Refresher Course in Contractor to Government Interface 101

Refresher Course in Contractor to Government Interface 101

Contractors: Do you believe your interface with govees ever ruffles a few feathers?
To some, it is obvious, to others not so, but I believe we could all take a refresher course in Contractor-to-Government Interface.  
Let’s get down to the nuts and bolts; no preamble.
Govees get upset at contractors for:

  • Arriving for a meeting late
  • Not effectively using the time allocated for a meeting; not getting to the “Ask” quickly
  • Asking ”What keeps you up at night?”
  • Asking how they can be helpful rather than having ideas about how to be of assistance
  • Not being prepared for a meeting; not taking the time to understand the client or their challenges
    • Showing up for a meeting not having a clue as to what your agency does or the role of your organization — which means the contactor asks a lot of dumb questions that waste time
    • Lacking a clear value proposition for their company — what separates/ differentiates them from their peers?
    • Trying to apply a “cookie cutter” approach to address unique agency problems and issues
  • Asking a question but not listening to the answer
  • Having the answer to your problem without understanding the problem
  • Selling-Selling-Selling with little consideration for what the problem/challenge is
  • Going through their “ILOVEME” presentation deck, one slide at a time
  • Not understanding federal processes
  • Being vain:
    • “I’d like you to help me understand how your agency can use my product.”
    • “Can you help me understand your agency?”
    • “I’d like to understand your priorities.”

Contractor performance after contract award:

  • Showing up with the “B” Team, not the bid team, commonly termed bait-and-switch
  • Low bidding to win the program then working from the first day of the contract to get whole
    • Having more attorneys than delivery personnel attend a meeting.

OK, OK.  Perhaps there are some things govees do that irritate contractors.  These include:

  • Arriving for a meeting late
  • Canceling a meeting the morning of the meeting, when out-of-town attendees are present
  • Substituting someone else for the meeting
  • Not paying attention during the meeting
  • Looking at their watch often; excusing themselves and leaving the meeting early
  • Not taking notes allowing the perception the meeting has little to no value
  • Not looking at or even feigning interest in pre-read materials
  • Excusing themselves when their EA enters the room and whispers in their ear, no doubt a prearranged activity to rid themselves of those across the table.

Stay tuned for additional posts on essential skills/attributes of a Business Development Director provided by Bob Lam.
Bob is the principal and founder of Bob Lam Solutions and is affiliated with GovFlex.  Reference Bob’s book People Buy From People at his website or go straight to for a copy.

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