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8 ways to end the buying season with power, strength & success!


NeoCon 2024! It’s that time of year again, time for most of our industry to focus on their new showroom, to plan their rep meetings and most importantly find out where the best parties will be! While the team at Catalyst is just as excited to see the new showrooms, sample the new products and hit the dance floors, we are also reminded that we are half-way through the calendar year. This means we are already into the buying season for Education and heading into the major buying season for Federal and State agencies. Beyond picking out our killer wardrobes for Chicago, with appropriate shoes, our focus starts to narrow and we begin thinking about what we can be doing now to ensure successful year ends for Public Sector programs across all verticals. Remember, July 1st and Q4 are basically right there once NeoCon finishes up. Don’t step off the gas! Keep your efforts consistent and focused through the summer!


We’ve gathered 8 ways to end the buying season with power, strength & success!


1. Product Highlights. Know which products are right for which verticals. I know this sounds very elementary but take the time to know which of your products are right for each vertical and make sure these products are on the necessary contracts for each vertical.


2. Competitive Landscape. Know your competition in these verticals and how you stack up against them. Use this information to better position yourself within the dealer as the solution.


3. Monitor Government Procurement Opportunities. As I have said many times, I love public sector because there is a lot of public information. Know where the RFIs/RFPs/RFQs are being published and track them. You should do this all year but especially in the buying seasons. Leverage Ebuy. This is for Federal only and you must be a contract holder to access and respond to Ebuy. I know everyone is not a fan of Ebuy and many say that once it hits Ebuy it is decided. I can only say this is not always true. I have many stories of winning something on Ebuy that was not specified in the product we were representing.


4. Effective Marketing. Make sure you are creating targeted effective marketing for each of the verticals. This should include items like appropriate products, case studies, and contracts the products are available on. This also includes making sure you understand your customer and what is important to them i.e. socio-economic status, sustainability, country of origin, lead-time etc.


5. Promotional Campaigns. Consider doing a promotion to these end users or dealers that includes deeper discounting for a limited time or competitive dealer fees to increase the chances of your products being specified. This is another reason to be in front of the end users and dealers and gives them a reason to use your product over someone else’s.


Along these same lines, offer bundled deals. Create bundled packages of items commonly purchased together. This can encourage larger orders and provide value to the end users.


6. Leverage the support your contracts offer. This is for contract holders only and mainly for cooperatives. Know what these contracts are willing to do to support you in being successful. Many have direct sellers that you can work with, opportunities to email their members, addresses for mailing and phone numbers for calling.


7. Engage in contracting events, trade shows and conferences. These are great opportunities to be in front of the end users in the buying season. There are industry days with agencies (virtual and in person), trade shows/conferences regionally and nationally that your public sector buyers are attending. Determine which ones make sense for you and be there! You don’t always have to spend a lot- some of these events may be reverse trade shows or just one day events where you can network with the attendees.


8. Follow up on outstanding quotes/proposals. Make sure you follow up on any quotes you have done that are still open. Confirm if they will be making the award this year or not. If this year, when do they require delivery? This is especially important with Federal as there are times the product needs to be delivered prior to yearend.


These 8 tips will allow you to maximize your sales potential within your public sector contracts, during the most crucial quarters. Agencies across all levels of government, even if they have claimed funding issues the rest of the year, have money in the 4th quarter and will be spending it. There is no one golden strategy for every government program to use but there are key fundamentals, like these, that will put your program in an advantageous position to pick up end of year business. Public Sector programs are best built slowly to ensure they are sustainable, the 4th quarter gives you a chance to land projects that will give you that quick jump that everyone wants. Have a great summer and Happy Selling!



ABOUT MICHELLE WARREN

Founder, President - Catalyst Consulting Group  


Michelle Warren is President of Catalyst Consulting Group, a firm specializing in providing strategic solutions to the commercial furniture industry to enhance their sales, positioning, and distribution. With 25 years of industry experience on the dealer and manufacturer side of the industry, Michelle has been recognized as an innovator in selling to the Federal Government, State/ Local Government, Higher Education and Cooperative Purchasing. Her expertise includes: sales strategies, strategic planning, 3-5 year road mapping, targeted marketing plans, distribution development, hiring reps, and training for reps and/or dealers. Michelle is known as a “serial networker” in the furniture industry and enjoys meeting people and making connections happen.


If you’re interested in connecting - reach out at: [email protected], connect on LinkedIn or visit www.strategic-catalyst.com to learn more about her work.


As seen in Delve | NeoCon 2024

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