Selling into the Aerospace arena or selling aerospace products to aerospace users, requires more than a smile and shoeshine. The bidding or tendering process in this arena demands speedy response, a complete response and faithful adherence to the specifications as portrayed in the bid request documents.
When working directly with federal procurement opportunities, it’s important to be familiar with what expectations procurement officials have; AusTender is a good source of this information.
If you are selling to a prime contractor, i.e. you are indirectly selling to the government; you will still want to be familiar with government requirements because your firm will likely be held accountable to those standards.
What makes selling into this environment so unique?
- Pricing – Most government entities expect your “best” price. This is especially true for items listed on multiple use lists or other approved vendor listings.
- Format – Requests for tenders are almost always accompanied by a requirement to package and format the response in a specific manner. If forms are provided, use them. If specifics are listed in terms of how quantities and pricing should be listed, follow those instructions.
- Regulations – Agencies all have requirements specific to procurements on their behalf. Additionally, there are regulations that cover the vendor/government business relationship in a more general fashion. Be certain that you are familiar with and understand the requirements specified by these regulations. This can be daunting. A regulation may incorporate other regulations merely by reference and those in turn have their own referenced regulations.
- Terms/Conditions – It is not unusual for your standard contractual terms and conditions to be in conflict with the required Terms and Conditions stated in the procurement documents associated with your government customer. Be prepared to either accept these or abandon the sales effort. In very few cases will government entities modify these terms. There are simply too many contracts and contractors. It is not practical for government buyers to accept all manner of contract variations.
- Auditability – Document everything you do with regard to your government transaction. This is essential because audits are to be expected sometime during your relationship with larger government entities. This is especially true of price discounts. Auditors will not only look at how you conducted business with the government but also how you do business with commercial customers. Don’t let one special commercial deal ruin your entire business relationship with the government.
Obviously, government related sales are good business. Government customers tend to be good customers. The key to success is the contract itself. Having good contract management software within your own systems will help ensure that you do not run afoul of the terms and conditions you have agreed to.