How to Convince Your Boss to Pursue a GSA Contract

Getting a GSA contract

So, you are ready to conquer the government market. You’ve read hundreds of guides and manuals. You’ve successfully passed GSA training, and even your sales team is ready for action. But your Big Boss may not be so sure. How to convince your boss (or bosses) that getting a GSA contract is a brilliant idea and it can easily turn to be very profitable for the business?

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Why does your boss say no?

Well, there could be many reasons for that, some of them being easier to address than others. Let’s take a closer look at them and try to figure out what you can do about that.

The boss doesn’t know about GSA Schedules

Have you talked with your boss about GSA opportunities at all? If no, it is time to do this. Draw a picture of your future government sales. Tell how your company would prosper if it offered its products or services to federal agencies. Then, you should tell her about GSA Schedules and explain why GSA Schedules are one of the easiest ways to start selling to the government.

Importantly, you should not spread it on thick. Stay realistic. After all, obtaining a GSA contract is not a cakewalk by any means. The Multiple Awards Schedule program could be extremely profitable if you approach to it properly, yet it could be a waste of time and money as well if you don’t. Your goal is to underscore that GSA offers unique opportunities for businesses, but don’t focus too much on detail for now.

The boss thinks your business is too small for GSA contracts

Suppose your boss already knows about GSA and MAS, but thinks government contracts are beyond the level of your business. Well, “government contracts” may sound very serious and only available to serious companies. But in fact, the total annual value of GSA contracts awarded to small businesses exceeds one billion dollars. Moreover, the government is obliged to set-aside about 23% of contracts to small businesses.

Your strategy is to provide plain statistics and let it do all the persuasion. Show how many small businesses in your industry currently hold GSA contracts. Show the overall amount of GSA sales they make. Assure the boss: the government needs almost everything, including your products and/or services too.

The boss thinks the GSA contracting process is too complex

“The process is too complex”, says your boss refusing to even start hearing your arguments. Your goal is to convince him or her that pursuing a GSA contract is not rocket science after all. Yes, there are strict regulations. Yes, there are kilometers of fine print and dozens of forms to fill. But the bottom line is: thousands of companies were able to do this!

The notion of government sales complexity often comes from misunderstanding or lack of understanding how the GSA contracting system works. Explain to your boss how agencies buy products using GSA Schedules. Describe the process step by step. Mention new GSA tools introduced over recent years that greatly simplified almost every step of GSA contract management. GSA Schedules are the easiest way to sell to the government – that should be the central idea of your pitch.

And there is one final argument here. You don’t even have to do all the pre-contracting work yourself. The majority of GSA contracting process can be easily delegated to GSA consulting agencies making the task much easier and allowing you to get a GSA Schedule fast.

The boss is afraid of losses

Well, ok. Your boss probably will not say it like that. But pursuing a GSA contract involves some costs, human resources, and time. And in the end it is not even guaranteed that the company will be awarded. So why bother? Would it not be better to direct these resources to the commercial market instead?

Your line of argument should be as follows. It is true that many GSA applications are declined altogether. It is also true that 70-80% of GSA contract holders do not make enough sales to retain their GSA contracts. However, most of declined submissions simply had errors or wasn’t compiling, which is easily avoidable. As for sales, numbers convince better than words here. Simply open GSA’s Schedule Sales Query and present your competitors’ overall sales to your boss.

The boss says there’s no time for that now

“Yes, that’s sound interesting. We should definitely try it next quarter. Or may be the quarter after”. That what your boss says, when she or he thinks there is no time to put into pursuing a GSA contract.

In fact, there will never be time for that. The time is now. To convince your boss, point out that the process of submitting an application to GSA is a one-time job. Then, you only need to maintain it. Also, point out that the main portion of that job can be delegated to a third-party GSA agency, like Price Reporter. Finally, if awarded, the company secures a 5-year contract which is well-worth the efforts and time put into pursuing it.

The boss says “we don’t have enough people”

The need to prepare hundreds of documents and filling a lot of forms the GSA submission requires is what repels many businesses from even thinking about obtaining a GSA contract. Who will be possibly doing this? Should we open a position just to communicate with GSA contracting officers? Or can we just allocate this task to some personnel already in place? To hell with that, we don’t have enough people!

For a small business, having a dedicated specialist is not necessary to successfully pursue and hold a GSA contract. In fact, many companies find it cost efficient to just hire a consultancy agency to do the majority of GSA contract related operations. And you still can train an in-house GSA sales specialist.

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