How To Start Working With Local Governments

Are you a vendor wanting to break into the local government space? We’ve put together some practical steps to consider along with tips to help get you moving in the right direction.

Know your business

Before you get started, you have some choices to make. Consider the size of your company along with the size contract you can fulfill, then determine the type of government you want to work with. Does your product or service lend itself to work mostly with school systems? Do you think city/county governments need the things you provide? Are you large enough to handle a state or federal contract?  

Determine your place in the market

Determine where you fit in the market based on your comfort level and your ability to meet government needs. Generally speaking, larger governments (cities with larger populations, state or federal) issue more complex Requests for Proposals (RFPs) or bids, which typically result in more competition. Often these are high yielding opportunities that attract larger players. Smaller city/county government contracts are less complicated with fewer vendors competing for the bid.

Verify how your products are purchased

The way governments purchase is dependent on individual purchasing thresholds. It’s important to think about the product or service you provide and determine, based on typical price points, where you fall in the government purchasing process. Do you need to target bid opportunities, or will you typically be looking to turn over a quote? Are you lucky enough to sell directly to the local government itself?

Start Networking

You’ve decided the level of opportunity you’re ready to pursue and you know where you fit in the market. Now it’s time to build relationships. If bidding is where you start, that first bid is your opportunity to get to know the purchasing agent and let that local government know what you bring to the table. Don’t just respond to the bid, but respond to the bid well.

If the bid is to be submitted electronically, submit it early. You don’t want to get caught running into technical issues at the last minute. If you’re within driving distance, deliver the bid in person and on time. Shake someone’s hand and make a positive impression. You might not win the first bid you go after, but learn from the experience and go after it again. The next sealed bid you submit will not just be a contract—it’ll be from someone the government knows.

If quotes are your sweet spot, track Requests for Quotes (RFQs) and have your marketing material ready. Quotes are typically easier to respond to and turnaround time is shorter.

If you sell directly to local governments, be sure to turn on the charm. Find who would benefit from your product or service and get to know them. When it’s time to make that purchase, hopefully you’ll be the first one they call. The purchasing department may have to complete the purchase, but it’ll more likely be driven by the end user of your product/service.

Stay on top of your target area

Whether your niche connects with governments through the bidding process, a quote or through a direct sell relationship, it’s time to get to work. Be in the know about what jobs are heading down the pipeline, respond accordingly, be consistent and start winning those government jobs.

Is your business best suited for RFPs? Get leads for your sales territory sent straight to your inbox with our Lead Notification service. Think you’ll be more into direct sell? Make sure you’re registered with all of the governments in your sales territory so they can find you and your product or service quickly and easily with our Registration package.

Unsure about where to start? Reach out to us at (844) 802-9202 or cservice@vendorregistry.com. We have a team of experts ready to help you every step of the way.