By Ken Tyler, CEO Tycorps International
If you know the process used in selling to the government – it can be profitable. But the processes followed and government sales management is not the same as you will find in commercial sales management.
Learn the Players
To be successful in any sale, you must build relationships. More so, in selling healthcare products and equipment to the government.
Building relationships with government customers, logistic procurement managers, and government contracting officials is the first stepping stone in a successful sale.
Attend government-focused and industry trade shows to build your contact list. Call on these individuals routinely to establish a relationship and mutual trust.
Understand Government Procedures
When dealing with the government, you must also fully understand government procurement regulations, which can make or break a sale. You must also understand federal contracts and possess federal contract credentials to manage government contracts. This information is available via federal agencies.
Read and comprehend government procurement specifications-don’t be afraid to ask for clarifications. If you feel the procurement is not justified or fair, (i.e. proprietary or restrictive) file a protest with the Contracting Officer or other designated officials.
Understand government ethics rules and follow them. Ethics rules are published by federal contracting officials.
Different Customers – Different Goals
All government facilities and purchasing goals are not the same for each customer. In order to properly sell to different government facilities, you must understand how they operate and their specific needs.
Drive the Bus
Once you have built relationships and fully understand your potential customer’s needs – take it upon yourself to initiate national contracts with government agencies.
Don’t assume that government representatives can or will initiate product requests. So drive the bus. Drive product standardization initiatives with procurement officials.
Communicate the cost-effectiveness and superiority of your product over other products. It’s up to you to sell your product.
Don’t Blow It
Government contracts can be very lucrative. Make sure you can deliver what your promise – when you promise it. Take the time to understand and appreciate what government customers need and acknowledge delivery expectations. If you cannot meet their expectations, be honest. Propose an alternative date you can realistically meet.
You may lose this sale – but gain ones that follow, because you will be more respected than the salesperson who makes promises and does not follow through.
On Your End
Educate your management on the resources required to meet the specific needs of government procurement programs.
Communicate those needs and the challenges you face with your supply chain.
Support the healthcare supply chain. Communication with all your true manufacturers is essential. Make sure your true product manufacturers understand government rules, regulations, opportunities and challenges.
Selling healthcare products and equipment to the government is a wonderful opportunity and you can be successful if you follow the rules and stay current on the changing landscape of government processes.
About the Author:
Ken Tyler, CEO Tycorps Int’l is a registered facility manager, federal contracting specialist and holds federal contracting credentials.
Retired from the Department of Veterans Affairs, Tyler was responsible for establishing VA policies as well as the management, design and construction of 63 health care laundry facilities. He received the national GSA Excellence in Administration Award. Tyler served 29 years in the United States Marine Corps. His last active duty assignment was Director of Laundry and Dry Cleaning Operations.
As VP Government Operations for Encompass LLC for 16 years, Tyler developed government sales and administration programs. He recently consulted for Standard Textiles where he was instrumental in the development of new government programs. Currently, Tyler serves on the JCAHO Environment of Care Advisory Group as an Industry Advisor to government and healthcare organizations and is a member of the Textile Rental Services (TRSA) Healthcare Committee.