggesting events and venues, and by providing our no-cost Bid Match service. And we always have amazing classes, webinars, and counselors to help you on your journey!
Written by Mary Jo Juarez, Norcal PTAC Procurement Specialist.