Tips for landing government contracts
Any company that does contract work for the federal government knows that oral presentations are a part of the game. Unfortunately, because giving a federal government presentation is so different from a typical business presentation, many companies do not receive as many contracts as they would like.
The federal government is not a typical audience. They come into the room and may or may not shake hands and greet you. All the federal government members stoically sit on one side of the table, and you and your team sit on the other. They cannot react to anything you say, and they cannot comment on anything until the question and answer time. Essentially, while you are presenting, you get no feedback, no body language and nothing to indicate whether you are doing okay.
While the specifics of presenting to the federal government are complex and the topic goes very deep, the following are some initial tips to get you on the right path.
1. Present the people behind the project. Talk about the actual hands-on key personnel who get named in the proposal and who the government will be interacting with. Make sure to present information that is new and different — not the same data you already covered in the written proposal. Have each key personnel member speak for him or herself, with the focus being how your past personal experiences translate to your current professional life, and how that specifically impacts the project.
2. Present the project management aspect. Some things to consider and include in your presentation are: How is your organization set up? How are you set up to handle problems? Who are the players who handle problems? How do you draw on other pieces of your organization, not just the key personnel? How do you draw on other strategic alliances or subcontractors? How does everyone, internally and externally, work together? What are some of your established processes? What have you done on other projects that are similar to the one you are proposing to the federal government now?
3. Present the problem-solving process. The federal government will present you with a possible problem, give you some time to conference about the problem and ask questions, and then they will watch how you solve the problem. Realize that the federal government does not care what your final solution is — they care about your approach to the problem. They are watching how you solve problems and work together as a team.
About the Author:
Marsha Lindquist is CEO of The Management Link Inc. She has more than 20 years experience as a business consultant. Visit www.MarshaLindquist.com for more information.