PTACs across the country were surveyed as to their top tips for selling to state and local governments. Here is what their procurement experts recommend:
Do your research. Determine to which agency or agencies you want to sell, visit their website and find out how they do their purchasing. Do they have a purchasing department, or can each department do its own purchasing? Are there certifications or preference designations you should pursue (ie: in-state, small, small disadvantaged, woman-owned, veteran-owned, etc.)? Do they use DUNS numbers, NAICS or NIGP codes? There is a huge variance in purchasing practices among states, and even among counties or cities within the same state. Learn how your target market operates.
Create a one page Capability Statement which lists your capabilities, tailored to match the mission of the agency you are targeting. It should also include information such as your DUNS number, CAGE code, NAICS codes (4-5 maximum) and any certifications your business holds if your target agency uses such data, as well as the size of your business and a few pictures of what you do. Keep the language simple and straightforward and be specific about what you do. NEVER show too many capabilities. Make a separate capability statement for each of your specialties. If you provide both plumbing and carpentry services, then have one capability statement for each of those. Keep it simple and to the point.
Identify the path to the buyer inside each agency you are targeting and send that buyer your Capability Statement with a request to forward it to the appropriate end user, copying you on that email if possible. If agency buyers send you a solicitation, always thank them, even if you decide not to bid on it. Doing so will increase the likelihood that you will continue to receive solicitations from them in the future.
Contact your local Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) for help with all of the activities noted above. PTAC counselors are familiar with state and local government purchasing practices in your area. They can help you determine which agencies to target and how best to market your company. Many PTACs also hold “match-making” events to connect local businesses with city, county and state government buyers. Best of all, their help is available at low or no cost. To learn more about PTACs and find the one nearest to you PTAC, visit www.aptac-us.org.
More about Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs)
Ninety-eight PTACs – with over 300 local offices – form a nationwide network of procurement professionals dedicated procurement professionals working to help local businesses compete successfully in the government marketplace. Funded under the Defense Logistics Agency’s Procurement Technical Assistance Program through cooperative agreements with state and local governments and non-profit organizations, PTACs are the bridge between buyer and supplier, bringing to bear their knowledge of both government contracting and the capabilities of contractors to maximize fast, reliable service to our government with better quality and at lower costs.
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Need help selling to State/Local Government?
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Assistance topics include (but are not limited to!):
- Determining Suitability for Contracting
- Securing Necessary Registrations (including SAM registration)
- SDB, 8(a), HUBzone and other certifications
- Researching Procurement Histories
- Identifying Bid Opportunities
- Proposal Preparation
- Contract Performance Issues
- Preparing for Audit