Small businesses selling to the federal government keep shouting to their local SBA offices saying, “We are Here!” Why? Because the FAR rules require the federal government to meet specific small business goals and Prime Contractors to meet those goals as well.
Small businesses who have filled out their System for Award Management Registration (SAM.gov) and worked day and night to get their small business certifications are telling federal agencies, “We are Here!” Why? Because they think that the certifications will suddenly make them stand out among the 600,000 registrants at SAM.gov and agencies will magically find them.
Small businesses attending event after event after industry day after event are telling large businesses who are prime contractors, “We are HERE!” Why? Because the Primes are supposed to meet specific small business goals as well.
But federal contractors who are small don’t realize: every small business is repeating the same thing over and over, “We are here. We are Here. We are HERE!”
And, just like in the children’s book by Dr. Seuss “Horton Hears a Who,” only ONE large elephant hears the calls of many smalls inside a flower – screaming “We are Here” together. He hears them because he happens to be walking by the flower and he has large enough ears to hear something and he has compassion for tiny voices. Meanwhile, the rest of the large elephants just keep on doing their own thing and not even believing that there is someone that small – who even exists. Same thing in federal contracting – the large primes and the large agencies, don’t think a small business – by itself can even provide solutions to their big challenges.
Smalls Must Find a New Message to Capture the Attention of Federal Agencies and Primes
Small businesses, note. You need to become unique in your branding. Don’t just tell the world, “We’re small, HubZone, Woman Owned, 8(a), Veteran Owned, Service Disabled Veteran Owned, Native American Owned, or a Disadvantaged Business.”
Small businesses must express Capabilities First and reiterate your messaging over and over and over again so you can catch the attention of a client who can hear your message because they are seeking a solution. They hear you because they relate to your message and need expertise. And by reaching out to them, and finding them, they may just hear you and approach you with a problem you can solve.
Here are some examples of strong messages:
- “We Fill Cyber Security Staffing Needs!”
- “Our Product Heals Burns and Bed Sores In Three Weeks!”
- “Our Privacy Training Empowers Your Employees to Protect Critical Data”
- “We Can Move You In 24 Hours”
- “We Deliver Computers in Two Days.”
- “We Protect Your Property with the Most Secure Safes in the Business”
- “We Empower Leaders!”
- “We Code Health Records at 98% Accuracy”
- “We Hire Top Talent and Subject Matter Experts to Get it Right the First Time”
After catching the attention of your agency who buys what you sell, their primes……then…… talk about how easy it is to close the deal, quickly, quietly and under-the-radar with your specific combo of contract vehicles and set asides.
This will happen right under the competitors’ noses because they have not been listening to their customers’ pain, problems and challenges. They’ve only been focusing on the work they’re doing now. They forgot to take care of their clients and have, in fact, plugged their ears – literally with earbuds.
Meanwhile, the rest of the smalls keep yelling the same old phrase, “We are here!” “We are Here!” “We are HERE!”
It’s time to strategize your message and deliver it to the agencies who buy what you sell and the right people will recognize your value….and invite you to come in because you offer innovative ideas and solutions to their problems.
Author: Eileen Kent is known as “The Federal Sales Sherpa” and helps companies with Federal Sales Training, Proposal Training, A Competitive Analysis, and a Federal Sales Action Plan. She also hand-picks clients who have been through her “Three Step Program” and works with companies weekly in her elite and custom “Sherpa for A Year” program. As a GovFlex registered consultant, Eileen and her company are available to provide services via the GovFlex platform.
The views expressed in GovFlex blog postings are solely those of the author.