With summer here, we
are reminded that the federal fourth quarter buying season is upon us.
September 30 marks the end of the federal government’s 2007 fiscal year
(FY) and federal contractors should take steps to obtain as much of the
year end money as possible. For those companies whose commercial sales
may lag in the summer months this can be the perfect time to focus on
Though government agencies have gotten better
at planning and spreading spending over all four quarters, the fourth
quarter of FY 2006 was the highest grossing for GSA contractors. In
fact, the amount spent through GSA Schedules was almost 15% higher in
Q4 than the Q3. That amounts to over $1.1 billion more spent in Q4. The
reason for the spike in sales is simple: Federal agencies continue to
have the need to spend the rest of their budgets in order to risk the
loss of existing funds or the future downsizing of their budgets.
of the greatest challenges for agencies associated with spending Q4
funds is that the procurement process must be simple and fast. During
this time agencies are looking to existing contracts, GWACs and BPAs,
in order to facilitate the quick purchase. For this reason, the GSA
Multiple Award Schedules are always a likely candidate. The GSA
Schedule contract vehicle can cut down the procurement process
considerably and is fairly easy for agencies to use.
So, what should you do to increase your GSA Schedule 4th Quarter sales?
Agencies start their planning prior to September, so start gearing up
your marketing campaign now to avoid the end of the year rush and
panic. Use the summer months to work closely with staff to create
proactive marketing plans to ensure that you have appropriately
marketed your services/products in such a way that the government will
seriously consider your company when determining final spending
Keep Your GSA Contract Current and Compliant
is imperative that your GSA Schedule is up-to-date with all of the
services/products that you offer. Make sure that new services/products
are added, old ones are deleted and that you have applied for your
appropriate annual price escalations. Out-of-date products and pricing
will make it difficult for both you and your customers.
Make Sure You Are Registered on GSA Advantage! and E-Buy
order for government agencies to find contractors that have the
services/products they wish to purchase in Q4 they may look to the
online ordering systems set up by GSA. It is crucial to have your
current pricelist loaded on GSA Advantage! for viewing and searches. It
is also necessary to be registered with E-Buy in order to see all
possible RFQs released via the GSA Schedule that you hold.
Contact Current and Past Clients
primary part of your proactive marketing plan should be getting in
contact with current and past clients to find out if they have year end
money and requirements for which you are qualified. Repeat clients
account for much of Q4 money spent. It is faster to sell to a customer
who is familiar with your products/work than it is to find and convince
new customers of your value.
Offer Promotions to GSA Schedule Users
the purchases off a GSA Schedule can be made using “best value”
justification rather than a best price, government purchasers are
always going to be concerned with the bottom line. For GSA Schedule
product holders, Q4 is a great time of year to run year end promotions
or discounts to encourage agencies to spend their money with you.
Be Mindful of the Micro-Purchase Threshold Sales
under the $2,500 micro-purchase threshold are the easiest for federal
buyers to make. Be sure you have the ability to accept the government
purchase card in order to close orders that are below the
micro-purchase threshold and even the $100,000 Simplified Acquisition
Threshold. Credit cards purchases under these thresholds can be
accomplished with far less paperwork and administration.
Don’t Be Afraid to Start Small
agencies during Q4 may only have a minimal amount of cash left to spend
on projects smaller than you may be used to. Don’t walk away from
business because it seems too small. This can be a great way to gain
entrance for your company to a particular agency or office with which
you have not previously worked. In this way you position yourself for
larger contracts in the future
is always the case with your GSA contract, you should be vigilant;
making sure your contract and marketing efforts are up-to-date. But now
more than ever, you and your team should take the steps to be sure you
are fully prepared for the coming fall harvest in Q4 of FY 2007.
Fairchild is President of Global Services, Inc. of Washington, D.C.
Global Services delivers winning strategies for every stage of
government marketing— analyzing opportunities, obtaining GSA Schedules
and building your company’s self-sufficiency in federal contracting. In
addition to participating in The ASBC's Business-Select and Coalition
Exchange Membership programs, Global Services is a Founding Member of The American Small Business Coalition.
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