Vendors: don’t be afraid to ask for the business
As the federal fiscal year 2011 draws to a close on Sept. 30, EZGSA’s Scott Orbach tells prospective vendors, “Don’t be shy.”
“Just like the guys who leave the bar with the best-looking woman — they are not the best-looking guys, or the richest or smartest. So too, the guys who walk away with the federal contracts are not the smartest or best vendors, but they are the guys who aren’t afraid to go ask for the dance,” says Orbach, president of Bethesda, Md.-based EZGSA, a consulting firm that assists government contractors looking for more federal revenue and helps vendors locate prospective federal buyers.
“People are intimidated by the unknown, but just watch and see who’s really landing the federal business, and if they can get it, business executives who read your Use it or Lose It e-newsletter can get it,” says Orbach, who has been helping government contractors understand the federal marketplace for more than 20 years. He has written or co-authored five books on selling to the government, including “
Contract Management of Your GSA Schedule: 2011 Edition” and “
Getting a GSA Schedule: A Step by Step Guide, 2011 Edition,” and is currently working on his sixth. He is an instructor at Rockville, Md.-based Montgomery College.
Orbach expects to see accelerated purchasing and contracting activity at federal agencies as the federal fiscal year draws to a close. “There’s some pent-up demand in federal departments to acquire goods and services. What we are probably going to see is one of the biggest Septembers in recent memory, and probably the last really, really big September, in spending terms, for a while.”
Information technology, training and security are product and service areas that offer good opportunities to vendors before Sept. 30, Orbach told Govpro.com. “IT is huge right now, and the security category includes equipment as well as services.” Orbach says federal agencies are actively acquiring or planning to buy surveillance and recording equipment, biometrics gear, and armed and unarmed guard services, including uniformed guards and guards out of uniform.
Find a wingman
What should vendors do as Sept. 30 approaches? “They need to position themselves. They need to know what the market is buying, and they need to be fearless about going after it,” Orbach says.
“Continuing the analogy about leaving the bar with a date, if they [prospective vendors] need a wingman, there are a lot of experienced, knowledgeable resources all over the U.S. and particularly in the D.C Beltway who can help them get in front of the right people — who can identify the opportunities — who can even go up and talk to that individual at the bar — that individual in the government with whom they want to leave,” Orbach says.
What’s the best first step to land federal business for someone who hasn’t sold to government? “Lose the fear and find that wingman,” is Orbach’s advice.