Sunday, July 15, 2007

Best Practices in Selling to Government

Action Strategies' newest affiliate and Magnifier, Derrek Konrad provides a brief insight into how organizations looking to sell to government can get ahead of the curve.

This month we will deal with influencing the buying decision.

When you or your business plan to do business with the government, you enter into a highly competitive environment. The Government of Canada’s top 10 clients purchase almost 13 billion dollars worth of commodities and services annually and many suppliers and potential suppliers are competing for a piece of the action. How can you influence the decision in your favour? If you limiting your chances of success to simply responding to a Request For Proposal (RFP) you are not taking advantage of all of the tools at your disposal.

There are many factors that go into successfully competing and one of them is having an effective voice in the decision-making arena detailing the benefits of awarding a contract to your firm or organization. Your business will have unique characteristics that bring added value to the market that cannot be written into a proposal. This is where a government relations professional can help influence the decision to award a contract.

A government relations specialist will get to know the materiel managers in the target departments of interest to the client and develop an understanding of exactly what their requirements are. This will allow a client to respond more appropriately to an RFP. After a bid has been issued all contact with the department ceases and all communications must be directed to Public Works and Government Services.

Having your firm become known to a department before bids are issued can pay other dividends as well. When a department sends PWGSC a requisition for goods or services they may list suggested sources so doing a good job of promoting your business could get it named as a suggested source. Departments also have authority to do their own contracting for non-mandatory services consequently you could be short-listed for work that falls below the mandatory limit for PWGSC involvement.

Finally, a bit of advice on payment for GR services. While the use of government relations practitioners by prospective contractors is permitted, Treasury Board guidelines prohibit payment on a contingency basis. They must be compensated on a retainer or fee for service basis. If lobbyists are to be used a clause prohibiting contingency fees must be inserted in the contract.


Derrek Konrad is a former Member of Parliament living in Ottawa and practices government relations. He is the principal of Konrad Group and can be contacted by e-mail at: Derrek.konradgroup@rogers.com or by phone at 613-822-9846

Mark Buzan is the owner of Action Strategies, a Government Relations consultancy. You can subscribe now to his monthly public affairs newsletter by visiting the newsletter section of his website.

No comments: