In Federal Sales, Are You A Hunter or a Vulture?

This is a guest post by Eileen Kent, The Federal Sales Sherpa

© SunnyS - Fotolia.com

© SunnyS – Fotolia.com

A federal sales hunter scans the landscape daily with his own eyes and locates where the most potential for healthy-sized opportunities appear.

The hunter has been trained by other hunters to seize the moment when an opportunity arises.

The hunter approaches the client on a regular basis, and, when the ideal opportunity presents itself, the hunter “captures it” with a closing mechanism like a GSA Schedule, small business preference, or partner. No one ever heard about the opportunity coming, and never found out when the deal was closed and delivered.

We can only see it after-the-fact in the contract data – exactly how the hunter quickly captured the deal.

© Andrea Izzotti - Fotolia.com

© Andrea Izzotti – Fotolia.com

A federal sales vulture sits on the sidelines and waits for a lucky opportunity to come out on the public websites like fedbizops.gov.

But, by the time the opportunity “dies,” there’s nothing left in profits but a few scraps – and a lot of other angry vultures still fighting with you for the leftovers.

Look, we all have a little “hunter” and a little “vulture” in us.

A note from Bill:

This is sort of like being a little bit country, a little bit rock and roll (yes, I did like Donnie and Marie), and by the way, both strategies need to be applied judiciously. The hunter lands more of what they go after, because the capture is good, and the customer is ready. But, the vulture can get some tasty scraps in these days of LPTA. At TAPE we do have a scanning process (by vehicle, not FedBizOpps), where we look for the following:

  • Know the function absolutely cold, with good past performance.
  • Make sure the labor hours are specified. If they want you to guess or figure it out, you’re not going to win.
  • Write a good, highly compliant response. Check everything to make sure there are no issues, this is critical because…
  • Price that baby low, low, low. Profitable, but low.

Many years ago, I asked a big company, one respected for really doing good capture work, how they treated year end. They were candid, and said they like 2/3 of the work to be captured, but 1/3 will be over the transom, with good past performance, nearest customer neighbor, low price. They won a lot of them (well, great proposal shops can write to anything), and it fueled growth.

Our hunter side has found out from the client that the deal is “coming out soon” and then we want to sit tight like the vulture…… waiting …. waiting…waiting for it to be posted.

But it is advised that while you’re waiting for the postings at fedbizops.gov and end-of-year spending, that you still could be a hunter by continuing to scan the landscape and talk to all of your clients about opportunities now – and in the future. If the opportunity has not hit the streets yet, you may still be able to do something to get them to make it a set-aside or to use a contract vehicle with little competition.

And in the coming year, you want to change your tactics to be more like a hunter all the time….or hire a hunter to comb the landscape, get to your customers in the field, and close the deals quickly and quietly.

For more information about having a federal sales action plan built for you so you can focus on the “hunt,” contact Eileen Kent at 312-636-5381 or visit http://federalsalessherpa.com/.

This post originally appeared at https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/article/20140812023632-5572608-in-federal-sales-are-you-a-hunter-or-a-vulture and was adapted and reprinted with permission.


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