7 Tips for Procurement Matchmaking

No government agency or prime vendor will solicit your business– which leaves the relationship-building in your hands! Some of our largest events have the opportunity to connect firsthand with the decision-making Government Officials your business needs to meet.

Typically, you are only given 5 to 10 minute face-to-face appointments. With such a short meeting time, we want to help you make the best impact possible!

Here are our best tips:

BEFORE THE EVENT

DO YOUR RESEARCH Before the event, research the agencies and their procurement officers. If possible, find the specific solicitation you are interested in. Next, brainstorm with a coworker or mentor on how your business could best align with their needs. Prepare a couple of questions to ask the officer on matchmaking day.

PREPARE A FOLDER Since many procurement officials are hard to reach, you want to leave something physical with them at the appointment. Inside of the folder, you can place your capability statement (Pro Tip: Tailor each statement to each appointment if possible) and business card. Feel free to include brochures, past client testimonials, and a portfolio of your past work!

PRACTICE YOUR KEY POINTS Just like a traditional interview process, both parties will leave the match with a certain impression of each other. Think of three things about your business that you want them to remember about yourself, and practice beforehand what you will discuss. Here are some sentence starters to help you:

“Here’s how my business can help you…”

“In the past, we’ve worked on …”

“Something we work hard to provide is …”

DAY OF THE EVENT

DRESS TO IMPRESS Wear comfortable shoes, and be sure to look professional – and top off your appearance with a great smile !

MANAGE YOUR TIME Arrive early to the matchmaking session and make sure your research, folders, and key talking points are in order. Make sure to review your matchmaking schedule carefully, since you’ll only have two minutes to find each station before the appointments start.  

BE AN ACTIVE LISTENER Procurement officials are busy individuals- So it is best to and honor their time by being considerate and concise. Stay focused and attentive during the matchmaking, and be careful to not get off-topic and waste this valuable shared time:

Do not monopolize the conversation – this is a perfect time to ask any questions you prepared during research.

Maintain eye contact, and use positive body language to demonstrate your interest.

END ON A POSITIVE NOTE :Be sure to thank the person for their time, and ask how they would like to keep in touch. If they are open to it, take down their contact information or business card. If not – don’t be worried – a lot of government officials keep their information very private. It doesn’t mean they won’t remember (or do business with) you.

AFTER THE EVENT IS OVER

CREATE A FOLLOW-UP PLAN Gather all of the contact information you received, and create a detailed plan to follow up with each person. Your first contact with them after the event should occur within 42 hours (2 days). Set reminders on your calendar or cell phone, and be sure to provide value to them in each interaction, and (if appropriate) share more marketing materials about your business.

ASSEMBLE YOUR NOTES Write down your experiences and lessons learned at the event, including what you saw from your competitors. This will be useful to refer to next time, and help you to improve your pitch and materials.

REMEMBER, CONTRACTS AREN’T GUARANTEED Preparation is key, and it is your responsibility to present your business and services well. Practice often so you will feel confident on the event day, and schedule a free appointment with our procurement counselors to perfect the approach!

The Riverside Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) is a non-profit resource center that has served businesses in Riverside and San Bernardino counties for over 20 years. Our goal is to stimulate the local economy by providing free personalized services to businesses who wish to sell their goods and/or services to the local, state, or federal governments. We have the capability and experience to help small, mid-range, and large businesses to succeed in the Government Procurement market. If you have been a profitable business for many years, or if you are a boot-strapping entrepreneur, starting your procurement journey starts at PTAC!