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Business Development HUMINT and the "Dog and Pony Show"

Posted By Guy Timberlake, The American Small Business Coalition, LLC, Monday, April 30, 2012
While the terms "Ethical Stalking" and "Open Source Intelligence" may cause raised eyebrows when I'm discussing tactics government contractors should employ to collect and leverage opportunity-related information, I'm not the only one doing it.
I know it may seem like I'm trying to get everyone to do their best rendition of "Agent 86" or the "Man from U.N.C.L.E." (still can't believe "Mr. Kuryakin" and "Ducky" from NCIS are one in the same), but hey, that's what it takes to get the good and timely information to support decisions that may make the difference between bonus and bust for business development professionals and their bosses.
With that, I reference the recent Washington Technology contribution by Bill Scheessele of MBDi who discusses Business Development HUMINT and "dropping the dog and pony show" in exchange for meaningful, mutually productive dialog with customers.

Specifically, he cites "...engaging your customers in a dialog rather than making unwarranted presentations or bold, sell-centered statements. Your dialogs with customers should be focused on asking insightful questions instead of making statements or giving demonstrations."
This line of thinking should be nothing new to anyone reading this blog (assuming it's not the first time you've read my blog) as I have beaten to death the fact that a meeting intended to deliver the generic "here's what my company does..." pitch is a waste of time for all involved, especially if you've managed to finesse your way into face-time with a decision-maker or influencer.
Which brings me to some important questions.

In this current state of further constrained agency budgets, prime contractors cutting their subs left and right (especially the small ones) to retain revenue and profit levels on existing contracts, and new opportunities generally becoming more difficult to find or get funded, how are small government contractors changing their tactics to survive?
How do you discern between valuable meetings (with Government or Industry) and one's that are, well, not-so-much?
Most important, how are you getting to decision-makers and convincing them to give you a face-to-face so you have an opportunity to ask those insightful questions?


The Chief Visionary

"The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it."

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