Are you really hungry to create federal business?
If you’ve ever passed through the Nashville airport, you know that live music is one of the signature differences for this gateway to Music City. Throughout the airport, and at all hours of the day, are stages where aspiring performers rotate through to showcase their talents.
Guitar Duo at Nashville Airport
I recently passed through Nashville’s airport around 10:30am on a Wednesday—after the earliest passenger rushes of the week or day. The airport was relatively quiet and restaurants were just beginning to transition from their breakfast to lunch menus. As challenging as commercial travel has been for some, if your schedule allows for midday travel, you’ll find it much less intense—almost pleasant.
In this case, mine was pleasant because a guitar duo was filling the air of D Concourse from a small, otherwise non-descript, stage within a completely empty open-air restaurant. The adjacent bar had a few patrons proudly proclaiming it’s 5 o’clock somewhere. The duo was quite good. I was moved to go out of my way to drop a tip in their plastic tip bucket (though I wasn’t staying to eat). They looked me in the eye and expressed sincere gratitude: “Thank you, brother,” without missing a beat.
I thought to myself, “Now, these guys are hungry and love what they do.” It was inspiring to witness people so committed to their craft and hopeful to proceed to the next step of their music careers that they humbled themselves to play their best before an empty room.
Passionate and Hungry to Create Federal Business
I thought of my time in what was ultimately a dissatisfying corporate role. At the time, there was no passion for the work. It’s a distant memory of nearly ten years ago, of which I write extensively in Make Your Move. I now help companies who are passionate about their offerings and solutions, and together we make big things happen. Every year, hundreds of millions of federal dollars go to companies that fully participate in the entire federal process.
I observe many (I’ll emphasize many) companies attempting to climb their way to the next rung, but lack the passion of the Nashville musicians above—or of my clients. Too many companies are on the RFP train. They have mastered the SAM data base and perfected their automated word search filters to alert them to new federal opportunities. When they think they see a fit, they crank out a proposal. Few truly understand how far behind the target they are aiming when using this easily-replicated tactic to hunt down a contract.You need to become an expert at connecting operational need with dollars. Click To Tweet
It is possible to lead your customer, shaping policy and positioning funding along the way. You can drive the government sale and better support your government customer. A pleasant by-product is a less frenzied pace of business—not too unlike my recent airport transition. It becomes more predictable because you begin to see how long-term efforts allow you to adjust to mid-term and near-term shifts in customer need. More importantly, when you work the process more thoughtfully, you completely understand and can distinguish the funded opportunity from the shiny RFP.
If you or a colleague you know behave toward RFPs as I’ve described, you need to stop. Just like the doctor who diagnoses your “it hurts when I do this” complaint with a simple, “stop doing that!”
But how? You need to become an expert at connecting operational need with dollars. I know how to do that. My clients also know how to do that. If you’re not ready to admit your shortcomings of knowledge in public yet, take a look at Capitol CurrencySM. I’ve captured the essence of my process that has resulted in billions of dollars in sales in a comprehensive learning program. Learn at your own pace. You can do it the easy (and pleasantly comfortable) way with Capitol CurrencySM.