Adopt Three Rules for Government Sales Communications
No doubt, we’re not the first ones to say that you need to enhance communications to accelerate your sales pipeline. We’re here to tell you why enhancing communications is particularly important, OK crucial, to winning government contracts regardless of the type of government contract.
You don’t have to read much of what we write (like our book Seven Myths of Selling to Government) or hear much of what we say (like our podcast Government Selling Myths) to know that we’re all about building relationships when trying to win government contracts. And, as we’ve said, you’ve must build trust in order to develop a “relationship commitment” so your prospects have a lot to gain because of the relationship.
Communication is a major driver of trust and critical to developing relationship commitment working with government and government sales pipeline management. Theirs is a very documentation-driven world. Nothing gets done without a lot of documentation, thus communication. A smart government salesperson uses this sometimes-frustrating reality to her advantage. She communicates lots of relevant information that helps her prospects provide the mound of documentation usually required to get just about anything in government done.
It's not easy, especially considering the amount of information overload we all experience. (I've just cut four paragraphs from my original draft, lest I overload you.) We believe there are three main components that must exist before solid communications with government prospects
can occur: relevance, timeliness and reliability.
Be Relevant. Simply providing information to prospects is not, within itself, enough to enhance communications and further the relationship. The information exchanged must be perceived as being relevant to the respective recipients. This is even more important in today’s world where information overload has reached is SPAMdemic proportions.
We must be selective with the information we try to push to prospects. Approaching each and every outreach, we should ask ourselves, “Will this information truly and uniquely answer a prospect question or help solve a prospect problem?” If not, you’re likely wasting your time and making little headway cultivating a deeper relationship. If so, you’re on your way to making a new BFF.
Be Timely. The timing of the information exchange is also critical. Really good outreach efforts at a really bad time will at best, be ignored, and at worst, create a perception that you are self-serving and insensitive. Many times, it’s impossible to know whether or not your communication efforts are coming at a good time or not. So ask. Simple courtesies such as asking, “Is this a good time to talk about this?” or, “Would this information be helpful to you?” will be appreciated.
Be Reliable. This piece of the communications pie can only be illustrated over time. Great communication doesn’t happen overnight, but instead improves as interactions occur over time…as long as as information exchanges are proven accurate and dependable. While we may not be able to remember details of each of these interactions, our minds appear to be able to store assessments of these various touch points. Thus, we develop overall feelings about certain people and whether or not their word can be trusted.
While it’s impossible to do justice to the topic of communications in this post, we can assure you that the simple practice of focusing on relevant, timely and reliable communications methods will help overcome barriers to personal interaction and improve overall relationship commitment and trust.
Considering their need for information and documentation that will not get them in trouble down the road, government buyers are particularly appreciative of reliable information.